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How to measure the success of your paid social media campaigns

6 min read

How to measure the success of your paid social media campaigns

LinkedIn and Facebook are pretty standard custodians of media budgets for b2b marketers. However, the measures of success can vary widely from one marketer to the next. Is there a right and wrong way to measure paid social advertising?

We frequently get this question. Clients rely on us to report on the metrics that matter, but there are so many metrics to track that selecting the ones that truly indicate success - without becoming too granular or too vague - can be tricky.

I picked the brains of Serena Chuan, our Head of Digital, for some guidance. Here’s what she had to say.

Christa: What’s the first thing you need to do when measuring paid social?

Serena: First things first: define your goal. Each campaign has its own objective. This is why ad platforms allow you to pay per impression (to raise awareness) or to pay per click (to drive traffic to your site).

So, while ultimately you want to generate leads (who doesn’t), we still feel that you should break it down by primary and secondary goals for each campaign - because as every good marketer knows, each tactic should do the heavy lifting in one stage of the buying process. So, look at the page you’re trying to send people to in order to determine the metric to measure for that specific ad campaign.

For example, let’s say we decide to promote this blog post that you’re reading right now.
  • The primary goal is to bring relevant traffic to the website, by offering an educational piece; and,
  • The secondary goal is to generate leads, assuming some may delve a little deeper or have a need we can fulfil.
On the other hand, let’s say we decide to promote a diagnostic tool landing page with a form on it.
  • The primary goal here would be to attract and convert marketing-qualified leads; and,
  • The secondary goal is to bring relevant, late-buying-stage traffic to the website.


C: And what other paid social metrics do you need to track?

S: There are basically six metrics that are important for a marketer to track. 

Metric 1: Campaign click-through rate (CTR) and engagement rate
[Number of ad clicks / Number of ad impressions]

Why? This tells us if the audience pool we’ve selected is right, and if that selection strategy is the best to reach that audience.

Also, we’ll know where the brand sits with the audience in that particular channel i.e. if they're clicking on the ads but to the company page on that platform as opposed to the link provided, perhaps they want to find out more about the company first. 

Metric 2: Ad-to-website click-through rate
[Number of clicks-to-website from ad / Number of ad clicks]

Not all ad clicks go to the website, because sometimes people click on the company name in the ad that takes them to the company page on the platform and not your website (and yes, you still pay for these clicks).

When ad clicks go from the ad platform to your website, this means that the call-to-action (CTA) in the ad campaign is relevant to the audience selected, and the audience is motivated to click through. This metric also shows the effectiveness of a channel in bringing the ad-click out of the ad platform to your website.

Metric 3: Conversion rate

Conversion rates show the effectiveness of the ad platform and the ad campaign in influencing the selected audience to take the desired action you want them to take in the end. This can be measured in two ways in a paid social campaign, and is dependent on the primary and secondary goals that you’ve determined before you set your campaign up.

3a. Become a lead aka lead conversion rate
[Number of leads / Number of clicks-to-website from ad]

This metric shows the effectiveness of a channel in converting an Anonymous Contact into a Lead. For example, if you’re promoting an ebook and the primary goal of the campaign is to generate new leads, a ‘conversion’ for this campaign is a new contact in your database.

 3b. Engage with content aka ad-to-website CTR
[Number of clicks-to-website from ad / Number of ad clicks]

This is the same metric in Metric 2 above. For example, if you’re promoting a blog post and the primary goal of the campaign is to bring relevant traffic to your website, a ‘conversion’ for this campaign is a visit to your blog post. 

Metrics 4, 5, 6: Cost-per-visit, Cost-per-click, Cost-per-lead

Cost-per-visit: [Total spend on platform / Number of webpage visits]
Cost-per-click: [Total spend on platform / Number of ad clicks]
Cost-per-lead: [Total spend on platform / Number of leads]

These metrics determine if the ad platform's performance in achieving its campaign goals is worth the cost spent on the platform.

Whether the figure is good or bad depends on your goal. For example, if you want to generate traffic then having a high cost-per-lead shouldn’t worry you. If, however, you were linking to a landing page with the primary objective to get more leads and you have a very high cost-per-lead, you need to review and optimise that landing page to increase those conversions and drive that cost-per-lead down.

It also depends on your cost-per-acquisition target (if you have one and it isn’t just “as low as possible”), and your media budget (in most cases you need to spend more to get more out of the platform). 

C: How do you make sense of the data?

S: Time will tell, but you can’t set and forget. 

We allocate a significant amount of client budget to monitoring and tweaking ad campaigns because you need to respond to them in real-time (also, the audience fatigues). 

Even if you have a particular campaign that does well now, how will you make sure you’re not exhausting that audience? And how do you find new audiences? 

These are things that you need to invest a significant amount of time into, to make sure that you’re optimising that precious media budget of yours. After all, advertising on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Google doesn’t come cheap! 

If you ever need strategic advice, get an expert in - an agency that does this day in and day out. Either that, or hire a dedicated in-house resource. 

If you’d like some help, we’re happy to have a chat. Just give us a call. :)

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