Social media and ecommerce go hand-in-hand, and creating a great social media strategy can be the difference in a huge percentage of your conversion. At Divvit, we’ve had a lot of questions from our customers about improving their paid social ROI.

Paid social ads can help you boost your site’s traffic, sign-ups, and conversion. By putting a bit of budget behind your social posts, you can get your products in front of the right people with advanced targeting.

Getting a great ROI on your paid advertising can be tricky if you aren’t familiar with using paid ads. We’ve created a guide to squeezing more out of your social paid ads to help you get the most out of your coin.

Why should I invest in paid ads? Isn’t organic enough?

I mean, it might be.

But why wouldn’t you want to get more?

In fact, according to Divvit's data, paid social campaigns account for 2% of our customers total orders. When you consider that the average conversion rate for ecommerce is between 1-2%, 2% can mean a lot.

Consider this: organic reach and engagement is dropping across various social networks. In 2015 alone, Pinterest’s engagement dropped by nearly 50%. In fact, brands were publishing up to 35% more content in that same year, and putting users in content overload.

And with Facebook’s frequent algorithm changes, the social network has created an environment where you’re more or less obligated to pay for your views.

Despite falling engagement across the board, social media is still an amazing tool for ecommerce. Between 2014 and 2015, social referrals for ecommerce soared by 200%.

So if users are losing interest due to content overload, and there’s more content competition than ever on social media, how do you make your content stand out?

By putting a bit of budget behind it.

Paid social is still king as far as social giants like Facebook and Twitter are concerned, and with paid social ads driving 25% more conversions than organic, you can’t afford not to.

Why does paid work so well? Between the varying algorithms across social networks, these ads allow you to target the exact person and get the content that’s most pertinent in front of them.

While getting a great paid social strategy in place might seem tricky, if your thinking is strategic and data-oriented, you can boost your paid social ROI.

Define your Objectives: What do you want to Achieve?

Define what your main objectives for your social ad campaign are. You can have objectives that aren’t centered around conversion:

  • Do you want to improve social engagement/ visibility?
  • Are you more concerned with brand awareness?
  • Are you trying to get more traffic to your site?
  • Do you want a higher conversion rate?

While a lot of these goals will be combined with improving your conversion, they’ll help orient you in your ad creation and audience targeting.

Once you define the goals for your social ad campaign, you can decide which of your potential metrics are the most important to you.

Make sure that each part of your campaign aligns with your overall goals, helps you make decisions based on your product or marketing strategy, and is something that you can measure effectively and clearly.

Lay out your metrics from the start

Social media and content creation is a creative art. However, if you’re not measuring what that content is doing and how well it’s performing, it’s absolutely useless.

You need to define clear goals for your paid campaigns. These goals will help you orient your processes throughout your campaign and keep you clear and focused on the prize.

ROI is return on investment. Investment is the easy part to understand- it’s paid per click. But what return are you actually looking for?

The easy answer is conversion- and that’s a great metric to measure. After all, if it’s not bringing in sales, what good is it?

But there are other metrics to look at too, especially if you’re looking to build something that’s a bit more abstract. And often, a customer needs several touchpoints with your store and product to be convinced to buy.

That first social ad could be what introduces a user to your brand, or what convinces them to become a customer.

Engagement:

It’s not enough for your audience to see your ad, they need to engage with it. The entire point behind social media is getting users to share your ads with their friends, like your post, or click through to your site or product.

Why should you care about how many likes or retweets a post gets?

Because social media is merely an extension of word-of-mouth marketing. According to a Nielsen study, a whopping 83% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family over traditional advertising.

The more a customer engages with your ad, the higher your organic reach is. The higher your organic reach is, the more your customer’s friends and family will see your post.

You read that right- every ad has a bit of organic reach that gets mixed in with the paid reach. By paying for your content to get some promotion, you’re amplifying the reach it would have naturally. You can boost it even further if it’s something that produces natural engagement.

In fact, a great starting point with your paid social campaigns is starting by boosting posts that already work well with your audience, and using those same ads for inspiration.

Cost per click (CPC):

Cost per click or CPC is the amount of budget you’ll use each time someone clicks the link of your ad or post. This is the format that’s used for Facebook while Twitter uses cost per engagement.

