While many social media purists tout the power and reach of organic social media marketing, it's still a network that's difficult to be discovered without promotion. Social media advertising is a market that did not exist just a decade ago but generated $11 billion in revenue by 2017. This was up from just $6.1 billion in 2013.
Social advertisements offer the opportunity to build awareness, target based on geographic, demographic, and behavioral data. As well, many of the ads can be contextually placed adjacent to relevant topics. Many of the platforms also offer remarketing opportunities for visitors who abandoned your site or shopping cart and returned to social.
I haven't always been a fan of social media advertising, though. My hesitancy with social media advertising is the intent of the social media user. If they're in targeted social groups where the interest is synonymous with the advertisement, it can produce some great results. However, if the intent of the user is to go visit their family and friends and you keep jamming irrelevant ads in between… you may not get the results you need to support an ongoing campaign.
Another key element of social media advertising is to ensure your links are properly tagged with campaign data. Since the majority of social media users utilize apps, many of those visitors can show up as direct visits in your analytics platform since applications don't leave referring sources as the link is clicked and a browser automatically opens.
Unified designed this infographic to illustrate the advancement of social advertising platforms. Unified is an end-to-end solution for data-driven insights, real-time social feed optimization, and programmatic advertising across all major social networks in a single platform.