20 October 2017

The Skills Needed to Successfully Run a Social Media Ad Campaign


Why social media advertisement requires a digital marketing unicorn

If you’re like most SMEs, you don’t have a twenty person marketing team. In fact, it might even be a one-man band. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. For one, you never have to worry about in-team communication issues! But a one person team does have the burden of servicing multiple channels, many of which require wildly different skillsets. Even small teams may struggle to delegate tasks when their own skills are so distinct and diverse.

When it comes to running social media ad campaigns, the responsibility could land on any number of people. And if you’re running the whole digital marketing show yourself, you may be surprised at the wide variety of skills a campaign like this actually takes. So whether you’re looking to brush up on some skills you may be lacking or trying to figure out who, exactly, should be taking on this task, read on.

Feel you’re already up to the challenge? Have a look at our Advanced Guide to Social Media Ads to see how you can start leveraging the reach of some of the most popular social media channels.
Advanced Social Media Guide


Digital marketing teams must inherently be multi-disciplinary. Social media managers, PPC experts, and content strategists are all valuable roles with unique skillsets and responsibilities, and small teams need to be able to cover these areas and more if their digital marketing efforts are going to be effective.

The problem for digital marketing teams and social media advertisement comes when it’s time to assign ownership of running the channel. The social media manager is most familiar with the platforms. The PPC managers are most comfortable running paid media campaigns. The content strategists may feel their input on audience targeting and content types is one of the most important aspects of a paid social strategy. So who, exactly, takes control? Social media advertisement requires a very diverse set of skills and more often than not, its appeal to so many different roles within a team land it in digital marketing limbo.

Data proficiency

Digital marketing relies on data. You need to be able to segment, slice, pivot, and graph those numbers to within an inch of their life in order to find areas where changes will make significant improvements. Too many social ad campaigns have ended up going nowhere because the resulting data is simply not analysed enough. Like any other DM strategy, continuous analysis and testing of hypotheses are critical to improvement. If your analysis ends with total number of likes gained or clicks on the ad over the course of a campaign, you’re simply not digging deep enough to continue justifying spending money on ads. Tear that data apart, get to the bottom of why things worked or didn’t and make an even better plan for next time.

unicorns on a beach

A herd of wild digital marketers research content ideas for their latest ad campaign.

Artistic Eye

Social media ads often have the unique advantage of being able to utilise imagery as well as extensive text (particularly in comparison to text ads on Google, for example). As such, having a knack for design is essential for a successful social campaign. Social differs from search advertising in many respects, but the most important of these differences is intent. Search advertising is entirely intent driven. Users have a question, you have the answer. But with social ads, the user intent is undefined. While demographic targeting is useful and widely available, there is still a strong reliance on the ad being visually interesting enough to capture a browsing attention. Imagery, therefore, must be well-designed, eye-catching and relevant. If you don’t already have an image database of professional photographs to lean on, this means it could be up to you become a part-time art director to make sure your ad campaigns are going to be successful.

Continuous Creativity

If you’re lucky, you may experience some instant success with your social ads, hitting the nail on the head from the get go. But if you’re like most digital marketers having their first try at a new channel, you’re likely to make a few mistakes and hit several bumps along the way. Whatever outcome, continuous production of new ideas and things to try is pivotal in being able to find exactly what’s going to work best for your brand. Don’t worry – this doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being sentenced to a never-ending brainstorming session. You can absolutely re-use old ideas in creative ways!

What you can’t do is push out the same old ads with the same old images for months at a time because it worked once upon a time. After a while your audience will not only get tired of seeing your ad, it might also just start to fade into the background. You can keep an eye on this by watching your ad frequency figures to make sure your audience doesn’t experience ad fatigue. You can also put a plan in place to consistently work on new copy and content ideas to keep things fresh and interesting.

Does it sound like I’ve set an impossible goal? There’s no doubt about it; social media ad campaigns require a lot of work, a lot of ingenuity, and a lot of clever thinking. But it is doable. It can even be done by just a single person if that person is willing to work hard at expanding any skills they may feel they’re lacking in. The most important thing to remember is that all of these skills can be improved simply by running campaigns and testing new things.

Ready to have a go at social media ads? Download our advanced guide to learn all about advertising on some of the social sphere’s most popular channels.
Advanced Social Media Guide




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