Introduction to Social Media Advertising | Learn with Buffer | Brian Peters | Skillshare

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Introduction to Social Media Advertising | Learn with Buffer

teacher avatar Brian Peters, Strategic Partnerships Manager, Shopify

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      What is Social Media Advertising?


    • 3.

      Key Terms


    • 4.

      The Marketing Funnel


    • 5.

      Step 1: Goals


    • 6.

      Step 2: Targeting


    • 7.

      Step 3: Budget


    • 8.

      Step 4: Copy & Visuals


    • 9.

      Final Tweaks


    • 10.

      What's Next?


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About This Class

Social media advertising is one of the most powerful ways to connect with customers and drive marketing impact. Are you ready to unlock potential for your business?

Join Buffer Social Media Strategist Brian Peters for an engaging and friendly class on the essentials of social media advertising. This is a one-of-a-kind, tactical class that will take you from "zero to sixty," giving you the confidence to make decisions that set you up for success.

Lessons include:

  • Demystifying key terms and vocabulary
  • Setting campaign goals
  • Targeting audience segments
  • Developing compelling copy and visuals
  • Iterating and optimizing campaigns for long-term success

This introductory class is perfect for marketers, brands, small business, freelancers, and everyone looking to harness the potential of paid social advertising. By the end, you'll be ready to run your first social media ad campaign — and connect with customers, convert views into action, and drive impact for long-term business success!



Buffer is an intuitive way to manage all of your social media content across platforms with powerful scheduling and analytics. Whether you are browsing the web or on the go, you can easily add content to your queue with our browser extensions and mobile apps. Schedule your first post today at

Meet Your Teacher

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Brian Peters

Strategic Partnerships Manager, Shopify


Brian is a Strategic Partnerships Manager at Shopify, the best ecommerce platform that has everything you need to sell online, on social media, or in person.

Brian works closely on many marketing and partnerships opportunities at Shopify, video, content, email, product growth, platform, and more. 

Brian's work has been featured in countless publications, including Fast Company, Forbes, Inc., Entrepreneur, and more.

Brian is based out of San Francisco with his wife, Katelyn, and would love to chat with you!

