Supplement BtoB PR programs with paid media

Though I haven’t yet reached the point where Urban Dictionary would classify me as a “news junkie,” few days go by when I don’t check the latest news – especially when it involves issues that impact our clients.

Doing some daily reading back in September, eMarketer hooked me with a headline: “What Video Ad Length Is Best on Facebook?”  The answer surprised me.  I thought for sure that ads with the shortest length would score the best completion rate.  Turns out, I was wrong.

While reading the eMarketer article, I couldn’t help but recall some news stories from earlier this year about the Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2016,  which found that nearly eight out of 10  companies (79%) are investing more in video this year than they did in 2015.

What’s clear from these stories is that marketers continue to believe that paid media, especially laser-targeted search and social media, can nicely augment an overall PR strategy.

I don’t disagree.  Paid media can – and often does — complement PR like a poppy seed bun enhances a Chicago Style Hot Dog.  But just as it would be a waste of time to assemble a tasty hot dog if no one is going to eat it, paid media is wasteful when its audience targets don’t respond to it.

Paid media can be especially effective for advocating issues or a point of view. Business-to-business (BtoB) marketers should consider putting paid media and specifically video ads to work and avoid the short-sighted “it’s only for reaching consumers” mistake.

In fact, BtoB marketing and communications pros can benefit significantly from paid media by laser-targeting their customers with Facebook Custom Audiences  and Facebook Lookalike Audiences, just a couple of the increasing number of advanced digital marketing technologies and capabilities available to marketers today.

But effective paid media is much more than just reaching out to the right people. Effective paid media also means tracking and analyzing your targets’ responses and conversions.  Are they clicking on your videos and watching them to completion? Are they downloading your white papers, brochures, product information and/or eBooks? Are they taking you up on your incentives such as a free audit or consultation?

In the U.S. alone, CMOs spent nearly $180 billion  on paid media in 2014. That’s a huge chunk of change.  To get what you paid for, make sure you’re set up to not only capture and measure the interest your campaign generates, but also prepared to motivate your targets to act on that interest. From a public relations and media relations perspective, paid media can augment your audience by giving you another channel in which to tell your story or a complementary option to get more eyeballs on the media you’ve already earned through your PR efforts.

What’s the right approach for your brand? Drop us a line, and we’d be glad to discuss some of the best ways to put paid media to work in your company’s PR and marketing efforts.

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