By the year 2020, $113 billion is expected to be spent on social media advertising in the United States alone. Whether you’re a social media ads manager yourself, or a business looking to hire an effective one, it’s important you know what is necessary for success.
Continue reading to find out what’s involved in Hootsuite’s social ads expert Gabrielle Maheux’s typical day, including tips and tricks to make your social ad efforts as efficient as possible.
A day in the life of Hootsuite’s social media ads manager
9 a.m. Check all ad platforms
“The first thing I do when I get into the office is check all of the programs I have ads running on,” Maheux says. These include:
- AdEspresso for an overview of how ads are performing with top metrics, total spend, conversions, and boost posts. This tool also makes it easy to A/B test different versions of ads.
- Facebook Ads Manager for creating and managing Facebook and Instagram ad campaigns.
- Twitter Ads to see how campaigns are performing on Twitter with comprehensive targeting and analytics tools.
- Hootsuite Impact for a detailed report on all paid and organic ads, with a full view of the health of channels and ROI. The tool also provides recommendations on how to optimize ad spend and targeting.
- Hootsuite Ads so you can promote your organic posts alongside your paid advertising to increase engagement and impact—all from within the Hootsuite dashboard.
10 a.m. Meet with stakeholders and other teams
A social media ads manager’s job is to help the business as a whole—not just one department. Maheux spends a sizeable portion of her week meeting with other teams who need paid content to support their campaigns. These teams can be anyone from product marketing to the blog.
Before running social ads for any department, Maheux and the team managers need to determine campaign goals. This helps establish whether paid ads are a good fit for the project goals, and how the campaign should be structured. Setting goals also makes it easier to measure success once the campaign is over.
Maheux recommends setting objectives with stakeholders using S.M.A.R.T. goals—those which are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. For example, instead of the stakeholder stating their goal is to “increase conversions,” ask them by how much, and what their timeline is. Once you have worked together to set specific goals, it’s much easier to determine how social ads can support those objectives.
Some potential goals to get the discussion started:
- Generating sales. Make sure a specific number and timeline are set. An example for this goal would be “We want to generate $500,000 in revenue by the end of Q1,” rather than “We want to make more money.” For more information on setting goals and objectives, see our guide The ROI of Social Media.
- Brand awareness. Instead of “We want more Likes on our business’ Page,” set a goal like “We want to increase positive sentiment on our Facebook posts by 15 percent by the end of the calendar year.”
- Mobile engagement. If your brand has a mobile app, one of your business goals might be to “increase downloads of the app.” AdEspresso finds that only 22 percent of downloaded apps get used more than once, so the goal here could be to “increase the number of returning app users by 45 percent by the end of Q3.”
11 a.m. Create ads
Of course, Maheux spends part of her day actually creating ads. To do this, she works with other teams to get the necessary creative assets such as ad copy as well as images or video. Once this is done, she creates the ads using Hootsuite Ads or AdEspresso.
“When creating ads, you really need to think about what platform they’ll be running on, as well as what kinds of devices,” Maheux explains. “The specs for different networks are important to pay attention to, to make sure your ad looks the best it can.”
More than 80 percent of social media users access their networks on a mobile device, so keep this in mind when creating your ads.
For quick reference, check out these guides to desktop and mobile ad specs:
- Facebook ad specs:
- Recommended image size: 1,200 x 628 pixels
- Headline: 25 characters
- Text: 90 characters
- Instagram ad specs:
- Caption: Text only, max 2,200 characters
- Image size: 1080 x 1080 pixels
- Limited support for landscape format
- Twitter ad specs:
- Tweet copy: 116 characters are available (24 characters are used for the Conversational Card)
- Hashtag: 21 characters
- Headline: 23 characters
- Snapchat ad specs:
- Length: 3 to 10 seconds
- File size maximum: 32GB
- Canvas: 1080 by 1920 pixels
- LinkedIn ad specs:
- Thumbnail image size: 1200 x 627 pixels (1.91:1 ratio) displayed on mobile
- Company logo: The recommended minimum logo size is 100 x 100 pixels
- Primary CTA (below images): Maximum 50 characters including spaces
12 p.m. Review ad performance
Around lunchtime, Maheux checks up on her active ad campaigns. “Constant monitoring is an essential part of the social ads cycle,” she explains.
Once you have an ad running, you can’t simply set it and forget it. You need to be ready to make adjustments as needed. For Maheux, this means checking:
- Which audience is performing best (when testing different audience segments), and removing segments that might be costing too much
- Which ad creative is working best within a campaign and removing or changing any ad copy or design asset that isn’t performing. This allows her to funnel money back into ads that are performing best
When asked what the biggest challenge she faces in a day, Maheux says: “Not being on top of things can cost you a lot. If your audience isn’t working well and is using up too much of your budget—and you aren’t stopping it—this is a huge issue. Paid social is about efficiently reaching those who are ready to hear your message, and you don’t want to blow a budget on closed eyes and ears.”