See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: Hey everyone. I'm Brian Peters, Digital Marketing and Social Media Manager at Buffer. Today we're talking all about social media advertising. Social media advertising provides marketers and brands with an incredible opportunity to connect with customers and prospects and deliver content in targeted ways that was never before possible with things like radio, print, and television advertising. Buffer is a social media management platform with more than four million users worldwide. Just like you, I wear many hats at Buffer and social media advertising started as a, "Let's give this a shot for $5 a day." Now it's turned into a full part of our marketing program. In this class, I will be taking you through everything you need to know from start to finish on getting started with social media advertising. We're going to cover key terms, things that you see in the industry that you might not know but that are super important to understanding social media advertising. Then we'll go through goal setting, targeting, creating great copy & content for your ads and then finally fine-tuning your advertisements over time so that you can continue to see success in the long term. So, whether you're a freelancer, an entrepreneur, a marketer working at a small business or one working at an enterprise, the strategies that we're going to cover today are going to give you the tools and tactics you need to not only understand social media from a top point of view, but also dive down into the deep tactics you're going to need on a day-to-day basis to see success with social media ads. Thank you so much for taking this class. I'm excited to be on the social media advertising journey with you. Let's get started. 2. What is Social Media Advertising?: When I say social media advertising, what I'm referring to is the use of social media channels to drive awareness or sales to your product or service. This could be as simple as a Facebook boost post, all the way to a full-fledged social media campaign with major budgets attached. The social media advertising numbers are huge. More than $72 billion were spent on social ads in 2016 alone. That number expected to rise to 82 billion in 2017. And then a record high $113 billion by 2020. So one of the key questions here is, why is social media advertising so effective. The fact is, that targeting capabilities are at an unprecedented level. Previously, companies would sent out ads on television or radio and they would hope that their target customer would see or hear those ads. The reason that social media advertising is so effective as opposed to previous marketing techniques is that social media networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest all provide an incredible wealth of information about your customers. And because of that wealth of information, you can create highly targeted ads that speak to a specific audience type that are more likely to engage with your content. And I'm sure you've all experienced this before. You might have been on a website looking at dog toys, and then all of a sudden you're on Facebook and you get an advertisement for a dog chew toy. Well, that's not on accident. Social media has given brands access to this type of information so that they can pinpoint exactly who's looking to buy and when. Social media advertising also helps to amplify all of the work you're currently doing with your content organically. So what do I mean by that is that social media networks previously gave a lot of organic reach to brands. More recently, they're starting to move to a pay-to-play type of mindset. And that means the brands who aren't advertising on social media might continue to see a decline on organic reach. So if you're spending a lot of time creating great content and posting it organically to social media, advertising dollars will only help to amplify that content to be seen by more people in the news feed. And that's one of the reasons that brands are spending so much money on advertising these days, it's because it really does work. 3. Key Terms: Before we get started, let's kick it off with some key terms. These are terms that you're going to hear throughout the advertising industry and you're going to see these when you're diving into each social media network. I'm also going to be using these terms throughout the class so I think it's a great place to get started. The first term is assets. These are all of the creative aspects of your advertisement from sound and graphics to copying content. Essentially, it's the completion of your social media ad. Next is creative. And this is the visual element of your ad. From music and sound to graphics and artwork, this is what eventually draws the prospective customer to your advertisement and your assets. Next up is copy. These are the actual words that you use in things like your headline and caption. Sometimes these can be the most underrated parts of your advertisement. The next key term you need to know is impressions. Now, impressions are the amount of people that see your advertisement in a specific social news feed. Now, the key thing to remember with impressions is that it counts multiple views to your ad. So, if the same person sees your ad twice, it will count as two impressions. Reach. Reach is the unique number of people that see your advertisement in a social news feed. This differs from impressions in that, if one person sees your ad three times, it only counts as one reach. Next up is engagement, the holy grail of social media stats. Essentially engagement is anything that people do to interact with their ad. It can be clicks, likes, comments, shares, you name it. Now, there are a couple acronyms under engagement that I'd like to talk about now and these are things you're going to see all the time in social media dashboards, and the first is CTR or Click Through Rate. Click Through Rate is simply calculated by dividing the number of clicks your ad receives by the total number of impressions giving you a final percentage. Next up is Cost Per Click or CPC. This is one you're going to see a lot. Cost per click is the amount of money it takes to get one person to click on your ad. Next up is CPM or Cost Per 1000. Broken down simply, this is the cost it takes to reach 1000 people with an advertisement. Taken from the Roman numeral M, which means a thousand, you get CPM. The next key term, or should I say next two key terms, are CAC or CPA, and those stand for Cost to Acquire a Customer or Cost Per Acquisition. Now, these are super important for advertisers to understand because it helps give you an idea of what the total return on your advertisements are. The lower the better. Now, a lot of social media networks work the same in that they help you to structure your social media advertising campaign upfront. So, it's important to understand a few key terms there. The first one is campaign, and that's the overall structure for your social advertising efforts. And that is often tied to what goal you're trying to achieve on social media. Ad sets refer to all the things that you do with budgeting, targeting, setting up your audiences, and then determining what sort of ad you're going to be running under each campaign. So, under campaigns, you might have three ad sets, and then on your ad set you might have infinitely more ads where you run experiments. So, for example, let's say you wanted to drive traffic to a webinar. Campaign would be driving traffic to your webinar, and each ad set might be targeting different people in different locations, or different demographics, or different interests. Ad sets serve as the middle ground between your campaign and your individual ads. And maybe the most important term in all of this is ROI, or Return on Investment. So, when talking about why you should get in social media advertising, it's the potential ROI that your ads will have on your business. So, knowing the overall impact that your ads are having on your ROI, or bottom line, is very important when you go to show your boss reports or even for yourself, if you run your own business. 