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Paid promotion of content involves paying for any media space or placement. Usually ads or advertorial, they're targeted toward your individual audience segmentation. Paid promotion is a great opportunity to assess whether your content is working and whether your marketing message resonates with your audience. It also allows for great scale and reach for your marketing campaigns.
What are the benefits of paid promotion?
A common mistake by content marketers is investing heavily in content creation, but not necessarily putting a decent paid budget behind it. So you can have a situation where you've created a big budget piece of content, but the value of your return is quite low. Generally, if it's worth putting the investment and time into creating a piece of content, it's worth promoting. So have an adequate spend support for all of your content.
The social platforms are moving to introduce algorithm-based newsfeeds. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, the platforms state that it will improve social-media users' experience on the platform by prioritizing the content that is relevant to them, has been peer-reviewed, and is popular within their own social circles. Secondly, the social platforms themselves can generate revenue by charging brands to get their messages seen.
The three things to be very conscious of here are:
There are two formats in which you can place social-media advertising. One of these formats is auction-based, the other is fixed-based. Let’s look at each format under a number of different headings.
Facebook advertising appears in three spaces:
With Facebook advertising formats, it's very important that you're mapping each of your ad placements to an ad objective. This will help you achieve the best reach, relevancy, and engagement for your piece of content. Follow the guidelines specific to each ad format to ensure successful placement of your Facebook or indeed Instagram ad through the Facebook platform.
Twitter has also started to prioritize content serving based on audience insights. Sponsored content will push content ahead of this algorithm. Just like Facebook, the formats are designed to align to a business objective. Formats include:
The Facebook-owned platform Instagram has introduced great advertising formats to help content reach more fans.
Google-owned YouTube has a number of advertising formats available to social media marketers. These will help your video content achieve more views. Some of these formats include:
Some YouTube formats available to content marketers include:
With the auction format, you are competing for ad space with other advertisers, so make sure to set a maximum cost per view or a cost per impression. Try to outbid other advertisers for your content to be seen ahead of theirs. But make sure you keep an eye on your content-marketing budget, so these costs don't spiral out of control.
Digital-ad formats are generally booked as display inventory directly with a YouTube sales representative. It's important to note that these fixed-inventory formats can be localized to your country, so you can change the language based on your location. It also means that YouTube can resell this format in a number of different regions.
Other auction formats include marketing within the search feed. With Google’s search marketing, search advertising appears in search results by bidding on keywords and audiences. These search terms have essentially been paid for in terms of placement. They're targeted by demographic, keyword, and also by auction bid. Targeting and optimizing are important to make sure that you're obtaining the most from your budgets.
Google also offers a dynamic network of partner sites on which display advertising can be placed. Essentially, these are moving images with a call-to-action banner that get you to click through to an intended destination. Google display advertising appears by both contextual and specific placements on the Google Display Network. So you can have your ad display automatically or manually choose the sites it will be displayed on. These ads are placed through the Google Ads manager. Targeting and optimizing here are important to help you keep track of your budgets and make sure that they're effectively spent.
LinkedIn primarily offers two advertising formats for content marketing. These are text ads and sponsored updates. Both are available through the LinkedIn self-service advertising platform. LinkedIn also operates an algorithmic newsfeed similar to Facebook, which means publishers really need to leverage their updates with sponsored payment to achieve greater reach and engagement with their audiences.
Snapchat's advertising formats are a little more difficult to activate. Finding information about this can be challenging, as there's no self-service option available for brands at the moment. Prices are based on fixed-price models and ads have to be placed directly with a Snapchat sales representative. Prices ranging from £35,000 up to $750,000 for 24-hour advertising placements have already been reported in the media.
Some of these formats include:
Currently, there's only one form of paid promotion format on Pinterest. This is sponsored pins, which is a great format for driving traffic from an e-commerce perspective, as there is a Buy button included with this format.
Reddit offers promoted posts and a sponsored link to a thread on the platform. This can be placed either on the Reddit home page or within a dedicated subreddit. Your budget and impressions/frequency limits will determine how often your sponsored thread is viewed. It's very important to note that, while this is a paid placement and the nature of Reddit is upvotes and downvotes, your paid placement will remain at the top of the intended page, regardless of how many downvotes it gets. This is great for increasing visibility of your brand message on one of the Reddit subreddits or on the main page.
Tumblr’s sponsored posts allow publishers to reach an intended audience through a self-service platform. This is activated on the newsfeed of your intended audience. Essentially, content can be text-, image-, or GIF-based, with GIFs being incredibly popular on the Tumblr platform. Targeting can be placed using hashtags on the platform.
There are various mechanisms by which social content can be promoted:
Paid social advertising. This involves getting your content or message into the social newsfeeds of your intended audiences. Paid social advertising is generally activated through self-service platforms.
Paid search/display. These are ad formats which generally appear in the search newsfeed of an individual website or in digital ad format inventory, for example, MPU, skyscraper, or banner format. Search advertising generally appears in the search terms as a highlighted search result pushed up to the very top of the results.
Paid syndication. This is where editorial content is used in an advertorial way. It helps get your brand or business objective out to a wider reach and a dedicated media-publisher audience.
Paid bloggers/influencers. This is where you place your brand message or business objective through the platforms or channels of a key influencer or blogger. In this space, you need to consider how much you need to declare to comply with your local Advertising Standards Authority. Anything that has been paid for needs to be declared.
When considering these ad formats, it's important to note the increased use of ad blockers. An ad blocker is a piece of software that blocks search and display advertising from appearing on the web pages of a user's phone or desktop computer.
A lot of media owners and media publishers rely heavily on the revenue generated by display advertisements, and the use of ad blockers prevents revenue being generated on these sites. This has led to the rise of native advertising, which can't be detected or blocked by an ad blocker.
The media publisher, BuzzFeed, is the leading online publisher of native content formats. It has actually moved its entire business model to depend solely on native advertising. You can see, within the newsfeed (see slide ‘Native content – combating ad blockers’), the native ads have been clearly declared as native advertising, but the quality of the content that lies within them is so high that they still receive great click-through engagement and reach with the intended consumer audience. This is a great example of how to overcome an issue such as ad blocking within your content-promotion strategy.
Media owners are driving the adoption and collaboration process behind native content and finding room at the table for everyone, including creative agencies. They believe the best way to operate is to have everybody input into the creative process.
Take, for example, brand marketers. They have similar interests and marketing objectives to the media publishers. Being able to incorporate both viewpoints, along with an element of creativity from any agency that's involved, makes everything work much better and delivers a more integrated product, as well as higher results.Back to Top
Creative Director at Teneo PSG Digital
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ABOUT THIS DIGITAL MARKETING MODULE
This module begins by introducing the concept of content seeding and provides insight into how to use content effectively over multiple social platforms. It then looks at the different ways you can promote your content on social media, covering audience profiling, blogging, influencer, and word-of-mouth marketing. It equips you with the tools and techniques needed to analyze the effectiveness of your content, and helps you form a solid content outreach strategy.