If you want to spread your presence around via social networking, you’re probably wondering what’s worth it and what you should throw in the bin. It’s not like you have the exquisite budget of a multi-million-dollar top-hatter. You’re looking to make the smartest investment possible, and you want to make sure that you rake in a nice, fat followership. So where are your social network advertising dollars best spent?
Today, we’ll be comparing the advertising platforms of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. I’ll be doing it in a pros/cons model to make it easier to read. Let’s start with Facebook.
Just about everyone in the civilized world is on Facebook. Compare it to other social networks, and this one takes home the trophy. But is its advertising platform small-business-friendly? They seem to have it all figured out, since a large number of small businesses all over the world use the Facebook advertising platform to deliver their message to people in their vicinity.
- The ad creation process is simple, intuitive, and allows you plenty of flexibility.
- You can target your ads to microscopic demographics and geographical areas. For example, you can target 18-24-year-old males living in Kiev who like snorkeling and collecting stamps. You can even target education and income levels. The possibilities are literally endless. This makes sure that your ad reaches only the customers you’re really pining for.
- You’re able to advertise your business’ website as well as your Facebook page, allowing you to get likes that help you keep your customer base informed.
- Ads are not very costly, often costing below $1 per like received, depending on how you set up your ad.
- It’s a little annoying to keep track of your ads, and they lose traction after about three days.
- This is not a good product for businesses that don’t have consumer-centric M.O.’s.
- It may take quite an initial investment to get someone to design and manage a page for you if you really don’t have the time or don’t know what you’re doing. You’d benefit best if you already have an established page on Facebook.
- You might have trouble with senior citizens. According to the linked source, senior citizens are more likely to click through your ad, but are less likely to click “Like” on your page once they get to it. The drop in “Like” count compared to younger people is only around 8%. It doesn’t seem much of a difference, although that’s eight cents out of every advertising dollar wasted. If advertising to older people is worth your while (and it might be), pursue it!
LinkedIn is one of those rare places where you’ll find all your B2B customers perfectly lined up in a row. This is the perfect place to hit your target if you’re a business that offers business-oriented products. There are only a few things to keep in mind:
- LinkedIn is one beautiful golden goose. It has several business owners connected to it.
- Your ads are easy to target, especially if you’re looking to attract people with certain titles. You can target an ad to executives.
- The ads are very expensive. The minimum cost-per-click (CPC) bid is $2 per click. Your minimum budget is $10 a day. This means that, at the lowest rate, you’ll get 5 clicks per day. Their own page on campaign pricing seems to confess that they prefer a $3 bid, so we don’t know if you’ll even get more than 3 clicks per day out of this. Conversion had better be easy!
- Conversions seem to be minimal. Many experiments have failed, although they weren’t offering something relevant to the audience at LinkedIn. You might not be making the safest bet with this platform.
Twitter’s a very busy traffic junction. It’s one of the metropolitan centers of the Internet. There are two ways to advertise here:
1) The cost-per-click model that promotes a tweet you make at the top of several search results and delivers conversions.
2) The cost-per-thousand-impressions model that promotes your account on a “people to follow” list. This one delivers followers.
I’ll be using this comprehensive experiment of Twitter’s advertising as a model. Here’s the rundown:
- Twitter’s tweet promotion advertising really generates tons of clicks and impressions. CTR hovers at around 0.70%, which is impressive.
- The account promotion ad model can bring a decent following. The CTR was somewhere in the ballpark of 0.20% in the sourced experiment.
- Tweet promotion doesn’t work at converting squat. The most conversions this experiment got was six, out of 9,235 impressions and 64 clicks. A 10 percent conversion rate against clicks doesn’t look very bad on the resume, until you realize that the other ads got zero conversion. Aside from this, you’re paying $1.50 per click, if not more.
- Account promotion is expensive. At a particular price per thousand impressions, the experiment yielded a less-than-flattering 47 followers after 20,000 impressions. This led to a price of around $2.3 per follower.
- Ads start to fade out at around 5 days. It’s a rather short lifespan.
I’m inclined to say that Facebook takes home the trophy this time. Its advertising platform is not only great at targeting a desired audience, but it’s also more lucrative. You can get one like on Facebook for a fraction of the cost of a follower on Twitter. This is the perfect solution for a B2C business.
If you’re a B2B provider, you’re likely better off with LinkedIn. Besides the scarce conversion rate, it seems that you can eventually figure out the LinkedIn formula. It’s still a gamble, but it’s better than trying to appeal to businesses on a largely consumer-driven platform like Facebook.