Is Paid Social Media Worth the Investment? (Spoiler Alert: Yes!)

Is paid social media worth the investment?

If we had a dollar for every time a prospect doubted the benefits of paid social media…

And to be honest, we get it. To the untrained eye, paid social seems like a waste of time—but putting money behind your social strategy will give you some of the best marketing ROI you’ll ever see.

Here’s the breakdown of why paid social media works—and why you need to up your game now (if not sooner; no pressure).

Benefits of Paid Social Media


Pay the least; Get the most

Social media is one of the most cost-effective methods of paid advertising. Only have a thousand dollars this month? No sweat. Big event coming up? Spend a little extra. Not only is your budget customizable month by month, but you’re only paying to reach people you want to reach (don’t fret—more on that below).

The average CPM—cost per 1,000 ad views—on social media is about $2.50. Compare this with billboards ($5 CPM), newspaper ($16 CPM), and local/broadcast TV ($28 CPM), and the choice is clear.

Did we mention that with those *other* channels, you have limited (at best) control over who sees your ads?

Tell Facebook what you want, what you really, really want

When it comes to personalizing your marketing, there’s no place like paid social media. Not only is the targeting scary-advanced—think interest targeting, age targeting, geographic targeting, life event targeting, and more—but you can create separate campaigns for each of your target personas.

The exact targeting capabilities vary by platform, but most of the major ones have a breadth of options. Selling business software? Don’t talk to the “bottom line it for me” CEO the same way you talk to the IT geek—you’re better than that and we both know it.

Retargeting is your best friend

Speaking of targeting—are you connecting with the people who have already visited your website?

Pixel tracking allows you to RE-target leads and customers who have visited your site already. You can send ads based on the following (and so much more):

  • People who have made a purchase on your site
  • People who have abandoned a shopping cart on your site (offer them free shipping!)
  • People who have visited the Specials page of your site
  • People who have visited a specific resource page on your site

This type of engagement is key, because most people require more than one touchpoint with your brand before they’re ready to commit. They’ll see your website, then later, boom—there you are in their social feed.


Optimize to your heart’s content

Who else here is a total control freak? Just us? Oh.

With paid social media, you don’t have to set it and forget it (in fact, please don’t do that). Unlike billboards, TV commercials, and radio, you can adjust your social ad and targeting as many times as you want to based on the data you’re getting back. Plus, each new campaign is an opportunity to tweak, adjust, test, and perfect. You can even A/B test your ads on some platforms, so your money goes where the best results are.


The more you know

One of the biggest benefits of paid social media is the ability to gather so much juicy data from your ads. Most social platforms have their own analytics tools, where you can look at things like demographics, household income, job seniority (on LinkedIn), interests, and spending behavior.

On Facebook’s tool, for example, you can differentiate between groups who view your ad the most and groups who engage with your ad the most. Are women 25-34 seeing your ad the most, but women 45-54 are actually clicking on it more? Adjust your targeting accordingly (see above re: our favorite point, optimization).


Use that juicy social data beyond social

So, you’re using paid social data to optimize your social ads and you feel like a total rockstar. But wait—there’s MORE!

Are you using that valuable data to inform your content creation for other channels, like email and direct mail? According to Smart Insights, only 19% of marketers are doing it often or always.

Make sure your strategy is comprehensive, and that you’re applying successful tactics to everything you do. Your conversion rates (and your boss) will thank you.


Conquering Paid Social Media

Okay, little birds—it’s time to fly free and take your paid social media to the next level. This involves a lot of strategy, testing, and patience, but we promise it’s worth it.

Think you might need help? Check out our guide to evaluating social media agency services so you’re set up for success.