Do We Hold Social Media Spends to a Higher Standard?

We have often been asked by clients – “but how can you prove the impact of social media advertising?”. Not an unreasonable question.  However not a question that I find is asked so explicitly in many other areas, for example the flyer.  Lots of companies use flyers, it is generally accepted as a legitimate form of advertising, but can we prove the impact of flyers?

Flyers can be used in many different ways – most effectively as a tool to help demonstrate a point being made be a real human being.  Least effectively as a stand-alone piece of advertising.  For the purposes of this blog I am going to compare the least effective use of flyers (which is often employed) versus Facebook advertising.

Cost. You have $100 to spend. You decide to spend $50 on flyers and $50 on Facebook advertising. For this you get 2,000 A5 flyers or Facebook page advertising of 3 boosted Facebook posts.

Content Production. In both cases someone has to design content.  A decent flyer in most cases requires some fancy software and an individual with an eye for design (at a cost).  Facebook needs some good images and interesting content that is personal to your brand company – no external input necessarily required (at little or no cost).

Activation.  Flyers have to be stored / transported and distributed to where you need them to go incurring further costs in manpower etc.  Unless you are going to leave them on a counter you are also likely to need someone to hand them out (at a cost). FB someone has to input credit card details identify a post to boost and you are good to go.

Impact.  With a flyer you will know that 2,000 have been distributed – so 2,000 people will have held in their hand your leaflet.  How many people will read them?  That you don’t know.  How many people will take action on them? You will only be able to track this if you include a call to action that is specific to that piece of communication, e.g. call this number, redeem this voucher, quote this code etc. (All of which you can also do on Facebook).  Finally how possible will it be to interact with any of these people who have received a leaflet again in the future?  Unless they decide to call or email you it will not.  With Facebook advertising you can expect to be able to measure exact data.  A recent campaign where $50 was spent yielded a reach (distribution) of 47,000, engagement of 1,200 (meaning people took some time to share or interact with the post in some way) and page likes of 120 – these are people you will be able to communicate with over and over again in the future.  In addition the campaign received 7 direct message enquiries via Facebook.  We also know that there was a 38% increase in numbers visiting the website via Facebook as a direct result of these posts.

I accept some of this is over simplified and anything you do needs to be part of an overall, planned and considered marketing strategy, but hopefully this gives you something to think about. Social media advertising is measurable and you can demonstrate the impact, I would suggest more so than you can with other more conventionally accepted forms of advertising.  Yet many clients insist on holding social media to a much higher burden of proof in my view purely because it is something they are unfamiliar with.

Sam Crosthwaite – Client Service Manager

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