4. The Marketing Funnel: When talking about the overarching strategy for your social media advertising campaigns, it's super important for marketers, brands, and businesses to understand the marketing funnel. In any great marketing funnel there are three parts. Top of the funnel, middle of the funnel, and bottom of the funnel. You're going to hear me mention these terms a lot throughout the class. Put shortly, it's TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU. So, essentially how the marketing funnel works, is that you have an unlimited amount of prospects out there in the top of your funnel. These are unqualified prospects. Over time, through marketing strategies and advertisements, the goal is to get unqualified prospects in the top your funnel, down to the bottom of your funnel, through specific marketing strategies. The reason that is so important to get people from the top of the funnel to the bottom of the funnel, is because BOFU is where most of your prospects will convert into actual paying customers. Now, that's easier said than done, of course. The funnel is complicated. It doesn't always work as top to bottom. There's a lot of factors that go into it, but some of the strategies that we're about to talk through, are going to help you to formulate ideas and customer journeys in your mind, so that you can have advertisements that focus on getting unqualified prospects in the top, then lead them down a path to the bottom of your funnel, and eventually convert into a customer. What I like to do now, is to show you a few examples that are going to get you thinking about what sort of ads are going to fit into each portion of the funnel, so that you can have a clear understanding of the entire customer journey. I'm going to start off with a few buffer examples because that's what I know best, and these are going to work in the same way that an actual funnel will work in marketing. So, I'm going to show you a few examples from the top, and then move our way down to the bottom. Let's start with the top of the funnel. This is when people have no idea who your brand is. Maybe they've heard about you one to twice, or maybe they don't know anything about you. So, the top of the funnel advertising is going to essentially get people to know your brand. In other words, you're beginning to form a relationship with people. So, as you can see here, this is a very top of the funnel advertisement we ran, simply showing people how to make a GIF on social media. Now, the reason that this is top of the funnel is because anybody, whether you're going to purchase the buffer product or not, might be interested in how to make their own GIF. So, we sent this out to the widest array of people possible, in hopes that some of them will eventually become buffer customers. Everything about this advertisement is top of the funnel. There's no links, there's no call to actions, there's no talking about buffer as a product. The only thing you're going to see here, is a small buffer logo on the left hand corner, showing that we're the ones that shared it. So, that's top of the funnel advertising. There's a ton of different ways to garner as many eyeballs on your content as possible. But what happens when you want to take some of those unqualified prospects, and start to move them down the funnel into people that you might identify as potential customers? That's where middle of the funnel or MOFU advertising comes in. Now, middle of the funnel, is where you can start to have a lot of fun, and start to be more brand direct. So, what I mean by that is you can start actually talking about your brand because people have come to know you through top of the funnel advertising, word of mouth, the traditional marketing channels. So, in this ad here, we're looking at essentially a call to action for people to listen to a buffer podcast episode. You'll see here, and this is a traditional method of getting people to your website, or to your web assets, and that's a link post. What makes this middle of the funnel, is that you're starting to be more brand direct, you're calling people to action to visit a certain asset of yours, whether that be a website, a podcast episode, or something that you own. So, the best way to think about middle of the funnel, is to think value. What sort of value can you provide to potential customers in your specific industry that will get them to consider your product down the line? So, this advertisement doesn't ask for a sale, and then it's also important to note that when you click through to this podcast, we don't ask for a sale there either. It's still value first, content and information. Now, for bottom of the funnel or BOFU, the most challenging part for many marketers and businesses. This is the part of the funnel which we'll talk about later, where targeting becomes very, very important. You'll see here that it's all call to actions. There is a significant stat about the use of social media customer service software. There is a call to action in the headline asking people to start a 14-day free trial, and of course, when you click through to this link, it leads to a landing page that ask people to sign up for the product. Now, it's important to note, with bottom of the funnel advertising, is that it gets expensive if people don't know about your brand. So, the importance of top of the funnel, and middle of the funnel, and bringing people down to this bottom of the funnel portion, can not be overstated. Without the top of the funnel and middle of the funnel, you're less likely to convert customers with advertisements like this. The reason that the top of the funnel and the middle of the funnel are so important in building relationships, is because it's still social media. People aren't necessarily on there to buy a product. They're on there to connect with friends, connect with family members, and share content about things that they care about. So, the chances of somebody buying your product after seeing your ad once are very slim. So, even though they're not purchasing your product now on social media, that doesn't mean they won't in the future. So, developing content that builds relationships with people in the top and the middle of the funnel, is super important in solidifying those relationships over time, so that when you do deliver an ad like this one here, or future bottom of the funnel ads, people are much more likely to purchase your product. One of the questions I get asked most often is where businesses and marketers should be spending their ad dollars. Should it be in the top of the funnel, the middle of the funnel, or the bottom of the funnel? My answer to that is that if you're first starting out, and you have a small budget, or you're a team of one, it's always much more significant and lucrative to start with a top of the funnel. The ads are just easier, you probably have more content that fits in the top of the funnel. But as you get more sophisticated and gain more expertise on advertising, you can start to fine tune your bottom of the funnel advertisements. So, if I had to break it up in terms of resources and where you should split your time and money, I would put the majority of my resources into brand building, or top of the funnel advertisements, and then once you start to get more customers in your pipeline or the top of the funnel, you can start to put more ad dollars behind the middle and the bottom of the funnel. 