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How To Elevate and Optimize Your Paid Social Strategy

Jennifer Meech
February 2, 2024
Last Updated On
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Paid social media can help brands increase traffic and reach niche audiences — and strong visual content is an essential part of any brand’s paid strategy. 

With over 255 billion dollars in average ad spend on mobile and desktop each year, brands need engaging, striking visuals to attract users and cut through the noise. Make every visual that you put in front of your audience count — whether it be across paid or organic marketing channels.

This blog focuses on: 

  • Why paid social is important. 
  • What paid social is.
  • How to start a paid social strategy. 
  • Tips to optimize your paid social assets and strategy. 
  • Paid social trends in 2024. 

Why Paid Social Is Important 

Effective visuals power marketing campaigns, boost engagement, and according to Nielsen, are responsible for 56% of a brand’s sales from digital marketing. With the rise of visual platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, it’s no surprise that paid social advertising has become essential to any brand’s advertising strategy. Paid social channels equip brands with the tools to increase brand exposure and generate real ROI from social media.

What Is Paid Social?

Paid social is used to describe paid advertisements, sponsored posts and other types of paid efforts marketers make on social. This doesn’t just mean advertisements — paid social does include display advertisements on channels like YouTube, but also includes boosted posts or sponsored content from influencers and brand ambassadors.

How To Start a Paid Social Strategy

Launching a paid social strategy can be a game-changer for brands looking to amplify their online presence and reach their target demographic effectively. To embark on this journey, it's essential to understand your audience, set clear objectives and choose the right platforms that align with your brand's identity and goals. This approach paves the way for crafting compelling content and advertisements that resonate with your audience, drive engagement and achieve measurable results.

Define Objectives and Goals 

Defining objectives and goals is a critical step in finding success with your strategy. Clear, measurable goals ensure each piece of content is purposeful and aligned with broader business objectives like raising brand awareness, driving sales or boosting engagement. Having clearly defined, specific targets helps teams pinpoint where they need to pivot, along with regularly monitoring campaigns, staying agile and responding to changing trends and consumer behavior. 

Determine Your Audience 

Knowing your audience – their demographics, interests, and behaviors – not only shapes the content and messaging of your ads but also dictates the most effective platforms for your campaigns. Different social media platforms cater to varied audience profiles; for instance, LinkedIn attracts professionals seeking industry insights, while TikTok appeals to a younger demographic like Gen Z who are interested in visual content.

Create Strategy, Tactics and Content 

Creating a well-defined strategy, specific tactics and engaging content is vital for success. Without defining how you plan to reach your goals, how will you know which efforts contribute to your success? Outlining how you plan to achieve specific goals is as important as setting them in the first place. These goals influence the actions in your strategy. For example, let’s say you want to increase awareness of your brand to women aged 25-34. Since 13.9% of Instagram users worldwide fall into this age range, social teams might explore videos ads that share your brand’s story. Another brand with goals centered around driving sales might opt for carousel ads that let you highlight a specific product line. 

An efficient way to determine if your campaign is on track is to use a marketing campaign checklist — this is a great way to organize your tactics and ensure your team is on the right track.

Set Your Budget  

Setting a budget for paid social media is essential to plan your paid social promotions. Many ads on social media operate with a ‘pay per click’ model, meaning outcomes — like reach, for example — can largely be determined by your budget in addition to the content in the ad itself. Planning your budget and prioritizing it based on your biggest goals will determine how much you have to spend throughout a given period and how likely you are to achieve your goals. 

10 Tips To Optimize Paid Social 

Optimizing paid social is essential to maximize your return on investment and effectively reach your target audience. Optimizing your paid social tactics ensures you make the most of your ad spend and can precisely pinpoint where to pivot based on KPIs like engagement and ROI. Here are 10 paid optimization tips for social media to incorporate into your social media advertising strategy. 

1. Implement Social Media SEO 

Enhance your ad’s visibility by incorporating social media SEO strategies, like using trending hashtags and relevant keywords. This approach improves the discoverability of your content, making it more likely to appear in search results and feeds of potential customers. Tailoring your language and content to match the search behaviors of your target audience can significantly boost engagement rates.

2. Retargeting Campaigns

Utilize retargeting to keep your brand at the forefront of past visitors’ minds, effectively bringing them back into the conversion funnel. By showing targeted ads to users who have already interacted with your brand, you increase the likelihood of conversion, as these individuals have shown prior interest. Retargeting is a powerful tool to nurture leads and increase customer lifetime value.

3. Explore UGC 

Leverage User-Generated Content (UGC) to add authenticity and relatability to your campaigns. Encourage your audience to share their experiences with your brand, and use this content in your ads. UGC not only enhances trust among prospective customers but also enriches your ad content with diverse, real-life perspectives.

