The Two Faces of Social Media Part 1: Paid Media

By Stephanie Smith



When you are immersed in the digital marketing realm, the difference between the various tactics we use to attract buyers seems second nature. To those not used to digital marketing however, the process can seem almost magical. You go online. You see ads that try to sell you things. Some are very recognizable as advertisements. These are paid ads that attempt to specifically target the user. Some are seemingly innocuous entries in a company’s newsfeed. These organic posts may not seem like ads, but they serve the same purpose. This blog series will attempt to provide some context around these two different types of social media strategies. We will explain why both are necessary for effective marketing to the home buying audience, whether your community is age targeted, age restricted, 55+ active adult, Life Plan,Continuing Care or master planned.



The Difference Between Paid Ads and Organic Posts

 Effective digital marketing campaigns require both paid ads, including display ads (you will find these “displayed” in the ad section of your screen during a web search or when using a website that allows ads), sponsored ads that appear directly in the person’s Facebook or Twitter feed, and banner ads that are often found at the top of the screen. Paid ads are often driven by a call to action (CTA) that tries to entice the user to do something: fill out a form, buy a product, learn more.


The other face of social media are organic social posts. Most people will easily recognize these posts as the kind that showcases things going on behind the scenes. They may show a day in the life, or even portray something beautiful or shareable to get the audience’s attention. Organic posts are less salesy, more in the moment, and are meant to showcase a brand’s beauty and appeal.


In this Part 1 of our blog series, we’ll focus on paid media: what it is, how it works, and why it is important for new home builders and developers to use it correctly.  


Why You Need Paid Ads

When you have the ability to reach customers through organic posts without spending any money at all, the natural question then becomes, “Why should I spend my limited marketing dollars on paid ads, when we can reach our audience for free?” In reality, the two different types of ads have different abilities and different outcomes. Paid ads allow you to:


·     Target customers who have already shown an interest in your brand

·     Reach new customers who have shown interest in brands similar to yours

·     Attract customers to your website or landing page

·     Control the locations where your audience is targeted (also known as geofencing)

·     Foster two-way conversions


This is an example of a paid ad that would appear in a user’s Facebook feed. Notice that it contains both a URL and a “Learn More” button that leads to the community’s dedicated landing page.


In addition to the above reasons, paid ads are easily trackable, providing data that is essential to optimizing future ads and further targeting customers.


Paid Ads Best Practices

Once you’ve decided that paid ads are crucial to your sales success (and trust us, they are), you’ll need some strategic planning to make sure your marketing dollars provide the best bang for your buck. To make the most of your paid ads, you’ll need to implement some best practices, including:


·     Getting to know your audience.  Being familiar with who you are targeting will help you develop your campaign and understanding what you have to offer them will help drive it.

·     Using high quality product photography. For best results you’ll need many different shots of your homes and community, both interiors and exteriors.

·     If you have video, this is a great place to highlight it! Video might include drone flyovers of your community, walk-throughs of homes, or interviews with current residents.

·     Creating a clear and defined call to action for your ad that will entice customers to click through to your landing page or website. You might also consider offering them an incentive to share their information. The ability to download a floor plan or get exclusive content is often a good motivator.

·     Inserting effective data tracking that allows you to assess how your ad is doing. This might include trackable phone numbers or other digital markers.


Measuring Success

 At Immersion Active, we have routine optimization meetings for all our client-partners where we look at each ad campaign’s KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and implement tweaks that will make the ad perform even better. In order for you to effectively track and optimize your KPIs, you first have to define your sales goals and then know the best ways to measure success for your paid media in each marketing channel.                                                                                                                                                        

Our first piece of advice for measuring KPIs is the most basic: be sure to define your KPIs based on your company’s individual goals. Some KPIs to consider include:


·      Lead Generation, including the number of form fills, tour registrations, and calls to your sales team

·      Engagement, including questions and comments on your ads

·      Shares, such as how many people tagged a friend with your content or shared it on their own social media

·      Event Registration numbers that stemmed from your ad, in cases where you are advertising an open house or other event


Don’t Forget Ad Response

Finally, when people engage with your ads, either paid or organic, you need to respond. Discover best practices for when and how to engage in my colleague Michelle Kershner’s blog series about Ratings and Reviews. And keep an eye out for part 2 of this blog series where I will dig into best practices for organic posts, why you need them and how they can help your community stand out from the crowd.


Implementing a paid ad campaign isn’t easy.  At Immersion Active we have a team of experienced paid ad specialists who can help ensure your marketing funds are used most effectively to drive to company and sales goals. These may include getting prospective buyers to visit your community or getting consumers to connect with your brand. If you’d like to learn more about how our paid media team can help you reach your sales goals, contact us.


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