A Guide To Setting Up & Measuring Paid Social Media Campaigns

Social Media

This is a guest post by Ashleigh Brown, Head of Biddable Media at Browser Media.

When promoting your brand or products online, there are so many different platforms you can use to grow brand awareness and return qualified leads and sales. From the once more traditional “search” networks, such as Google and Bing Ads, social media channels are now also offering paid advertising, and if done well, this can be just as effective in delivering returns.

Setting up paid social media campaigns

Firstly you need to decide which platforms you wish to test out, and how much budget you are happy to spend. The major players include:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Linkedin
  • Pinterest

… but their relevance to you will depend on the industry you’re in. Each have their pros and cons: Facebook and Instagram, for example, might be better suited to B2C companies, whilst LinkedIn and Twitter, more successful for B2Bs. The truth is you won’t really know until you test it.

All the social platforms have their own interface, and so you’ll need to create accounts for, and add billing details to, each one to set up your first campaigns. Most are very granular, so you can be as targeted as you like, from location and demographic, to interests and job title – these are all things you need to consider and will ideally know about your target audience before launching a campaign, to ensure it has the best chance of success. You can easily waste a lot of money by targeting the wrong people!

Measuring paid social media campaigns

When setting up a social campaign, you’ll need to measure ROI by setting up tracking. You need to ensure, during the setup process, that you are utilising your chosen platform’s conversion tracking methods or that you tag your URLs correctly so that you can track conversions in Google Analytics.

If you’re an e-commerce site and can therefore track the monetary value of every conversion – great! You’ll be able to see an actual ROI figure, and understand exactly how successful the campaign has been for your business. If you’re not an e-commerce site, you’ll be tracking things like completions of your contact form, or you could use call tracking if that’s your main source of leads. If you have a softer call-to-action, like newsletter sign-ups etc, make sure you are tracking those too.

Most social media platforms provide a unique website tag/code to be placed on the conversion page that is triggered once the conversion has happened. For example, if you are tracking contact form completions, or newsletter sign-ups, you’ll place the tag on the page seen once the form has been completed, usually the “thank you page”. This then marries up with your campaign and reveals details like which ad was clicked before the conversion, and which audience group they were in – depending on how you’ve set up your campaigns to start with. In order to optimise your campaigns properly, it’s important to be as granular as possible, for this very reason.

If you can’t add tags to your site, there are ways to tag the URLs you’re using in your ads. For example, Google’s Campaign URL Builder helps you add campaign parameters to URLs so you can track conversions via your Google Analytics goals, if you are using them.

Test, trial, and tweak

Paid social campaigns can be very effective in driving brand awareness and driving return on investment for a lot of businesses, but only if set up and measured correctly.

When you’ve outlined your campaign’s goal, it’s important to define exactly who you are targeting with each campaign, and how well your messaging is going to resonate with them. The more granular and specific you can be, the better you can see what is working and what isn’t. That way, you can more easily and confidently adjust your campaigns to maximise ROI and reduce unqualified clicks and impressions.

By Ashleigh Brown

Ashleigh is Head of Biddable Media at Browser Media and has been working at the agency since 2008. She was born and still lives in Colchester, Essex, and studied Maths at the University of East Anglia before starting her career in paid search.