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Dolla Dolla Bills Y'all: An In Depth Guide to Paid Social Strategies

Successful social media ads are no accident. Find out how you can craft paid social campaigns that are worth every penny.

7 mins read time
Alan Bedingfield
Alan Bedingfield

Aug 31, 2022

Social media is free, but not if you want it to go to work for your brand. To do that, you'll need to pull out your wallet and spring for paid social ads.

But how can you be sure your marketing budget will be well spent? Let us show you how to use smart paid social strategies to make your dollars go the distance.

Your Guide to Paid Social Strategies

Tired of seeing your ad campaigns flop? Use these proven tactics to take them to the next level.

1. Determining Where to Spend

So you've heard that all the kids are crazy about TikTok, so that's obviously where you should focus your paid social efforts, right? Not so fast.

To understand why, consider the social platforms you see the most interaction from customers. There's likely one or two you get better results out of than the others, and they're probably the ones you feel most comfortable with too.

So for you, those platforms that you've already found the most success with should be the ones you pay for ads on first.

And remember, the platforms that work for you may not necessarily be the ones that work for most other brands. Case in point: The bank holding company Ally Financial launched a mega-successful ad campaign on Pinterest. Compared to other platforms, their Pinterest ads had a 62 percent more efficient cost per click (CPC), as well as a 134 percent higher click-through rate (CTR).

And yet, Pinterest isn't even close to being one of the most popular platforms for most marketers. In HubSpot's State of Marketing Trends Report, it didn't even make the list of platforms marketers leverage most:

hubspot-marketing-trends-platforms

Source

In a separate survey of North American small businesses, only 4 percent named Pinterest as the most valuable platform for their brand.

So does that mean Ally Financial is wrong to invest in Pinterest ads? Of course not! What it does mean is that some platforms deliver stellar results for some brands but don't do much for others — and that's okay.

What matters is that you spend your money on the social platforms that work for you, not the ones that work for someone else.

2. Determining How Much to Spend

When evaluating just how much moolah your brand should spend on paid social advertising, you'll need to consider a variety of factors. For example:

  • Are you outsourcing your ad creation efforts or hiring an in-house team?
  • Will you be creating campaigns on multiple platforms or just one?
  • How long do you want to run your campaign for?
  • Are you hoping to achieve specific objectives or just experimenting and seeing what happens?
  • What kinds of results would make your ad spend worth it?
  • How much of your brand's budget is allocated to marketing and advertising? Does that include paid social, or will it need to be an additional expense?

The answers to those questions will help determine what your brand's social media advertising budget should be, but the final number is ultimately a judgment call only you or another leader can make.

But if it helps to know how much other brands are spending, we can give you some insight there. The average amount social media agencies charge for a comprehensive, fully outsourced strategy is $4,000-$7,000 per month, which works out to somewhere between $130 and $230 per day.

That amount can vary greatly depending on the agency you're working with, though. As such, it may be more helpful to know that as of February 2022, companies spend an average of 15.4 percent of their entire marketing budget on social media:

cmo-survey-social-spend

Source

By 2027, that percentage is expected to increase to 23.5 percent. So if you're used to spending only a small fraction of your marketing budget on paid social ads, it may be time to rethink your strategy.

3. Creating Top-Tier Content

Not sure how to create awesome content for your social media ads? No problem — we've got plenty of experience in this area.

No matter what type of content you're creating, be sure to:

  • Prioritize consistency: From color schemes to tone of voice to individual design elements, all aspects of your social media ad campaigns need to be consistent and aligned with your brand's overall strategy.
  • Get visual: Regardless of the platform you're on, ads with images (or, even better, videos) likely perform much better than those that are purely text-based.
  • Take inspiration from competitors: If you don't know what your competitors are doing to make their social ads shine, then you're missing out on tons of potential inspiration.
  • Stay on top of trends: Social media trends are nothing if not ephemeral, so your brand needs to be up-to-date on what people are loving and what they've left behind.

And remember, all those guidelines are true whether you're outsourcing your paid social campaigns or using an in-house team.

4. Targeting the Right Audience

Now that about half of the world population (and over 80 percent of Americans) uses social media, there's no way to accurately generalize social media users.

Instead, you'll need to precisely identify your brand's unique audience by digging into its analytics and crafting detailed buyer personas.

By doing so, you'll be able to learn about your audience's:

  • Age, gender and income level
  • Hobbies and interests
  • Geographic location
  • Education level
  • Values and core beliefs
  • Goals and aspirations
  • Favorite brands
  • Shopping habits
  • Challenges and pain points

Using that information, you can not only tailor your ads' content accordingly but also use social media platforms' built-in targeting features to reach the right audience.

And when your ads are being served to the people who are most receptive to them, you're sure to get more bang for your paid social bucks.


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5. Identifying ROI

Once your social media campaigns are up and running, you're going to want to see results. And as any marketer will tell you, one of the best ways to do so is by measuring your ROI.

To start, calculate the amount of money spent on your campaign thus far. Then, use all the analytical tools at your disposal to calculate the campaign's resulting:

  • Impressions
  • Clicks
  • Followers
  • Email list signups
  • Referrals
  • Sales

Depending on the goals you set out to achieve when creating your campaigns, you may find that the ads you've paid to run have over- or under-delivered. But if you didn't get the results you were hoping for, don't go back to the drawing board.

Instead, take a page out of the growth marketing playbook and use the data you've gathered to inform the campaign's next iteration.

Make Your Paid Social Dollars Go Farther

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to put together an awesome paid social campaign. What it does take, though, is a seasoned social media team that knows how to create paid social strategies that are tailor-made for your brand and no one else's.

If you have that in your arsenal, then you'll soon find your marketing budget going farther than you ever thought possible.

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Alan Bedingfield

Alan is a strategic marketer and business leader with global experience working for organizations like Google, Microsoft, Toyota, and The Movember Foundation. Over the years, his work has shifted perspectives, influenced change, and driven results.

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