Jun 10 2021
Amy Rumpler

What is Social Media Buying?


What is Paid Social?

Simply put, paid social comprises of any post on a social media network that has dollars supporting it. The truth is, organic social posts don’t usually gain many views or reach most of the audience following a page. To get content in front of brand-new or returning customers, brands need to pay up!

Today, that means moving beyond boosting posts and tapping into the various buying options that exist within platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, LinkedIn, TikTok, and Reddit.

Which Platforms Should I Use for Paid Social Campaigns?

The great news is that advertising on social media is a very effective way to reach just about any audience. While all social networks offer some type of advertising, the first step in determining where to buy is to identify which networks are the most popular with your target customer.

You can also look at which platforms perform well for you organically, which ones your competitors are leaning into, and which ones have the best targeting options to allow your message to get in front of the right person.

For example, Pinterest is a great place to reach women. Their targeting options include (but are not limited to) creating audiences based on what users are interested in, the search terms they use to discover new ideas, and the actions they take to engage with pins and websites.

Facebook and Instagram have very similar targeting options, but may allow you to appeal to a wider customer base. If you’re looking to reach millennials or younger consumers, Snapchat or TikTok might be the right choice. And if a more business-focused client is the key to growing sales of your product or service, you can try LinkedIn’s very detailed targeting options to find folks based on their skill set, job title, industry, group memberships or employer company.

How Do I Buy Paid Social Ad Placements?

You’ll also want to consider the different methods of buying that are available on these platforms. They all offer the option to secure ads in a real-time biddable auction that you can access self-serve. Ads in the auction can be optimized toward the lowest possible cost per result.

This is different than buying solely based on impression cost, because the auction serves the ads to the person who is likely to take action after viewing the ad. This is particularly advantageous when the goal of your campaign is to gain long-term brand awareness, ad engagements, website traffic, online conversions, leads, app installs, or online or offline sales.

Outside of the advertising auction environment, many social networks also offer specific reserved inventory (or types of ads) that can be bought at a flat rate. Examples include Reddit subcategory takeovers, premium Facebook video ads that show in front of curated content, and Twitter trending topic takeovers. To secure one of these types of ads, you’ll need to work directly with a representative from the social network, or with a company that has partnerships to leverage on your behalf.

Select Your Social Ad Format

The final consideration when buying a social media ad is selecting the ad format you want to use.  Photos, videos and carousel ads that feature multiple images or videos in one ad unit are now commonplace across all of social. Depending on your campaign goal, you might want to consider A/B testing different types of creative to see what performs best, or experimenting with more interactive ad formats like augmented reality lenses.

The good news is that, regardless of the creative format you choose, all of these ads can be bought in the same ad auction and optimized within one campaign to meet your primary business objective efficiently and effectively.

Learn more about how Basis creates effective paid social strategies for our clients here.