Marketers know that you can’t rely on a single tactic to reach your audience, especially online. The internet is an increasingly stratified place, with potential customers spread across channels and giving their limited time and attention to only the best and most relevant content.
Brands need to have a variety of strategies to cut through the noise, build brand awareness, and convert the right customer. Paid media is one of those strategies, a widely used marketing and advertising tool that’s also incredibly competitive. In this article, we’ll go over five paid media strategy tips, emerging trends, and examples to help you serve the right content and get an edge on the competition.
Examples, pros, and cons of paid media
As a quick refresher, paid media refers to any marketing or advertising content that a business pays for. That’s in contrast to owned media, which refers to the channels your business owns and publishes content on, and earned media, which refers to mentions of your business that are created or shared by third-parties, like customers or news outlets.
This trifecta — paid media, owned media, and earned media — represent all the different ways that a brand can engage their audience and promote their products or services, news, and initiatives. Most marketers have used some type of paid media to attract or retain customers, like the following examples:
- TV and radio commercial
- Traditional print ads
- Pay-per-click (PPC) ads
- Display ads
- Social media ads
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM) or paid search ads
- Sponsored content
- Influencer marketing campaigns
- Co-marketing campaigns
Paid media has a few distinct advantages. For one, paid advertising is scalable, trackable, and can offer instant results. You can create and publish a Facebook ad that specifically targets your high-intent prospects and ideal customers in minutes and quickly uncover tons of valuable insights.
Similar to owned media, paid media offers control of creative direction and messaging, whether it’s a paid blog post or creator partnership. It’s also a source of passive lead generation, meaning your post is always on and working for your brand until you pivot to the next campaign.
That said, there are some disadvantages that largely come down to cost and competition. For example, bid prices for popular keywords like “best marketing platform” can become expensive quickly. Another factor is that consumers don’t trust paid advertising nearly as much as friend and family recommendations.
However, sponsored influencer content is gaining serious credibility. According to Matter, 61% of consumers are likely to trust recommendations from an influencer, friend, or family member on social media, while only 38% trust a brand’s recommendation.
5 paid media strategy tips to amp up your next campaign
Each type of paid media could have a unique and effective role in your buyer journey, so it’s worth reading up on. Let’s dive into five practical tips to improve your brand’s paid media marketing strategy, from best practices to campaign-level ideas.
1. Use content mapping to send the right message
Knowing your audience is an important part of any campaign, but it’s particularly important for paid media. As we mentioned earlier, ads and sponsored content have to overcome varying degrees of consumer distrust, wariness, or dismissal. One way to makes sure you’re truly connecting with your audience is to start content mapping.
Content mapping is a multistep process that helps you deliver the right message, to the right demographic, at the right time. You’ll define your buyer personas and customer journey and then audit your current marketing efforts to understand the type of paid content that will truly resonate with each segment. For example, how-to guides, webinars, and infographics are three proven traffic generators, especially for top of the funnel marketing. You can create image or video ads that feature these resources (or point to them to relevant landing pages on your owned channels) to attract high-quality leads.
2. Take advantage of paid media automation
One the best paid media strategy tips is the also one of the easiest once you’re up and running. Automation allows you to offload the most time-consuming elements of paid media campaigns. For example, if you use Google Ads (formerly Google Adwords), you should be automating tasks like bid adjusting, monitoring keywords, and optimizing content for the device or channel.
Not only does this save time, but it can also improve the performance of your paid content. According to Google, 80% of advertisers are using automated bidding to achieve their goals and avoid exceeding their ad spend budgets. If you’re part of the 20% that isn’t, this is an essential first step toward improve your paid media strategy.
3. Create better campaigns with influencers (and know how to track them)
Sponsored influencer posts add visibility for your business while providing an authentic touch to paid media. However, many marketing teams struggle with how to properly tool their influencer campaigns, track engagement metrics, and communicate value back to decision-makers. It can also be a challenge to organize and access creator assets and make requests in a timely manner.
So, our next paid media strategy tip is to choose the right influencer marketing platform. For instance, Popular Pays allows you to manage creator relationships and monitor metrics with ease. Our network features over 60,000 creators across a variety of industries and verticals. Find the perfect partner by using search filters like location, skill, social network, follower count, and more.
Before, small business and large enterprises alike had to build brand communities from scratch or come up with the funds to sign a well-known celebrity. Now with the rise of influencer marketing, businesses can team up with influencers to expand their reach and connect with audience segments and niche groups they couldn’t before.
4. Speak each channel’s lingo
Native advertising, also called native content, is one of the fastest growing types of display ads. Native ads are all about blending into the platform and seamlessly matching the format and tone of the surrounding content. In other words, your brand’s native ads should give off a chameleon effect while still hooking your target audience.
Beyond doing extensive research on the platform itself, a great way to optimize your native paid media is to let your customers do the talking. Share customer testimonials and user-generated content to lend a fresh voice and authenticity to your paid posts.
You can also partner with platforms that are actively investing in business advertising relationships. For example, Reddit recently partnered with media agency Omnicom Media Group (OMG) to offer its creative strategy team and ad resources to OMG clients and better engage its 52 million users.
5. Tell “Stories” with your paid media
If you want to increase engagement with your paid media efforts on mobile devices, start building Instagram Stories ads into your strategy. Stories are an immersive and captivating ad format, allowing marketers to weave a story with exciting images and videos which only lasts for 24 hours.
Even better, Stories are effective. Half of Instagram’s monthly users, or 500 million people, tune into Stories. And 62% of these users say Stories have sparked their interest in a brand or product. According to Instagram, one-third of the most viewed Instagram Stories comes from businesses, and 1 in 5 stories gets a direct message from its viewer.
New and evolving features like product tags, stickers, and polls offers tons of ways to interact organically with prospects and drive conversions in real time. Our final paid media strategy tip? Use Stories as part of your next influencer marketing campaign for a paid media powerhouse.
For help partnering with the right creator for your brand and getting the most out of your paid advertising, reach out to our team.