Aligning Social Media Ad Objectives to the Right KPIs

Have you ever been disappointed by the outcome of a social media advertising campaign? It’s likely that your campaign was launched without properly aligning the social media ad objective with the appropriate KPIs.

Before you embark on your next social media advertising campaign, here are three important points to keep in mind to ensure success from the start, before your ads even appear on people’s newsfeeds.

Align our social ad objectives with the marketing funnel

Social media advertising platforms are designed to align with the marketing funnel. There are primarily three buckets of objectives you can choose from when setting up a campaign: Awareness, Consideration and Conversion – the top three layers of the funnel.

The very first step in setting up a campaign is setting your objective. This is basically the instruction manual for algorithms that says, “Please serve the ads I’m building in this campaign to people who match my targeting and are most likely to take this desired action.” When you set your objective, you’re setting a primary KPI, because it’s the one Meta, LinkedIn and Twitter will be optimizing and measuring its success against.

Use the correct KPIs for your campaign

Now that you’ve told the social media platform and its algorithms how to measure performance, you likely need to add some additional KPIs in order to meet your organization’s reporting needs. What is important here is to make sure additional KPIs you layer into your reporting are aligned with the objective you set at the beginning of your campaign.

You cannot launch an awareness campaign and be bummed you got no inquires on your contact form on your website. That’s a misalignment of campaign objectives. Here are some of the most common KPIs at those three objective levels:

  • Awareness: Impressions, Reach, Video Views, Post Engagement
  • Consideration: Clicks, Click-through Rate, Followers and Fans, Video Seconds Watched, Custom Events and Conversions
  • Conversion: Clicks, Click-through Rate, Downloads, Redemptions (Coupon Codes), Custom Events and Conversions

Manage expectations and teach along the way

We can deliver numbers all day long. There are dozens of metrics that are being monitored and measured when you’re running a campaign, but that’s not the same as results. Before you launch a campaign, a great question to ask leadership is, “What results are you looking to see?”

Educate your team by letting them know that setting the objective feeds the algorithms – and that you can only have one objective per campaign. You’re telling the platform that you need certain results – like a click, or a download – and the platform is going to place your ads ONLY into the feeds of individuals most likely to take that action.

For example, I have never clicked on an ad on social media. Meta is not going to serve me an ad with the objective of website traffic, because looking at my data and history, why would they waste an impression on me? They would, however, place a video ad in my feed that’s intended more for brand awareness because I am highly likely to stop scrolling and watch a video.

To do social media marketing well, you need time and intentionality. You can’t launch a conversion campaign and expect results overnight. It can take multiple campaigns, with multiple objectives, to help nurture someone through that marketing funnel to get them to convert to a customer. For your own education (and hey, maybe for your client or leader), I recommend watching The Social Dilemma to get an even greater understanding on how the algorithms work.

Casey Prentice

A self-proclaimed organizational junkie and data geek who confesses to a secret desire to be a professional organizer, Casey enjoys account management, writing, editing and digital content strategy. Her agency work has helped clients like Virginia’s Community Colleges, VCUarts and Swedish Match.

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