Deciding which kind of marketing works for your brand is a tricky process and involves spreading a company’s marketing budget around different marketing resources. Before this is done some questions should be asked. Who should I trust with my marketing? How do I know which type of marketing will earn bring me the most ROI? How do I know if my marketing efforts are working? There are two categories of marketing from to choose from traditional marketing which includes print ads, newspaper and magazine ads, billboards, flyers that are sent out via mail and commercials on the TV and radio. Traditional marketing has always been the go-to for companies but with the rise of social media giants such as Facebook and Instagram who allow instant access to over 1 billion people, it’s just not worth using traditional methods who can’t provide the same ROI anymore.
Digital marketing includes making a website and promoting it via google AdWords. As well as promoting one’s business through different online resources like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The benefits and costs of social media marketing hold up against other marketing methods that have been around since before the Internet. However traditional marketing methods do have some benefits ever social media marketing these are: it’s easy to send out to a local audience, have physical ad materials that can be revisited by the potential customer and they’re usually easy to understand very to the point.
Traditional marketing comes with its disadvantages as well. The primary disadvantage being it’s very expensive and provides almost no interaction between the potential customer and the company advertising. In addition, it’s really difficult to measure the success of each advertisement and where money is actually being made from them. With this, a few major advantages offered by social media marketing are revealed.
The two main social media giants are Instagram and Facebook. Businesses can gain instant access to Instagram’s more than 1 billion monthly active users and Facebooks over 2.3 billion users. These are astronomical numbers and show an almost unlimited potential audience depending on the product or service being advertised. Social media is the only platform where companies get to connect on a personal level with their potential customers. Interested people can quickly reach out to send a message or ask a question if they’re interested and get instant replies. Social media is a powerful tool that serves as both a builder of brand loyalty and a customer service platform.
Campaigns using traditional methods usually only run on a quarterly schedule this means they are not very flexible once they have been launched. Social media marketing, on the other hand, is built around responsiveness of the users they market to and the ability to change and react to market developments in real time. If a certain piece of marketing is obviously being rejected (based on the real time analytics provided with all social media platforms) by your audience, you can quickly make changes and re-evaluate the marketing plan.
When a company pays for a television commercial, they are hoping that the viewers are sitting in front of the TV with full attention when the advertisement airs. If this does not happen odds that the viewer will even consider purchasing the product are little to none. Sure, it’s possible to adjust where your commercial is being played but there will still always be a large number of uninterested people. With social media marketing, you are able to use behavioral data and analytics to select the precise geographic and demographic market you want to advertise to.
One of the most important metrics to consider when analyzing the cost of social media marketing vs other methods is CPM (Cost-per-thousand-impressions). CPM is a measure of how much it will cost to show your advertisement to 1,000 people. Here’s what a study performed by independent ad researcher Augustine Fou found. CPM Costs (Lower is better) Direct Mail: $57, Broadcast TV: $28, Magazine: $16, Newspaper: $16, Radio: $10, Billboards: $5, Social Media Marketing: $2.50. This data clearly shows that social media is much cheaper than any other form of advertising in the market. It is the only platform which allows you to potentially reach 1,000 people for less than $3.
Studies from the website eMarketer show that overall ad money spent in the USA is increasing for digital platforms, at the expense of traditional marketing methods. In 2013, a total of $42 billion was spent on digital marketing as compared to $62 billion in 2017. In the same time period, the amount spent on newspapers reduced from $18 billion to $16 billion. 79% of all Internet users use Facebook and 35% of internet users use Instagram. More than 3 billion people around the world use some kind of social media platform and more than 2 million businesses have become advertisers on Facebook. It is apparent through these statistics that social media marketing has more pros than traditional marketing methods.
Social media marketing isn’t an automatic quick fix for all of one’s marketing problems. Just because a business stops spending money on traditional advertising and starts using it all on social media instead doesn’t mean their return on investment will magically shoot up. Research from the Digital and Marketing Association shows that although around 77% of marketers use social media to promote their brand, only 48% report ever seeing a positive return on investment. This means that although social media seems like “the easy way” enough effort and work still must be put in to create engaging content that will still attract prospective customers.
Due to a decline in the overall organic reach a brand can have on social media platforms, a positive ROI on social media is not as easy to achieve as it used to be. Social media platforms have responded to the huge surge of advertisers by intentionally decreasing how many people you can reach without paying. The trend of unskippable ads are a big part of social media now. Social media ROI is also higher to calculate because it can be difficult to quantify how much regular interaction with your photos and videos translates into buying your product vs a competitor’s, for example. Industries that have a lot of visual representation, such as fashion, fitness or media naturally are more suited to a medium that depends heavily on video and multimedia content. As a result, a more corporate brand might find it tougher to grow at the same rate on social media.
Another thing to keep in mind is the element of sheer luck that is often involved with content and advertisements going viral on the internet, even if you have done everything possible to make it succeed. Social media marketing isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme for brands. But for those who are willing to put in the time and effort to engage with an audience and build a community around their business, social media marketing offers nearly unlimited potential for growth and reach. After looking at the costs, pros and cons of social media marketing it is clear this form of advertising is a cheaper and more powerful tool for all business in comparison to more traditional methods.
...(download the rest of the essay above)