Marketers prefer organic social tactics but ads most effective

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Marketers may prefer to use organic social tactics, such as branded pages on social networks, but buying paid ads drives most success.

That’s according to a new Forrester study, commissioned by Kenshoo, which found that social advertisers are more satisfied with the results they achieve from paid advertising than the results they achieve with less costly organic tactics like branded pages, groups or accounts alone.

But it seems many are failing to get the most from their social marketing strategy. The study, which interviewed 105 large social advertisers, whose companies spend over $100,000 per year on social media ads in the US and use a wide range of organic and paid strategies across a variety of social sites, found that more than one in three are not satisfied with their efforts.

This emphasized the increasing needs for more sophisticated social advertising tactics and methods to better match tactics to objectives, said Forrester.

Social advertisers who paid to promote their branded content were found to be most satisfied with the awareness they created; while those who bought standard social ad units were happiest with their ability to drive purchases. Brand-focused social advertisers and response-focused social advertisers must deploy the tactics proven best for meeting their specific objectives, the research showed.

Aaron Goldman, CMO at Kenshoo, said: “With billions of people around the world actively connecting on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, marketers have eagerly turned to social media to engage their target audiences.

“Today, most marketers include some type of social advertising in their programmes, but the options available to them have increased exponentially, as has the ability to measure the effectiveness of their outreach.”

“Social advertisers are still not using advanced optimisation tactics, the finding showed. More than half of respondents said they use ad rotation but only one-third use granular targeting to reach the right audiences. And most of those who do target primarily use basic criteria like demographic targeting.”

He added: “This research study demonstrates the importance of using advanced technology platforms to create highly-targeted campaigns at scale, leveraging a portfolio approach across promoted content and standard ad units to achieve overall business goals.

“Furthermore, marketers must connect the dots across paid, owned and earned media placements to understand the impact of each touchpoint along the path to conversion. Kenshoo Social is committed to delivering the tools needed by today’s social marketer to illuminate the value of social media and drive results.”

Forrester concluded with four initial steps marketers can take to improve results:

  • Start with clear marketing objectives. 
  • Promote your brand and your content.
  • Take advantage of robust targeting.
  • Develop a holistic approach for greater success.

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