The term “social ads” refers to a type of advertising that uses social networking services like Facebook and Instagram to promote products and services.
Since networking on social media platforms takes up 33% of the time users spend online, social ads have the potential to become one of the most powerful digital marketing tools in your business.
And they’re not just great for giving your revenues a quick boost. Social ads’ real value lies in the role they play in generating brand awareness.
Social Ads, Revenue and Brand Awareness Today
More than 40% of small and medium businesses rely on social media ads for revenue generation and brand awareness.
For comparison, the poll’s runner-up was print media, with 13% of small businesses using it to increase revenues and 12% relying on it to generate more brand awareness.
Clearly, other forms of advertising lag behind social and print ads by a pretty wide margin.
Interestingly, there was only a negligible difference between responders who use social ads to drive revenue, and those that use them for brand awareness purposes.
It is not surprising that using social media to advertise your products and services helps your revenue numbers.
However, the concept of brand awareness, and what it actually does for your business, tends to lead the ROI conversation into much murkier waters. Why do businesses care about brand awareness?
Why Does Brand Awareness Matter?
The term “brand awareness” refers to the extent to which potential customers are familiar with the products and services your brand offers.
To put it simply, no one can buy what you are selling if no one knows you exist.
On the other hand, if you repeatedly put your brand in front of potential customers where they are the most likely to see it (that is, social media), everyone will soon know what you are selling and where to find you.
Plus, brand awareness does not go away when you stop posting ads on social media. It has the potential to generate you more revenue long after your marketing budget has run out.
However, this familiarity alone is very difficult to translate into actual revenue numbers, which is why marketers often struggle with proving the real worth of social media advertising.
So, how do you prove the ROI of repeatedly showing up on your customers’ social media feeds, even if they don’t immediately click on your ad?
Find The Connection Between Social Ads, Brand Awareness and Revenue
If the general idea behind social ads driving brand awareness and revenue is still unclear for you, here’s how you can test this mechanism in your own business.
Measure Social Engagement
While social media engagement metrics are often called “vanity metrics” we have plenty of studies which show that 40% of internet users follow their favourite brands online and 37% of consumers say they use social media for “purchase inspiration”. So don’t discount your follower numbers and retweets just yet.
Instead, create a plan to measure how your newest ad campaign is impacting the way your brand message is resonating and spreading across social media. Keep in mind that you will need to set some benchmarks before you actually run your ad campaign and test.
Track metrics like social shares and likes for a few weeks or months before commencing your ad campaign, then compare the results to your benchmark numbers as well as your revenue numbers.
Measure SSoV (Social Share of Voice)
In addition to checking your engagement metrics, calculating your social share of voice can be an important way of seeing how social ads are increasing brand awareness, and, in turn, your revenue.
Again, you are going to need some benchmark numbers before you get going, but here is the basic idea behind measuring social share of voice:
- Calculate the number of mentions of your brand on social media over a period of time.
- Calculate the number of mentions your competitors got.
- Calculate the total number of industry mentions (yours plus your competitors).
- Divide your mentions by the industry total and multiply by 100 to get a percentage share (your social share of voice).
While calculating social share of voice is great for tracking your own brand awareness, it’s also a useful component of auditing a new business as a prospective purchase. If you’re looking to invest in a successful business, an audit that spans vital metrics such as traffic, sales and, of course, brand of voice can help you identify a sound investment with accuracy.
Social share of voice is a crucial element of a business’s success, and it informs everything from your social ad strategy to overall brand health. Monitor your social share of voice and compare it with your revenue numbers. Identify trends and use them to craft your social ad strategy going forwards.
Measure Brand Recall
Making people “aware” of your brand is a good goal, but making them actually remember it is a better one. This is what’s known as brand recall, and it’s surprisingly measurable!
For example, you can use Facebook’s Brand Lift Study to understand how your latest ad campaign resonated with your audience. The study uses an experimental methodology to tell you if people are aware of your brand, if they actually recall it and if they are likely to buy from.
If social engagement numbers are not proof enough, putting one of your Facebook ad campaigns under a microscope like this should definitely help you out during your next marketing meeting.
While we usually focus on the direct revenue social media ads generate, the real value of social media advertising may lie in its potential to increase brand awareness and create long-term ripple effects for your business.
Given all the time users spend actually scrolling through Instagram, dropping a targeted, aesthetically pleasing ad between the posts of their followers could be a perfect place to start. Use the tips above to craft a strong social ad strategy that drives both revenue and brand awareness.