May 23, 2022
7 Min Read
Paid social is the second largest paid media channel behind search advertising. It represents about £150 bn of online advertising spend annually, bigger than the GDP of Hungary. It is an enormous advertising channel and one that is only going to grow as social media expands. And behind every one of those advertising pounds spent there is a person 'turning the dials' to make sure the ad spend ultimately turns into revenue for those advertisers. Each one of these people is a paid social expert; they are the people behind the ads that you see in your social media feed.
Paid social experts are responsible for the set up, management and optimisation of ad spend on the social media platforms.
Paid social experts are specialists at managing ads on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snap, and Tik Tok
They will spend their days inside the ad platforms that are owned by each of the social media platforms. These platforms provide the tools for a paid social expert to manage every element of the ad campaigns for their clients.
Here are some of the tasks that a paid social expert will do inside the social media ad platforms:
• Setting up the account: linking to your business, and payment options.
• Tracking: installing the appropriate tracking on your site or app to ensure that you can track and optimise the spend through to return on your investment.
• Campaign management: setting up the budgets, daily spend levels and bid strategies.
• Targeting: building audiences to target with your ads. Custom audiences, retargeting, stacked audiences - the options are almost limitless.
• Creative: setting up the creative in the platform. Constructing the ad (using assets you provide) as well as often writing the supporting ad copy.
• Reporting: usually reporting weekly or daily depending on the volume of spend.
• Optimisation: changing the settings in the platform depending on results. Creating and running new tests and experiments to improve performance over time.
Here are a few paid social media experts on Traktion. You can review their profiles to get an idea of the kind of experience they have:
Paid social platforms like Facebook have made it extremely easy to spend money with them. Facebook alone has 8 million advertisers, most of which are small or medium sized enterprises (SMEs). The ease of getting started with paid social ads means that many business owners try it out for themselves initially. They then find themselves spending money on paid social and are quickly drawn into the management of campaigns almost by accident. The challenge with paid social advertising is that you can't set it up and forget it. You need to be in the account daily to make the necessary improvements to creative and audiences to continue to make it work effectively and not waste money. Very quickly businesses discover the need for an expert to manage their paid social ads.
As a general rule if you are spending upwards of £1-2k per month on social ads it's probably worth hiring a paid social specialist.
It's not worth hiring someone to do your paid social ads if you are only spending a few pounds per day. The economics of it simply wont ad up as you will have to pay for their time as well as the ads. But there is a point where it becomes more cost effective to hire a specialist. Usually once you are spending £1-2k per month it's advisable to bring in a specialist (unless you want to spend all your time optimising paid social ads yourself).
We've interviewed hundreds of paid social experts in the last year and there is a fairly common set of attributes among the most successful.
Here are some of the key attributes that make a successful paid social expert:
✔️ T-Shaped: the paid social market is moving extremely quickly.The best paid social experts may be specialist in one platform today but also continuously testing other platforms to enable clients to move tomorrow. They tend to be T shaped experts.
✔️ Data driven: there are so many challenges with conversion data (thanks largely to Apple's policy changes) that paid social experts have to be extremely well honed on tracking not just analytics.
✔️ Full funnel: increasingly paid social experts need full funnel expertise. A deep understanding of how brand (top of funnel) connects to performance (bottom of funnel) and the bit in between.
✔️ Creative: one of the biggest drivers of performance is creative - even more so now with the migration from static to video. The most successful paid social experts understand audience and creative performance in equal measures.
First off there are a bunch of simple questions you should ask any paid social candidate. You will want to know what sort of clients they work on (what vertical e.g eCom Vs Saas) , how many clients they work on each month, the average size of monthly budget managed, and what platforms they specialise in. These are all good standard questions to ask that help differentiate candidates and tell you where their area of expertise lies. What comes next are the essential questions that really separate the average candidates from the rockstars.
🔎 Question 1: Apple introduced some significant changes last year with iOS 14 that impacted paid social advertising. How did those changes affect your clients ?
💡 Answer: Apple's IOS 14 update introduced opt in tracking (previously was opt out). This has affected paid social advertisers in 3 ways: audience sizes, attribution and conversion accuracy. For many advertisers reported performance will have dropped as a result. A good candidate will acknowledge the problem, and talk through how they addressed the tracking changes to make sure their clients campaigns remained stable
🔎 Question 2: Audiences are spending more and more time on the new breed of social media platforms. How are you preparing your clients for this ?
💡 Answer : New breed platforms like Tik Tok are stealing share of social media time from audiences, particularly Gen Z. Ad dollars tend to follow audience shifts. A good candidate will understand this shift in audience behaviour and be testing the emerging channels so their clients are not left behind. They should be able to share insights from these tests and comparative performance benchmarks.
🔎 Question 3: Creative is increasingly the difference between success and failure for brands on paid social. What formats are you seeing work best in 2022 ?
💡 Answer: This answer will depend on their clients. There is no right answer to this one but they should have a very clear view of what formats are available and what formats work for different types of brands in different verticals at different stages of spend. Video should feature heavily in the answer no matter what as most platforms are pushing advertisers into video.
🔎 Question 4: What tools do you use outside of the ad platforms to help you improve the performance of your clients' paid social campaigns ?
💡 Answer: Just using the tools that come baked into the paid social ad platforms is not enough these days. There are a bunch of tools out there (e.g Madgicx, Jasper.ai) that help paid social experts do their jobs better. A good candidate will a) know what these tools are and b) be smart enough to have invested in/tested them to drive better performance for their clients
🔎 Question 5: How do you balance automated Vs human optimisation with your paid social campaigns to get the best results ?
💡 Answer: Most ad platforms want as much automation as possible. In reality the best results are often driven by using the platform to automate certain things and using human decisions and insight for others. A great candidate will be able to clearly articulate where automation work but also where it doesn't.
The above questions and their associated answers should give you a good idea whether to hire the paid social candidate.
If you’re looking to hire a proven and verified freelance Paid Social expert, you can do this for free using Traktion. You can access the world’s very best specialists through our easy-to-use platform.