Ideally, you want your cost per click to be as low as possible, because you want to get the most people to your site for the lowest amount of budget. The lower your cost per click is, the lower your cost per conversion is, and the higher return on your investment.

Click through rate (CTR):

Your click through rate will tell you how many people found your ad relevant enough to click on it. If driving traffic is your goal, your CTR is going to be important.

CTR is found by dividing the number of clicks that your ad received by the number of times it was seen (or impressions).

CTR can be a great metric to measure because it tells you a few different things:

  • How interesting or relevant your ad was to your audience
  • How well-targeted your audience was
  • How effective your ad copy was

CTRs are classically low, even for PPC campaigns, and it can vary based on the industry. Wordstream put together a lovely graph to show you what the 2017 averages are per industry (based on data by Facebook):

Conversion:

Calculating your cost per conversion means tallying up the cost you paid for each person to click your ad, but who didn’t purchase. You can improve that metric through targeting your ads well.

While conversion is your ultimate goal, it’s important to understand that these other metrics lead in one way or another to that conversion. It typically takes between 6 and 8 interactions with your brand across a variety of channels, and according to our own analytics at Divvit, our online sellers count an average of 5.5 touchpoints between first visit and purchase.

This means that your paid ads could be the first point of contact with your brand, or the last. This is why it’s important to measure other metrics with conversion.

Choose which Social Channel you’ll use for Paid Ads

Not all social media platforms are created equal, and this is especially true when it comes to creating paid ads.

Facebook

Whether you work on a B2B or a B2C basis, it’s important to choose the right platform for the goals of your paid social campaign. For example, Facebook has the largest user base (with 1.1 million users) and accounts for 8% of total page views on the web. While it might feel natural to go to Facebook first, Facebook only works if your target audience is there.

Twitter

If your target audience is more B2B, it might be more interesting to look towards Twitter and LinkedIn. Twitter also happens to be a good platform for older millennials and peaks between ages 18-34. Their user base is largely those living in urban areas (though it bears mentioning that there’s a lot of crossover between the three).

Twitter also happens to be a huge hub for B2B users. Many companies use Twitter to connect with the younger user-base and provide instant support.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn’s user base is more geared professionally, and typically have completed higher education. These are users who have a career and are between 30-49 years old. According to the same Business Insider Report, LinkedIn is one of the only major social networks to truly tap into the 50-64 year old age range.

Snapchat

For those looking to advertise to the youngest of users, Snapchat is an obvious choice. Daily Snapchat users count as high as 173 million as of the second quarter of 2017 according to Statistica, counting 28% of US millennials and 50% of US teens.

Instagram

Instagram and Pinterest tend to work better with women. According to the Pew Research Center on social media use, 45% of female adults online use Pinterest (vs 17% of men). Instagram skews a bit more neutrally, with 58% of female users vs 42% of men.

Choosing the platform where your customers spend most of their time is key to your paid social ad’s success. Choose a few networks that you want to target (ideally ones where you have a presence) and stick to those for your testing.

A/B Test all of your Ads

If you’ve never created social ads before, the best thing to do is to start with a small budget and test a bunch of ads. Once you find a winner, reallocate your funds behind it.

Even once you think you have that winner, you should be A/B testing each ad. Here are a few ways you can do that:

Test photos in your ads

The visual aspects of your ads will be the most important factor, because that’s what draws your customer’s eye. You should be testing several different images to figure out what works best.

Keep the audience the same once you’ve determined who you will target. This is a good way to have a control while you’re testing.

Test your ad copy and headline

While the image is what will call people to your ad, the ad copy is what brings clicks. Words have a powerful influence, so try to use emotions to pull your customer in. Don’t be afraid to use language that provokes urgency like “Try it out today!

Your text should have a logical link to your visual. Go back to your marketing persona and think about who your audience is. You should be writing to them and using language that they would use.

If your price is a point of differentiation, list it in your ad too. This can be the difference between a click and a scroll.

Test different call to action buttons

Call to actions are what tells your customer what you want them to do. It might seem strange, but when you’re advertising, there should be a clear instruction for your audience.

Do you want them to inquire for more information? Learn more. Should they browse the products in your ad? Shop now! Do you want more subscriptions? Sign up. Want your customer to get in touch? Contact us.