5. Step 1: Goals: I know you're all excited to jump in to advertising. So, let's get started with some of the more meaty stuff and things that you can actually get started with today. Advertising usually falls into two different buckets. The first is awareness, and the second is conversions. Awareness is sometimes referred to as branding or brand awareness, whereas conversions can also be referred to as direct response. Awareness campaigns refer to getting people who may not be familiar with your brand to later recall your company or your name when asked or prompted in the future. Think of awareness as forming relationships with your potential customers. Conversions refers to turning prospects into customers for your business. Now, when we talk about conversions, we're often talking about sales or purchases but it doesn't necessarily have to be the case. This can be anything that drives value for your business; a download, a click, a webinar watch. Whatever brings value to your business can also be considered a conversion. So, when talking about awareness and conversions, we're actually referring to goals and the overarching goals that you want to achieve through social media advertising. Goals are directly tied to each campaign that you want to run. These can be campaigns directed around driving traffic to your website, they can be directed around driving purchases to a specific product, or like we talked about before, they can be centered around downloading ebook or watching a webinar. What I like to encourage you to do is start with one top of the funnel or brand awareness driven ad, and the goal there might be simply brand awareness. For example, the top of the funnel ad that I showed you earlier on creating a GIF, that is a very brand awareness overarching campaign goal. From there, you want to be very specific about what you hope that brand awareness goal achieves. So, for this particular video on making a GIF, our specific goal was to drive 10-second video views, and we determine the success of this video based on 10-second video views. Whereas, if you're posting a link to drive brand awareness, your specific goal might be visits to website or time spent, or number of pages visit. So, what you want to do is start in a very high level of maybe brand awareness. It's a great place to get started, and then set specific goals based on brand awareness type ads. It's time to move in the ways where you can begin to track the success or of course failures of your advertising campaigns. Understanding the various tracking methods can be an entire class on its own. So, what I like to do now is give you a brief overview and then we'll share some more resources in the class resource list where you can go to learn more about tracking and set up more sophisticated models for your advertising efforts. The first and most obvious tracking method is of course, Google. Many of you have probably clicked on Google UTMs, and haven't even noticed it. Essentially, what a Google UTM is, is you're adding specific words or parameters, as they call them, to your link and that could be where the traffic is coming from, what campaign you're running in under. There are a lot of different ways to set up a custom UTM. But to make it simple, a Google UTM will allow you to see where the traffic is coming from, how many clicks it garnered, and what results it had for your business. So, there are two important buckets to tracking in. The first is Google Analytics, like we just talked about, and the other is setting up pixels or tags on your website to track social media advertising efforts specific to each individual platform. It seems more complicated than it is, but a pixel is simply a small snippet of JavaScript code that you can add to your website in order to track individual pages. So, for example, if you wanted to run ads on Facebook, Facebook has a super easy to use setup guide on how to get started with that. Essentially, what a Facebook pixel does, as you can see here, it's a small one of JavaScript code, is open up the lines of communication between the Facebook platform and your website, giving Facebook detailed information about the customers and prospects that are visiting your websites. Things like demographics, location, interests, likes. So, as you can see here, Facebook is now tracking all of our website visitors over the last 30 days, and you can do a custom date, you can filter this information, and then you can eventually use this information to target a specific audience which we'll talk about in the next section. You might be wondering why pixels are so important in a section talking about goals. While pixels allow you to set custom conversion events, and bear with me, it's not as complicated as it sounds, pixel allows you to set custom-conversion events that tell Facebook or tell Pinterest or tell these social networks when a user has completed a specific action. That could be adding an item to a cart, clicking on a link, watching a video. Then, what you can do with that is say, if someone clicks on a link, assign this a five dollar value. So, pixels have incredible value when it comes to understanding the overall ROI from your campaigns, and also what specific actions your users are taking on your website. So, now that we covered goals and the specific things that you can achieve with social media advertising, we still haven't gotten into the targeting or actually creating of the ads which is the absolute most fun part for marketers. We're going to dive deep into that starting now. 6. Step 2: Targeting: Targeting is one of the most important aspects of your overall social media advertising strategy. Essentially, targeting is delivering a specific piece of content to the people or users most likely to complete a specific and intended action. Just like the actual ad itself, targeting can mean the difference between a great advertising campaign and a not so great one. Bad targeting can lead to higher costs and lower engagement, whereas good targeting can lead to lower costs per click and higher intended actions for whatever goal you're trying to achieve. So how do you actually figure out who you're supposed to be targeting to begin with? The most traditional way is by developing what we in the marketing industry and you probably have heard of these before, developing personas. I like to think of personas as your target audience. Who they are, what they're interested in, where they live, what job they do, what their demographic is. These personas can be crucial in understanding who to target when you're specifically setting up your overall campaigns, ad sets and actual ads. Another way to think about personas, and this is the way I like to think about it is thinking about it in terms of jobs to be done. So what job is someone trying to complete by clicking on a potential ad from your brand or business? In other words, personas might get at the overall person you're trying to reach. Twenty year old female living in a city interested in soccer. Whereas jobs to be done solves a specific pain point for that exact person. So the person living in a city, 20 years old interested in soccer might be looking for a specific soccer ball that she can take to the beach. That jobs to be done framework helps to specify specific ad content to help increase click-through rates and lower costs for your overall advertisements. So what I suggest you do is think about both the persona you're trying to reach and the jobs that they're trying to accomplish. That will give you two separate personas strategies that you can then use to create highly targeted ads to reach potential customers. The top most broad way to target people through social media advertising are through things like interests, behaviors, age, location. These are really great ways to really cast a wide net among a very large audience. On platforms like LinkedIn, if you're a B2B company, you'll be able to target people based on their job titles, which is an incredible asset to be able to say, all social media managers in the United States should be shown this content or all social media managers located in Louisville Kentucky should be shown this content. So, this very top of the funnel, very brand awareness focused targeting is perfect for those looking to cast a wide net. Now, moving down the old targeting funnel, let's talk about ways you can get a bit more specific of the ways you target people on social media. Going back to the importance of installing a pixel or tag on your Website, this is where the real fun begins with targeting. Did you know that you can target people based on visits to your website? You can also target people based on visits to a specific web page or people who viewed a video for a specific amount of time. These pixels allow you to give very granular on the audiences that you create and the people that you target. With this I think it's important to take a step back here and talk for a second about creating custom audiences. I love to show you the example within the Facebook ads manager that helps to give an idea of the possibilities of creating audiences. Now this is available