What is Social PPC Advertising? .


What is Social PPC?

Social PPC (Pay Per Click) is a form of paid digital advertising, but solely for placement on Social Media platforms. These ads can be targeted to groups of users based on demographics, interest in topics, or other data gathered by the platform. Typically, these ads will appear in a users "feed" or "timeline", and advertisers can pay by utilising two bid strategies: CPC (Cost Per Click) or CPM (Cost Per Thousand Impressions).

User engagement and goal-based metrics such as CTR (Click through rate), Conversion Rate and Impressions are usually used to measure success. For a full overview, watch the below video from our Digital Marketing Director, Josh Whiten.


With Facebook’s ever-expanding advertising options, Twitter’s promoted tweets and profiles and cards, LinkedIn’s advertising and marketing solution, and, of course, more recently Instagram, there are now plenty of online advertising options to run alongside Google Adwords. Even Snapchat has now begun its advertising offering and you could argue that apps such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp (who are both starting to roll out advertising options to businesses via their platforms) should also be included in the ‘Social PPC’ list.

Whilst Social PPC didn’t start on Facebook, it was one of the first social platforms to make it widely available with self-service functionality.

Ok, So Why Would You Implement a Social PPC Campaign?

Firstly, you may have noticed that “everyone is doing it”, but this isn’t exactly the strongest argument.

Social PPC should be thought of more like display advertising than search advertising. The advertiser determines who will see the ad and when, as opposed to this being lead by the user’s search terms. Ultimately, the numbers you see should match or be better than display or content networks.

Also unlike search advertising, Social PPC also has the ability to create deeper engagement with the user. Sure, it can generate a click through to a landing page, but it could also be a Like, Follow, re-Tweet, Check-In, share or Re-Pin, for example. Social PPC is great for brand awareness too. Every click that doesn’t convert into a sale or sign-up isn’t lost; there will be a few more people out there who know your brand and have experienced something to do with it.

In our experience, Social PPC is at its best when implemented as part of a wider campaign and given its own role within a wider strategy. Take the following example of a typical customer journey within the arts & entertainment sector:


Social is likely to be the first interaction with the user, creating desire. Having been exposed to the social ads, they may then go on to conduct their own research and this is where organic search should be ready to receive them and an email programme available to kick start an ongoing relationship.

Combined with generic and brand paid search to catch the shift between more general product and brand-led searches, retargeting and display provide the final push towards conversion, which usually ends in the customer coming back directly to the website to close the purchase.

More and more, we’re finding that customer journeys don’t happen in straight lines, or convert in one simple step. Our job is to position our client’s brands in the right place at the right time to maximise on the opportunities available and create new ones.

How Should Social PPC Be Measured?

The measures you use will depend on the objectives of the campaign and what you set out to achieve, but here are a few methods that we find particularly valuable when measuring Social PPC campaigns.

  • Return On Ad Spend: Measure the amount of revenue, number of leads and CPA (just like regular PPC).
  • Determine additional actions besides sales or leads, like Likes, Follows or Fans and derive a CPA for those actions too.
  • Set goals for engagement with the landing page: Whether that’s time on site, number of page views, loyalty (new or returning visitor?) or recency (you come here often?!), downloads or form enquiries. It’s important not to forget about measuring the value beyond social media.
  • Cost-per-click: yes, it matters! If you’re able to find additional niches or targeting that can bring visitors to your site for less, you can start to maximise ROI.

And don’t forget that, just as with Search advertising, Social PPC can be scheduled around your social follower’s behaviour online.

Whatever your business, be it a regional or global brand, the content you produce plays a vital role in your success. You know that… hence you’re reading this.

A well formulated and executed content strategy not only drives more traffic, at the core, it defines what your business is and helps build a strong connection between you and your audiences.

So let's quickly look at why developing a coherent content strategy is important and how setting clear goals and understanding your audience will elevate your online performance. 

What is a Content Strategy?

It's basic right? Content is at the core of how you define the way your business presents itself and an effective strategy should look to ensure that tone of voice, messaging and the core values are surfaced across all channels, from service or product pages on your website, to blog posts, through social media updates blah blah blah.

But let's keep it simple - your content strategy should be a clear roadmap that connects your marketing activities to your business goals. Align to your customer’s wants and needs and engage them at every interaction point and boom, you're in business. 

Who are my Audience?

You likely start all your projects with this chalked on the wall because your business knows “exactly” who its customers are right? Sounds obvious but we often find its not been done forensically enough (not based on data), is too old (more than 12 months ago - forget it) or its a spin off from some brand work that was legitimately aspirational but doesn’t face the reality of who you your business is actually engaging today.

So start (or circle back) with audience research, building out those personas to understand their ambitions, their lifestyle, their pain points or concerns, and crucially their wants and needs - in your context. 

Do I need to tailor content?

As part of your research find out where your audiences spend their time online and how they interact with content: Some may spend time thoroughly researching a product or service, whereas other audiences may want their content to be quick, snappy or easily digestible in the form of a video, infographic or short blog posts.


Ultimately, the key is to produce a strategy that creates the type of content your customers want to see:

  • What are the problems that your product or service will help them solve?

  • Who are they most influenced by?

  • What voices influence their behaviour?

  • What type of content do they consume?

  • Where do they consume content and engage with brands?

Different Content, Different Objectives

 All content is not born equal: When producing your strategy, it is important that the objectives for each individual piece are defined, that these fulfil your marketing objectives and tie to the overarching goals for your business.

There are various content frameworks that exist to aid content development in this way, but one that is popular and effective is Google’s hero, hub and hygiene method: It provides a framework on developing content to achieve different goals and gives guidance on the effort needed to create each type of content.

Hero Content

Hero content is essentially campaign content, it is big splash ideas designed to appeal to a large audience with the aim of telling your brand’s story at scale. 

Ways of measuring hero include the amount of PR mentions or links from authoritative domains plus social interactions and mentions of your brand across all channels. 

Considering the scale of hero campaigns, this content is not regularly produced and is reserved for peak promotional times where it’s important for a business to stand out from their competitors.

Hub Content

Hub content is the stuff that keeps your audience engaged, it expands on the themes of product or service level content, educates users and helps create a connection between themselves and your brand.

Hygiene Content

Hygiene content is the bread and butter of any website, it is the BAU content for products and services, it is SEO focused and targets important keywords at a product, service or guide level.

How do I manage all this?

Content development is only one part of the ongoing work needed when working with an effective content strategy. We call it “feeding the beast” because it really is the fuel in your brand vehicle and once you start you really can’t stop (if it’s delivering results) but that’s where performance measurement comes in.

Your greatest gift in managing the outputs from your hero/hub/hygiene style efforts is to understand If your content is working. To truly deliver results your business must first understand the objectives and goals of each piece of content to effectively measure its success. That as a guiding light from day 1 will let you slow down, speed up, stop or start new content briefs and projects.

Remember - content strategies are not set in stone. They are living breathing things and should adapt and pivot as insights become available and your brand naturally evolves.

If ever you want to chat content and explore new initiatives we’re always here to help.

want to speak to one of our experts?



15 Dec 2016 - 7 minute read
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