Will social media be more expensive this year?

If you’re in Europe or America, then you may be sick and tired of the uptick in petrol prices every time you visit the pump. You’re probably fed up with the higher cost of milk, utility bills, and nearly every other expense. Prices climb throughout a variety of industries, and people are always hungrily looking for stability in rates. Can it be found in social media?

One of social media advertising’s strongest selling points is that it’s a low-cost way of advertising. Notice that doesn’t say “free”; it’s simply a lower cost than traditional methods of commercial advertising like radio, newspapers and television. Add in the extended benefits from social engagement, and the overall increases in profit equate to a huge drop-off in net spending. But while this year’s social media costs aren’t expected to touch the rates of those traditional methods, prices are already starting to climb.

The spike in the bottom line isn’t attributable to one specific area of social advertising so much as it’s an amalgamation of everything that’s needed to operate a successful campaign in today’s climate. Social media is incredibly competitive, and thus marketers need better content, more tools, more paid ads, and more time and manpower devoted to the goal.

The sum total of these parts equal a price increase that you may not be thrilled about. Now, we’re not talking outrageous sums, of course, but paying more for social advertising is just how things work. And here’s why.

Will social media be more expensive this year

Image Credit: mkhmarketing

Reasons Why Social Media Advertising Costs Are on the Rise

1: Creative Competitive Content
Now that Facebook has integrated video, and sites like Twitter and Instagram have video options, the market is simply trending toward video spots. Avid YouTubers always expected such, and they retain their dignity and their checkbooks. But if you were late to the video party, then you may have to spend more this year to create competitive content.

Creating quality videos requires a good HD camera, a solid editing program, and enough time (and possibly enough employees) to plan, script, shoot, edit, launch and promote videos. Add in the fact that your brand will need to release more videos to compete; the overall effort equals a price increase.

2: Reaching an Active Audience
Unfortunately, organic reach benefiting your brand is most likely only possible once it receives a boost from paid advertising. That’s right; organic reach is only at its highest when paid advertising pushes the ball down the hill. To reach an audience that’s more active, uses more mobile devices, and cycles through social media at quicker speeds, organic living isn’t enough. Maybe it’s okay for bananas, but not your brand.

To that end, the paid advertising you’ll pay for to reach an active audience is going to add an overall price increase. Now, you can institute some cost controls and other savvy measures by using a great ad-management app, but the fact is that you’ll need to spend on today’s audience.

3: Syndication Inflation
Many social media marketers still rely very heavily on the “traditional” Internet marketing methods such as content syndication. This isn’t the same as article marketing methods like content hubs and article directories (read: junkyards and writers’ mills). Syndicated content is about companies placing your content in premium locations.

It’s like real estate, in the sense that it’s all about location. Merging companies, cost increases in adjoining industries and inflation adjusting all mean that companies like Outbrain and Taboola are charging more for their essential services. So if you’re going this route, expect to pay a bit more than last year.

4: More Necessary Tools
The average home tinkerer always looks for a socket wrench but only finds pliers, whereas the savvy fixer-upper makes sure he or she has an entire toolbox. As a social media marketer looking for success as a brand, you have no choice but to be the latter. You need a toolbox. Unfortunately, more tools are needed this year, and that can drive the costs up.

To compete in this type of social market, you’re most likely going to need essential software like an auto-updater for social media, a monitoring system to gauge your traffic flow and effectiveness, filtering systems, and ways to analyze conversations. In other words, you’re going to need to add more social media monitoring systems. Boom; another cost increase. (A word to the wise: Fight this increase by finding multi-use tools. E.G. a great ad system also allows you to track, so it’s two birds smashed with a single gold bar.)

5: Paying for Promotion
Even organic reach isn’t always as organic as you might think. Just like those organically labeled tomatoes might come from China, where Pete only knows what happens to them, the reach you receive from shares and word-of-mouth might not arise naturally. Paying for others to promote your content may be more of a necessity this year, and that’s going to drive the costs up.

Paying for sponsorship and placement on sites, running an affiliate arm, incentivizing shares and engagement – these methods are more important this year, and thus adding them is going to expand the budget.

6: Sustaining and Securing a Staff
In social media expensive tools and tactics aren’t always a requirement. You can theoretically get by without the extra expense. However, as illustrated by this article, the trends are pushing marketers into a corner. Either compete on the same level or risk becoming irrelevant. This means focusing more on videos, more and better content, more paid advertising and promotion are all additions you may have to make. To control this expanse of the campaign, more employees may be needed.

Whether you’re hiring full or part-time work, or if you’re just outsourcing certain projects, it’s an expense out of your pocket. Realistically you just can’t hold down your social pages, blogs, videos, writing, promotion, and every other aspect on your own. Depending on the size of your operation, this could be a substantial increase.

The good news here is that you may not be affected that much by the cost increases. You could have a great position in the market, with your necessarily tools already purchased, and the rest is just about the upkeep. If you’re new to the game, however, then be warned that things may get a little pricy.

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