in many other social media networks but I think Facebook does a great job of clearly listing out how this could look for your own brand or business. So here we are in the audience creation section of Facebook ads manager, and you can see we have several different audiences set up based on different parameters that we have put into the product. So here you can see we are targeting all people who have visited the Reply Blog or Academy within the last 60 days. Here we're targeting all Buffer blog traffic within the last 60 days. And here we're targeting all Buffer blog traffic excluding traffic to which are a separate web assets in the last 90 days. So targeting people based on traffic is one really great way to begin to start to narrow down your audiences and a great way to target people who are already familiar with your brand. The other targeted features that I love to do is based on email lists. So as you can see here in Facebook, we've actually set up a custom audience based on our business customers from March of 2017. What we did is we simply uploaded a list of our B4B or buffer for business subscribers within the last 60 days and created a custom audience based on that. When you're thinking about setting up audiences, custom audiences are perfect for middle of the funnel and bottom of the funnel content. So what you can do is create a little game where you start to build out top of the funnel brand awareness ads driving traffic to your website and then creating custom audiences based on that traffic. What that does is create a beautiful social media advertising loop that you can go back to again and again. Getting a bit more granular re-targeting, there are ways besides interests in demographics to target a specific group of users based on similarities between your companies and others. This is based on competitor or peer targeting. This is one of my favorite ways if you're just starting out and you don't necessarily have pixels or custom audiences set up yet. When you begin to think about this sort of targeting, competitor and peer targeting, it's important to realize that everybody in your industry is competing for the same attention from users. Understanding that when you target a competitor's audience or you target a peer's audience, your ad needs to be better than theirs because they're also bidding on that same user. Targeting competitors or influencers within your industry will help align your ad message with people that are most likely to purchase your product in the future. Another one of my favorite ways to target customers on social media is through lookalike audiences. Lookalike audiences are users on a particular social media platform that show similarities to the people who already like your page. Facebook with it's sophisticated algorithm is giving you an easy to use way to create a particular persona based on people who already engage and like your page on social media. So just a quick recap. You have two ways to reach people with social media advertising. You have your standard targeting, and you have re-targeting. Targeting means that people might not have been familiar with your brand in the past and are just seeing your content for the first time, whereas re-targeting these people have interacted with some sort of content from you in the past and you're simply sending them more content that's the same or maybe moving them down the funnel. To really drive home this point, I'd love to give you a few examples now of how different types of companies might use re-targeting and targeting in different portions of the funnel. Okay. So let's say you're a SAS company and you set up a lookalike audience within Facebook. You might take a blog post that's popular from your blog and target that lookalike audience and make your conversion goal clicks. A week goes by and you've driven more than a thousand clicks to your Website from this particular ad. What you can then do is target all the people who clicked on the ad and all the traffic to that specific piece of content and re-target them with a piece of content that's a bit deeper in the funnel. Whether that's an e-book, a webinar or a particular offer for a discount on your product or a free trial. Or let's move back up to the top of the funnel with people who might not have heard about your brand in the past. What you can do is create a great engaging video whether it's funny, humorous, educational or useful and target competitors of your business. Then once you've racked up views to that video based on competitors followers, you can then re-target them with an ad that's more particularly about your company, whether that be a webinar, an e-book and I know we've talked about this a lot, but essentially your building brand awareness with that ad based on competitors followers and then you're moving them down the funnel with things that are more related to your brand that might provide additional education or usefulness. When you're first getting started advertising a majority of your time is going to be spent on targeting and figuring out which audiences you're trying to reach. Now one thing to keep in mind when you're creating audiences, is that if you don't create a variety of audiences similar people are going to start seeing your ads over and over again. What we like to call that is audience fatigue. In order to avoid audience fatigue, what you're going to want to do is set up multiple audiences for multiple goals that you have in social media ads. So in other words what you don't want to do is set one audience and then advertise to them with multiple ad sets. That might mean you have different lookalike audiences or different re-targeted audiences from your website. The beauty of all this is that a lot of the skills that you'll learn in Facebook advertising you can apply to other social media networks because they work essentially the same. The layout and the way that you create ads will be different on each individual network but the theory of re-targeting audiences, creating top of the funnel brand content are all the same across all networks and that's what's so great about social media advertising, is once you learn the skills in one platform you can apply them to all other platforms. In the last video I had you write down some goals that you like to accomplish with social media advertising. Now I'd like you think about personas and creating a custom audience based on the goal you set in the last video. So if you're aiming high and you're looking to create a brand awareness campaign, you're going to want to set large audience based on things like interests, demographic, age, location. But if you want to aim low and start with bottom of the funnel, it's very important you create a custom audience based on things like re-targeting or competitors audiences. So start with that, create a custom audience and we'll use that in the next videos when we started to create actual ads. 7. Step 3: Budget: Let's start this video about budget off with one simple statement. You don't need a big budget to be successful with social media advertising. Now that we got that off our chest, let's talk actual social media budget so that you can get started with creating ads today. The beauty of social media advertising is that you can start as little as five dollars a day. And of course, the budgets only go up from there. I know some of you are curious about industry standards, and so I'll give you some of my experiences based on what I've seen. In the SaaS world, or software as a service world. Many companies are spending upwards of a million dollars a month on social media ads, which seems like a lot, but a lot of those companies actually started with a very small budget. Over time, after proving how successful social media ads can be, they've built on that budget little by little. So, five dollars a day might seem like an arbitrary number, but the reason I keep bringing that up is because when you first start out with social media advertising, it's going to be complicated. You're not going to know which audience to target. You're not going to know what ads to create. You might not have enough time to create multiple experiments to find the right one. So by starting with let's say five dollars