How to Create a 2016 Media Budget for Social

The days are not past when we can turn to key social platforms and expect that through organic reach we are going to hit and engage our fans and followers.  It’s supply and demand.  There isn’t enough real estate in newsfeeds (or a person’s day) for all messages to be seen.  To compete for space and get significant and applicable reach, a paid strategy needs to be implemented against social efforts. From that point, here are some key questions you can ask yourself to shape your media budget.

How does social compare to other media?

Once you’ve made the case for a social budget, it’s important to know what portion of your overall media budget should be allocated to social.   Often we find that paid social advertising is a line item on the budget that easily falls into the hands of a predator.  Yes, it’s relatively low on the food chain and gets eaten by others.  So, what percentage of a budget should be allocated to social?  One way to look at this is overall consumption.  According to GlobalWebInex’s quarterly report on the latest trends in social networking, the typical internet user now spends about 1.77 hours per day social networking.  That’s pretty substantial and nothing to turn a blind eye to considering that total digital time for US Adults is over 5 hours a day.  Comparatively, TV rests at just over 4 hours per day.

In addition, the latest study from the Pew Research Center shows that 65% of American adults are on social media- a tenfold jump in the past decade.  One way to guide your budget decision is to match the consumption against the budget.  There are plausible “if/then” statements that go along with this but at least there is a starting point.  An example would be “If my budget is X %, I should increase it by Y% considering my target is primarily millennials.” Or “If my budget is X%, I should decrease it by Y% considering my other media budgets have a premium attached.”  What you read below may help shape those If/Then statements.


What marketing needle do I need to move?

Marketing objectives and goals play a key role here.  Is your goal awareness?  Is it perception change?  Is it lead generation?  Is it driving in-store traffic?  All of these efforts can be leveraged with social media.   Increased awareness was once code for a TV buy.  Driving traffic often meant radio or dropping a few FSIs.  Perception change?  Outdoor advertising can be of assistance.  Today, social media has the reach that TV used to provide.  Lead generation was big with Twitter and now Facebook has upped their ante in the space.   So what often defaulted to traditional media can now be applied quite efficiently using social media platforms.  By no means are we suggesting ditching traditional all together, but we are saying that testing out social in some of these areas may prove beneficial.

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What options are even available?SocialBudget3

What a user holds in their hands as it relates to targeting is, relatively speaking, rather amazing.  If you could target a television ad based on when someone had a life event such as having a baby or getting engaged, that buy would be much more efficient.  That is partly what makes social buying so intriguing, somewhat addictive, and often impactful to the bottom line.  But not all platforms are on the same playing field.  Facebook consistently updates its targeting and takes budget from small mom-and-pops to the large CPGs of the world.  Instagram just opened up advertising for less than a $200K investment within the last month or so.  Twitter also requires minimal budget but hasn’t been too savvy with its product offerings.  Have an upwards of $400K?  That’ll help buy you Snapchat’s latest offering: sponsored lenses.  If money is no object, you might want to look at incorporating some of the fastest growing networks and buying at a premium to get in front of hard-to-reach audiences.  The upside is that in these cases, your premium goes towards being one of the few players in the space so that your message lives in an uncluttered environment.  Have a limited budget?  Then maybe some of the more mature social platforms are in order.  A little goes a long way.  Although you’ll be one of many in the space, the ads units and targeting allow for big advertiser moves on a dime.

No doubt this is all moving so fast, but with social consumption and mobile projected to rise there will be an increase in social spend.   With this will come so many options as the networks try and get their respective piece of the pie while still maintaining the integrity of their channels when it comes to user experience.  So with this knowledge you are ready to align social network consumption, review your goals for social inclusion, and vet out available options that will play key role in crafting a well-designed media budget.

Ignite Social Media