If business seems to be winding down this year, consider adding social ads, or paid media, to your digital marketing plan for next year. From Facebook to Snapchat to Instagram, social ads look nothing like the traditional banners that consumers routinely tune out. Rather, they resemble the chitchat they came to that social platform to find.


What do social ads really do?

Social ads can help you achieve two things — direct response and audience persuasion. Both require targeted messaging backed by research, but once you narrow down what you need to say, you can create compelling social ads that will produce higher results than outdated marketing efforts that might be draining your wallet.


Why are social ads as attractive they are?

Traditional online marketing approaches, such as SEO and link building, usually take a great deal of ground work and make for a long-term online presence. Social ads, on the other hand, allow you to precisely target audiences with the information they want to see. It works quickly because it blends in and doesn't look any different from the regular conversation people come to these platforms for. Ultimately, social ads catch your audience’s attention because it speaks to their interests.


How do you create compelling social ads?


Mobile friendly is the only way to be

Making sure that your site is mobile friendly is the first step. When you advertise to consumers through social media, the idea is to use a link that allows visitors to get to and navigate your site easily. Once they come, you want to show them a site that looks great on their phones. More than 80% of social media platforms are viewed on mobile phones, after all.


Don't scale too fast

Many businesses get over-enthusiastic about social ads and splurge on them. Unfortunately, they don't see much success because they don't spend time trying to understand how their target audience thinks. When business owners see quick results with their first few social ads, they feel encouraged and often spend too much, too quickly. Marketers should slowly target cheap advertising at small numbers of people, and then let Facebook deliver look-alike audiences (a term Facebook uses) with its algorithms. These rules work for other social networks as well.


Think about ad scent

The term ad scent is used to describe social ad continuity. The idea is to advertise in a way that the viewer continues to feel the same general feelings as he is transferred from ad to website. The aim is to not have the viewer be jolted out of attraction to the ideas and feelings that the ad delivers. Nothing about the website should feel different from the landing page -- the images, the color theme, the phrases used, or the font. The best way to maintain ad scent is to send the viewer to the page specifically created for that ad. Taking the viewer to a multipurpose homepage will likely result in their frustration and leaving the page.


Think differently about images

Social ads are about getting your audience interested in your company as they chance upon them, nestled in the middle of the conversations that they have with their friends. An advertisement that's made to look like an advertisement is likely to jar. This means that your ad shouldn't use stock imagery that's very obvious. Instead, use truly special and unique stock imagery, or create your own, that you know will catch your target audience’s attention.


Creating quality social ads is not hard or expensive. It does, however, require commitment to your audience and a willingness to think the way they do. If you can do this, social ads can truly deliver results in the new year.