a day, you're going to be able to run multiple experiments and start to understand what's working on social media. In other words, you're going be collecting data about the ad copy, or the headlines that work, about the audiences that you created, so that way you don't spend all of your money upfront performing or doing something that actually isn't working at all. So when talking about budgets, this is where the marketing funnel really comes into play. If you have a small budget, I recommend starting at the top because those are the least expensive ads and they don't take as much work as setting up a successful bottom of the funnel campaign. The reason that ads are less expensive at the top of the funnel is because you're not asking for anything at all. Going back to the buffer example about creating a GIF. We weren't posting a link. We weren't asking for the sale. We were literally just teaching people how to make a GIF, and so that is very inexpensive in the advertising world to show to a person. They want to show the content that people will love on the network so that keeps them coming back for more. That's the whole purpose of social media, and so that's why ads become more expensive as you go down the funnel. Top of the funnel, content that works. As you move to the bottom of the funnel you start to ask for sales. A lot of times people don't like to be asked for sales on social media so ads become more expensive. So, when you're going about setting up a budget for advertising, there's a lot of different ways you go about it, and really there's no perfect way to set up a budget and there is no concrete number that you have to spend to be successful. It's all about setting expectations of what you hope and want to achieve with the advertisement. Also, setting expectations of what you can actually spend over a certain amount of time. You're probably wondering at this point where you're actually going to be spending money on in social media ads. Platforms charge in variety of ways but there are some themes throughout that you can come to expect based on certain goals and certain ad types that you're running. So, without diving into specific networks, I like to give you an overview of how they usually charge for ads. The first is Cost Per Click or CPC. That's how much you're willing to pay for a single click to your Ad, to your website, to a webinars, to an e-book. The other way, of course, is Cost Per Thousand or CPM as we talked about in the key term section. So how much you're willing to pay per 1000 people seeing your ad. Another way, of course, and this is maybe the more expensive way and the more bottom of the funnel way to think about budgeting is Cost Per Action or cost per acquired customer or Cost Per Acquisition. How much you're willing to pay for someone to purchase your product or someone to complete a specific conversion. So while looking at your total ad spend and what you're willing to spend on social media is important. It's more important to understanding what that money is going to do for you or ROI in the long run. What that means is you should ask yourself, "Am I willing to spend this money on this particular goal?". A lot of brands will say, "We're not willing to spend any money on building brand awareness." That's fine. So they might want to spend money on cost per acquisition. Whereas, other brands say, "We want to spend money on building our brand on social media." So reach, and impressions, and likes are more important. It all depends on what you're willing to spend your money on and also what are your goals going into social media advertising so that, that $100 dollars or a $1000 doesn't feel like a waste of money. This is how you're going to determine if what you're actually paying for is paying off in the long run whether that's purchases, likes, views, impressions. It doesn't matter what the goal is as long as the money spent is achieving that. So, for example, let's say you're driving app downloads with an ad on Facebook and you spend a $100 to do so. Well, that ad could have driven a $199 in purchases and then those customers who came in through the ad might have driven a $100 in future purchases within the app. So, essentially you made $199 on just $100 ad spend on Facebook. This is super important to understand the total marketing funnel and ROI in order to justify that sort of ad spend on different ads in the future. If you want to know the secrets of successful social media advertising used by the world's top brands, it's that they started small and they worked their way up. Every time they found success, they doubled down. Every time they identified a loser, they shut off that ad. That's how these big brands get $100,000 and more in social media advertising budgets. They stay diligent, they check their ads, and they watch for consistent ROI. That's how you are going to be able to get good at social media advertising as well. Stay diligent, experiment, shut off the losers and double down on what's working. 8. Step 4: Copy & Visuals: There are four things that I encourage you to think about when getting started. The first, is what you want your add to say. The second, is how you want your ad to look. The third, is the action that you want your users to take when seeing the ad. The fourth is where you want your ad to be placed, whether that's mobile, desktop, a display network, or a variety of other things that these social networks offer. When determining these four factors, it's important to get very specific with each goal that you're trying to accomplish. So, when I talk about, what do you want your ad to say, I really mean, what emotion do you want your audience to feel? What do you want them to think when reading your copy? When I talk about how you want your ad to look, I mean, should you create a video for this specific ad? Should you create an image? What color should you use? Is it on brand? Then when I talk about the specific action that you want your users to take, we're talking about, do you have a landing page set up, a blog post set up, or do you simply have something off of the Facebook or Instagram or Twitter platform there you want to send the people to? Then last but not least, when I talk about where you want your ad to appear, that means incorporating the things we talked about earlier in creating a mobile friendly ad if you're going to advertise on mobile. Also considering desktop implications, or people on a big screen, a small screen, will they be able to read your text? If not, how can you improve those ads to make sure that you get the lowest cost and the highest click-through rate? Kicking off this video, all about ad content, copy, and visuals, it's important to have an understanding of what's possible on each social media network in order to achieve the best audience out there. The best part is, is that you can use any copy and visuals you want at any portion of the funnel, as long as you're framing it correctly in what your audience expects from you during that time. So, what do I mean by that? So, at the top of the funnel, you're going to have very brand awareness focused content. That can be in the form of a link, of a picture, of a video. Really, anything you want. But the way you frame that, and the way you present that content and that copy is the most important part to think about. So, at the top of the funnel you might have things like funny videos, awesome graphics, links that lead to your website that don't ask for a sale, maybe curated content to other social media websites or other brands. One of the best things to remember when you're creating top of the funnel content is that you're sharing a moment with your audience that they then share with their friends and family. So, there's literally no ask involved at the top of the funnel. There's no links, there's no sales. It's purely entertainment, usefulness, or education. I'm not sure how many of you have heard of the brand Honey. I haven't but I can tell you that this ad is performing particularly well, has over a thousand likes, 141 comments, and 508 shares. If you take a look, it's very top of the funnel focused because Honey is not trying to sell anything at all. It's literally just an article about an Amazon