Planning a Paid Media Strategy for Social in 2021

Dec 12, 2023

Has your business charged you with creating a search and social media ads strategy? Don’t sweat it. We’ve put together a guide to walk you through the basics of paid media – what it is and how to design an effective plan for your organization.Whether you’re here as a beginner to grasp the basics or a pro who wants to brush up on organic and paid social media tactics, you’re in the right place. So let’s dive right in.

What is a Paid Media Strategy?

Paid media is a way for businesses and brands to promote their content online. It includes paid search results, display ads, video ads, and paid social media posts.Paid media can help businesses reach larger audiences, increase brand visibility online, and drive more website traffic. It can also help brands hit objectives in the buying cycle – in the awareness, consideration, and decision stages.Talking social media specifically, paid media involves using a channel’s native ad tools to create, schedule, and launch targeted advertising to reach the desired audience.

What’re the Differences Between Organic and Paid Media Strategies?

In general, there are three types of media.

  • Paid media: Media you pay to promote, like PPC ads, retargeting, sponsorships, paid influencer content, and social media paid ads
  • Earned media: When other people promote your content for free by reposting, mentioning you, commenting, publishing reviews or testimonials, or sharing about you via word of mouth
  • Owned media: Reaching people organically using your own resources, like your website, blog, app, and social media channels

Most businesses use a combination of these strategies to maximize their reach and influence. Organic reach is a no-brainer. But with frequent algorithm changes, it can be challenging to rely on organic reach alone. Paid advertising can help you expand your reach faster and give you another stream of revenue.

Related Articles: Learn More About Paid Social Media Advertising

Want more expert tips on build a stellar paid media strategy on two of our favorite platforms? (We’re not biased at all.) Check out these awesome articles.

Is There Only One Paid Media Strategy for Every Social Media Channel?

HECK NO. Each channel has different demographics, ad functionalities, algorithms, and requirements for advertisers.Before you start building your paid social media advertising strategy, pinpoint the platforms your target audience is already using. That way, you should have an easier time creating the following you want.Here are some of the advertising capabilities on a few of the most popular social media platforms today. Keep them in mind as you choose which channels to prioritize for your business.


Facebook is still one of the most popular and valuable social advertising platforms on the planet. Before planning your Facebook paid marketing strategy, make sure you understand your audience. That way, you’ll know what types of people and groups to target through advertising. Facebook also allows you to retarget specific groups and create “lookalike” audiences based on existing criteria.Types of ads you can use on Facebook:

  • Video ads
  • Image ads
  • Carousel ads
  • Instant Experience (full-screen ads)
  • Collection ads

Source: Facebook Business


Sponsored ads on Twitter look suspiciously like regular tweets, which is excellent news for marketers. Twitter still has a vast audience, too, with 199 million monetizable daily active users (Statista).This platform has the software to target specific demographics. You can also choose from various format options.Ads options on Twitter:

  • Twitter Amplify
  • Twitter Live
  • Promoted ads (video, image, carousel, moment, and text)
  • Follower ads
  • Twitter Takeover

Source: The Penny Hoarder


Facebook’s hip, cool sister, Instagram, is a mobile-first platform. On it, you can build ads that cater specifically to Millennial shoppers. Instagram is an ideal platform for sharing new products online. In fact, 70% of shoppers look to Instagram for their next purchase.Types of ads on Instagram:

  • Video ads
  • Photo ads
  • Stories ads
  • Carousel/dynamic ads
  • Collection ads
  • IGTV ads
  • Instagram Shopping ads
  • Explore ads

Source: Remote Year


TikTok is popular among Gen Z and many Millennials today and has approximately 689 million active monthly users. Designed for mobile devices, the app presents short video clips of user-generated content. It’s a great place to raise brand awareness, connect with followers, showcase creative skills, and move leads through your sales funnel.Ads options on TikTok:

  • In-feed ads
  • Branded Hashtag Challenge
  • Brand Takeover
  • TopView
  • Branded Effects


Twitch is a live-streaming platform that was launched back in 2011. People in the gaming and e-sports world know it best. Like TikTok, it has a younger audience, though older demographics also tend to dabble now and then.Twitch may seem like an outlier when it comes to advertising for your business, but it ranks just behind Google, Apple, and Netflix as the fourth most popular live-streaming platform. And it’s expanding to include more music, lifestyle, creative content, and DIY stuff, too.Ads options on Twitch:

  • Influencer marketing
  • Shout-outs
  • Giveaways
  • Cross screen video
  • Homepage carousel
  • Desktop video
  • Homepage headliner
  • SureStream ads
  • Multiplayer ads
  • Super Leaderboard ads

Source: Twitch

How to Plan a Successful Paid Social Media Strategy

Once you’ve chosen the best channels for your brand and audience, it’s time to strategize. Here’s how to pull together the correct elements to create a killer advertising campaign.

1. Determine Your Budget

Knowing your budget limit before you begin advertising on various social channels is essential. If you don’t plan this ahead of time, you could end up spending a fortune. It’s also good to know what ROI to expect so you can determine if certain platforms are worth the cost.Try using HubSpot’s handy dandy Advertising ROI Calculator to project your monthly budget, expected cost per click (CPC), target conversion rate, and more.

2. Define Your Objectives

What’s the purpose behind your campaign? What goals do you have in mind to hit throughout the process?Maybe you want to build a larger following or increase engagement. Or perhaps you have a specific offer you’re pitching and want to drive people to your website or convert users with a killer content offer. Maybe you straight up need to make sales.All of these are worthy objectives. Just make sure that every campaign you create has a specific goal and strategy to reach it.

3. Identify KPIs

To help you measure your results and understand if you’re hitting your objectives, identify key performance indicators (KPIs) to track throughout your campaigns. Standard social media advertising KPIs include:

  • Profile views
  • Likes
  • Shares
  • Comments
  • Followers
  • Views
  • Number of clicks
  • Click-through rate
  • Cost per click

4. Pinpoint Your Target Audience

Make sure you have a deep understanding of who your audience already is so you know who to target through paid media. If you don’t know them well, it’s time to do some research!You can create buyer persona profiles to represent the core members of your target audience. They should cover things like:

  • Basic demographics
  • Brands they already follow and interact with
  • Common goals and challenges
  • How you can help them solve a problem they share
  • Hobbies and interests

5. Choose Start and End Dates for the Campaign

Your campaign run time may largely depend on your budget parameters. Do you want to run your ads for a week? A month? Make an initial plan, but remember to remain flexible and adjust your ads as you go based on how they perform.

6. Create Your Ads

It’s time to bring in the creative team to design your ad set. Whether you’re creating a video, image, or another content offer, your ads should be clear and concise. They should also have a call to action (CTA) to encourage users to do something. Here are a few examples:

  • Visit my website
  • Download the free guide
  • Contact us
  • Learn more

Once you’ve created your ads, the social platform you’re using will need to approve them before you can officially launch.

7. Launch the Campaign

After you’ve created your ads and they’ve been approved, it’s time to launch! You already have them scheduled, so now you can sit back and watch them go.Once you’ve launched your campaign, it’s time for the fun part: watching the results. Unless, of course, your results stink. Then you’ll need to make some quick tweaks to your ads.Remember to measure your results so you can see how your ads perform over time. You may realize that one platform brings you results that are a million times better than another. That’s okay! Keep tracking your progress and adjusting as you go.Soon, you’ll be a paid media strategy pro. And hey, if you need help in the process, we’re here for you.Contact us anytime to have a chat!

Hawra Hashem
Marketing Manager

I create and execute effective communication strategies and content based on data-driven insights and creativity.

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