Skip to main content
  • Why should I use social ads to promote my brand?
  • How can I set up my social ads for success?
  • How do I know if my ads are working?

Imagine Alana’s Lamas sells sweaters knit from the wool of – you guessed it – lamas. Alana wants to advertise on social media to let people know she’s having a sale.

She isn’t quite sure what she wants her ad to say but likes the phrase “Shama-lama-ding-dong” because it’s funny and attention-getting. So she uses it as the ad’s headline and also features a beautiful photo of a sweater.

She finishes submitting her ad and payment to her chosen social network, closes her laptop, and calls it a day.

You can probably already guess that Alana’s social ad won’t be hugely effective. Beyond the ad’s headline, where did Alana go wrong?

Alana only made sure that her ad would feature a lama sweater. She didn’t set a business goal for her ad, research her target audience’s social media habits, or figure out a way to track her ad’s ROI.

Done right, social media ads (AKA those display ads and promoted posts on social networks) can help you efficiently connect with your target audience.

That’s because social media ads let you reach audiences based on occupation, interests, location, gender, and other information people like to share on social networks.

These ads let you measure how effective they are, kind of like a built-in self-evaluation function. You can track how many leads the ads bring in and/ or how many people sign-up or take other actions based on your call to action[CTA].

To get the most out of your social media ads, however, set them up and run them strategically. Research your target audience, set a goal, develop and test your ads creative elements, and measure your ROI.

First, let’s look at setting goals for your social ads. You don’t want to leave your ads stranded on a social network without a specific job to do.

Decide on the one thing you want each ad to help you do. Do you want newsletter signups? Social media followers? More sales? Don’t forget: Your ads visuals, messaging, and call to action [CTA] need to drive to this goal.

Whatever your goal is, make it the one and only focus of that ad. Giving your ad too many jobs to accomplish and your audience too many CTA’s to choose from can hurt your ad’s performance.

Next, research your target audience. Beyond looking at demographics, make sure you’re targeting the right audiences by checking out similar businesses.

Specifically, look at who you want to follow you on platforms like Twitter and Linkedin. Then set up ads to target those people.

Also, not every social platform is right for your brand and goals. Invest your time and money on the ones that are most popular with your audience and that get you the best ROI.

To figure out where you should be investing, analyze your website data to determine which social media channels are driving traffic your way. Tools like Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics can help you do this.

You can also go through the process of creating an ad on a social platform without actually buying or running the ad. This can give you valuable insights into the targeting capabilities of that particular platform.

Remember: Good results aren’t just about getting a high click-through rate. You want to invest in social platforms that have audiences who engage with your brand and also complete your ad’s CTA.

Knowing your target audience and your social media platforms will help you develop and test your ads creative elements.

To come up with the right message, check your brand’s social media pages for your most popular non-paid posts. study their language, tone of voice, and content, and use what worked well to help you craft your ads (as long as it’s relevant to your goal.)

Messaging should be goal-oriented and also clearly state the benefits of clicking on your ad (like “30% off”). You pay per click, so you want to avoid click-throughs where people leave your site right away because it’s not what they expected.

your visuals should stay true to your branding and imagery you customers are familiar with. If your ad leads to a landing page on your website, make sure the visuals on both matches.

Tools: To track the performance of your creative elements, use third-party analytics tools like Marketo or Salesforce to monitor ads and test variations. This lets you be more hands-on with tracking, versus relying solely on social platforms and analytics.

Once your ads are up and running, it’s time to measure your ROI – or how efficiently your ads are helping you reach your goal.

If your goal is conversions or sales, a good ROI means you make more from your social ads than you spend on them. To track which site customers came from social ads, you can use UTM-coded URLs.

Some social platforms also offer pixel tracking programs, where you embed snippets of code that let you see how people are interacting with your ads.

If your goal is generating leads, you can assess your ROI by figuring out your cost of acquisition, or how much each lead is worth to your business. To get this information, you first need to calculate your average conversion rate.

Let’s say you know 4 out of every 100 who visit your website [leads] end up buying [conversions], and they spend an average of $1,000. Your average conversion rate is 4%, or 4 conversions divide 100 leads.

To get your cost of acquisition, take the average conversion rate and multiply it by the customer’s average spend. In my example, it would be 4% x $1000, which is $40. For a good ROI, then, your social ads need to cost less than this per lead.

You may be pretty for a long in the social ads process, or you may be just starting out. Let’s do a quick, no-pressure assessment to figure out your next steps.

Before you run any social ads, make sure you have a social ads plan fully in place. You should know your target audience, goal, social platforms, messaging, and how you’ll measure your ROI.

References: Google Webmasters, Think With Google, Google Primer