Using a powerful call to action is what provides the next step, and certain customers respond more to certain call to actions. You should test a few to see which ones work best for your audience.

Test your landing page

This is perhaps the most crucial thing to test. What happens when you gain enough of your customer’s trust that they decide to click through?

If your landing page is unclear or poorly optimized, your ad can fall flat. The next step once a customer lands on your site should be crystal clear. For example, if they’re “shopping now,” your landing page should be on your product page that was featured in the ad.

If you’re looking for signups, you can send your customers to a clean page with just a form where they can sign up. There shouldn’t be distractions, and the path should be completely obstacle free.

Targeting your Paid Social Ads for Success

Remember, Social campaigns are about casting a wide, but targeted, net. If you cast too wide, you’ll bring in clicks that don’t result in purchase. If you cast too targeted, you will miss out on a ton of potential customers.

Most social networks will allow you to fine tune the audiences that will see your ads. Facebook’s targeting ad overlay walks you through the process of deciding who will see your ad in priority. You can target those who like your page and their connections, or you can create a custom audience.

Go back to your marketing persona for your customers. Who is your customer? Where do they live? What do they like to do? What do they read/watch/listen to?

You can typically target based on country/location, gender, interests, age, etc. Facebook allows you to target based on behaviors and special characteristics, like targeting people who have friends with a birthday coming up for example.

Twitter lets you target based on shopping habits and preferences. To get an idea of the things Twitter targets, take a look at your audience data in Twitter’s analytics. You can see everything from basic demographics to purchase power and income.

Keeping track of your Campaign Results

As with any experiment, the results of your social paid campaigns should be tracked.

Each social platform has their analytics which you can track. Some are, frankly, better than others (I’m looking at you LinkedIn). Most social networks’ paid platforms will cover at least the minimum so you can track engagement, CPC, and CTR.

Conversion might be a bit trickier to track. How do you know those who purchased from your site resulted directly from your paid social campaigns?

You can actually use Divvit’s ecommerce analytics for this. It takes all of the guess work out of calculating your ROI.

When you’re tracking your paid social ads, you can actually compare their funnels against organic social, referral traffic, direct, and search paid campaigns. This way you can get a clear visual snapshot of how your social campaigns are performing. You can also select specific channels (like Facebook paid ads, vs Twitter paid ads) to compare each of your paid ads against each other. 

Using the Analytics Explorer, you can also compare each of these channels and you get a simple layout of exactly how many visits came from your paid social campaigns based on if the campaign was the last click before purchase. You can also compare the order value from paid campaigns to your other channels.

With Divvit’s order explorer feature, you can check out exactly how many of those touchpoints your customer had before purchasing from you.

What’s particularly cool about this feature is that you can see how many times that customer visited your site before purchasing, which channels they used, and what device they used to access your site.

This will give you key insight to which one of your social ads is working the best. For example, if you see that one of your older social ads was one of your previous touch points and that later you customer came to your site to purchase via direct a week later, you know that your paid social ad was effective all the same.

A lot of analytics platforms test only based on the last click to your site, but if a customer needs several interactions with you to trust you enough to purchase, measuring only the last click doesn’t show you the whole picture.

Decide how long your ads will run and determine how long you’ll measure your results. If your paid social ads get a lot of organic power behind them, it could be much longer than the duration of your ad campaign.

Even if your ads fail, you still get something out of it. You learn for next time. Your paid social ads might not meet your goals every time, but as long as you’re tracking and noting the information, you’ll know what to change for the next ad campaigns and get a better understanding for what works for your customers.

Tracking everything and tweaking as you go are key to making sure that you’re optimizing your ads to get the best ROI from them. If you follow the steps I’ve outlined here, you’ll maximize the return you get from them.

What are your best paid social ad tips?

Whitney Blankenship

Content Marketing Manager
Whitney Blankenship is Content Marketing Manager at Divvit. When she’s not creating awesome content, she’s reading up on the latest in Social, Digital, and Ecommerce trends. She’s also the fastest Googler in the West!
Whitney Blankenship is Content Marketing Manager at Divvit. When she’s not creating awesome content, she’s reading up on the latest in Social, Digital, and Ecommerce trends. She’s also the fastest Googler in the West!