6 Ways to Improve your Social Media Advertising Performance

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If you’ve dabbled with social media advertising – on Facebook or Twitter for example – and been disappointed with the results or even if you’re seeing a positive response but want even more out of it there are some really useful things you can do when planning your next campaign to ensure it goes brilliantly.

These are the tactics I use when planning advertising on behalf of clients on social media and you can adopt them too.


It’s common for small businesses to think of social media advertising as a way to gain new customers only. But actually, thanks to remarketing it can prove even more successful when used to get your existing customers to buy from you time and again. Remarketing is where I ALWAYS start with a new client.

For example, on Facebook you can upload a CSV of your existing customer database and, where they use the platform, target them specifically with advertising campaigns. You can achieve the same via the Facebook pixel, which, once installed on your website, begins gathering data. This includes when a person last visited your website and what pages they visited. From this you can begin building Custom Audiences within Facebook which you can target with specific advertising messages.

So lets say you build a Custom Audience of people who visited your site in the last 30 days and a specific product category. It may only be a few hundred people, but by targeting those people with an advert specifically about that product range you should see a much higher conversion to sale – especially amongst those who didn’t buy from you when they were first on your site.

Then, of course, you can get even more specific by looking at…


Those of you that have already done some social media advertising will know (I hope!) that you can target certain groups of people based on demographics. That includes things like age, sex, marital status and occupation. That’s all well and good…but how do you know who your target market is in terms of demographics. Common sense will only take you so far.

As an example I have had two clients in the past that figured, given the nature of their products, their target market was predominantly male and relatively young. In both cases, after a bit of data digging, it turned out that the slight majority were female and slightly older than first believed.

By tweaking the advertising images and copy and focusing the social media advertising budget on those groups both companies saw a marked improvement in sales.

So how do you find out who your customers are?

Look at your existing database

One way is to download your customer database to a spreadsheet and look for instances of Mr, Mrs and Miss (assuming you collect that data at the checkout). Count them up and match your advertising content and budget accordingly. If it’s 60% female and 40% male, split your budget in much the same way.

If you don’t have that data, you could painstakingly work your way through the First Name column and split them that way. Horribly time consuming and an indicator that you should…

Adjust data collection at checkout

Ask for your customers’ title at the checkout. The only downside being those that are doctors and the like…so instead, ask for their gender. It’s really simple, won’t delay the checkout process more than a second and it gives you highly valuable data with which to guide your social media advertising.

If you aren’t doing it already ask for their date of birth too (you can incentivise this by offering a free gift on their birthday), which will allow you to determine the age groups of your customers. Again, you can use this data to adjust your advertising budgets. 60% female customers of which 75% are aged 30-40, for example.

Look at your social media demographics

Your Facebook and Twitter data is a goldmine. Here you will be able to see, depending on the platform, the age, sex, location, job and more of those who interact with you the most. It is likely that they are going to be your customers, either now or in the future…so target them as a priority!

While it may be tempting to reach as many people as possible with your advertising what you’re actually doing is wasting and budget. Narrow your target audience as much as possible and you will see your conversion rates shoot up. It’s better to spend small amounts on several laser targeted ad campaigns than it is to blow it all on one wide reaching campaign.

Of course, either way you’re going to need to…

Create compelling, RELATED ad copy

Once you’ve discovered who your customers really are, narrowed your preferred advertising audience down into a few highly targeted groups and set your budgets accordingly, it’s time to create those ads.

There are some rules to live by when creating your advertising copy:

  1. Be right up front about what your offer is in the status
  2. Use a compelling RELATED image
  3. Put the key benefits in your ad title
  4. Put features or other selling points in the ad description

Take a look at this ad from Falcon that appears frequently in my Facebook Newsfeed. It appears because Facebook knows I’ve visited their website (I have), I am a social media marketer (I am) or I have shown an interest in similar products in the past (I have) – that’s remarketing and targeting!

Falcon Facebook Advert

It follows every single rule I outlined above (though you could argue the image could be more compelling!). The offer is front and centre (free demo) along with what the product is (social media management platform), the image is relevant to the product, the key benefit (saving time) is right there and it has key selling points (10,000+ people use it/it’s easy to use).

And, because Falcon have used very specific targeting, they know I am more likely than a non-social media marketer or non-website visitor to click through and find out more. I’m not saying it’s a perfect ad, but it’s very well done. This is how you should be creating your adverts – with your target audience in mind and following those rules.

Time of Day/Day of Week

You have your audience targeted, you have your carefully crafted advertising copy. Now you need to ensure your budget is spent even more wisely. That means scheduling when your ads should run. In all likelihood this will require some trial and error but if, for example, your location demographic is UK-only, then it would be relatively pointless to run ads between midnight and 6am as there are likely to be few people in a buying mood in the dead of the night!

What you can do is make an educated guess on a few things. For example, consider when your target audience is likely to be using social media – typically that’s between 7-10pm and to a lesser extent between 6 and 9am. But most people know this and schedule their ads during this time, so you have to be a little smarter. You can try going for a slightly quieter time, when there is less competition for people’s eyeballs. Perhaps between 10pm and midnight might work better for you, or mid-afternoon when people’s days are winding down.

The same goes for which days of the week your target audience is likely to be on social media – if you’re a B2B company that is possibly going to be Monday to Friday, whereas if you sell hobby items or mountain bikes it could be at the weekend.

Like I said, trial and error.

If you look at your Facebook Page Insights you will get a pretty good idea of when those who already Like your page are active on Facebook. This can be an indicator, though by no means definitive, but every bit of data helps.


I’ve already talked about how to divide up your social media advertising budget according to your target audience groups and campaigns but the sticking point for many small businesses is how much to assign in the first place.

You should have an overall marketing budget decided anyway so how much of that should go towards social media? My advice here for the small business owner is to start small and reevaluate at least once a month, just as you should your advertising campaigns, depending on results.

Start with around 5% of your overall budget. Run your campaigns for a month and evaluate the data. If you’re getting strong results increase your budget slightly and see what happens. If the results aren’t as strong as you’d hoped, look closely at which campaigns underperformed, look at all the relevant data for those and tweak your campaign accordingly, keeping the budget at the same level until you are happy with the results.

Landing Pages

Finally, if you think you have all of the above set up perfectly but you’re still not getting the results you want then take a look at your landing pages and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does my landing page deliver on the promise of the ad?
  • Does it have all the information it should have on it?
  • Does it have a strong call to action to get the person to do what you want (buy, leave details, call, sign up)?

A social media advert is only as good as the landing page people arrive at when they click through – so make sure it’s as good as it can be. This article from Kissmetrics is a good place to start.

Social media advertising can be very successful – and lucrative – if you get it right. Follow the advice given here and I’m sure you’ll start enjoying success with your own campaigns. Oh, and if you’re wondering how we do here at GNGR on behalf of our clients, take a look at this.

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