All business owners with any kind of social media presence have likely heard about the potential benefits of PPC ads. The ad platforms make sure of that— if you create a Business account, most platforms will send a message, email, or pop up that at the very least show how or where to get started with ads.
And while social media sites can be biased, the reality is that social media pay-per-click (PPC) ads can offer exceptional benefits. There have been small companies that managed to catapult themselves to nationally-recognised names partially with the help of social ads.
Social media ads can help brands in so many different ways, and it’s important to understand each benefit so that you can leverage it to the fullest when running your campaigns. In this post, we’re going to take a look at the 8 strongest social PPC advertising benefits that brands can take advantage of.
Let’s take a look at each one.
1. You Get Expanded Reach
Every major social media site has almost insane reach compared to some other methods like print advertising. This is perhaps the most significant PPC advertising benefit to consider.
Just look at the number of active users through each as of 2021:
- 2,895,000,000 for Facebook
- 2,291,000,000 for YouTube
- 2,000,000,000 for Whatsapp
- 1,393,000,000 for Instagram
- 1,000,000,000 for TikTok
- 538,000,000 for Snapchat
Even if you’re on the low end of that social media usage totem pole like Snapchat at “only” 538 million… that’s still 538 million active users all located in one place, regularly using that platform.
And while every user won’t be a member of your target audience, even a sliver of those total numbers can give you incredible reach with your audience, especially since you can make informed decisions about which platforms your audience base is most active on and you can take advantage of detailed targeting.
And since several platforms like Facebook allow you to keep an eye on your frequency metric to make sure the same users aren’t seeing the same ad, you can make sure that your brand messaging is reaching as many users as you possibly can.
2. The Audience Targeting Potential is Exceptional
It’s not just that social media platforms have plenty of reach; they offer reach with hyper-targeted audiences, with so many different options for how you can reach different segments of your audience.
Most sites have some combination of the following targeting choices that you can choose to use as you see fit:
- Interest or behaviour targeting
- Inclusionary and exclusionary targeting
- Custom audiences for retargeting
- Device type
While Facebook and LinkedIn have some of the most niche targeting options, every social media ad platform has great targeting choices relevant to how their site works.
Pinterest, for example, lets you choose what keywords you want your ads to show up for when they’re searched by users. Reddit lets you choose which subreddits your ads will appear in.
Facebook has detailed behaviour targeting. If you want to target someone who loves art, makes 100k+ per year, and who doesn’t have kids, you can do so.
LinkedIn also has great options for B2B brands: You can target users at a certain job level at specific companies, or those with specific degrees from different colleges.
No matter who your audience is, we can almost guarantee that you’ll be able to reach them directly with at least one out of the above platforms.
And keep in mind that if you’re not sure where to start, you don’t need to get crazy with ad targeting. You can choose to add minimal targeting options and see where it takes you, if you prefer, or to test different audience structures and see what works best.
3. You Can Retarget Users to Increase Conversions
Every major social media ad platform offers retargeting features.
You typically have to do something to set these features up, which may include installing a tracking pixel, integrating Facebook with your eCommerce platform, or setting up something like the Facebook Conversions API, but these are all easy, free, and fast to do.
Common retargeting features include the following:
- Target users who have visited certain pages of your site
- Target users who have taken specific actions on your social media profile, like watched a video or clicked on a past ad
- Reach users who have taken specific actions within your mobile app
- Upload lists of users from your own database
Each platform has its own unique options based on how people utilise their tools. You can use this to your advantage.
4. You Can Test Expansion Into New Audiences
Some social media ad platforms— and particularly Facebook and Instagram Ads— are a great place to test not new marketing strategies but also new audiences.
You may be surprised with who turns up as your strongest audience when you let some social media platforms just set out and tackle the targeting themselves. That’s because these platforms have strong machine-learning capabilities, and if you’ve got limited targeting, they take over. They’ll quickly see which audience segments respond to distinct types of ads you’re creating and optimise accordingly.
This case study demonstrates how this works. When you let the creatives drive the targeting on some platforms like Facebook, you may find that you have different audience segments you hadn’t realized.
When you want to see how new audiences will respond to your products or even learn more about who your audience may be, this can be a vital marketing strategy and a great learning experience.
