Fifty Explains... Paid Social

Written by
Fifty Team

21 Apr, 2022

Fifty Explains is a series that breaks down the different technologies, lingo and jargon of the ad tech world.

I need you to explain Paid Social.

Our pleasure. Essentially, paid social is a marketing strategy that displays adverts or sponsored marketing on social media platforms.

But there are different types of paid social and obviously different social platforms, so the kind of paid social strategy you use really depends on the audience you want to target and your campaign objectives.

Ok. So what types of paid social are there?

Well, you’ve got in-feed ads, boosted posts, influencer media and display ads –– and the platform will often dictate the type of advertising you use.

Tell me about it. How should I decide?

It depends who your target audience is and the product you’re selling, but each paid social channel has its benefits. Let’s look at them one by one:


Since Twitter is a word-focused social platform, paid social often comes in the form of an in-feed promoted tweet. Since promoted tweets exist alongside organic content, they often blend in seamlessly, feeling less obtrusive than other forms of advertising. Indeed, research by Twitter suggests that people are 31% more likely to remember what they read on Twitter as compared to general online browsing.


The benefits of LinkedIn is the specificity of its audience. This is a place where people go for professional networking, so if you’re looking to launch a B2B campaign, this is a great platform to do it. On LinkedIn, you can use in-feed promoted posts or text display ads to capture the attention of a very targeted group of professionals.


Instagram is arguably the most visual of the social platforms. Here in-feed advertising can be static images or videos. Ad placements can also exist on the Explore page and within the video-based Stories and Reels verticals within the app.

Influencer marketing is also part of paid social strategies on Instagram. Here you have a content creator making a sponsored post on your behalf, within their feed, Stories or Reels.


Facebook also offers similar paid social offerings to the other platforms. You can have in-feed ads as sponsored posts or display ads and text-based ads that exist in sidebars.

But the biggest differentiation point of Facebook – what it has above all other platforms – is massive scale.

Globally, it had over 2.9 billion monthly active users in December 2021 and in the UK it is used by 43 million people, which is over 64% of its population, monthly. Of the UK’s monthly active users, 45% use Facebook more than once a day.

Instagram –– which is also owned by Facebook’s parent company Meta –– has 1.4 billion, so half of Facebook while Twitter has ‘only’ 436 million.

Ok, so I understand the platforms and what can I do on them, but why would I use paid social?

There are several reasons to have it as a part of your digital marketing toolbox. Firstly, as hinted above –– there are billions of people on it! Over half (53.6%) of the world’s population is using social media, on average, for nearly 2.5 hours daily, according to Smart Insights.

Secondly, they are a relatively cost effective form of advertising versus traditional methods. Some work on a pay-per-click (PPC) model (something we explain more here) while others work on cost per mille (CPM), which means you pay for every thousand impressions. You are not paying for the audience to engage with the ad, you are paying for them to see it. Depending on the goal of your campaign, whether it’s to build brand awareness or leads or conversion, paid social is generally low cost. In 2021, for instance, the average CPC cost was £0.40, while CPM was £3.57 on Facebook.

Paid social also uses highly precise targeting to ensure you are reaching the correct audience. Through the different platforms, you can determine the type of audience you want to reach based on interests, demographics, location, profession and more. And while running a paid social campaign, you can also learn more about your audience through the metrics you receive, enabling you to create a feedback loop to build even more efficient targeting.

Sounds like a must have, if you ask me.

There are a lot of different strategies when it comes to digital marketing but if you are looking for a combination of reach and targeting precision, paid social is for you.

Fifty can help you grow your brand through a paid social strategy. Book a demo today to find out more.

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