Much of Social Media Strategy Is Pay To Play. Use This Guide and Social Media Advertising Analysis Template To Improve Your Social Ads.

Social Media Advertising Analysis Template

When I first posted my Guide to Paid Social Media it was still very new and I was educating myself about what social media platforms had advertising available. Today every major social platform offers social ads and paid social has become a significant part of most social strategies. Social media ad spending has surpassed newspaper and magazine ads to become the third-largest ad channel, behind TV and paid search.

Why have social media ads grown? Social media feeds have become so crowded you often need to pay to reach your audience. Every minute millions of pieces of content are created on social media. Marketing consultant and author Mark Schaefer calls this “Content Shock” and it is only getting worse.

Nearly three-quarters of B2C and B2B companies and non-profits used organic social media to promote content and 49% expect to increase their content marketing spending. Just over half use paid social media as part of that content mix.

Source: Stephanie Heitman,“What Happens in an Internet Minute In 2022: 90 Fascinating Online Stats,”, May 5, 2022.

Social Ads Increased as Organic Reach Decreased.

Organic reach is the number of unique people who see a social media post through unpaid distribution. Getting someone to “Follow us on Facebook” doesn’t deliver the exposure it did in the early days of social strategy. As each platform became more flooded with content, organic reach dropped.

Between 2013-2014 Facebook adjusted the number of posts people saw in their feeds from more than 1,500 to only 300. They did this by adjusting the algorithm and the average organic reach for some business pages dropped 40%.

Cotton Delo, from AdAge described the switch in social strategy, “the main reason to acquire fans isn’t to build a free distribution channel for content; it’s to make future Facebook ads work better.” By 2016 average organic reach rates were 2.27% for Facebook, 3.61% for Twitter/X, 20% for LinkedIn, and 20% for Instagram.

Social Ads Are Efficient and Effective.

eMarketer found social media ads are one of the top ten most effective marketing tactics. A way to compare media types is cost per mille (CPM). CPM is the cost to reach 1,000 people and is used to compare the cost-effectiveness of media vehicles. Topdraw collected average CPM for forms of traditional and digital ads and shows how economical social ads can be.

Average CPM Per Media Type Shows the Efficiency of Social Media Ads.

Google Search Ads $8.60 CPM Google Search Ads $38.40 CPM
Instagram Ads $8.96 CPM Network TV Ads $20-$30 CPM
Twitter/X Ads $6.46 CPM Magazine Ads $140-$1,300 CPM
LinkedIn Ads $6.59 CPM Direct Mail $500-$1,000 CPM

Buying Paid Social Ad Posts.

While social ads vary by platform, most have similar processes. First, select a campaign objective. Social ad platforms require awareness, consideration, and conversion objectives that represent stages in the buyer’s journey. Below are common objectives under each category.

Example Options for Selecting Paid Social Media Campaign Objectives.

Awareness Consideration Conversions
Brand Awareness Traffic Catalog Sales
Reach Engagement Store Traffic
App Installs
Video Views
Lead Generation

Next, determine your budget. Most set a daily budget that adds up to the social ad budget for a campaign period such as a week or month. Be sure to account for content creation costs such as purchasing photos, graphics, videos, and writing. For a guide to determine your larger budget and categories see my Social Media Budget Template.

Then, select the audience based on your target audience/buyer persona. With organic social media posts, you determine specific days, times, and post frequency. With programmatic ad buying, the AI algorithm automatically places social media posts in specific users’ news feeds based on target audience specifications. It spends your daily budget to reach that audience at optimized times, days, and frequencies.

Most content requires videos or images plus headlines, text, CTA, and link URLs. The specifics such as size, shape, and length vary per platform and type of ad. For a guide on writing and designing content see my post on Best Practices For Social Media Content.

Analyzing Social Ad Posts Results.

Once you run your ad campaigns for a period such as a week or a month collect results from all platforms based on key metrics related to objectives. Set up those results in a spreadsheet or dashboard in social media management software to analyze. The social media advertising analysis template below gives you an example.

(Click on the template image to download a PDF)

Social Media Advertising Analysis Template

Look at budget spending per social platform as a percent of the total budget and compare key metric results as a percent of the total per platform. See what you spent the most money on and how much it contributed to key metrics. Make a list of highest to lowest results and highest to lowest costs to analyze what worked best and what worked less. If you’re targeting multiple audiences note which targets/personas are contributing to objective metrics better than others.

To optimize, lower spending on low-performing platforms, posts, and target audiences, and increase spending on high-performing platforms, posts, and target audiences. But also reserve a small percentage of your budget to experiment with new content, post type, audience, or platform. Over time you’ll optimize spending and results as you learn what works and what doesn’t. Don’t know what your key metrics are? First start with my Social Media Metrics Template.

This Was Human Created Content!

Segment Your Target Audience For More Effective Digital And Social Media Marketing.

How to segment your social media and digital media target audiences

A recent Adobe survey of business leaders indicates “better use of data for more effective audience segmentation and targeting” as a top priority for marketing. What is it and how do you do it?

Qualtrics defines market segmentation as “the practice of dividing your market into approachable groups … subsets of a market based on demographics, needs, priorities, common interests, and other psychographic or behavioral criteria used to better understand the target audience.”

Segmentation provides real benefits as 81% of executives say it is crucial to growing their profits. Segmentation can increase response rates and lower acquisition costs with:

  • More specific messages that resonate with customer’s wants and needs.
  • More personal messages that help brands stand out from the competition.
  • More targeted advertising to those most likely to convert to customers.

Once a business defines their target market or the specific group of people they will focus their products and services on they establish various target audiences to focus their marketing messages. There are further benefits in segmenting the target audience.

