Paid Advertising
Social Media Advertising

Social PPC: Separating Myth from Reality

7 minute read

Pay-per-click advertising on social networks has existed for several years, but has only recently started gaining traction. Social PPC is great, in that it allows advertisers to pinpoint audiences and target them directly on their platform of choice; it’s a great way to place your ads in front of your ideal customers. However, because social PPC is such a new concept to so many people, there are tons of myths and misconceptions surrounding the practice. Let us help you separate fact from fiction:

Myth vs Reality #1

Myth: You Should Run 1-2 Promoted Updates at a Time per Platform

Reality: The More Promoted Updates You Have, the Better Engagement You Receive

Advertisers who are new to social PPC often are afraid of busting their budgets and triggering ad burnout by running multiple campaigns on any one platform, and are more comfortable with only running one or two ads.

While keeping the budget small is a good strategy for advertisers who want to acclimatize to social PPC, keeping the number of ads small as well isn’t the best plan. SEM professionals at gyro have found that 3-5 ads live at the same time greatly increased engagement, click-through rate, and lead volume levels.  Run your own tests while publishing your updates to find the optimal number for your brand.

Myth vs Reality #2

Myth: You Have to Have an Organic Presence in the Social Channel to Use Their Ads Platform

Reality: Some Channels Require an Account, but None Require Activity

Twitter Ads require a Twitter account and handle, and LinkedIn Ads require a Company Page, but there is no rule that states you have to actively post and engage on the channel in order to use social PPC there. The joy of this tactic is how easy it is for advertisers to target audiences – age, location, job title, and interests are all valid criteria advertisers can use when setting an ad’s audience. The amount of company updates you have does not affect your ad targeting.

However, the types of ads you can run can be limited by a lack of activity on the social channel. Twitter promoted posts, Facebook promoted posts, and LinkedIn sponsored updates require account activity, as you are choosing to make a post an ad with these options. Yet there are still plenty of options for advertisers who do not have a robust social media presence, including Twitter promoted accounts, Facebook sidebar ads, and LinkedIn ads.

Myth vs Reality #3

Myth: Facebook Custom Audiences Are Perfect for Creating Small, Highly-Targeted Audience

Reality: You Can Create High-Targeted Audiences, but They Can’t be Too Small

Facebook Custom Audiences allow advertisers to create multiple audience groups based on specified criteria. The level of customization and levels of categorization are unparalleled in any other marketing medium, with the exception of email marketing, and Custom Audiences was the feature that really grew excitement for social PPC.

Unfortunately, many advertisers forgot one tiny detail – Facebook requires that Custom Audiences contain at least 1,000 individuals, or the platform will stop showing ads to that audience. While you can drill your audience down into finite segments, you need to make sure your segment is meaty enough for Facebook to deem relevant.

There is a way to use Custom Audiences to build small segments; start with a large Custom Audience base, then drill it down using Facebook’s Lookalike Audience feature. That way, you get your small, highly targeted segments, and don’t sacrifice impression numbers to do so.

Myth vs Reality #4

Myth: Twitter Ads is a Pay-Per-Click Platform

Reality: Twitter Ads is a Pay-Per-Engagement Platform

Many advertisers use Twitter ads to broaden the reach of their account, or of a certain Tweet. This is a good social PPC strategy, but it’s important to remember that you don’t pay for each click, but for each engagement with the ad – and on Twitter, there are lots of ways to engage with an ad.

For example, a user could:

  • Click on a link in the ad
  • Click on the ad image to expand it
  • Click on a hashtag in the ad
  • Click on any Twitter handles in the ad
  • Favorite the ad
  • Retweet the ad
  • Follow the account from the ad
  • Reply to any handle in the ad using @
  • Click on a lead generation card in the ad

While only a few of these actions might be directly relatable to the ad’s goal, you will be charged for any of them – which means costs can skyrocket quickly. Twitter Ads are definitely a solid social PPC tactic, but it’s important to note that you’ll incur more costs with them than you would expect from a strictly PPC campaign.


Social PPC is a fantastic way to broaden your brand reach and to place ads directly in front of your target audiences. While there are lots of misconceptions floating around the practice, the results from a social PPC campaign can definitely be worth taking the time to familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of the practice.

Wonder how social PPC can fit into your overall SEM strategy? Ask inSegment for a free PPC tune-up, and we can audit your existing strategy and execution to help you identify the positives – and spot room for improvement.