A quickfire guide for how to optimize social media ad campaigns

Whether you need to readjust your social media strategy or you need a quick refresher, use these tips to get the most out of your social media ad campaigns.

Optimizing your website for speed and your content for search engine visibility might have been sitting at the top of your priority pile for a few years by now. But what about optimizing social media ad campaigns? The campaigns might run themselves, but their performance can always be improved and shouldn’t be taken for granted.

We’ve put together a few points that will show you how to optimize social media ad campaigns – oh, and why you should actually be doing it. Truthfully, a lot of the same principles that apply to SEO will carry over to social media ad campaigns, but there are obviously a few differences, too.

How to optimize social media ad campaigns

1. Check your headline text (and copy)

HubSpot put together three key tips when creating a Facebook ad headline, but honestly, the same principles can be applied to most, if not all, social media ad campaigns. Ensure that your headline text is:

  • Customized
  • Clear
  • Concise


Shopify’s ad headline is short, sweet and to the point – getting the message across immediately.

Your headline is the perfect chance to push your key selling point or promotion. Use plain English, and keep it short… nobody likes a long headline!

2. Have you set up your target audience appropriately?

Once you’ve selected your target audience, it doesn’t mean you can’t change it in the future. In fact, it’s important to tweak your target audience, ideally by refining it, over time.

The team over at Sprout Social has suggested a few key pointers when it comes to defining your true target audience. Keep these in mind when you’re choosing who you’d like to target with your social media ad campaign. Then, once your ad has been running for a while, revisit your target audience and ask yourself the tough questions.

Are these people really our target audience? Do we need to change our focus to a younger generation? Is it actually young professionals, not just senior heads of departments we’re targeting with these ads?

3. Are your images eye-catching or off-putting?

Along with your headline, the imagery you choose to use for any social media ad campaign is crucial. It’s the first thing that catches the eye of the user. If it’s unappealing, irrelevant, or offensive, you’ll have a hard time getting the engagement or acquisition numbers you were hoping for.


Slack’s ad image uses bright colors and because it’s a little out there than generic images, it captures attention fast.

Oh, and we cannot stress the importance of getting the correct image size dimensions for each particular ad campaign. Luckily, Canva has put together an image sizing list to help you get the shape/format of your graphics spot on.

4. Does your call to action make sense?

If you’ve read our piece on top performing CTAs for social ads you’ll know exactly what they all have in common. In short:

  1. They’re logical: Focus on the basics above all else. Does it make sense for the CTA to say “Buy Now” when you haven’t described any product or service that someone could purchase?
  2. They’re compelling: “Buy this” is not compelling, but “Start free trial” is a lot more enticing.
  3. They’re easy to read: Just like your headlines, CTAs are not the place for long, obscure language. Keep it simple, concise and clear.

5. Are you budgeting for success or failure?

It’s crucial to understand what you’re paying for with your social media ad campaign. A large part of its success will be your ability to apply more budget to higher performing ad versions and reduce your expenditure on those ads that aren’t doing so well.

You’re not completely on your own though. Facebook, for example, has a budget optimization tool that uses an algorithm to automatically optimize your budget distribution across ad sets and based on your audience size, etc.

Key takeaways to help you optimize your social media ad campaigns

Optimizing your social media ad campaigns is a surefire way to ensure you’re constantly improving their performance. In summary, our five tips on how to optimize social media ad campaigns are as follows:

  1. Check your headline
  2. Check the audience you’re targeting
  3. Review the imagery you’re using
  4. Ensure your CTA makes sense
  5. Use your budget wisely

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