1 p.m. Report and analyze data
At the end of every week or campaign, Maheux takes a look at how the ads are performing and considers:
- What ad is performing best
- What could account for that ad’s success
- What results are coming from different audiences
- How different ad copy is performing
- What targeting options are working for her campaigns
- Reporting metrics: total spend, Cost-Per-View, Cost-Per-Click, Cost-Per-Engagement, and Cost-Per-Impression
This information helps Maheux make strategic decisions in the future: “After I look at the data, I build an analysis based off of this. By looking at it from a higher level, I can discover which audiences work well, and which ones don’t. Once I can see what content or targeting methods aren’t working, I can adjust my budget and stop putting money towards those ads.”
2 p.m. Tracking conversions
The Facebook Pixel is a key tool for Maheux. It lets her see if the audience is taking action after viewing an ad.
The pixel is a piece of code you put on your website that activates cookies to track users as they interact with your Facebook ads.
With the Facebook Pixel, you can track conversions, use the data to optimize your ads, create audiences based on who you want to target, and retarget qualified leads (people who have already interacted with your website.)
As our post The Facebook Pixel: What It Is and How to Use It explains:
There are nine standard Facebook pixel events for which you can simply copy and paste standard Facebook event code:
- View content: Someone lands on a page on your website.
- Search: Someone uses the search function to look for something on your site.
- Add to cart: Someone adds a product to their shopping cart on your site.
- Add to wishlist: Someone adds a product to a wishlist on your site.
- Initiate checkout: Someone starts the checkout process to buy something from your site.
- Add payment info: Someone enters their payment information in the purchase process on your website.
- Make a purchase: Someone completes a purchase on your website.
- Lead: Someone signs up for a trial or otherwise identifies themselves as a lead on your site.
- Complete registration: Someone completes a registration form on your site, such as for a subscription product.
For more information on the Facebook Pixel, check out our complete guide to the Facebook Pixel.
3 p.m. Planning and budgeting
“A huge part of running social ads is knowing how to plan and budget effectively,” Maheux explains. “It’s important to think ahead, know what campaigns are coming up, and how paid ads can support these.”
To choose content for upcoming campaigns, Maheux takes a look at what content is performing organically. If a certain Facebook post is resonating with the audience, there’s a good chance it’ll work as an ad as well.
In addition to choosing top-performing organic content for future paid campaigns, Maheux concentrates on budget. “When looking at the campaign overall, I need to think about how much we should spend on each piece of content and how we can hit our targets with this content. For example, if we spend $100 on a video ad and the cost-per-view is two cents, how many views will that get us, and will that number of views help us hit our goals?”
To help forecast the cost-per-view (CPV), Maheux looks at previous paid content and what the final costs were. Here are some of her other tips for keeping your social media ad budget in check:
- Test your ads organically first. Create different versions of your ad (with several copy and visual combinations) and post them to your social media profiles. Pay close attention to what resonates with your audience, and then use these as your paid ads. If you’re sticking to a budget, you don’t want to waste any money on content that has no chance of performing well.
- Pay close attention to your audience. Create audience personas, conduct marketing surveys, and monitor your target audience carefully to understand what kind of content will resonate with them. Start by running ads on the platforms where you get the most organic engagement, and build your strategy from there.
- Monitor your campaigns closely. As Maheux says, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is not keeping a close eye on how your ads are performing. If you quickly end an ineffective campaign, you save money which you can then put towards ads that are actually getting results.
4 p.m Brainstorm different testing plans
Near the end of the day, Maheux takes time to brainstorm different ways to evaluate ad performance. The testing of paid campaigns is crucial to their success, and Maheux has a set of questions she asks herself before jumping in.
“At the outset of every ad, I have to ask, what question is this ad answering for us? What problem are we solving by testing this audience versus another, this platform versus this one, who are we reaching here, and are we answering the right questions?” Maheux says.
She is a big believer in making sure all of your ads are answering the same questions, and solving the same overall problems for your audience.
Her tips for evaluating and testing ad performance:
- Create a testing strategy. Rather than just winging it, make sure you have a process you can apply to all your campaigns. This removes variables and helps you see what’s working—and what isn’t—much easier.
- Define the campaign questions first. Before you start testing different ads against one another, understand why you are doing so. Figure out what main question your ad is trying to answer for your audience, and how testing different variations will help provide this more clearly. For example an audience question or pain point could be “How do I measure the impact of our social efforts effectively? Once you know what question you are trying to answer, you can better test different variations on the core message.
- Think about what success looks like. Focus on what types of action you want your ad audience to take, and how this connects to the bigger picture (rather than vanity metrics). It’s much easier to test when you know what your desired results are.
For a more detailed breakdown of social media ad testing and results, see our post Are Your Social Media Ads Paying Off? 8 Metrics You Should Be Tracking.
5 p.m Check on ad performance one last time
“Paid social is a definite cycle,” Maheux explains. Before she leaves for the day, she checks on her ad performance one last time. Tomorrow? She’ll do it all again.