How To Plan A Paid Social Media Campaign

Social Media Planning

GlobalWebIndex recently reported that 93% of internet users have at least one social media account – here lies a wonderful opportunity for marketers to target their audiences. Whether you are promoting an event, launching a new product, or increasing brand awareness, paid social media campaigns are a valuable component.

Advertising on social media is now very common so let’s explore how to plan and design a successful paid social media campaign.

Define your objectives and campaign purpose

In order to get results you’d like, it’s important to clearly define the purpose of your campaign. Are you trying to raise brand awareness, or are you trying to drive a specific, direct response such as gain followers or get people to convert on an offer? This will impact your creative, as well as campaign structure, in addition to your reporting and measurement approach.

Choose a social platform and format

For your campaign to be effective, it’s critical to ensure your ads stand out with a clearly defined message that’s in the right format and context.

Formats vary from platform to platform and are updated frequently so do your homework. You may want to run a multiple platform campaign, but if it is your 1st paid social media campaign maybe start by choosing one social media channel that is your current biggest source of leads.

Define your audience & target

It’s important to have thoroughly researched and detailed all aspects of your buyer persona including location, age range, gender, hobbies and interests – this helps with when you are considering how your social ads can invoke the desired reaction to the product or service you are promoting. Defining this needs to be done from the outset of any paid social campaign.

Each platform you use offers tools to custom and target your audiences using their behaviours and interests such as the ability to upload your external customer database to target them on the network of your choice or targeting customers based on their friends’ social activity or platform tools can allow you to find. You can also target customers similar to your own by building a lookalike audience from page likes, customer lists or website visitors.


When you are planning your campaign, you need to think about competitor activity, seasonality and any recent events that may affect your timing. A poorly timed ad can have a lasting effect on the way your brand is perceived on social platforms.

Here’s an example – an ad appearing next to a sensitive news events on people’s social media feeds could cause offence so it’s important to have the flexibility to pause campaigns that could appear inconsiderate and insensitive.

Budget and Bidding Strategy

All ad buying on social media platforms work on an auction model, which means you need a bidding strategy in place. Getting your bids right is crucial – if not you could end up paying far more for your media placements than you should .

Spend is just one factor that plays a part in the overall success of an ad. Once you have defined your spend, it’s important that you set aside 1/3 of it in case you need to adjust bid levels to maintain being competitive throughout the life of the campaign.

Alongside the monetary value bidded for a ‘required action’ (e.g. website click), some platforms such as Facebook also look at an estimated action rate. This is described as a representation of how likely Facebook thinks one of its users will take the action outlined in your initial bid – is your ad likely to invoke the desired action?

Platforms also look at your ad quality and relevance score. This is basically Facebook’s measure of how they perceive your ad – if it receives negative feedback (e.g. people marking it as spam), this will affect your score and consequently, the likelihood of your ad appearing in front of your target audience. Alternatively if someone takes the action that you’ve intended when you initially bid, this will boost your score and overall ad efficiency.

Planning out a paid social media campaign will take some time, but will ultimately ensure a strategic approach to create a solid and effective campaign.

July 1, 2018