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Paid Social Media Advertising #DigiLab

Charlotte Angharad of MBD discusses her experiments into paid-for social media advertising on the Digital Lab

Here I am writing my first blog post as part of the Digital Lab. Experiment 1 was to try my hand at paid social media advertising to advertise one of MBD’s events; The Gunpowder Plot.  It’s a large outdoor show and bonfire night event that we hold every year at Boughton House, a beautiful stately home in Northamptonshire.

We have tried various marketing techniques in the past, but haven’t ever used paid social media advertising.  Boughton House is in a rural location near Kettering and is not easy to get to using public transport.  As a result of this, we find that it’s generally a very local audience that visit the event.  I was intrigued to see how social media ads could work for this audience.

As part of the Digital Lab I have been lucky enough to be allocated a fantastic mentor, Devon Smith. Devon has a wealth of knowledge and is a brilliant brain to pick about digital marketing.  The chats with Devon have been really helpful in giving me really practical ‘how to’ information when running my campaigns. She also gave me a really useful ad campaign template that really helped me to get my head round what I was trying to do.

So, down to the campaign nuts and bolts. I decided to run two campaigns simultaneously, one on YouTube (ran by Google ads) and one on Facebook.  Following the advice from Devon I decided to run two video ads in each campaign to see which performed best. The video ads are quite different in style.  One is a typical show trailer format, the kind of video that we have done before. You can see it here.

The other is a more graphic text heavy ad and you can see the difference here.

“YouTube didn’t like my landing page URL as it had the words, ‘Gun’ and, ‘Plot’ in it…”

I found both the Google ads and Facebook ads sites quite confusing to navigate, even with my notes from Devon close at hand. YouTube didn’t like my landing page URL as it had the words Gun and Plot in it. I had to wait with bated breath for it to be reviewed but eventually I got the OK and the campaigns went live!

Both campaigns ran for two weeks. I found both of the platform websites difficult to navigate to see the results.  Once I downloaded the apps on my phone, I found things easier as there was less information to work with.

I scheduled a chat with Devon for day 9 of the campaigns so we could assess the performance of the campaigns so far and make any necessary changes.  As usual, Devon was super helpful and gave me some really good advice.  In both campaigns the show-style trailer was out-performing the graphic text ad so Devon suggested to concentrate my budget on this ad to get the best results.

So, the campaigns are over now and what have I learnt?

With YouTube my ads reached loads of people, with a total of 16,000 views. To get this level of reach the spend was approx £350.

“…the cost is so low you can afford to experiment”

With Facebook the reach was a lot lower at a total of 974, but the cost was tiny at just over £5. The world of social media ads is still a little bit like dark magic, but I definitely feel more able to navigate it, albeit slowly. It is certainly a form of advertising that I will try again to hone my skills further.  I think I will play about with different ad formats on Facebook as the cost is so low you can afford to experiment. Then once I’ve gathered a bit more research about what works I will dip my toe back into YouTube and Google ads.

My advice to anyone would be to give it a go, but try to get yourself a “Devon” to hold your hand through the process.

Now onwards and upwards to Experiment 2; MBD’s Digital Advent Calendar…….


Header image courtesy of AMA conference 2018, Brian-Roberts Images.