hack, how to get cheaper prices on everything. If you take at a look at the copy it's short, it's sweet, and it's very enticing, you almost can't not click on this ad. So, this serves as a great example of a way to drive traffic to your site, while also staying in the very top funnel brand awareness piece. Now, let's take a look at the top of the funnel ad we ran here at Buffer. Just to give you some context, we only spent about $20 boosting this post. Linking this back to what we talked about before, we posted this organically first, identified it as a top performing post, and then simply put some money behind it by boosting it. So, if you take a look at the ad, there's no links to our website. All you see is the Buffer logo on the top left corner. Now, something to note about this particular ad and its just good social media content writing, is that the image or the visual says something and then the caption accompanies that image to help entice people to want to read the image, if that makes sense. So, you're hooking people in with the visual, their eyes go back up to the caption, they read the caption, they become more interested, it goes back down to the visual, and all of a sudden you have a great piece the top of the funnel content. Our third TOFU example, top of the funnel example, is from a great company called KlientBoost. A lot of these examples you're seeing here are from an article they wrote on Top 32 Inspirational Posts for Your Social Media Ads. We'll go ahead and link to this article in the class resources. You'll see that KlientBoost does a lot of things right here. First of all, it's very top of the funnel topic focused, The Marketer's Holiday Calendar, 25 Gifographics To Up Your Skills. Why this is such a great piece of content is that this really relates to anybody who might be interested in KlientBoost. So, going back to those first classes, you're casting a wide net. People who read this article might not be interested in KlientBoost but they might be interested in reading about Gifographics for the holidays. That's what makes it top of the funnel. The other great thing they do here is their visual is really strong. They use emoji in the captions. They have a really strong call to action in the headline to up your skills. Up your skills is always a great way to call people to action. Then they have a nice visual saying the holiday marketing calendar for marketers. So, all these elements together in one ad makes a really great top of the funnel piece of content. When we're talking about middle of the funnel, that's when you start to get a bit more as I would say salesy. But it's still not asking for a sale. So, now let's get into a few middle of the funnel or MOFU content examples. The first one is from HubSpot. Many of you might have heard of HubSpot as a company, but they also have a really great advertising program. As you can see in this HubSpot ad, it's middle of the funnel because it drives traffic to their websites, but doesn't ask for a purchase. Much of HubSpot's audience are entrepreneurs and founders. So, this specifically, is a narrowed down audience calling directly out to them to click on this link. Another great middle of the funnel piece of content is from a company called Ahrefs. If you take a look at this ad here, Ahrefs is specifically providing a link on how to rank in Google. The reason that this is a perfect example of the middle of the funnel piece of content is that their entire business is based around helping people get ranked on Google. So, they're not saying, "Hey, buy Ahrefs' product." But what they are doing is helping people get better at ranking in Google. So, the hope is people click on this ad, they get to know Ahrefs a little bit better, and eventually try their service. This last video here, in middle of the funnel content is from a company called Drip. This one was a awesome example of a video piece of ad content done really well in the middle of the funnel. One great way to make your ads effective is by starting out with a really powerful question. "See this yet?" Says Drip. "We're giving away a 20-video Email Mastery Course for free when you sign up for a free Drip account." You'll see that the copy is really well done and it mixes greats with the actual video itself along with the, you'll see offer at the bottom for an email course. Now, you'll see it's an offer and so you might ask, "Well, isn't this bottom of the funnel because they're offering something?" Well, what they're offering isn't to buy their product. What they're offering is a free email course. So, you can have offers in the middle of the funnel, as long as they're not trying to drive the sale. They're providing people value here with a free 20-video email course on Email Mastery. If you look at the results, you can see how effective it was, 631 likes, 57 comments, 142 shares, and most of all, 166,000 views. I know it's hard to differentiate between those two. But really, you should be thinking about middle of the funnel content is adding more value to people who are now aware of your brand. Bottom of the funnel content are the traditional as you're used to seeing on social media. This is the ask. It's when people are asking you to buy their product, try their service, or anything else that asks you to do something that you wouldn't normally do on social media. So, I'm hoping by now, ideas are generating your head and let's get into the few BOFU or bottom of the funnel content ideas, so that when you leave this course today, you can get started with advertising no matter what part of the funnel. All right, one of my favorites, Blue Apron. They do a great job of social media advertising. In fact, they're known for how much they spend on advertisements. So, if you take a look at this ad from Blue Apron, they combine a great visual with a tempting offer. So, that's what I want you to think about when creating bottom of the funnel content. Draw people in with the visual, and then hit them with an offer they can't refuse. Another one of my favorite companies in terms of BOFU inspiration over the last couple of years is Dollar Shave Club. Many of you might have seen the Dollar Shave Club commercial which was a viral hit on YouTube, across the world. But Dollar Shave Club does a really great job with their offers in the bottom of the funnel. What's great about this ad is it doesn't necessarily say, "Hey, purchase Dollar Shave Club." What it does do is speak to people's emotions. The smarter way to shave. So, that gets people to say, "Well, am I shaving dumb? Am I not shaving in a smart way?" Successful bottom of the funnel content is creative. It's witty. It's funny. It's just pure good content. The more creative you can get with your bottom of the funnel content, the more success in conversions you're actually going to produce. Last but not least, Walmart ad from Buffer just because I know them so well. In this ad, you're going to see a statistic called out in the copy, a captivating visual, and a free trial. So, when talking about bottom of the funnel content, free trials always work really well. When you couple that with interesting data or piece of research in the caption, it's very hard for people not to want to read more. Then when you combine that with a interesting visual, it's very hard for people not to want to click. Let's get into a few best practices for creating great ads. You have three opportunities to convert people with your advertisements, the copy, the visual, and the headline. When it comes to copy, keep it short and sweet, make it witty, ask questions, talk about stats, talk about research, question people's motivations, question how they currently do things. But it's important to realize that you should experiment with captions as well. I've also seen companies write paragraphs about their ads, and those work too. I just know that from best practices, shorter is usually better. