Paid social is a relatively new but quickly evolving addition to the digital marketing mix, and is likely to represent a larger than ever percentage of total media budgets in 2017.

While time-poor marketers find it difficult to delve into every campaign in as much granularity as they’d like, in order to fully capitalise on the lucrative opportunities presented by paid social, brands should constantly be assessing the impact of individual campaigns on their core business objectives.

However, many companies opt to spend significant sums of money on social advertising solely because ‘it is the place to be’ rather than because it generates tangible and measurable results. So how can clients navigate the complex social media landscape?

Picking the right partnership

If working with an API partner, the challenge of understanding social does not fall to the client alone but should rather be shared equally across all parties involved.

Combining the expertise of a paid social specialist with an advertiser’s insights is always a winning formula as they know their brand, products and services, while a dedicated paid social expert brings deeper knowledge about the intricacies of the market as well as the pros and cons of various platforms, and they can interpret the brief into the most efficient social plan.

The partnership is geared for success.

Building client relationships

Due to the fast moving nature of our industry, communication, transparency, and trust are key ingredients in running effective campaigns for clients. It is vital that paid social expertise includes extensive training and comprehensive insights early on in the relationship to deepen the advertiser’s understanding of where social fits in a multi-channel approach.

On the inverse, the paid social team should always be as immersed with the client’s objectives as possible. Naturally, recommendations will be more bespoke to the brand’s needs if we are fully aware of their specific challenges, not just from a paid social perspective but in general. For example, reach is a valid objective but does that match with what the brand is looking to achieve overall?

Boosting campaign results

Training and reporting are definitely key components of the relationship, not only to deliver successful campaigns but also to generate tangible results that can justify paid social spend. Social advertising is an incredibly complex discipline and as such, tailored reports and educational programmes geared to the brand’s unique needs and goals, focusing on how various strategies and optimisations will deliver true value for their business.

As eyes increasingly turn from programmatic to paid social activity, brands will need to justify spend, making their understanding of agency reporting more important than ever.

Achieving wider buy-in internally

A brand’s vertical sector, overriding marketing strategy and budget dedicated to social, comprehensive education and training is useful across the board. Most advertisers have to report on the results of paid social initiatives internally so they need tangible results and metrics that are easily understood by colleagues who don’t work directly in this space.

Therefore, educating clients about the entire process, from objectives and KPIs to third-party measurement and analysis, is imperative for building long-term success as well as securing internal buy-in for paid social as an important part of the overall marketing toolkit.

Achieving long-term efficiency

As with most marketing initiatives, careful planning and strategising is the foundation for paid social success.

Aligning each individual campaign with the business plan ensures every part of the process contributes to achieving the end goal.

Working with the client to understand and assess every campaign’s influence on long-term objectives ensures we help them really take advantage of the unique benefits of each of the social channels.

Educating clients about the true complexities of social media advertising and highlighting the opportunities and risks involved will mean they are much more likely to trust our recommendations on new platforms, strategies, and ad formats, helping us maximise long-term success for their brands.