5. The Costs Are Often Relatively Low (& ROI Potential Is High)
While people talk about how paid advertising is too expensive and small business owners get intimidated hearing about brands with $100k a month ad spend, the reality is that it can be expensive… but it doesn’t have to be.
In reality, one of the biggest social PPC advertising benefits is that the costs can be low and that you can control in many ways how much you’re willing to spend.
Keep in mind that most formats on paid social ads have the following average CPCs:
- $1.72 USD ($2.46 AUD) for Facebook and Instagram
- $0.58 USD ($0.83 AUD) for Twitter
- $1.50 USD ($2.14 AUD) for Pinterest
You can also set daily and lifetime budgets on most platforms. If you want to set a $5 a day ad campaign with a lifetime ad spend of $25 on Facebook, you can absolutely do that.
Many platforms also allow you to set limits to how much you’re willing to spend per action (or per action on average). You can often set bid caps so that if you’re only willing to spend $1.10 on a click, you can. It may limit your ad deliverability or ad quality, but this is fully in your control if you’re on a budget.
Some ad platforms do have minimal ad spend limits. TikTok is currently one, with a minimum of a $20 USD a day ad spend per ad group. But if this doesn’t fit into your budget, that’s okay— you can move to the other ad platforms that don’t have a required minimum daily or campaign level ad spend.
6. The Data is Exceptional
Social media marketing sites are goldmines of potential data. The ad platforms are no exception.
You can see each individual ad campaign and how it’s performing.
How many people are clicking or taking a specific action after seeing your ad? What are the click-through rates? How much is each action costing you, and how many are converting once they act?
The data is uploaded fairly quickly so you can make ad decisions in nearly real-time. This means that you can adjust campaigns that aren’t performing exactly how you want or funnel more ad spend into campaigns that are.
It also means that split testing is often easy and accessible, with plenty of great data.
7. Most Social PPC Advertising Formats Have Self-Serve Ad Managers
Every social media PPC platform that we’ve talked about in this post has the option to use self-serve ad managers for at least some ad platforms.
This means that you set up a business account online and are then able to move through the ad creation process on your own. You don’t need to work with an ad representative to have the ads created or run. All you need to do is follow the guidelines and have the ads approved.
And the good news is that the self-serve ad managers are incredibly helpful. Most give you explanations for what each option you can choose entail at every step of the way, and they show you the potential impact on reach or results. You can see this here:
While there is a learning curve when it comes to strategising, creating strong creatives, and having well-rounded ads, the good news is that there’s almost no learning curve to the self-serve ad platforms. They’re all intuitive and easy to use, making them easy to learn and adapt to over time.
8. You Can Choose What Actions You Want to Optimise For
When it comes to PPC advertising benefits, one of the greatest is that you have so much control over specific actions that you want to prioritise.
Most social ad platforms allow you to choose “objectives” or “goals” that you want to accomplish for each ad. Do you want clicks to your site? To reach as many people as possible? To get more followers on your account, or installs of your app?
This isn’t just a choice of vanity to help you focus on the goal you want to accomplish; the paid platforms take that into account.
They’ll actually show your ad to users most likely to take your desired action based on their past activity.
What you choose will also impact what you’re paying for in some cases. If you choose to pay for video views, some platforms may have you pay for impressions or for video views after a certain number of seconds. And if you’re choosing to optimise for clicks, you’ll pay only for users who click on your ad regardless of how many view it.
This works to your benefit because it means that you’re paying for some sort of results that you want. Not every click will convert, and not every person who views your video will become a customer, but it’s still more effective than paying for a bunch of print ad space or even a sponsored post with no guarantee of any kind of results.
You can use paid ads however you want. This is perhaps one of the biggest PPC advertising benefits, and it’s all-encompassing.
Want to run them only during the holiday season? You can do that.
Would you rather use them to scale up or down?
You can choose to work with influencers, promote your Facebook group, or utilise dynamic product ads to scale quickly.
You can reach users who have never heard of your brand and retarget to those who purchased from you four years ago but haven’t purchased since.
There are options to up-sell, cross-sell, and so much more.
The sky is the limit when it comes to ads, making them a great tool for all social media marketing students to learn, which is why it’s a vital component of our Social Media Essentials course.
Want to learn more about how to take advantage of all of PPC advertising’s benefits? Check out our course here.