How do you segment your audience?

Consider an amusement park promoting tickets sales for the upcoming season. Their core target market is most likely adults 25-45 will children living at home. They would be the group most likely to plan and purchase tickets for immediate and extended family trips to the park.

Segment your audience into groups to score better results with each message you send.


First determine your general message.

Most businesses need to create general awareness before consideration by customers. Brand ads do this well.

An amusement park builds overall brand awareness through traditional TV, radio, print and billboard ads. These ads have a general theme showing kids, adults, grandparents and teens having fun at the park. This would appeal to their core target audience of adults with children planning family trips and looking to make sure the park has something for everyone.

Mass media must have broad appeal in messaging and imagery. In digital and social media there is opportunity to customize messages, imagery and offers.

Brainstorm audience segments.

Based on your knowledge of the target audience consider possible differences in wants and needs within the group. The amusement park may want to look at stage of life and location.

People in different stages of life may want different experiences at the park:

  • Adults with young children (age 25-34)
  • Adults with pre-teens/tweens (age 35-45)
  • High school/college students (age 13-24)
  • Grandparents (age 55+)

People who live different distances from the park may plan different types of trips:

  • Multi-visit locals (Within 40 miles)
  • Day trippers (40 to 100 miles)
  • Over nighters (Over 100 miles)

Consider content for each segment.

Now see if your segments make a difference in content. Determine how the messages, imagery and offers could differ for each of the segment’s needs.

Parents with young children would probably respond to content focused on smaller rides. Parents with elementary and middle school kids would look for more exciting attractions. High school and college students hang out with friends and take on the big roller coasters. Grandparents want see their grandchildren on rides while being able to sit and rest enjoying shows and restaurants.

With the geographic segments messaging and offers could get more focused. People within 40 miles would be most interested in season passes whether talking to families, teens or grandparents. People 40 to 100 miles away are most likely interested in day trips. Those over 100 miles away may want to know about other area attractions and park plus hotel packages for a multi-day trip.

Plan out content combinations.

Now plan out a content segment grid. Link various segments together to determine how many content variations you need.

Based on the amusement park brainstorming we have identified 12 market segments (4 X 3 = 12). Four are based on age and family demographics and three are based geographic variables. In a social media or display advertising campaign each of these 12 segments could be targeted with a unique message, image and promotional offer.

How to segment your social media and digital media target audiences
Link audience segments together to determine possible content variations.

Consider your CRM data.

Most companies have customer relationship management (CRM) databases that could add another layer of segmentation. Look at that data for meaningful segments. This could help you rule out segments or find additional ones.

The amusement park could use their CRM to discover that the market for grandparents purchasing tickets is fairly small and decide not to target them. Their adult children tend to plan and purchase tickets for trips where the parents, younger children and grandparents come together. The data reveals parents purchase tickets for the high school and college students yet they often go to the park with friends. Thus, that audience may still be a worthwhile target as they influence the decision.

From these narrowed down segments the amusement park could send emails out to past customers with the segmented communications we’ve identified. Then from their email data they could create a remarketing campaign through custom audiences in social media and display advertising.

Unique remarketing messages could target email subscribers who:

  • Did not open the email
  • Opened the email but did not click
  • Clicked to the website but didn’t purchase

From the CRM database they also know how often people visit per year. They could target previous season ticket holders and people who visited three times on individual tickets with different season ticket messages.

They also know who has gone to concerts at the park amphitheater. They could target people who have been to concerts but not to the amusement park with a concert and park ticket package message, image and offer.

Additional possible segments from CRM data:

  • Previous season ticket holders
  • People who purchased 3 individual trips
  • People who purchased concert tickets

Look at your customer journey.

In any business their is a unique customer journey where customers move through various pre-purchase, purchase and post-purchase stages. People in these different stages tend to seek different information.

Consider additional segments to target people in each of these stages with different content. This could include brand awareness, product, sales promotion, customer service, loyalty and advocacy messages.

When creating online social, video and display ads services such as YouTube and Google Advertising allow intent targeting for more relevant messages. Tara Walpert-Levy of Brand Solutions at Google explains it this way:

Let’s take the example of someone interested in buying a winter coat. To date, if you wanted to target video ads for winter coats, you could guess a demographic that might be more likely to buy winter coats (say, women 18 to 34) or use psychographics to target people who might be particularly into preparing for winter (say, ski enthusiasts). Intent signals eliminate that guesswork. You can serve ads to people who searched for winter coat deals, spent a lot of time scouting nearby ski resorts, or scrolled through coats in a shopping app.

Mobile campaigns that used intent-based targeting were found to have 20% higher ad recall and 50% higher brand awareness lift versus demographic targeting alone.

Create your content for each segment.

Once you have your audience segments you are ready to create your unique content. As seen in the chart above some will require only one customization while other contact may require customizing message, image and offer. Cristina Caligiuri and Ben Jones of Google’s Unskippable Labs have run experiments in testing how much you should customize in video ads. Across all forms of content be sure to follow best practices for content writing and design. Then run with it!

Measure results and optimize.

Going through this process you will most likely end up with many possibilities. Keep in mind that it is probably not worth segmenting messages to them all. Not every additional segment you create will produce significant improvements.

That is why you must measure results and optimize along the way. If the segment doesn’t increase conversions, stop using it and try something else. But the fact is segmentation works. A recent brand loyalty study found 75% of emails opened most frequently contain segmentation.

The amusement park may discover conversion on targeting multi-day trips to high school/college students over 100 miles away is too low. Instead they might try targeting adults 25-34 without kids for overnight park and concert trips.

How can you segment your target audience for improved results?