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Why your paid social media is losing you money

Cassie Wiley of Directive outlines the steps you can take to ensure your social media marketing never misses a trick

Pay-per-click advertising through social media can be beneficial in increasing ROI; however many B2B search marketers do not use paid social media platforms in the most beneficial way. This leads to wasted money, lost time, and exhausted efforts. Not ideal, right?

So, how can you be successful in paid social campaigns on platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook?

Let’s break down the top paid social media marketing mistakes you can adjust, starting today, to turn your social campaigns from average to awesome.  

Using the wrong social media platform

As social media popularity continues to expand, businesses constantly try to leverage that growth to build their consumer base and plaster their ads on every social media channel they can find.

This leads to one of the biggest mistakes B2B marketers make in paid social media.

Before getting too ahead and investing spend on every social channel available ask yourself what the best advertising channel is to reach your target audience. There is no one-stop-shop for B2B social media marketing success and no specific channel is optimal for every business.

Marketers make claims and prepare case studies that prove certain platforms ads have better conversion rates and higher conversion volumes. However, many of those studies are based on clients in similar fields as theirs. Not all ads are created equal.

So what do you do next?

Do your research.

Find where your audience is interacting online and ensure that you’re honing your marketing efforts fully on those specific channels.

For example, an ad for a free demo of construction software has a higher probability of generating more conversions on Linkedin, targeting an audience with the job title of ‘construction project manager’, rather than on Facebook where user intent is low for lead generation.

Although both Facebook and Linkedin can generate a similar amount of engagement from users when targeting similar audiences, the intent of each user varies greatly.

One study showed

that clicks generated from LinkedIn are 500% more likely to convert to quality leads than Facebook.

On the other hand, a B2C ad promoting a new pair of shoes with a 10% off coupon has a better chance of converting on Facebook where younger users are engaged in making a quick purchase, than on Linkedin.

Below, find which social channel may be right for you based on your business’ industry.

Guidance on which social media channel to choose

Using the same CTA on each platform

Just as you wouldn’t use the same bid for every keyword, you shouldn’t use the same call-to-action (CTA) for every social platform. When determining what your CTA is, first analyse your users’ intent per platform. What is your audience looking for?

For example, users who are active on Linkedin are typically users with more professional intent, such as looking for a job, keeping up with news in their industry, or connecting with other professionals. With this professional intent, CTA’s such as ‘Free Download’ or ‘Read Whitepaper’ would work well.

Conversely, users who are active on Facebook are typically scrolling through their feed, catching up with friends, or watching short viral videos. Ads that perform better on this platform are those that do not require a lot of time or commitment.

CTAs here for B2B companies should include text along the lines of  ‘Learn More’ or give users the option to play a video directly in the ad instead. Keeping user intent in mind and knowing what CTA users on each platform would respond to is important when generating the highest amount of clicks and conversions.

Additionally, knowing where your audience is located in the conversion funnel must correlate with the intent of your CTA. It’s not rocket science!

Users who are seeing your ad for the first time benefit from a less aggressive CTA such as ‘Read More’, and are less likely to be interested in a ‘Contact A Rep’ CTA when they know nothing about your product. Put yourself in their shoes.

On the other hand, if you are using a remarketing campaign, users are familiar with your site and product and are ready for CTAs like ‘Watch Demo’. They’re back reviewing your content and they’re ready to take the next steps with you!

Not defining your audience

The next common mistake in B2B paid social media is failing to define your audience within your campaigns. Unless you have an endless amount of money to blow, focus on generating MQL conversions over increasing traffic to your site.

Please remember: For every click on your ad, you are spending money. Therefore, you should only be targeting audiences that are most likely to convert on your site. Quality over quantity!

Each platform is different and targets audiences in different ways. LinkedIn, for example, can target based on job position, job title, and even company name. Using the example client mentioned previously, a company selling construction software would be able to target users in the construction industry who have decision-making powers such as those with a senior or manager job title (see below).

