Social Media, Thoughts

How to improve Paid Social campaign performance

Reading time: 5 min

When done well, paid social media marketing delivers very impressive results. In fact, a number of luxury brands have quickly risen from obscurity to prominence in recent years because of it.

Since 2014, social media networks (with the possible exceptions of TikTok and LinkedIn) have been intentionally restricting how many people see not-paid-for commercial content in their newsfeeds. Only 3 in 100 might see your organic posts on Facebook, for example. For that reason, we don’t discuss growing follower numbers in this piece because, in its current form, organic social media marketing is unscalable and uncontrollable from a marketing perspective.

In this article, we share what goes into our integrated social media strategies including:

  • Why a social media platform is the toxic “third person” in your relationship with customers
  • Getting your brand seen by the people you want on social media platforms
  • How to choose which social media platforms you advertise on
  • Deciding on the ads for your campaign
  • Making money at the same time as building your contact database

The ultimate goal of all paid social media campaigns should be to build direct relationships with your followers

When running paid social media advertising campaigns for our clients, our goal is to secure them full ownership of as much follower data as possible. In other words, we want our clients to be able to contact their followers direct without relying on a social media platform to be their messenger.

The best way to do this is to get followers to visit our client’s site where they’ll buy something, leave an enquiry or sign up for an email newsletter. Leave behind the belief that they are your organic followers. They’re not as only 3% of them see your organic social media posts on social platforms. You don’t own that relationship – the social media channels do.

So, we want the paid social media ads we create for you to persuade members of your target audience to do the following:

  • Sign up for your email newsletter. If you have permission from a follower to email you direct, you own that.
  • Buy from you directly. Making a sale with a social media buy now button is nice. But it’s even better if they buy from you directly because you get all their contact and payment details and you don’t need permission to use them.
  • Fill in an enquiry form. Services like Facebook Lead Ads are good. But whether you can subscribe them to receive follow-up email newsletters is questionable under GDPR rules. You need to get them to share their details on your website.
  • Join your brand community. Social networks aren’t brand hubs. It’s much better to get followers and customers to interact with you and each other on your own dedicated hub, like Giff Gaff customers.

We believe that you shouldn’t have to keep buying paid social ads to stay in touch with them. We see social media as the meeting point for you and your target customers. The only way to build in long-term value with the people who follow you in response to a paid social media campaign is to own your relationship with them.

Using paid social media advertising to reach your target audience

So, how to find users that you can show ads to so that they visit your website?

The people who see your paid social ads should match the age, location, job, interests, earning status, and more of your buyer personas. Use the audience selection features on social media platforms – Facebook and Instagram’s is the most granular of the lot.

Your paid ads will perform well if the creative is good enough. But statistics show there is one approach that achieves a much better return on your ad spend – influencer marketing.

Influencers are online, independent creatives whose opinions are held in particularly high regard by their followers. Many influencers’ audience demographics will closely match your buyer personas’ demographics.

Gen Zers and young Millenials in particular regard authentic product endorsements by the people they follow online as just as valid as any endorsements they get from friends and family members.

Influencers are a key part of any paid social strategy. You need to find those whose audiences match yours and whose content would be consistent with your brand guidelines.

Choosing which social media platforms to advertise on.

Each social platform attracts its own cohort of users. Book paid advertising only on those platforms which best serve your target market.

Costs vary by platform. Below, we look at the six main social media platforms and the typical costs associated with them:

