Is Social Media A Waste of Money?


This past summer we almost lost the love of our life, our puppy Sammie.

You can read about how she came to be missing and how she came back to us like the Brave Little Toaster or Lassie. The point of this article is to examine the ROI of social media using a real life example, namely the social media ad campaign we ran during those 18 hours that we were looking for Sammie.

Ad Campaign

One of the first things we did when she went missing was create an attention-getting graphic that we could share on Facebook groups and repurpose as advertising content. The messaging was not hard to come up with because the nature of what we were communicating was very simple and to-the-point.

We first shared about Sammie's being gone missing on four of the largest and popular Facebook groups for Tinley Park.

Then we set up a single ad to run on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. We put $50 towards each social network to deliver that ad to audiences on a daily basis. The reason that we started off with a very conservative daily budget at the beginning is because we were hopeful that we would find Sammie within 24 hours, we set our audience target to be very specific (Tinley Park residents) and were not able to monitor the campaigns closely.

Results of the Ad Campaign

In the end we only needed to spend $72.38 for 18 hours of advertising on all three social networks. The social network that cost the most to advertise on was Twitter. 77% of the ad budget went towards Twitter. One reason is because Facebook has to approve your ads and can be slow to approve. The Twitter ad ran consistently for the full 18 hours whereas Facebook had two hiccups due to the graphic having "too much text" and the second hiccup happened because we wanted to add some more filters to the targeting parameters of the campaign. 

All three social ad campaigns were set to an objective of awareness. So the KPIs for that type of campaign were CPM (cost per 1,000 impressions) and number of users reached were the most relevant, but the number of times the ads we also took into account. The social network that performed the best in terms of reach and shares was Twitter (9,079 users reached, 21 retweets), but Facebook won in terms of CPM ($3.42). 

Combined, the ad campaigns helped us reach 13,766 more people and earned 21 more shares which means that we potentially reached even more people, local or not. What we found more effective were our organic efforts.


For 10 hours we took four shifts of looking for Sammie in and around Tinley Park. We found that word spread fast by being outside, talking to people and putting up flyers in popular locations like Starbucks. We met many people and they spread the word in ways that proved more effective than an ad could persuade. 

We reached out to several media outlets and the only ones who shared about Sammie missing were the Tinley Junction and The Tinley Park Patch. Although the organic social only reached 4,104 or more people, a fraction of how many were reached through the ads, but the potential reach was incredible. 

Combined all the social posts that were put out on all three social networks, including those made by the Tinley Junction and the Tinley Park Patch earned 163 shares. That's still disheartening that only 3.9% of those reached shared about this story with their followers, considering a life was at risk, but through the lens of marketing, organic outreach outperformed paid for word-of-mouth spread.

The Verdict

Social is only a waste of money if you're not putting thought into how you're crafting content, who your audience is and where your audience is. From our experience we found organic to be the strongest vehicle for creating buzz and lift for our message. It was the getting offline and getting outside that drove people to share what we posted on the Facebook groups even more.

The rule of thumb for businesses is to use a combination of paid and organic social strategies and tactics work well to create buzz around a message. When it comes to a lost dog or something more personal, go for relevant social communities and creating connections with people in those communitities.

Let our SEO Web Design Company help your business get known.  

Contact us today to get started on your SEO Website.