Linkedin Screenshot

Facebook also gives you the ability to target by job position and allows you to overlay a variety of aspects such as a person’s demographics, income level, location, device, or even past purchasing behavior.

Using these audience specifics are beneficial to go after your targeted audience who have a better chance of converting. For example, you could target a vocational nursing school who has the highest enrollment rate with middle-aged women with a high-school degree looking to change careers who would benefit from targeting by gender, age, and income level.

What’s even more exciting about Facebook targeting is their ‘look-alike audience’ feature. Once you have a good foundational audience that brings in conversions, Facebook will gather all the information and similarities between your converting audience to create a new pool of users that mirror this audience.

This can be similarities between user interests, demographics, job position, or even purchase intent, giving you valuable insight into what type of users are converting the most on your page. Pretty cool, right?

See below:

Linkedin screenshot

Twitter Ads are another paid social platform where you can target your audience, with options such as targeting by location, language, gender, and device. These targeting options tend to be fairly more basic than the other paid social advertising platforms, however, they should not be ignored as granulation is always the best option.

It is essential to monitor your audience insights report on a regular basis to determine any trends in your converting audience, much like Facebook’s ‘look-alike’ audiences. However, be careful with these metrics as they can sometimes be irrelevant.

For example, in the Twitter campaign shown below, targeting Marketing VPs ages 25 and up, we see the top interest of our audience is ‘dogs’ in the audience insights report. Although interesting to note, this will not help us zone in on any type of specific audiences with an over generalised interest that is not specific to a marketing guide download offer.

Twitter screenshot

Twitter screenshot

Remember, if you aren’t reaching your target audience, what’s the point of paid social media in the first place? Use your money wisely.  

Using social media platforms as your sole money driver

Although paid social media campaigns have the potential to drive ROI and generate conversions, be careful not to rely solely on social advertising.

Search marketing through Google Adwords and Bing Ads should be a top priority when dipping your toes into the pay-per-click advertising (PPC) pool. Search engines are where users go to find relevant solutions, information, and products and get an immediate response.

The key? Ensure your ad is showing for all relevant bottom-of-the-funnel keywords that drive conversions. If you are using social media as your only PPC, you may be missing out on all the potential consumers that live on the SERP.

The future of paid social media

Social media has been a huge trend across the nation for years, but will this forward momentum last? Research shows that social media use is already starting to decline, with a 3% decrease in users from 2017 to 2018.

What does that mean for B2B businesses advertising on social media platforms? Although social channels can be beneficial in increasing ROI and expanding audience size, social media advertising is still minuscule in comparison to search ad potential, with over 3.5 billion searches per day.

The plain and simple truth? Users do not hop on social media with the intent of making a purchase as they do within search engines.

The solution? Use social ads for your remarketing campaigns to retarget audiences that have already shown interest in your business or product. This will allow you to use each platform to support one another and gives you the option of importing your current existing audiences from one platform to the other.

Since many industries have a longer conversion cycle, using multiple platforms over time will help influence users to convert who had once fallen off the conversion path in the past.


With a decreasing amount of social media use year over year, social ads should be used in addition to an already well-performing search ads platform. One of the greatest uses of paid social ads is for retargeting to your audiences as a complement to your search ad campaigns.

From there, it is essential to choose the social ads platform and call to action that best aligns with your industry and offerings. Once you have that decided, you have the ability to remarket your ads to users through these platforms as a way to push them through the conversion funnel.

With social ads, however, it is important to avoid the common mistakes marketers make that lead to low ROI and wasted time and money. Be sure to granularise your targeted audience as much as possible to ensure you are only advertising to users who have the highest probability of converting as well as continually monitoring audience insights reports to gain valuable information about your converting audience.

By following these tactics and having those ideas in mind, you will be driving your ROAS in no time!

What B2B marketers need to know about social selling

Social selling is terribly misnamed. It actually has very little to do with selling, and everything to do with marketing. And it just won’t work without marketing’s support and involvement. And almost two-thirds of senior marketers believe marketing should own social selling.

Perfect your social selling approach

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