Social media advertising - do statistics tell the full story?

When asked what we think of social media adverts, most of us would agree we find them irritating. Constantly interrupting our news feed, social media adverts are impossible to ignore. This raises the question, how much attention do we actually pay to sponsored posts and promotional tweets?

By Jessica Phillips

British polls suggest approximately 32 million hours are spent on Facebook every day, and an additional 28 million hours are spent on Twitter. With the average internet user spending 3.2 hours a day on social media, it would be foolish of business owners not to be active on these sites. The question is does it pay to use social media advertising, or is it just as effective to post organic social media content?

When Twitter first introduced promotional tweets, it announced that approximately 1 per cent to 4 per cent of viewers were clicking on embedded links or taking further action in the form of a retweet or mention. Based on these results, Twitter didn't seem hopeful about the power of social media advertising. However, companies like Papa John’s, Google and Volkswagen have all had huge success from a single promoted tweet. For example, Volkswagen saw up to 52 per cent engagement with one single tweet about the new type Beetle. Approximately 70,000 people engaged with the tweet in the first minute it was live.

From these statistics, it seems that paid-for advertising could bring a great return on investment for your company. But, there is one thing to bear in mind. The majority of companies that have reported a successful social media advertising campaign were already household names. Because we are talking about extremely popular brands, it’s likely these tweets would have the same exposure even if they weren’t sponsored.

For smaller brands or lesser-known companies to really make an impact on social media, they should create organic, interesting and non-promotional content. If you’re not sure how to come up with content ideas for social media, have a look at what your customers and potential customers are liking and sharing. This is what they are really interested in, so this is what you should be talking about with them on social media. After all, you have to be interested to be interesting.


Stone Junction is a cool technical PR agency based in Stafford. We work for all sorts of businesses, with a particular focus on technology, technical and engineering companies. We like being sent cake and biscuits by clients, journalists and prospects.

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