How to use paid social advertising to meet your business objectives

James Mortimer

Paid Social Director

As we continue to see more social sites take their first steps into monetising their network through ads – Pinterest in the US being the latest to do so – the world of paid social is becoming an ever more complicated minefield for brands to negotiate.

In response, we have produced a series of guides that will help you get to grips with the different formats on offer and choose the right platforms for your campaign. But before we go into that, let’s take a look at the two things you absolutely must do before you start any paid social campaign:

  1. Be clear on the business objective you want to achieve and stick to it 

  2. Put your customers at the heart of the campaign and get to know who they really are

Identify your objective and stick to it

There is a lot to be gained from paid social if you get it right. And to get it right you have to be very clear about the business objective you want to achieve.

Paid social can be used for a myriad of different reasons – brand awareness, engagement, sharing content, direct response like sign ups and sales and many more. Add to this the million and one different ad formats and targeting options on offer to help you do this and you are quickly faced with a rather confusing landscape where it is very easy to get lost in the wilderness… and easily distracted.

Being very clear on your business objective will guide you through which networks to use, which ad formats, what content and most importantly where to find the audience you want to target. This also allows you to set clear KPIs for the campaign and measure the success effectively, giving you the ability to validate the investment, something that has often stood in the way of budgets being released for social media campaigns in the past. The fact that you can easily track people’s interaction with social ads is a huge advantage when reviewing the success of a campaign.

Get to know your audience

Knowing your audience is absolutely vital when running any digital marketing campaign, but especially so for paid social. Why? Because if you really know your audience and put them at the heart of your campaign, the opportunities with paid social are endless…

The real value comes from the targeting you can do through the different social channels. Social media networks hold huge amounts of data about their users and this is an absolute goldmine for advertisers as you can be far more specific about the person you want to target. Looking for women aged under 30 who love pets and celebrities and who live in the South East? Not a problem, Twitter can help. But to take full advantage of the capabilities of and to get the best results, you first have to understand who your audience is. Who are the people who are most likely to buy into your brand and what really makes them tick?

The trade-off here is reach (how many people you target) vs relevance (how relevant your message is to those people), which is something we as an agency talk a lot about. Obviously, the more specific your target audience is, the smaller the group will be. But by targeting a smaller group of like-minded people, you then have the opportunity to produce content that is highly relevant to them and that will really pique their interest – in the way great advertising should. It may sound counter intuitive to target a smaller group of people, but if you get the right group and share the right content with them at the right time and in the right space, then you’re onto a winner. And this is exactly what paid social allows you to do.

Ad formats

Once you have your business objective set and a clear understanding of who your audience is, it’s time to look at the different platforms and ad formats on offer to see which ones will help you create the most effective paid social campaign.

Here are the links to our guides with details on the ad formats available and the pros and cons of each Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Tik Tok.

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