Tuesday, August 06, 2019 Geoffrey Pyrzynski News 87
The Dangers Of An Over Optimized Website Today there are many different options that you hear about to help make your website faster and more appealing to humans. No one likes a slow website, but how fast is too fast ? Is there a limit or should you just keep enabling everything that you can to make your website load in the shortest amount of time possible?
Monday, July 29, 2019 Stephanie Pyrzynski News 124
2019 Colon Cancer 5k Run/Walk "Get Your Rear In Gear" Has Massive Tinley Park Turn Out July 28nd, 2019 the Colon Cancer Coalition hosted its eleventh annual "Get Your Rear In Gear" 5K Run/Walk in Tinley Park.
Monday, June 10, 2019 Stephanie Pyrzynski News 222
How To Make Your Digital Measurement Better A mistake we run into time and time again with different businesses is poor measurement, whether it be with their website, social media, and/or online advertising. It's literally losing out on opportunities to tweak your user experience, make your content marketing strategy more impactful, save time, the list goes on. And this is all because there were no measures set in place to grab data from these various sources such as their website, social media, and online advertising campaigns. Here's what we do to help those businesses to better how they measure so as to be able to benchmark and be more strategic with their internet marketing.
Monday, May 20, 2019 Geoffrey Pyrzynski News 229
Is it OK to change the page text for SEO? One of the questions that we get alot is: "Is it OK to change the text of this page for SEO?" There are concerns around this, as changing the text can cause unintended consequences.
Monday, April 29, 2019 Stephanie Pyrzynski News 310
Where Your Business Is At Factors Into What Type Of Promotion You Should Try and How Much to Execute Digital has created a shift in industries, so now the way to win more business has become more exciting and unpredictable.
Thursday, March 14, 2019 Stephanie Pyrzynski News 373
How Marketing Works With Press Coverage To Boost Traffic To A Website Back in late 2016 I wrote about PR's role in digital marketing , how the two concentrations now overlap in terms of skill-sets and what they do day-to-day. But still, as I said in the article, they have distinct strengths which helps the other achieve their goal, "Where PR excels in storytelling, marketing excels in reaching and targeting." In this article I want to show, using a personal example, how the right press can help your website reach more people by using principles from PR and digital marketing.
Tuesday, February 26, 2019 Geoffrey Pyrzynski News 594
In SEO Web Design, It's OK to use No Index on some pages Usually in SEO, you want as many pages as possible to be indexed and added to the search results pages. So why use a no index tag?
Monday, January 07, 2019 Stephanie Pyrzynski News 5450
Digital Communication Today Where have you heard these before? "This is a very complicated world, it’s a very noisy world." "We live in an increasingly noisy world." The first quote was said by none other than Apple founder Steve Jobs in 1997. The second quote comes from Lonnie Mayne , President at customer experience (CX) optimization platform InMoment and founder of Red Shoes Living. I bring these two quotes up because I've been thinking a lot about what's missing in digital communication today.
Monday, December 03, 2018 Stephanie Pyrzynski News 767
A Simple Digital Marketing Strategy Goes A Long Way Marketing is a long game, a long-term commitment, not a campaign.
Monday, November 19, 2018 Geoffrey Pyrzynski News 665
What is SEO web design or search engine optimized web design? SEO Web Design is the deployment of SEO research strategy to both influence the design and development of the website. In other words, while a website is in the design phase, the SEO team is researching key phrases, content, structure, and user flow. Using the findings from the SEO research influences the design decisions of the website. SEO has to work with the technology of the website, and this means that the actual use of the website such as purchases, appointment scheduling, contact forms, user forum, etc. have to work together with the SEO findings in order to make the user experience easy and intuitive.
Monday, October 22, 2018 Geoffrey Pyrzynski News 722
Does this top metric that businesses look at "Time On Site," really matter? One of the top line metrics that businesses look at is "Time On Site", or average session duration. It's a unique value that tells you how long the average user is spending on your website. How important is this metric? In the overall business objective of increasing sales, signups, or contacts, how does this metric stack up?
Monday, September 24, 2018 Stephanie Pyrzynski News 787
The Fresh New Sponsors of Tinley Park Oktoberfest 2018, Geoffresh The weekend of September 21st thru September 23rd, 2018 the Tinley Park Chamber of Commerce hosted its second annual "Tinley Park Oktoberfest." Geoffresh sponsored the biergarten and entertainment this year, the weather was blue skies and sunshine everyday with cool and comfortable spring temperatures. The festival is aims to have something for everyone, and music and dance play a big part in the annual event. Traditional oom-pah and polka musicians entertained festival-goers, and Bavarian and German figure dancing was on display.

Signup For SEO Web Design News

Subscribe to our mailing list to read our insights on Data Driven Digital Marketing