Ecommerce Secrets: Hacking Your Paid Social Advertising

Likes and shares are great, but social media advertising is about more than just amassing fans and followers. With a combination of sophisticated strategy and an understanding of consumer behavior, you can take your social media advertising to a whole new level. In this article, I take a look at some of the clever ways ecommerce businesses can get their messages to the right people at the right time. 

YouTube: Hyper-Relevant Custom Intent Ads 

Custom intent ads are designed to reach users in the decision-making stage of their purchase journey. YouTube lets you create custom intent audiences that you can target based on their Google searches. When members of your targeted audience watch a YouTube video, your ad has a chance to appear before their video or in the sidebar. 

Example: Say you’re searching for blue rain jackets on Google. You browse a few sites, look at a handful of products, and later that day you notice an ad on a YouTube video that reads, “Looking for a blue rain jacket?”. While only a small percentage of people who see the ad will click on it, those that do are far more likely to actually buy something because the ad was extremely relevant to what they were searching for. 

Facebook: Fun With Funnels 

Savvy businesses are getting consumers to buy more by building credibility and familiarity with their brand using a Facebook ad funnel. The advertiser shows the user three different pieces of content, one of which is educational while another is a blatant sales pitch.  

How It Works: While browsing Facebook, you come across an ad promising to reveal the “10 Most Mind-Blowing Hiking Trails in US National Parks”. On the surface, this may look like a wholly educational piece. Later, you see an ad in your newsfeed about the “10 Best Backpacks for Backcountry Trekking”. You click on this ad, take a look at said 10 best backpacks, and the next day your newsfeed is showing ads for a special discount on the backpack you were most interested in. This strategy takes a broad but relevant audience–those interested in backpacking–and whittles it down to those who showed interest in shopping for backpacks and were most likely to make a purchase. 

Bonus Tip: Instagram Stories 

Instagram ads are powered by the Facebook ads platform, so these can be as highly targeted and relevant as Facebook ads. Advertisers on Instagram can target users based on browsing history, demographics, and other key characteristics with Instagram story ads. 

Pinterest: The Power of Psychology 

Those browsing Pinterest are actively looking for inspiration and creativity. Advertising on Pinterest offers businesses a way to tap into consumer psychology, appeal to this inspiration-driven state of mind, and drive sales.  

How it Works: With keyword targeting, a running shoe retailer can target Pinterest users who are searching for inspirational content related to training for a marathon. These users are actively thinking about how they can improve their running and what they need to accomplish their goals. They are primed and ready to receive suggestions and consider products as solutions.

Podcast Advertising: Entertainment and Endorsement 

If you listen to podcasts you’ve probably heard hosts give nods to sponsors at various points during their shows. While you may not have realized it at the time, you were a captive audience for the duration of those sponsor callouts. Podcast listeners, who are likely to be listening while occupied with something else, are often unable to fast-forward over advertisements. This gives advertisers a unique opportunity to both ensure that their message is heard and deliver it through a trusted source.   

How it Works: A gym-goer listening to their favorite podcast while weightlifting isn’t about to drop everything (literally) and skip the ads. Now, not only are they more likely to buy because they’ve listened to the entire message—they’re also more susceptible to the message’s influence because it’s coming from a host whose perspective they respect. 

Resources 

Advertising on YouTube 

Facebook and Instagram Ads 

Advertising on Pinterest 

Podcast Ad Platforms – Midroll and Anchor 

About The Author

Benjamin Arp

Benjamin Arp is a Miva Account Executive focused on driving ecommerce growth. He’s helped hundreds of ecommerce merchants develop their growth strategy, evaluate existing systems, and create plans to grow sales. In addition to working with merchants one-on-one, he is a regular contributor to the Miva blog and hosts webinars on a variety of ecommerce topics. Find him on LinkedIn.

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