Seven mistakes not to make with paid social media advertising

12th January 2023

Is organic social advertising dead? Surely you’ve noticed that your social media posts aren’t hitting the engagement rates they used to. Unfortunately, paid social media advertising is really the only way to guarantee people will see your campaign ads. 

Leveraging paid social is a great way to put your content in front of the right people, but the risk is that getting paid social media advertising wrong can be costly. So, regardless of whether you are a social media pro or a complete novice dappling in the paid advertising world, we’ve put together a list of mistakes to avoid with your paid social media advertising.

1. Targeting the wrong audience 

One of the biggest mistakes we witness when it comes to paid social media advertising is businesses and brands not fully understanding their target audience. It’s not uncommon to fall into the trap of casting your net too wide. We get why you might want to share your amazing product or service with everyone but, realistically, your target audience is not the whole world. Your audience is more likely to be a small, niche selection of people, and the more you refine and define your potential consumers, the more likely your paid social media advertising is going to be effective.

2. Choosing the wrong platform

A key part of getting paid social right is researching which of the social media platforms will give you the best results. Bear in mind who your audience is and what your paid social media goals are. Each platform will offer you something different. 

TikTok, for example, will have a much younger demographic. Facebook, on the other hand, will allow you to target consumers at a reasonable cost whereas LinkedIn will allow you to target relevant industries or job titles, so suits B2B businesses more. However, it’s worth noting that LinkedIn can be significantly more expensive than Facebook. So make sure you’re running your paid social campaigns where your core target audience is most likely to see your ads.

3. Poor creative

There are quite a few ad types to consider and each is suited to different goals. Whichever format you choose, if you use poor creative, it can make a bad first impression and see your target audience scrolling past. It’s widely acknowledged that video is the most engaging format, with the majority of platform algorithms favouring it too. It’s important to create a video that tells the story of your brand and is emotive to the viewer. This can be a very difficult task when you only have a few seconds to grab your audience’s attention. 

It’s often worth outsourcing to a paid social media advertising agency that has experience in creating fantastic videos (I wonder who that could be?!).

4. Not a/b testing

Neglecting to test your ads could be detrimental to your paid social campaign. Set up multiple versions of your ads and change just one element at a time in either creative, copy or audience. You can then track which change performs best and turn off those that aren’t hitting the spot. This testing process gives you tangible data that can help support and back up your advertising decisions.

5. No clear call to action (CTA)

It’s something that you probably already know, but it’s an easy one to forget when you’re so close to your business. If you’ve dabbled in the social media world before, you’ll understand the importance of including a call to action in your post. 

So, whether you’re trying to sell a product and/or service or get your followers to subscribe to your brand, you’ll need a CTA that tells them exactly what to do and where to do it. A strong call to action is the key to higher conversion rates.

Advertising specs on Instagram

6. Reporting on the wrong metrics

With so many metrics involved in paid social media advertising, it can be difficult to pick which ones to measure. However, we’d say focusing on vanity metrics instead of conversion metrics is a big mistake. While impressions and clicks have their place in reporting on ad performance, the most essential evaluation metrics tend to be those related to conversions. Conversion volume, cost per conversion and conversion rates are those that you should be keeping an eye on. 

You want to know how much each conversion or lead has cost you and these metrics will give you an insight into whether your campaign has been a success or not. The higher the cost of conversion the less successful your campaign. There’s no point in getting thousands of impressions when hardly any of those have converted.

7. Incorrect tracking set-up

The beauty of paid social media advertising is that you have the ability to track results, allowing you to understand the exact journey your contacts are taking with you from start to finish – if set up properly, that is. 

Each advertising platform has a different piece of code, which will need adding to your website, depending on which one you choose. The other way of tracking is by leveraging third-party integrations with your social media platform and your CRM to track the marketing impact over the entire lifecycle of the contact. This method allows you to analyse the quality of the leads captured too. 

Why is tracking important? To get an accurate and clear ROI. Businesses and brands are able to clearly see the outcomes that are generated from their paid social media advertising investment. Not only does it track how well you are reaching your goals and objectives but it also means that you can optimise your marketing budget to get the best results at the lowest possible price.


We hope this helps you with the essentials for creating a paid social media advertising campaign. It’s a lot to remember from the initial concept to the ads going live. 

If this sounds a bit overwhelming, you can outsource your paid video advertising to an agency to do it for you. Delegating to an experienced team can often be a more cost-effective solution in the long run. It just so happens that paid video advertising is something we do here at Hurricane… click below to get in touch. 


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