Brutal Efficiency – How to stop wasting spend in your paid social campaigns.

Author Abi Carey 6 min read time

I recently gave a talk at Brighton Paid Social Show (an offshoot of Brighton SEO) so wanted to give a rundown on our blog as well for anyone who wasn’t able to attend as well as full slides.

The talk focussed on how to stop wasting spend on your paid social campaigns, taking a high-level overview of accounts (as so often we need to take a step back to get the clarity we need).

Full slides here

Let’s jump right in…

There is no magic solution but there are simple wins that can stop wasting your spend. 

If someone tells you they have the magic fix, they are selling you something. No doubt.


Let’s get back to the basics…


Is it platform appropriate?

Are you considering the types of platforms you are advertising on? 

Should your B2B software company be advertising on Instagram Reels? Should your Mittens For Kittens business be advertising on LinkedIn? 

Probably not, consider the type of organic content people are consuming on each platform, the likelihood is that your paid content will perform better if it is reflective of that.


What are you trying to achieve out of your campaigns?

Decide what key KPIs you are going to judge your campaign performance by. 

Ecommerce, check out revenue, ROAS etc. Traffic, check out CTR, link clicks, CPC etc. 

Do not try to achieve Ecommerce goals alongside Traffic in the same campaign. These campaigns should be set up entirely differently, different campaign objectives, different bidding strategies, different CPA, different everything really.

Multiple KPIs in one campaign can cripple performance and lead to misinformed optimizations.

Define what good looks like to you and stick with it. 


Do you trust your results?

Don’t make any decisions on your campaign if you don’t trust your results. Are you tracking events properly? When did you last check your pixel implementation? What attribution window are you using? 

You will naturally see fluctuations in performance due to seasonality (think Black Friday, Summer Sale etc) and also due to when payday falls. Your ads did not magically become wonderful on the 27th, people just had disposable income and a burning desire to spend it. 


How’s your landing page looking?

Never run ads to a landing page you haven’t fully tested yourself. Go through the entire checkout/signup/download on your site to see if there are any pain points your user might be experiencing. Is all the information your user needs at the top of the page?


Checklists baby, checklists.

Don’t panic – assess where you need to optimize. Make a list and check it twice!


Campaign Level

Does your campaign objective align with your key KPI? How are your results looking against your target KPI?


Ad Set Level

Is there a particular audience that is letting the account down? Do you have clarity on Top Funnel, Mid Funnel and Retargeting?


Ad LevelAre you giving your potential customers context on your product? Are you seeing a drop in CTR? How long have your ads been running for? Have your CPMS increased over time? What’s the frequency of your ads? Are you seeing signs of ad fatigue or is it just the natural ebbs and flows of performance. Pull some data, make some graphs and see what trends you can define.


Budget Allocation

Where are you funneling your budget? Does your budget allocation reflect your key KPIS?


Don’t get attached!

It’s great to have an idea of what you believe your target audience will respond to but don’t get too attached to your ideas. A fun part of working in paid social is being proved wrong, regularly. Leave your ego at the door and get ready to be all kinds of wrong.

  • Don’t get attached to personas – you might have an idea of who your ‘ideal customer’ is but don’t let this cause you to miss out on expanding to some ‘out of the box’ audiences. Different age ranges, interests, locations…
  • Don’t get attached to creative – be gentle with your design team (they’ve probably put a lot of work into your creative) but feel empowered to change it up if it isn’t working. Don’t forget to use Ads Library to see what competitors are doing. Survey what key USP pulls your customers in.
  • Don’t get attached to copy –  don’t get trapped in one particular way of speaking to your target audience. Change it up depending on funnel level, you might find that being more casual and friendly in Retargeting/Mid Funnel works as they already know (and hopefully love) your business.


Check your engagement.

There are people out there who are experiencing your ads and landing page every day – listen to them. People (aka keyboard warriors) are not afraid to let you know if they don’t like something/something isn’t working/they can’t find something. 


Is there a theme in your engagement?


The biggest takeaway I want everyone who listened to my talk (hiiii if you attended and are also reading this) is to take a step back from the day-t0-day running of your paid social campaigns and think from a holistic business perspective. Paid social works best for when you align your paid media with your bigger business goals.


Abi leads our Paid Social team at Overdrive - bringing to the role her experience as an in house marketing manager alongside her years of copywriting experience. Abi’s forte is creating strong, long lasting client relationships based around transparency, knowledge sharing and great results.