  • Facebook campaigns ($7.19 per 1,000 impressions (CPM), 1.32% click-through rate (CTR)). Facebook is by far the biggest social media platform and is particularly well suited to local businesses and e-commerce businesses.
  • Instagram ads ($7.91 CPM, 0.88% CTR). Instagram’s appeal to Millennials is strong. This is a mobile-first platform that works well for brands with products and services that are visual in nature. Video ads on this platform perform very well.
  • TikTok campaigns ($10.00 CPM, 3-12% CTR). Wildly popular video-based social platform among Gen Zers and arguably the dominant platform now for under-30s. As a result, brands promoting products and services of interest to this cohort enjoy great returns.
  • Twitter ads ($6.46 CPM, 1.64% CTR). The only social media network with more male than female registrants. Twitter’s users are the most educated and highest earning. The two-way nature of Twitter can make social advertising campaigns go viral quickly but they are unforgiving of poorly executed campaigns.
  • Linkedin ads ($6.59 CPM, 0.44-0.65% CTR). Ideal if you’re targeting people buying on behalf of the businesses they own or represent. Great for recruiters too. LinkedIn is a lead generation tool more than an e-commerce platform.
  • Pinterest ($30 CPM, 2.15% CTR). Pinterest users “pin” items of interest to their boards which other users can see. It’s the quietest social media network of the lot but it’s very popular among its users. Pinterest users spend more on products they see in their feeds than on other networks. Home, fitness and personal hobby brands perform should look here for their target audiences.

Caveat emptor – CRM costs and CPM ratios are notoriously difficult to measure independently. Certain industries and sectors pay a lot less than others. The statistics shown above are mid-range estimates from what we consider reliable sources (credits at the footer of this article).

Deciding on the ads for your campaign

Each platform offers a variety of ad formats from traditional ads (text and image) to fully interactive video ads.

When creating content for a paid campaign, keep in mind mobile usage, particularly on TikTok and Instagram. Make sure that you create portrait videos and imagery to fill up the screens on those platforms.

Switch on your retargeting tools. If someone clicks on your advert and goes through to your website, the social network knows about. Then you have to option to pay them to show your products and services in newsfeeds to these former visitors. This gives you another chance to get a user back to your website.

Making money from your social digital marketing strategy

You want to profit from your paid social media marketing campaigns at the same time as building up your contact database.

So don’t bet everything on one ad. Have at least four ready to go and, as we explain below, track every interaction, engagement and click through to your website from each ad variant. Use the data to identify the variants most likely to deliver the results you want. Retire failing variants quickly.

There are two ways to make money from social campaigns – making sales or generating leads that later turn into sales.

Depending on the social media network, you might have two ways to make a sale or generate a lead.

One is “on-platform” where your customer presses a buy button to make a purchase. The platform takes the customer’s money and transfers it to you minus their cut. On lead generation campaigns, people fill in lead capture forms that appear as pop-up windows without ever leaving the social media site.

The other is “off-platform” where you make the sale or take enquirers’ details at the venue of your choice, preferably your website.

If you can, go “off-platform” whenever possible.

If you stay on-platform, keep track of these metrics:

  • Revenue/leads generated per ad. Monitor how many sales and leads each ad variant generates, and how much each variant has cost to run. Divide the latter by the former to work out the cost per sale or lead.
  • Sales conversion rate. Once a lead has been passed to a sales team, monitor how many turn into sales. If one in three turns into sales, multiply the cost by three to work out the cost per sale on that ad campaign.

If off-platform, also measure:

  • Email newsletter sign-ups. As well as tracking the number of sales and leads a particular ad generates, you can also monitor newsletter sign-up rates.

Thinking ahead for future campaigns, you can ask Facebook to create “lookalike audiences” that share similar interests and qualities to the people who responded to your more successful ad variants.

Getting social media advertising right with VERB Brands

We have over 10 years’ experience in putting paid social media advertising campaigns together for luxury brands. Unlike other agencies, we’re aware of the shortcoming of social media networks as well as the opportunities they offer.

Our campaigns raise brand awareness and generate new sales and leads for luxury brands. But we also want you to take full ownership of the relationships you have with the followers who find you on social media.

To talk us to about working on a future paid social media strategy for your brand, please get in touch with us. We’d love to start supporting you on this journey!

CPM and CTR sources

  1. CPM per impression figures from WebFX 2021 averages except TikTok.
  2. CTR for Facebook from Social Media Examiner.
  3. CTR for Instagram from Adstage.
  4. CTR for TikTok from The Infinite Agency.
  5. CTR for Twitter from SignUpTo.
  6. CPM for Twitter and LinkedIn from Socialinsider.
  7. CTR for LinkedIn from TheB2BHouse.