A lot of financial advisors feel they are throwing marketing dollars around with no direction – specifically when it comes to paid advertising.
The rise of social media advertising allowed for anyone with an account and a couple of dollars to promote their content to extremely targeted, engaged users. In the last couple of years, social media advertising has grown significantly. It is projected to increase by 20% this year to $43 billion.1 As the space becomes more saturated and users become more accustomed to targeted ads, advertisers’ tactics must evolve. So how can you make the most of your ad spend in 2020 to drive quality traffic to your website and build a sustainable lead pipeline? We break down where we’ve seen advisors find success.
Understanding the Channels
Before building out a social media ad campaign, it’s important to understand the characteristics of each ad platform.
Pros: Facebook remains the most widely used social media platform with 74% of its users logging in daily. Using Facebook ads means exposure to a higher number of impressions at a relatively low cost. Targeting is also extremely robust with the opportunity to target anywhere from recently married users to single millennials interested in organic food.
Cons: Because there are so many users, it can easily become saturated and affect your metrics and ultimately your end goal. One of the most common issues we see when advisors run website traffic ads on Facebook are high landing page bounce rates. Traffic to the site increases, but users are spending less than one second on the page. This is common issue with Facebook ads due to the fact that there are so many users. Its accuracy of targeting can also cause this. Facebook is generally less accurate as it relates to job titles, income, etc.
Pros: Instagram is a very visual platform meaning that video can do well here. With 500 million daily users watching stories and the edition of Instagram Reels launching in August of 2020, Instagram is jumping on the video trend more than ever before. It is also one of the better platforms to engage a younger demographic with 67% of 18-29-year-olds on the platform. So, if you are offering a free trial to a subscription for millennials, then Instagram would be a great platform to retarget on.
Cons: Because Instagram is so visual, it can be difficult to engage users due to the dry nature of the finance industry. Additionally, advisors targeting an older age demographic should expect lower engagement and reach due to the audience skewing so young.
Pros: With 690 million users, LinkedIn continues to grow – and the users are becoming more engaged. LinkedIn reports that in Q1 of 2020, sessions increased 22% year-over-year. LinkedIn is a great platform to advertise on if you are serving a business professional niche. Whether that is local small business owners or regional lawyers. LinkedIn’s targeting is much more accurate on the professional front than Facebook. LinkedIn lists uploads also have a generally high match rate (depending on the quality of your list).
Cons: Probably the biggest con of advertising on LinkedIn is the cost. With an average cost-per-click of $5.26, it’s easy to burn through marketing dollars if you don’t have a well thought out plan that you’re consistently monitoring.
Pros: Twitter users are generally more engaged than on other platforms. Website users coming from Twitter are likely to spend more time on your site if you can get the targeting right. This is partially due to the fact that Twitter has a relatively smaller user base. Less users create accounts, but when they do, they are more engaged. Additionally, Twitter is great for targeting lookalike audiences. So, if you are targeting small businesses in your local area, you may target local zip codes following the Twitter handle @entrepreneur.
Cons: Targeting features aren’t as robust as some of the other platforms, but the options that Twitter does offer can still be very effective. Because Twitter has that community feel and users are more engaged, we’ve found that it’s not a great platform for advisors targeting personas with typically introverted personalities such as engineers.
The platforms you choose to promote on are going to be dependent on user demographics, the content you’re promoting, the goal of your campaign, and where along the marketing funnel you are focusing on.
Building your social ad funnel
Any successful paid ad campaign starts with a clear goal rooted in a foundational strategy. One of the most common goals we see advisors jump to? Lead generation. Whether you are using a 3rd party social media agency, or testing it out on your own, you are forking out the monthly ad spend hoping to see the immediate return but are missing the bigger picture and wasting valuable marketing dollars. The user buying journey is very multifaceted now and investors are subconsciously expecting more from advisors before they give them an email, their time, and of course their money. Building a quality lead pipeline starts at the top of the funnel, which means your ad spend should start there too.
Top of funnel social ads
This is all about brand awareness and engagement such as clicking a link, reading an article, following you on a social platform, exploring your website, and ultimately becoming more familiar with your brand. This is a volume game – get as many quality users to your site as possible. But remember – quality is the keyword here. If you aren’t paying attention to your metrics and your website bounce rates, for example, are at 90% (remember the Facebook example), then the traffic is irrelevant. This is why getting smart on targeting at each phase of the funnel is so important.
Middle of funnel social ads
It may take a couple of months to build up that quality website traffic, but once you’ve found your channel/targeting mix that is working for you at the top of the funnel, this is when you can begin to re-engage users through retargeting. It’s important to note that this doesn’t necessarily mean lead generation. Let’s say you’ve reached a consistent top of funnel click-through-rate of 1.5% and the users are spending an average over one minute on the landing page. Maybe you test out retargeting this audience with different article that shows a bit more of your personality with a link to your podcast. It’s all about understanding your audience, their behaviors, and allowing them enough touch points with your brand before asking for their information. This will look different for each advisor.
When you notice your engagement rates staying consistent or increasing over a month or two, it may make sense to begin to retarget these users with a lead generation ad such as a webinar replay download.
So, an advisor targeting small business owners in their local area may have a social ad funnel that looks like this:
There is no perfect formula for all advisors – which is why it’s so important for advisors to get smart on these platforms and have a strategy and framework in place. It doesn’t take hours of work to set up your systems, but it does take a consistent couple minutes of monitoring week over week to ensure you’re tracking to both smaller and larger goals and metrics. If you have any questions on your current social media ad strategy, you can reach out to the team here.