Three Paid Social Must-Haves

By , Social Strategist, Hanson Dodge

In a saturated, steady stream of Facebook posts, the brands that rise to the top are the ones that pay to play. Long gone are the days of posting organic content and hoping for high levels of reach and engagement. As Facebook continues to refine its algorithm, brands should continue to expect to pay to ensure their content delivers reach and awareness beyond their current audiences. With endless targeting parameters and hundreds of different strategic avenues to take, mapping out a paid social campaign can seem daunting. And doling out those precious media dollars can feel like a shot in the dark.

In the ever-changing digital environment, there’s no wrong path to a successful social campaign. At Hanson Dodge, however, we have developed a proven formula that outlines the imperatives for any paid social media campaign.

Step 1: Identify the target.

Who are you trying to reach? Are you hoping to capture a new audience or engage audiences already loyal to the brand?

In any advertising campaign, there are three potential buckets of people to target:

  1. UNAWARE: A consumer who's never heard of or interacted with the brand.
  2. AWARE: A consumer with general knowledge of the brand who's interacted previously or has friends who've purchased, but they have never purchased themselves.
  3. LOYAL: A consumer who's converted once or multiple times. They know the brand well and are proud to be associated with it.

Step 2: Determine your objective.

What's the desired outcome of this campaign?

Align your ad objectives to the customer decision journey. Is the audience unfamiliar with the brand? Or have they been window shopping your website for months? The magic of paid social is that brands can successfully move an unaware consumer through the purchase funnel toward becoming a loyal consumer. But completing this process takes time. It’s important to focus on one of the three major campaign objectives for each campaign, hone in on the customers’ needs in their step on the journey, and to enhance those relationships with your brand.

Campaign Objectives and Tactics

Step 3: Align creative to ad type.

Picking creative is a vital step in the campaign process. Though all pieces work together to generate a successful campaign, it's the creative that gets a consumer to stop, read, and interact. According to the Facebook Creative Shop, ads are consumed in three unique ways, and paid social creative will align to one of these ad types to achieve the campaign’s desired results.


  1. IMMEDIATE (on-the-go): Ads a consumer sees while scrolling through the newsfeed. This behavior doesn't offer much thought to what’s being shown. As consumers, we see literally hundreds of feet of content in our newsfeed each day.It's easy for us to glance over immediate ad types frequently. These types of ads are a brand’s evergreen content and play a vital role in introducing a brand and consumer.
  2. INTERACTIVE (lean in): This is the most engaging ad unit and includes a strong call-to-action. Consumers utilizing an interactive ad unit are very engaged in the content. The latter could include carousels, video, scrolling, doodling, quizzes, etc.
  3. IMMERSIVE (lean back): This is how we capture consumers when they’re the most receptive to our message. They have time to spend and digest the brands message, which is typically in a long form article or video.

Though this article just skims the surface in the complex process of creating a successful paid social media campaign, incorporating these three steps can make the execution more streamlined, strategic, and impactful. If you’re interested in learning more about our capabilities, process and results, check out our Paid Social Capabilities page, or reach out and we’ll chat!

Erika Burghardt, Social Strategist, Hanson Dodge

Erika's expertise at Hanson Dodge includes paid social media strategy and activation planning. Her in-depth knowledge of each platform, and the ability to sell product across social channels, has helped clients reach new consumers, grow bigger, and hit goals. Along with her paid social media experience, Erika brings a vast understanding of the retail world to Hanson Dodge. 

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