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8 Best Practices For Using Social Ads To Distribute Branded Content

So you built fantastic content, you sold an amazing campaign to an advertiser but now it’s time to distribute. Apryl Pilolli, head of innovation at Social News Desk, shares her top eight recommendations that explain when to use social ads to distribute branded content.

This post is part of the first edition of a branded content guide for local media organizations, a playbook released by the Branded Content Project, a partnership between the Local Media Association, the Local Media Consortium and funded by the Facebook Journalism Project.

1. Don’t spread your budget too thin 

While social ads can be effective with small budgets, you can easily divide that up too much across multiple social networks, multiple audiences and multiple ads. For shorter campaign flights, a good rule is not to spend less than $50 per each individual social ad. For longer flights, you should not spend less than $10 per ad per day.

2. Optimize for your business goal 

One of the best things about social advertising is the ability to choose your desired outcome. From driving website traffic to reaching unique people to increasing the number of video views, there is an option for whatever business goal you might be trying to accomplish. However, it is important to select the ad objective that most aligns with your goal in order to get the right results. If you optimize an ad to drive as much engagement as possible, but your goal is to get people to your website and read your content, you will waste your budget on targeting people that may just give you a thumbs up and move on.

3. Keep your videos short

To be effective, social video ads have to accomplish two things: grab the user’s attention in 2-3 seconds and have a short duration, no more than 15 seconds total. Users move quickly on mobile so it’s critical to engage them immediately. Additionally, to take advantage of all the placement options available like Instagram Stories, these videos cannot be longer than 15 seconds.

4. Target the right audience

If your audience is too broad, you’re spending money you don’t have to. Make sure you use geographic, demographic and custom targeting to make sure your ads deliver to people interested in your content. Additionally, Custom Audiences on Facebook and Instagram (called Retargeting Audiences on YouTube and Tailored Audiences on Twitter) is a great way to go beyond basic targeting parameters to re-engage people that have visited your website, watched your videos or engaged with your social channels before.

5. Avoid boosted posts

When possible, it is best to avoid just boosting posts on Facebook and Instagram. Boosted posts are like training wheels on a bike — they are an easy way to get started and provide a safety net, but they don’t allow for optimal performance. Building full News Feed ads allows you to use more advanced targeting, creative and ad types.

6. Localize your content

An easy but often overlooked way to capture attention on social is to localize your ad copy for the different cities or counties you are targeting. People are drawn into content about where they live, work or grew up. Tap into that by creating different versions of ads that are relevant to them.

7. Watch restricted categories

Every social network has its own set of policies for what they will and will not allow on their platforms. If you are working with content in categories like alcohol, gambling, drugs, pharmaceuticals, tobacco, etc. it is essential to review the platform policies for each network you plan to advertise on.

8. Always test

Social media is always changing, and it’s important to keep testing different methods to find out what works for your brand and your budget. Social advertising makes it easy to run several ads and find out quickly what’s most effective for your business goals.

The expert: Apryl Pilolli – Social News Desk

Apryl Pilolli is the Head of Innovation at Social News Desk where she is tasked with creating new technology solutions to help newsrooms generate revenue. She is a social and digital marketing expert with 22 years of experience in the local media industry. During that time, she spent 12 years at Cox Media Group leading social strategy across content, marketing and sales. Apryl has earned numerous Associated Press awards for her newsroom work and has been certified by the Internet Advertising Bureau in Digital Media Sales and by Facebook for Media Planning and Buying.

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Catch the companion article from Pilolli – 8 branded content creative best practices for social media

What’s your game plan?

What’s in the guide? The pages are filled with advice for those creating their first branded content initatives, those who are leading sales teams who have branded content in their toolbox, and those that are creating content for advertisers and looking for best practices and techniques. The articles in the guide are written by experts in the branded content space who have built impressive programs and are able to share strategies to help you navigate through this unique and sometimes complicated area of potential business. We’ve also included checklists geared toward sales, content, and development to start and grow your initiatives.

Take a tour through the guide to get action plans, step-by-step instructions, advice, and recommendations. And don’t forget to check out the checklists before you get started.

If you are taking your first step into branded content or giving your program a refresh, take a deeper look into our “DISTRIBUTING IT” section and hear from the following experts:



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