Paid social media advertising: what is it and should you be doing it?


If you’re a business with a website you should by now know the importance of regularly updating your social media platforms. In the past five years social media has exploded (according to an article in Small Biz Trends 97 per cent of online adults aged 16-64 said they had visited or used a social network during October 2016) and even the most reluctant businesses are now constantly updating their social media sites. While this is great for businesses being able to reach potential customers and build relationships and engagement with existing customers, it also means that it is becoming harder and harder for businesses to become noticed on social media.

While there are many ways for businesses to be seen and heard on social media – creating great content, timing posts to reach peak user times, and engaging with audiences are just a few – many businesses are also now using paid social media advertising to reach their target audience.

What is paid social media advertising?

Paid social media advertising is paying for specific posts or pages to show up on a user’s social media feed even if they do not follow or like your page. Most social media platforms enable paid advertising, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. Paid social media advertising is a great way for businesses to raise brand awareness, promote certain products, services or events and to increase the likes and followers of their page.

What is the difference between PPC and paid social media?

The growth of paid social media advertising has led to some businesses considering using this instead of Pay Per Click (PPC), as a way of saving money. Although there are many benefits to paid social media advertising, it is not an alternative to PPC but instead should be used as part of an overall digital marketing strategy that incorporates PPC, SEO and social media. The main difference between PPC and social media advertising is that PPC adverts will appear at the top of search engine results for keywords, whereas social media adverts will appear on specific social media platforms.

Running out of advertising space

Paid social media advertising is increasing in popularity, so much so that the industry believes that Facebook is running out of News Feed ad space. For businesses this means that it is important to get smarter about how you carry out your social media advertising. To do this you need to create clear social media advertising strategies so that the right posts are being promoted to reach the right audience at the right time. Having a comprehensive strategy in place will not only ensure that you are reaching your target audience but also getting value for the money spent on social media advertising.

Blending into News Feeds

While many social media users don’t mind seeing adverts in their News Feeds, the majority want the adverts to blend into their Feeds and to be relevant to their interests. This means that when carrying out a social media advertising campaign it is vital that you spend time on the image and wording of your post to ensure that it engages and is relevant to your target audience, as well as using the right filters to make sure that your post is seen by your target audience.

Works alongside non-paid social media marketing  

Paid social media promotions should run alongside an overall social media strategy. Paid campaigns are ideal when wanting to promote a specific product, event or to raise brand awareness, however ongoing social media activity is also vital. Businesses that constantly update their social media platforms with high quality and engaging posts are not only seeing an increase in brand awareness, but also a positive impact on their organic rankings, an increase in traffic being driven to the website, and directly helping to increase conversion rates.


If you need further help with your social media advertising campaigns at affinity we can work with you to create campaigns that interest and engage your potential customers. 


Written by Derin Clark, Content Strategist 

Paid social media advertising: what is it and should you be doing it?

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