Social media has forever changed the advertising landscape. On platforms such as Facebook and Instagram alone, combined ad revenue totals well over $13 billion. Instagram reports over 700 million monthly active users, 400 million daily users, and is estimated to be a ten billion dollar industry by 2020, thus making it the most powerful social media platform with the most significant potential for affecting the affiliate marketing industry. The main goals of an affiliate marketer is to direct traffic to your site in order to, ultimately, convince web visitors to buy the product(s) being promoted. When drilling down on the biggest market of potential customers that you as an affiliate marketer can reach, Instagram and Facebook are the first places to look when crafting strategies through paid advertising on social media platforms.
Let’s start by discussing a common point of confusion: the difference between buying ads and influencer marketing. Influencer marketing relies on the utilization of brand advocates to drive your message to the larger market in an organic way. It zeroes in on those people with the largest social followings who have “influence” over your intended target audience, shaping marketing strategy involving those key influencers. Paid social, unlike free social such as a brand’s internal Facebook page or a Twitter account, involves paid banner, pop-up, and sidebar ads to boost your website presence across third party platforms. By targeting the specific audience the campaign seeks to reach using a range of tools broken down by audience “categories” (gender, region, age, preferences, and other demographics), paid social delivers your product’s message into the hands of your customers or potential customers in an effective and efficient manner. Here is a breakdown of the types of paid ads you should be aware of, with a focus on the benefits of social media advertising:
Pay per click affiliate programs
Pay per click affiliate programs pay marketers for sending traffic to the company they are marketing. Within real affiliate marketing, merchants have no issue paying because they are ultimately making a sale. Plus, in the era of click fraud, most merchants aren’t looking to pay you per click. Rather, they are interested in paying per lead, for example, free signups. Here’s a list of of affiliate programs that follow this pay-per-lead strategy.
Display Network Ads
An alternative form form of paid ads to consider is display network advertising. Here, text and image ads are shown on a network of affiliate sites. Affiliates can range from mobile apps, and high traffic sites like wikiHow, to the most niche and local of news sites. The idea is that it is tied to any content that your target audience is consuming every single day.
Running paid search
One of the most efficient ways to get more followers or even increase clicks on a certain piece of content, is to run paid search to your Instagram page through Google Adwords. The best way to do this is to continuously analyze your conversion rate and budget, and then execute your keyword research properly. When people enter one of your keywords, your site will pop up in the top results as a sponsored link. This ensures your site gains traction and visibility from people who are actively searching for keywords relating to your business and affiliate strategy. The benefit to this strategy is that it’s a form of native advertising, so this paid search link will appear as an organic search result, thus earning you clicks from searchers.
Facebook Ads, one of the most targeted ads to exist currently, is affordable for beginner affiliates and effective for even the most experienced. The display of text and image ads appear on Facebook newsfeeds and sidebars of your most targeted demographics. Because these ads are able to be targeted by demographics like age, location, gender, even profession, they provide significantly strong results at minimal cost. Considering over 80 percent of Americans are active on the platform, that results in a lot of qualified leads.
Targeting Millennials and Gen Z
Possibly the most important demographic you could factor in while shaping your affiliate strategy is age. Affiliate marketing means continuously trying to incorporate the newest marketing trends into your gameplan, but this money is as useless as data without analysis if you aren’t reaching the right audience on the right platform. In a study conducted by Envision Creative, around 90% of 18 to 29 year-olds interact with social media in some way, shape or form. It follows that success with millenials equals a continued need for staying up to date with new social media marketing trends. When targeting younger demographics as an affiliate, think about launching incentive programs for those customers who refer others to your business or product. These pseudo “loyalty programs” serve as extremely effective digital word-of-mouth. Also consider offering discounted services or products for promotion on social media.
Paid social is the current reality in digital marketing today. But the process shouldn’t be daunting if you consider the above strategies that will help you achieve meaningful success and pinpoint the audience you want to reach.