The next time you open your Facebook app, notice if The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal or another top content producer is paying to promote their content – likely they are. If the world’s leading content producers must pay for your attention, what does this mean for your thought leadership content and marketing strategy?

B2B companies – though catching up on the trend – have been falling behind on targeted social media strategies. However, these same companies that have been making an effort (and committing dollars) to produce good content have been slow to pay for online engagement. This is a missed opportunity for three big reasons:b2b

Sunk costs: According to B2B Content Marketing’s Report, B2B companies now spend an average of 28 percent of their marketing budgets on content marketing, but who’s engaging with their content? And even if the content is viewed, it may not be the right people. Many of the best B2B companies are using at least three social platforms to promote and distribute paid content. B2B content marketers have found that paid advertising methods are overall effective, with social advertising averaging 45 percent.

Reaching the right audience at the right time: Digital ads allow you to hypertarget your audience, and it doesn’t cost that much. In fact, the average digital ad on Facebook for the technology industry can cost as little as $0.40 per click. Compare that to the average cost of creating a white paper, which can cost thousands of dollars.

Maximizing your ad dollars: Social platforms, Google AdWords and website-monitoring software all provide granular and insightful data about who you’re reaching with your content through paid ads. This data allows you to continuously improve campaigns, as well as know the value of your ad dollars.

If you find your company spending significant resources developing content that nobody consumes, consider re-examining your paid strategy. It may be time to adjust your digital ad mix.