attachment-52fd4027e4b0c0844a0e9045

Brands are building a great presence on social networks and are looking for ways of making their quality content more accessible for consumers.

While social media has grown dramatically in terms of brand spend in the past ten years, the idea of incorporating social media into paid media -- via online ads -- is still fairly new. However, social media is not a tactic that stands alone from advertising campaigns, and therefore benefits from being integrated into an overall media plan and enhanced by paid media placements.

Now, companies are increasingly running online ads that focus less on pitching their products than promoting their Facebook and Twitter pages. This trend can be attributed to two macro trends.

One is the rising skepticism that consumers have with ads of any kind. The second is the availability of technology that allows brands to showcase more than static images and text in online ads, and therefore allows interactive components that make incorporating social media into advertising both achievable and cost-effective.

Paid media is useful because it helps owned media increase reach. When marketers create a video or tweet, the holy grail is for it to achieve virality. All marketers aim to create viral content, but it is nearly impossible to predict what will catch on and explode in popularity on the internet.

According to Ad Age, it takes at least 1.5 million views to be considered a viral video. This minimum threshold is up 600% compared to only four years ago, which speaks to the difficulty of hitting virality. Furthermore, with over 70 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute — it's hard to make yours stand out, much less spread like wild fire.

But there are things that brands can do to increase the chances of creating content that becomes viral (beyond creating quality content). One way is to broaden exposure of that content, especially in the crucial days right after the content is released.

According to research by Unruly Media, the most critical days in a video's lifetime are those immediately following its launch. The graph shows a strong positive correlation between the number of shares in the first three days and number of all-time shares. 10% of video shares occur on day 2, 25% of shares occur in the first 3 days, and 50% occur in the first 3 weeks.

For maximum virality, brands should focus on this time frame to generate the most number of views and shares possible. To increase the likelihood of more views, brands can consider promoting the video in their paid media as well. Leveraging the paid media channel means that your video is exposed to potentially millions of impressions via display ads all over the web on publisher sites where your customers are browsing.

This means that the first few days account for the majority of views that your video will get in its lifetime. Brands should focus on this time frame to generate the most number of views and shares possible.  If your content is gaining momentum and you want to increase the likelihood of more views, brands should consider promoting the video on paid media as well.

It is important to recognize that promoting your social media efforts on paid media will not, in itself, make social media content go viral -- your content must have the seeds of viral content worth sharing. Leveraging paid media simply means that your video is exposed to potentially millions of impressions via display ads all over the web to customers who would have found your content interesting to begin with.