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't experiment. When it comes to still graphics or photos, they should be visually eye catching and not text heavy. You can have text in your ad that helps to add to the graphic itself, but the picture or image should really states what you're trying to say without too much text being needed. When it comes to video graphics or videos, it's important to remember that short videos usually work best to capture people's attention. You have to remember that people are scrolling through social media feeds not necessarily looking to consume a 5 to 10 minute video. So, what I've seen in terms of best practices in length is to keep your video between 60 and 90 seconds, or 90 to 120 seconds max. That will help to maximize the amount of people who watch your video and then also maximize the people who watch your video to the end. Last but not least, the headline. The importance of the headline cannot be overstated here. I suggest creating 10 to 20 different headline variations and running them by a few people to see which one works best before you actually experiment with it. The other way to do it is actually run headlines as ad tests. You can split up ads, run the headlines, see which ones perform best. That way you can get a feel pretty quickly for which headline is performing best with a sample audience size. What I suggest you do is start with the graphic. Pick three to four graphics that you think will work with an ad. Run that graphic with the same caption and the same headline across the board. Once you find the graphic that's working the best, hold onto that graphic. Then, run an ad with various captions with that same graphic and the same headline that you used before. Once you have the graphic with the caption, then it's time to test the headlines. Run a few different variations again, find which headline is working best, and all of a sudden, you have a perfect caption with graphic, with headline combination. That's how you go from the unknown into what you know will work. The thing that makes advertising successful, yet tricky, is that you have to do that across multiple audience sets, multiple ad sets in order to find the right combination of ads mixed with audiences to see the biggest results. But don't get discouraged. It takes time and you will find success over time. Another thing to remember, is that you're going to have to test ads on different social media platforms. So, if you're advertising outside of Facebook, you're going to have to do the same process for LinkedIn, for Twitter, for Instagram. In other words, each social platform has a different language. So, what works on Facebook as an advertisement might not work on Twitter or on LinkedIn and that's okay. You'll have to use simple tests like the ones we just laid out. But it'll get easier as you go and you'll start to become a pro in no time at all. All right, we've come to a point in the class where it's time to start creating your first ad. What I suggest you do here, is experiment by first, boosting a piece of content that is performing particularly well on social media. That might be a promoted tweet, a Facebook post, whatever you want it to be. Put a small amount of money behind a top performing piece of content and see how that performs. That's going to give you a baseline for further promoted posts in the future. The next thing I want you to do is create an actual ad, not a promoted post, or a promoted tweet, an actual real life ad. So, there are multiple ways you can go about this. But first you're going to need a custom audience and then you're going to need what we talked about in this lesson and that's caption you want to use, a few graphics, and a headline. Start with something that you know will work. Create an ad targeted towards a custom audience that you've created, make sure it aligns with one of the goals that you started in the beginning, and then run the ad. You could start with five dollars, you could start with $10, you can even put a 100 down. What that's going to do is give you a baseline for what you can expect in the future with ads. If you're brave enough, try an ad in the middle of the funnel or bottom of the funnel and see how that performs. 9. Final Tweaks: Congratulations on making it this far in the class. I hope some ads are up and running and performing well for you. Now it's time to talk about one of the most underrated and overlooked things about social media advertising and that's evaluating and tweaking your ads as you go. It's very tempting as marketers and businesses since we all wear multiple hats to start running ads and forget about them. I do it all the time and it's easy to forget. The more you keep an eye on your ads, the more you tweak the little things and the more you measure results and ROI, the better they're going to perform in the future. That being said, it's important to also not keep too close an eye on your ads. I know that may seem redundant, but let me tell you why, social media algorithms are super sophisticated, and sometimes, they don't get placements of your ads correct. They might show them to wrong people. They might show them in the wrong places. So, by giving them a few days, you're allowing them to perform at their peak rather than cutting them off too short before they have a chance to reach your prospective audience. When you're measuring results and calculating ROI, it's important to know what constitute good performance versus bad performance. There are a few ways to go about it, and obviously, it depends on what goals you set up. But let's start with a few of the basics. Obviously, you're going to want a low cost per click. There are some great studies out there in terms of what you can expect with cost per click, depending on your industry. When it comes the cost per acquisition, that all depends on what the numbers look like in terms of your business specifics. If an average customer who makes $900 on average, well then spending $100 to acquire that customer doesn't seem so crazy. But, if the customer only makes you about $30 an average and you're spending $70 to acquire a customer, well then you can tell that gets a little bit tricky with advertising. So, when it comes to cost for acquisition, it's important to first understand what a customer means to you in terms of value or money. Probably most important of all, and this is a stat that most social media networks give you, Google AdWords gives this you as well, and that's a relevancy score. So, how relevant is your ad to the people that it's being shown to? Relevancy score is how pertinent or how relevant your ad was to that person when they saw it in the news feed or when they landed on your website after clicking on your ad. Why is this important? Well, let's go back to what we were talking about before and the customer experience on social media networks. Facebook, for example, wants to provide their customers with the best possible experience. That's why they created relevancy score. They want to know that after they deliver an ad, that person had a good experience with that ad. Usually, relevancy scores are based on a scale of 1 to 10, and you will see different relevancy scores at different parts of the funnel. On Facebook, for example, if you're in the top of the funnel content, you might see relevancy score is between eight and 10. That's because tofu content usually focus on the no ask, entertaining content. So you're going to see a higher relevancy score because people are most likely to interact with that type of content. Then there comes a time we as marketers must make decisions. Do we double down on an effort or do we get rid of an ad? These are the best decisions you can make because it either means more money for your business or less wasting money. So, how do you know when to double down on an ad or when to stop an ad? Again, this goes back to your goal. If your goal's impressions are reached and you're seeing an ad with particularly high impressions or reach, double down. If your goal is cost per click and you're seeing an unusually high cost per click or maybe the cost per click has gone up over time, it started low and now it's high, that's okay. Ad fatigue happens naturally. Shut off that ad, try something new. As with all social media, experimentation is at the heart of successful social media advertising. Stopping what's not working and doubling down on what is. I wish you lots of success with social media advertising and I really hope to see one of your ads in my news feed soon. 10. What's Next?: