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Does Social Media Advertising Provide Better ROI Than Social Media Contests?

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This was the exact question we wanted to find the answer to, so we polled B2B and B2C businesses to find out which social media marketing method businesses trust to have the best ROI. The results were varied, and some were a bit unexpected but we now have the answer to our question.

What type of business are you?
Will you run social media advertisements in 2019?
Will you run social media contests in 2019?
Social media ads provide positive ROI
Social media contests provide positive ROI

On the whole, the overwhelming majority of B2B and B2C businesses we surveyed had the most confidence in social media advertising having the best ROI. While many of these businesses felt social media contests were also a good investment, there was more uncertainty in their effectiveness than there was in the effectiveness of social media advertising.

Now let’s take a look at how businesses felt about the performance of social media advertising and social media contests on each of the main social media channels.

Facebook Advertising or Facebook Social Media Contests?

How is the ROI of Facebook ads?
How is the ROI of Facebook contests?

More businesses have extra confidence in the ROI of Facebook advertising over Facebook contests by about 14%. However if we combined the audience that felt “Very Good” and “Good” about the ROI of each method, the percentage difference is even closer, putting Facebook ads at 81% and Facebook contests at 78%. That’s just a 3% difference. Another interesting note is that 6% of businesses both felt that Facebook ads and Facebook contests had very poor ROI.

In the end, businesses seem to be quite confident in the return on their investment for both Facebook ads and Facebook contest campaigns.

Twitter Advertising or Twitter Social Media Contests?

How is the ROI of Twitter ads?
How is the ROI of Twitter contests?

Compared to Facebook, businesses seem to be more uncertain about the value of Twitter advertising and Twitter contests. Each method only had 5% of the vote toward “Very Good” ROI, and Twitter ads came in 9% behind Twitter contests when compared to “Good” ROI.

While the numbers seem to be pretty evenly divided for both methods, Twitter contests appear to be the social media marketing method that businesses trust more for their marketing ROI.

Instagram Advertising or Instagram Social Media Contests?

How is the ROI of Instagram ads?
How is the ROI of Instagram contests?

Instagram was certainly the most positive of the 5 social networks, with only about 9-12% feeling “Poor” or “Very Poor” about the ROI of either type of campaign. However, the method businesses had the most trust in was Instagram contests.

YouTube Advertising or YouTube Social Media Contests?

How is the ROI of YouTube ads?
How is the ROI of YouTube contests?

YouTube ads were the clear ROI winner for businesses by a large majority. While there were still some businesses that had confidence in YouTube contests, there were a lot more that felt the return on their investment was “Poor” or even “Very Poor.”

LinkedIn Advertising or LinkedIn Social Media Contests?

How is the ROI of LinkedIn Ads?
How is the ROI of LinkedIn contests?

Businesses seem to be having very little success with LinkedIn contests, with only about 15% of the combined positive percentages, businesses had much more faith in the ROI of LinkedIn ads, with about 34% of the combined percentages. Unfortunately, more businesses feel the ROI of both LinkedIn contests and LinkedIn ads were “Poor” or “Very Poor,” with LinkedIn ads at about 36% and LinkedIn contests at a whopping 61%.

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Comparing social media advertising and social media contests is a bit tricky because of how different they are. It’s important to remember that there are some campaign goals for social media advertising that wouldn’t be a realistic goal for a social media contest and vice versa. An example of a misaligned goal for social media contests is influencing purchase decisions. The idea behind social media contests is to get people involved with your brand, increase your business’ awareness, procure new leads, learn about your target audience and potential customers, or receive feedback on your business or product.

Don’t forget that in the end, people participate in contests to win a prize, not to spend their money on your product. This is why measuring the success of a social media contest based on how many purchases it influences is an unreasonable objective for your social media marketing campaign. The metrics that social media contests can provide excellent ROI for are things like brand engagement, lead generation, brand awareness, product feedback, and more.

Whether your business chooses to embark on a social media advertising campaign, a social media contest, or both should depend on what your business’s current marketing goals are and what kind of budget you have to work with. These social media marketing strategies each have their own strengths. If your business is looking to increase sales, then social media advertising is going to be a better option. If your business is searching for new customers and hopes to increase its brand engagement, social media contests would be a better choice. Either way, Juicer can help you make the most of social media for your business.

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