Social is only as free as the current CPC/CPM bid. Every time a social site introduces any form of sponsored content, people seem to forget that and respond by freaking out. But the fact of the matter is social media needs these ads to survive. People have proven time and time again that no matter how much they kick and scream, they aren’t leaving Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn/YouTube/etc. So the ads carry on, and we click and chat on, and billions of dollars change hands along the way. So how do we keep this bittersweet cycle of clicks, ads and cash moving? With new ads of course!
The newest LinkedIn ad type from LinkedIn is called Direct Sponsored Content. The new feature is cool, but it’s not as “direct” as the name implies. When I first heard the name, I was hoping this would be creating an ad and plugging in user profiles/ID’s to build micro targeting ad groups. Although this functionality does exist on some platforms (Facebook), the primary B2B ad space will have to wait – or move some budget to Facebook ads.
So what is Direct Sponsored Content? For those familiar with Facebook Ad features, the answer is simple, it’s a Dark Post. Now for everyone else that might not know what that means, it’s a sponsored company page update that is shown in your target group’s newsfeed, but is not shown on your company page. But why would you want to create content that isn’t reaching your existing followers? Well, not every message applies to everyone. In an easy-to-digest example, if you wanted to create a sponsored update encouraging your target market to like your new page, your current followers likely would not care for it. Direct Sponsored Content fixes this problem allowing only the desired ad group to see the update.
Now to get creative: Direct Sponsored Content is a powerful tool, especially for the data-driven marketer. Let’s say you have an ad to run, but you have three different pieces of creative to go out with it. How do you know which will perform best? Previously, if you wanted to A/B test each piece of content, you would need to publish all the ads to your company page feed, and all of your followers would see all three versions (even if they aren’t in the ads’ designed target market) because they are following your page. Using Direct Sponsored content now allows you to release all three ad pieces under one campaign, without clogging up your company page feed, or your followers’ news feeds. You can also A/B test more accurately because your sponsored updates are only being shown to your target market. This can lead to money saving, time saving and more efficient and targeted growth. Boom! Thank you Direct Sponsored Content.
Before you dive in, you always have to remember to be smart about how you use your time, and how it will affect your results and ROI on ads. This goes beyond LinkedIn Direct Sponsored Content, to all forms of digital ad A/B testing. Just because you can now create and test a range of ads, doesn’t mean you should create 20 sponsored updates to post with a limited ad budget. If you are targeting 4 million people globally with a budget of $3000 for a single sponsored update campaign, a large number of ads to test makes sense. But if you are working with a budget, creating a large number of ads to test will still give you results and data, but your ROI on the ads decreases because you simply don’t have the budget to reach enough people, or thoroughly test each ad. If you are smart about how you use Direct Sponsored Content, or any form of Dark Posting, you should be able to create highly effective ads.
So, get out there and post some stuff, and start dropping that all powerful CPC and CPM! And if you need help, contact us at Splash Media. Our search team provides full-service search engine marketing solutions that are designed to get results.