How brands can drive ROI from paid social activity

Given the breadth of advertising solutions available on social media platforms, any business objective is achievable on social media. Each platform has its own unique nuances; however, their advertising platforms are fundamentally the same. Whether it’s user experience, product selection or bidding facilities, there is coherence across the platforms enabling brands to market themselves in a manner that increases the number of touchpoints to their audience.

According to We Are Social/Meltwater’s Digital 2023 report, there are 57.1m social media users in the UK, totalling 86.4% of the United Kingdom’s total internet usage base. As well as this, UK social media users tend to have long dwell times on the platforms. The Digital 2023 report reveals that the average TikTok user spends a staggering 27 hours per month on the platform, compared with 14 hours per month on Facebook and 7 hours per month on Instagram. According to GWI, the average consumer spends 37% of their time on social media, making it a good place to reach a large audience of people. Given the huge amount of time spent on social media, it is essential that brands market on this to reap the benefits of the attention economy.

But what do the platforms offer, and how can your brand take advantage of them?

Full-funnel campaigns

The platforms have different optimisations across the awareness, consideration and action phases of the funnel, with plenty of ways to link separate funnel phases. This allows brands to intrigue social media users, before nurturing them in order to grow their customer base.


All social platforms offer broad interest targeting. Whilst this was extremely powerful before GDPR, interest-based audiences are losing their power due to more users selecting options that improve their privacy. However, the integration of first-party data makes platform targeting extremely strong. Firstly, you can create lookalikes of your customer base to reach individuals who aren’t yet customers but show similar behaviours to them. Secondly, you can leverage first-party data for direct marketing. Whether this is re-targeting individuals who have visited your website, nurturing those who are close to sale, or re-targeting your existing customers to develop brand loyalty, there are a whole host of targeting options to support your needs.

Ad types

Platforms encourage multi-asset campaigns, meaning that most creative types are supported. Whether your product catalogue is formed of photography or video, you’re able to run campaigns. With the growth of TikTok since 2020, the growing trend in the sector is supplying creative that comes across as authentic. According to Traackr’s Influencer Marketing Impact report, 51% of consumers are at least somewhat likely to agree that they are more likely to purchase a product from a brand if an influencer they know and trust posts about it. As well as this, 71% of consumers said they’re at least somewhat likely to purchase a product because it was recommended by a social media influencer they follow. Due to this, the lines need to be blurred when it comes to creative selection for ads. Branded assets are no longer as effective as they once were, with creator-generated assets allowing ads to hide in plain sight.

How much does it cost to advertise on social media?

There is no doubt that social platforms are ‘pay to play’ in modern times. According to Social Media Insider, the average reach rate is just 9.34%, decreasing by 32% since 2022. On Facebook, the situation is worse, with an average reach rate of 4.32%. The platforms are built in a way that brands need to spend in order to see any gains, with algorithms favouring news and community posts.

Organic social is still needed, however. Think of your business page as a shop window for customers peeking in. Feeds need to be informative, clean and updated regularly to ensure that customers know you’re still active.

Paid social acts as a way to create noise around your brand on a larger scale, so they are more likely to peek into your shop window in the first place.

What you can achieve through paid social is largely dependent on your budget. Full-funnel campaigns are recommended but require investment into reaching your audience consistently over a long period to be effective – which can be a gripe for those seeking tangible results instantly.

Meta themselves recommend an average frequency of 2-3 per week over a period of 12 months for brands to see a consistent sales uplift from awareness campaigns.

That being said, there are still ways to be highly tactical in order to make smaller budgets go further. Earlier in this article, we discussed how to leverage first-party data for social media targeting, and this is our recommendation here. For clients with an online sales or conversion function, re-targeting those who have already visited your website, pushing warm leads through the funnel so they convert.

 To summarise, we’re fully adaptable and flexible when it comes to maximising budgets of all sizes. Our priority is that every penny has a purpose, and we will work closely with you to define what that purpose is. Get in touch with our team of paid social experts today.

Get in touch with the team