Storm expanded its offering into the world of social media a decade ago, but back in 2010 it was a different ballgame: then, as now, Facebook was topdog, and then, as now, it was at the core of most businesses’ social media strategy. However, what has changed is the commercial nature of Facebook and its stablemates.
While attempts were made to monetise Facebook just months after launch in 2004, an official ad platform wasn’t developed until 2007, and then it still took years and different iterations before advertising became a fundamental requirement of making Facebook work for businesses. They now proudly operate pay-to-play models, so no advertising spend equals very low visibility – in fact, organic reach for a businesses’ Facebook post is estimated to be just 5%. That means only 5% of a business’ Facebook fans will see their posts, unless they are boosted with advertising spend.
This presents a tremendously valuable opportunity for brands, especially as all social media platforms allow highly customisable targeting options to ensure that you hit the bullseye when it comes to reaching your audience.
But, on the flip side, for those smaller brands that neither have the time nor the budget to create a compelling timeline (engaging pictures, GIFs, articulate comments), the thought of then trying to find further time and money to invest in their newsfeeds actually being seen is a step too far. Content and advertising are symbiotic on social media now, so it is essentially futile doing one without the other.
So, what options do businesses have who can’t invest significantly in social media? Dark ads could be the solution. Darks ads don’t live on a business’ timeline so it is not essential to have an ‘always on’ social media presence. They don’t rely on a fanbase, so whether a business has one or one million followers, it makes scant difference. Instead dark ads look and feel much like a typical brand post and they appear in the newsfeeds of the target audience. The budget required to make them effective is focussed on just a handful of posts that are created to have specific appeal to distinct audiences, with the advertising then used to reach these audience groups. The campaigns can run for a short time and be very focused in their objectives (drive website visits, increase sales, raise awareness etc.), making efficacy measurable. In short, they offer a very cost-effective route to make social media provide a strong return on investment, regardless of the time and budget available.
While we can propose robust social media strategies for business and then fulfil them with always-on content, community management and advertising support, if you are looking for a stand-alone marketing tactic that delivers a quick win, then darks ads could be for you. Get in touch if you’d like to hear more: firstname.lastname@example.org.