Advertising on Social Media, We’re in the Era of Pay to Play

Advertising on Social Media, We’re in the Era of Pay to Play

Advertising in social media, now here’s a topic that has really come into focus. Recently I highlighted that the 3 sides to ignite digital marketing are:


Since then I’ve had to rethink this and add another corner to this pyramid


The reason for this is simple, if you’re a business and you want to make the most of social media then an ads budget is crucial to factor in. When people have a skeptical look when I say this my response is simple:

“When doing marketing offline do you have a budget set aside? So why not online?!?”

It’s the same mindset as people have when it comes to social media strategy, many don’t have one. Too many are still stuck in the “Sure we’ll add social media to what we’re doing already”. It’s crucial to plan out:

  • What their goal is
  • What content they’re going to use
  • What their timeline is for their campaigns

Would you go into a new quarter without checking your finances? Then why do that with social media.

I’m going to answer 3 questions in relation to advertising that I hear very often. By clarifying these I hope to show you how useful advertising on social media can be (when done right!!).

Q: Can’t I do everything organically?

A: Honestly no. It’s important to use organic as the foundation upon which you build your social media brand. As we have highlighted before consistency on social media is crucial and organic posts are essential for this. At the same time though in order to reach the biggest and most relevant audience possible advertising is crucial. For those who are veterans of Facebook (2010 to the present) you will have seen the steady decline of organic reach go as follows:

  • 75%
  • 50%
  • 20%
  • 10%
  • 5%
  • <5%

The reason for this is simple, if lots of people see your content then why bother doing advertising. As more and more businesses have joined Facebook the number of people seeing organic posts has decreased. There are no two ways about it on Facebook. This trend has moved to Instagram as well. With Twitter the challenge is the speed that content moves at on the platform (the half life of a Tweet is 10-15 minutes). In a nutshell if you want to do things organically it’s going to be really challenging. The best advice I can give is:

  • Business-related offers/news/events/promotions – Advertise these
  • Value added/general news – Post these organically but do so using the best practices of the platform you’re using.


Q: What platform should I advertise on?

A: Advertise on whatever platform your customers are on, and Facebook. Why do I include Facebook in this? Simple if there is one network you’re audience is likely to be on (at least in Ireland) this is Facebook. 60% of people have a Facebook account, heck my Mams generation are starting to become heavy users of it. Another example I would give is something you can try out. Next time you’re on the bus have a quick look around and see how many people are on their phone? I’m going to say the majority are.

Outside of Facebook I would also recommend Instagram, for the simple reason that it’s linked to Facebook Ads as well. So if you’re on Instagram and have an audience start using it. Now ads on Instagram may need to be different than ones of Facebook for the simple reason that people often behave different on Instagram to Facebook.

So my tip would be if you’re starting off on doing ads it’s crucial to keep up to date with analytics as this will tell you if the ad is working or not. If you don’t use analytics and just create ads then how are you going to know if they’re working or not?!?


Q: How much should I spend on advertising

A: How long is a piece of string? No I’m serious. There is no set amount that is the ideal amount for advertising. Too often if an ad isn’t doing well then people think the solution is to throw more money at it. When it comes to advertising it’s important to look at:

  •  Your ad goal? Are you driving people to your website, are you trying to spread the word about your brand?
  • The audience you’re targeting – From age to location to interests (this is crucial to make sure you target people who want to see your ad and not just scatter gun it). This is one of the biggest benefits of doing advertising online, the way you can tailor your audience.
  • The channel you’re using – Are you on Facebook or Instagram
  • What type of ad you’re doing – Is it:
    • A video focused ad?
    • An image focused ad?

These are the factors that can have a big impact on how your ad does.


What are my top 3 tips for advertising:

These are the questions I’m often asked when it comes to advertising. If you’re new to ads or thinking of starting to use them my top 3 tips would be:

  1. Have one goal for your ad – Only have one core goal. This makes things simple for you and as a result you won’t confuse your audience as well
  2. Use the analytics – We’re in the era of big data on social media. Use the free tools available to you to help make the most of your ad spend
  3. A/B – Always alway be reviewing and improving. However only change one thing at a time. That way you’ll be able to identify what worked and what didn’t.


Need help with your ads?

Advertising is becoming more and more important for businesses as their audience continues to migrate online. Done right ads can be a terrific and efficient way to target your audience in the right place and the right time. Online advertising is a crucial tool to add to your marketing arsenal now!!

Not sure where to start? We can help you there!!