Social Ad Platforms: A Review

@Kevin | Social

This week I criticized Twitter ads pretty heavily. I don’t want to sound like I am down on social ads altogether though. Here are my thoughts on some of the other social ad platforms that I have tried.

Facebook- I was a proponent for Facebook ads early on, and over the last year I have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on them. They have been great in driving traffic to fan pages for contests, off site into membership-based sites, around specific products, and around events. This year the average cost per click has increased 40%, which has reduced some of our clients using it.

In some categories we are still seeing really successful ads that end up being cheaper than Google on a CPC basis. High quality ads that run for an extended period of time see the cost per click drop pretty heavily over your opening bid. Additionally, if you are smart about how and where you direct these ads you can see a solid social lift to go along with it. A good ad set will not only direct people where you want them to go, but will also see your Facebook fan page likes increase and your content get shared.

Reddit- As an ad platform Reddit really surprised me. One test campaign we ran for a client not only led to quality traffic coming into their site, but a discussion on Reddit that the brand could engage in.

With Reddit ads your “ad” essentially is a sponsored story on top of whatever sub Reddits you sponsor. Reddit users can comment on these ads, which can be a little bit of a roll of the dice as not every comment is going to be a positive one. Our experience though has been rather positive with the comments; when people commented in a negative fashion we were able to jump in using the brands Reddit account to respond to the comments and engage the audience. Negatives soon turned quickly to positives and people were really into the brand taking the time to respond to them.

We got positive traffic but we also built up credibility within a community. Immediately after that we saw a lift of organic posts around our client’s brand within the Reddit community.

StumbleUpon- This has been a dirty little secret within our shop as StumbleUpon has driven a lot of traffic and is converting at an amazing rate. In fact, the quality of shoppers/users/customers we often get through StumbleUpon have been quicker to buy and socially share their experiences with friends. All on top of a lower cost per acquisition than other ad outlets.

The big secret with StumbleUpon is to relentlessly test landing pages and provide interesting above the fold content. When you find the right mix and find the right target group you will see a consistent driver of quality traffic into your site.

Digg– I haven’t tried Digg yet basically because they are essentially running CPM based advertising with no ability to target.

So there is a quick rundown of some of our favorite social ad platforms we have tried.

What has your experience been with social ad platforms?