Paid Social Media: Worth The Investment?

Social media advertising spend is expected to top $50 billion in 2021. That’s nearly 20% of the total expected advertising spend by all American businesses this year.

What is paid social media?

Paid social media is a method of displaying advertisements or sponsored marketing messages on popular social media platforms and targeting a specific sub-audience.

Paid social media includes pay-per-click advertising, branded or influencer-generated content, and display advertisements. When you see the words “sponsored” or “promoted” beside a post, you know it’s paid social media advertising.

Every social media platform is unique. Short-form content is available on Twitter, Instagram focuses significantly on visual content, Facebook provides a marketplace for shoppers, and LinkedIn is the place to be for networking professionals.

Here, we’re going to explore some quick strategies that will help you decide how to use paid social to the benefit of your brand.

Platforms for Paid Social Media

Each paid social media platform has unique features that set it apart from competitors. However, there are three key characteristics of a converting paid ad that you’ll want your platform of choice to support: visual content, easy access to lead capture forms, and enough space to include enticing ad copy.


When advertising on Facebook, it’s a good idea to use Facebook Targeted Ads. It’s the most robust ad platform available by far and that’s not for nothing. This feature is run on a bidding system — a type of advertising buying process where advertisers bid on several ads based on their preferred target audience. Then, that bid will be put into a lottery for a chance to be picked and displayed to that audience. Facebook ads can narrow an audience down to just a few hundred people based on geography, interests, demographics, and more. And while that may not be beneficial for most large corporations, it can be the difference between a slow month and a sold-out day for a small business.


Paid ads on Twitter seem to sneak up on me as a user. Because sponsored tweets seem so much like ordinary tweets, I don’t even realize I’m looking at one. As a marketer, this is great news since it means more people will see your advertisements because they aren’t as obvious as advertisements on other social media platforms.



85% of people discover new products on Instagram — up from 65% just four years ago. With growth like this, it probably isn’t a bad idea to pay for a spot in front of the 1.20 billion accounts in the platform’s advertising reach.

To run ads on Instagram, you’ll need a business profile — this allows you to set up an eCommerce store right on the app. (That’s a plus if you don’t have a website prepared to accept payments or if you’re testing out eCommerce for the first time.)

Since Facebook owns Instagram, you’ll be able to run advertisements on both platforms at the same time, and they’ll all be handled by Facebook.

You may select an ad spend the amount that works for your budget starting at $1 with Instagram Ads. This cost is determined by the campaign’s duration and the size of your target audience.


On LinkedIn, millions of professionals have found a wealth of professional connections, their dream job, or both. The platform lets you reach thousands of people in your industry including thought leaders, hiring managers, and decision-makers.

LinkedIn boasts 750 million members, and four out of five of them are in charge of making business choices, such as purchasing a company. This is every B2B advertiser’s goal. LinkedIn is a fantastic platform for B2B advertising since it can reach 70 million decision-makers on the most popular social platform for lead generation.

Paid Social Media Strategy

A paid social media strategy leverages external marketing activities on social media channels that support PPC advertising. It involves using the ad tools native to those social media channels to create, schedule, and post targeted ads that will reach a specific market. The objectives of a paid social media strategy may include awareness, consideration, or conversions.

To start creating a sponsored social media plan, you’ll need two things: a budget and an objective.

Paid Social Media Strategy Budget

Paid social media advertising is one of the most cost-effective advertising options available in both the traditional and digital markets. The pay-to-play strategy for these channels allows you to target only the individuals your company wants to reach, so you only have to pay for the ones you can reach.

Paid social media ads can start as low as $1 because of the bidding model and lottery system some platforms use to bring ads onto users’ news feeds. Spending for this type of advertising is virtually unlimited, but you can set a limit that will stop the campaign from spending more money than you’ve allowed.

Paid Social Media Strategy Objective

Setting the objective for your paid social media strategy gives your subsequent tactics a direction to work with and a goal to achieve. Think of this strategy as a road trip. You start your journey at your house intending to make it to your destination by a certain time. Paid social ads work the same way — your audience is starting their journey with your brand on their newsfeed and your goal is to lead them to the destination — a content offer on your website, an email subscription form, or even your social media profile itself.

Once you have your starting point, it’s time to define your destination. Different social media ad platforms have their conversion tools, but the end goal is almost always the same — get people to share their contact information with your business. You might do this with a form fill or a visit to a landing page on your website. Either one works to reach the destination, but depending on your business’s needs, you might prefer one or the other.

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