It pays to pay on social media

Chris Onderstall shares insights into why paid media is so important in today’s social media landscape and offers a PDF by the team on where and how to get started.


Dipping your toe in the water when it comes to paid is simply not enough anymore. We have to change our mindset as communicators but also as content publishers. The new paid social landscape is evolving at a dramatic rate. We are simply not adapting fast enough.

As we create and gain access to more and more channels we are able to make use of a vast number of opportunities to reach and engage with our target audience. We are seeing increasing spend year on year for digital advertising, and in four years estimate 38% of global ad spending will be digital.

However, the effectiveness of display or banner advertising has been on a steady decline for years, which has opened a realm of possibilities for integrating spend into communications campaigns, allowing us to be much more clever and much more engaging.

What has changed is the acceptability of paid posts on both a customer level and from a marketing point of view. Algorithms are becoming much more intelligent at delivering contextual and personalized messaging. Taking advantage of this requires buy in and commitment.

Why invest in social paid media? Here are the our top four key reasons:

Advanced Targeting

Social media targeting is perhaps the most important benefit to paid advertising. Many platforms offer a level of granularity that simply isn’t seen anywhere else in the marketing sphere. By targeting interests, job titles, keywords, geography, demographics, and many more you can really focus your messaging and make a much greater impact.

Cost effectiveness

Traditional advertising has always been costly and with limited options for testing and honing it can end up being a huge gamble. However, social media advertising can deliver an enormous global reach for a relatively low price.  What is also good about social advertising is that you can start small, tweak and hone and perfect. It’s a great way to test creative ideas and targeting for optimal results.

Organic is dead

If you’re doing social media and you think you’re having an impact through organic alone, I have news for you, you’re not. Even your most avid followers will be seeing less than 20% of the content you share. By not investing in your social platforms and seeing them as advertising publishing platforms you’re missing out.

Variety and broadening opportunity

As expected all the usual suspects (Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter) are a great starting point for your paid campaigns but the possibilities are much broader. Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, YouTube, Tumblr, all offer paid opportunities as well as additional external site placement such as Outbrain. It’s important to plan your strategy with a specialist and research which platforms could offer the best ROI to you.

If you’d like to find out more about the benefits of a paid social strategy, or where to start you can download our complete 101 guide to the basics of Social Paid Media in the FHF Raise Your Voice Guide available for download here.

Chris Onderstall, Digital & Social Lead