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How to marry paid media and organic content

Watch the replay and read the summary blog of our session with Ashley Monk on integrating paid social into your organic content (even with smaller budgets).

Sophie Thompson
14th January 2022

By 2024, social media ad spend is expected to surpass the $200billion mark, so having a strategy in place (regardless of budget) is essential.

Ashley Monk, the CEO of Onya, an innovative marketing agency, is a complete pro when it comes to paid social media ads. From knowing how to get the best ROI, to making the most of smaller budgets, Ashley knows how it should be done.

During the session we also shared this free content strategy template to help you plan both your paid and organic content for the months ahead.

Watch the replay below or keep scrolling for the full summary blog.

"A lot of companies separate paid and organic. In 2022, more than ever before, it's absolutely critical we have a lot more communication between these two areas - not only for consistency and brand awareness but the return on your investment can be significantly more impactful."

The current problems with creating paid social media ads

Particularly if you're new to the paid advertising game (many companies only have one or two people across their whole marketing teams, so this is more common than you'd think) knowing where to start with budgeting, campaign durations and the type of content you should be publishing can be complex. And sadly, there's no one simple answer.

Ashley suggests just some of the problems every brand is facing right now include:

  • Costs are continuing to rise! As user numbers grow and new platforms emerge, bidding is really competitive. You should set aside at least $10-15 per day for paid advertising, or you're unlikely to see much impact, and you should be consistent with what you're putting out there.

  • Ad costs across Facebook and Instagram were up 200% from 2021 to 2022. Short-form video is having its moment right now, but this could all change. Keep a data-driven eye on your content performance to figure out what content strategy works best for your brand.

  • Copying no longer works! A blanket approach to deciding what content to put out used to be the norm. Ashley used Forever 21 as an example of this. The fashion brand went for a quantity-based approach to posting (putting out 20-30 posts a day) and found great success which other brands went on to copy. But by copying, they diluted their own success and this quantity-based approach quickly became viewed as spamming.

Why marry organic content with paid social media ads?

With many clients across a range of industries and maturity levels, here's what Ashley found when marrying the two disciplines together:

  • Better results were provided
  • Content could be repurposed (meaning less work!)
  • Better social proof - friends were engaging with posts as they were pulled into their feeds in a more natural way, pushing them further up the algorithm and exposing them to even bigger audiences

Especially since the pandemic, audiences are looking for ways to connect with brands on a more personal level, and ads can often feel inhuman and untrustworthy. People no longer care for a perfectly-curated post that's clearly been through multiple rounds of edits with a graphic designer, they want something that blends seamlessly into the feed they're already looking at.

Ashley used one of her construction clients as an example, and how changing up their ad strategy to be more human, created better results. People are more inclined to scroll straight past the example on the left-hand side because it looks like an ad, whereas the right-hand image looks like a post that one of your friends might put up.

Screenshot 2022-01-14 at 14.01.43

How to create organic content that works for paid social media ads

Consider what formats people are using right now!

GIFs and memes are some of the most popular content approaches, but we rarely see them in ads. Why? Because brands are scared to disrupt the pattern! If you watched our previous webinar with Innocent's Social Media Manager John Thornton (AKA the king of disrupting the internet) you'll know that taking risks is how you reap rewards in content, especially in saturated spaces.

If GIFs and memes are getting the highest engagement levels in your organic content, there's nothing to stop that trend from following through to paid too. Audiences will be more like to share it because it feels organic, and more shares = better ROI for you!

How to use your data to get better a better ROI from your paid social media ads

CPA (cost per acquisition) = The aggregate cost of a user taking an action that leads to conversion

CPL (cost per lead) = A pre-defined price you pay for securing potential new business

CPR (cost per result) = The total amount spent divided by the number of results (e.g. clicks, conversions)

When it comes to getting better ROI, it's important to note what metrics are in range for your industry. WordStream is a great tool for helping you define this, or you may simply be able to find it on Google. Just make sure that the results are as up-to-date as possible - particularly as the rollout of iOS 14 has had a huge impact on the digital advertising world.

Your audience is also going to be a big factor in your cost per lead. If you're targeting someone in financial consulting or who does wealth management for multi-millionaires, your cost per lead will immediately be higher. Not ideal if this is your target audience, but it's then up to you to decide whether you want to reach a broader range of people at a lower cost, or get less for your money while communicating with the right audience.

Other factors that affect the cost per lead:

The importance of click-through rate in paid social media ads

Click-through rate is one of the most undervalued metrics in paid ads and can be a catalyst for change when it comes to finding your perfect creative format.

It allows you to see if people are clicking on your ad and if your message is valuable and engaging for your target audience. However, it's important to note that factors such as seasonality can affect this metric, so don't rely on it completely, it's more for spotting patterns or what types of ads work better. You'll be able to identify if seasonality is what's causing this if your other metrics are down too on previous months.

Again, the average click-through rate varies by industry, but as a baseline, use between 0.7 and 1% as where you should be until you identify your happy medium.

The perfect recipe for a successful paid ad campaign

The perfect recipe for a successful paid ad campaign Simply: Campaigns should support every part of the marketing funnel! Remember, you're in this for the long-haul.

Let's break it down.

Top of funnel: Traffic or video view ads

These are the ads that will warm up newer audiences and typically cost the least, as they're lower intent. They're likely to bring new followers or people interested in your content and help you conduct tests that will decide what you put out as ads the further down the funnel you get in order to get the best ROI.

Middle and bottom of funnel: Conversion campaigns

If you're newer to running ads, don't start here! It's important to nail the top of funnel, lower-intent ads before jumping into those conversion campaigns, as there are a lot of factors to take into consideration when piecing them together.

Conversion campaigns yield the most results, but you need to have money to make money, as they also cost more.

Ashley's key takeaways for bringing ad costs down while driving results:

  • There are no hard and fast rules for paid social media ads. It may be painful to hear if you're seeking answers, but as things shift so rapidly in this space, it's about being data-savvy and trialing new formats.
  • Ensure your social media team and ads team (if you have one) are communicating consistently to create content that works for both audiences.
  • With new targeting limitations in 2022 - test, test, test! Rapid-fire testing using the A/B method can help you segment which tiny tweaks make all the difference in your results.

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