4. Align Assets With Conversion Funnel 

Be sure your ad content aligns with the specific stages of your conversion funnel. Tailor messaging and visuals to cater to audiences at different stages, from awareness to consideration to decision-making. This alignment will help deliver the right message at the right time — and guide potential customers further down the funnel.

5. Optimize For Mobile

Given the predominance of mobile usage, design your ads with a mobile-first approach. Ensure that your ads are accessible, visually appealing and functional on smaller screens — this includes clear, concise messaging and easily clickable calls to action. Mobile optimization is key for brands aiming to reach a larger, more engaged audience.

6. Refine CTA’s

Create clear and compelling calls to action that guide users toward the next step, whether it's making a purchase, signing up or learning more. Test different CTA formats and phrases to find what resonates best with your audience, driving higher conversion rates. A well-crafted CTA can significantly impact the effectiveness of your ad.

7. Research Audience Demographics 

Deeply understand the demographics, interests and behaviors of your target audience. Use this data to create more relevant and personalized ad experiences. Knowing your audience well allows for more effective targeting, which leads to more effective messaging, which ultimately translates into better campaign performance.

8. Explore AI 

Embrace AI marketing for smarter targeting, bidding and content optimization. AI social media tools can analyze large sets of data to identify patterns and insights, helping you make informed decisions about your ad strategy. This can lead to more efficient ad spend and higher ROI.

9. Regularly Revisit Analytics 

Consistently monitor and analyze your campaign performance. Use insights from Social Analytics and Monitoring to refine your social media strategy, identify successful elements and rectify areas that are underperforming. Regular analysis is crucial for staying agile and responsive to market changes and audience preferences.

10. A/B Test

Implement A/B testing to compare different versions of your ads. Test variables like imagery, ad copy or call-to-action buttons to see which combination yields the best results. Continuous A/B testing helps in optimizing your ads for better performance and higher engagement rates.

2024 Paid Social Trends

Paid ads aren’t quite as simple as throwing money at a post and hoping for the best. Keeping up on changes to paid social trends is vital to stay ahead of the curve. Here, we'll dive into the latest trends that are shaping paid social ads and how to make these trends work for your brand. 

A Return To Text

In 2024, marketers expect a shift back to text-only posts. This shift marks a return to simplicity in social content, where straightforward, text-based communication is craved by users. Platforms like Mastodon and Meta's Threads app are leading this trend, with Threads integrating its posts into Instagram’s home feeds, suggesting a strategic push by Meta to revive text-centric content. The power of words is becoming a key player in capturing audience attention and engagement.

Increased Focus on Mobile Search Ads 

The increased focus on mobile search ads in recent years is a response to growing mobile device use. Most internet users now access social media, conduct searches and shop online using smartphones or tablets. By 2028, marketing teams are expected to spend even more on mobile advertising, reaching 255.77 billion in social ad spend by 2028 for a 35.97 billion dollar increase. This shift has made mobile search ads more crucial than ever, as they allow businesses to reach audiences where they’re most active. Mobile search ads offer the advantage of being more personalized and location-specific, which can significantly enhance their relevance and effectiveness. As more of our digital lives are spent on the go, optimizing for mobile search is an essential part of any paid social strategy.

TikTok Advertising Continues To Grow

While Millennials are expected to dominate social commerce until 2028, the app is popular among Gen Z — and even Generation X and Baby Boomers. In fact, mobile advertising spending is projected to grow to 284.12 billion dollars in 2028 from just over 216 billion in 2024. Meanwhile, TikTok ad revenue is expected to reach 23.58 billion dollars in 2024, stretching to over 53 billion dollars in 2027.

sponsored tiktok ad for olay face cream
Image credit: @pryaathwal

Unlock Paid Social Wins with Dash Hudson

Brands can find the best opportunities to support their organic content with tools like Vision AI, which determines which posts will perform best — both from your own content and UGC creators — based on different visual elements, like contrast, color trends and more. From there, teams can identify the content that performs well and put paid efforts behind them. Social teams can even respond to paid comments straight from Dash Hudson, making it easy to know if your ad campaigns are resonating with new audiences or not.

Working with multiple brands? Social teams can generate reports and compare ad performance with Dashboards to determine how their brands are doing across platforms.  


What is an example of a paid social strategy? 

A paid social strategy often involves leveraging targeted advertising campaigns on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn to reach specific audience segments. This approach can include tactics such as sponsored posts, influencer collaborations, and demographic-focused ad placements to effectively engage and convert potential customers.

What is paid social whitelisting? 

Paid social whitelisting is a process where brands gain permission to access and use an influencer's social media account for advertising purposes. This strategy allows brands to amplify their reach and credibility by directly leveraging the influencer's audience and trust through targeted ads, for example, a paid partnership from someone you follow. 

What are the objectives of paid social?

Some of the most common primary objectives of paid social are to increase brand visibility, drive traffic and boost conversions through strategically placed advertisements on different platforms. These campaigns aim to engage specific audience segments, enhance brand awareness and ultimately drive sales or other actions.

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