Social ad budget. What do agency marketers do when they know their client should be spending more in social advertising? In today’s Agency Roundtable, we ask social agency practitioners how to best present that opportunity to brand clients?
Today’s Social Agency Roundtable Question
Let’s say you feel strongly that your client’s paid social program would really benefit from an increased budget. How do you make the best case to your client for incremental spending? Where would that additional money come from?
John Ellison (Head of Buying @ Bully Pulpit Interactive)
When asking for more money in any capacity, exhibiting concrete data will always be the best practice. I think that illustrating where and how performance is being throttled due to lack of budget and how many conversions/actions the client is losing because of it is key. The first thing that comes to mind here is, if using a daily budget, how early in the day does the budget run out? If a campaign can only stay live for half the day due to budget restrictions, then the client is missing out on valuable users that may primarily use social media in the evening and nighttime.
In contrast, if a campaign is doing extremely well but spending quickly, then creating a line graph illustrating how performance will decline as the daily spend begins to further dwindle is a great way to illustrate the need for more budget. Additionally, comparing those numbers to results if incremental budget is approved can provide a solid comparison the client can easily metabolize.
The additional budget can come from a few places. In an ideal world, the client is willing to spend more pending favorable results. However more realistically, we look at other partners or platforms that are under-performing and shift budget from those.
Spencer Helm (Search Director @ Reprise Digital)
In my experience, it helps to have multiple business stakeholders/advisors on-board. This means your team is working in tandem with analytics teams, the platforms, and possibly other agencies to make a compelling case that social needs additional investment to achieve the stated goal of your client.
The money will become available if your rationale can connect spend to improvement against the goal, but it will come at the expense of another marketing or media expenditure.
Katy Lucey (Director, Paid Social @ Tinuiti)
At the end of the day, it’s all about the bottom line. How would an increase in spend impact growth? We like to paint a picture for clients using their historical data to show how increased investment in paid social would increase conversion volume—not just on social channels—but across their entire digital marketing portfolio. It’s hard to argue with data. Typically clients don’t have easy access to incremental dollars throughout the year, so we recommend shifting funds from other tactics to fuel paid social as long as it wouldn’t negatively impact their business—such as reducing presence on branded search campaigns.
Megan Marks (Director of Social @ Drum Agency)
We have at rule at DRUM that everything needs to be based in data. This includes budget updates and media plans. If a client needs a budget increase in order to reach performance goals and would not suffer high increases in CPA from doing so, the first step is to put together an updated projection from which you build the business case. The business case would use the projections to show the direct increase in company or campaign revenue by increasing the media spend in-market while also answering the key questions clients always have such as:
- What is the projected change in return (ROAS)?
- What is the percent increase against the goal currently in place?
- What change to cost per action or CPM can be expected?
Once the business case and projection update cover these topics, the next step is to find a source of investment. The first place we always look is at our existing cross-channel budget and determine if any channels are not meeting their goals. If so, the recommendation would be to shift budget away from a lowering performing channel or tactic into Social. Again, the media projections and flowchart would be updated to show impact. If there are no available cross-channel funds available, the next step would be to ask for incremental dollars. However, this path is reserved for situations where incremental spend comes at a similar or increased return for the client and is generally much harder to convince clients to agree to do.
Jacki Masson (Supervisor, Social Marketplace @ Horizon Media)
If we feel strongly that an increase in social budget would benefit our clients’ business objectives, it’s all about having data that backs that up and working with our Digital Investment and Brand teams to make sure it fits in within our holistic plan. So, for a client whose main goal is awareness, that might be showing that we could efficiently reach X% more of our target audience with Y% more budget or maybe we have brand study results that show that our ideal frequency is higher than what we can hit at scale with the current budget. For a DR client, we might use historical data and forecasting tools—like the forecasting tool within the Skai Portfolio Optimization (KPO)—to see what our marginal returns look like and if additional funds would help us capitalize on more low-hanging conversions.
Sarah Russell (Director of Digital Media at Thruline Marketing)
At Thruline, we feel strongly about optimizing not just to front-end metrics but to downstream conversions as well. Being 100% dedicated to education marketing, our early indicators are cost-per-inquiry and on-page conversion rate. However, our true markers of success are cost-per-enrollment (CPE) and inquiry-to-enrollment conversion rate. With these benchmarks in mind, our ultimate goal is to allocate client budget to maximize the CPE within each channel.
Our education clients tend to see paid social CPEs fall in line with, or better than, nonbrand paid search CPEs. In order to fund incremental spending within paid social, we generally look at areas of a client’s marketing budget that are currently driving CPEs higher than this benchmark. This makes it really easy to have a results-oriented conversation with clients about how best to allocate funds to drive the most enrollment volume at the best CPE.
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