Insights

4 Tips for Paid Social


Amanda Ngo
Published on April 12, 2016
By Amanda Ngo

Up late last night on Facebook? Catching up on the latest Kanye tweets? Hungry for the latest Instagram recipe? You’re not alone!

According to the GlobalWebIndex, the average person logs 1.72 hours per day on social platforms, which makes up about 28% of all online activity.

Business woman with a surprised expression on her face while looking at four laptops.
Activity and time spent on each social platform varies, so when pushing paid media across social channels, the nature of the channel and how users typically interact in those spaces is paramount. Further, there are several variables that can affect social performance. But if you’re just starting to tap into paid social, there are a few key considerations. In this post, we’ll focus on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

Establish your objective. Are you looking to increase brand awareness, social engagement or drive sales? Each platform can offer a little bit of everything, but you’ll want to weigh them accordingly. You can quickly see performance differences by testing all four at once, but unfortunately this isn’t always possible. Facebook and Twitter can be great conversion drivers, Instagram and Pinterest can generate significant activity and LinkedIn may be the best platform for B2B efforts.

Different ad units achieve different performance goals. Facebook advertisers can run a variety of units such as link page posts, lead gen units, carousel ads and video. If you’re looking to drive direct response, Facebook link page posts are typically the best conversion drivers. On the other hand, video is best utilized to help increase awareness and engagement. Carousel ad units can help drive storytelling for brands with multiple images and fall somewhere in between. When thinking about your end goal, also think about the user experience. How often are people clicking out on Facebook or Twitter compared to Instagram? You’ll likely see fewer conversions on Instagram and more social activity due to the nature of the platform and the device that it is primarily used on—mobile.

Keep content fresh. No one likes seeing the same post over and over again. Testing different images and copy at the same time can help you learn what type of creative content resonates best with your audience.

Targeting equals success. When it comes to targeting, each platform offers unique data. With Facebook and Instagram, you can build your own custom audience whether it’s a lookalike model or targeting a specific CRM list; you can also target by interest, demographic or location. Twitter’s targeting is robust as well with keywords, behaviors, interest, hashtags and more. (Side note: view-through tracking is unavailable on Twitter, and only accessible on Facebook and Instagram by leveraging a Facebook Marketing Partner.) If you’re looking to target specific industries or job titles, LinkedIn might be ideal, but it does not yet offer psychographics or behavioral targeting. As for Pinterest, it is still working on establishing its own advertising platform. With targeting capabilities limited to only interests right now, it performs much better for branding initiatives as the audience is engaged.

In short, not all social channels are created equal, especially in terms of paid social. Just as your profile pictures are different for each, your marketing strategy should be, too.

This post was written by Amanda Ngo, senior media planner, 
Piston, and first appeared on the Piston blog.      

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