Paid social: 5 things to always consider

Based on 5+ years of hands-on experience.

Fi Shailes
3 min readMar 10, 2021

Crafting social ads isn’t rocket science

But… there is a bit of a knack to it.

And, linked to this is the ability to think about the following:

a) What makes for an impactful ad (which includes your messaging and creative)


b) How to optimise ads so they perform the best they can on your social platform/s of choice

Here are some questions/a checklist you can use to ‘sense check’ any paid social ads you have in production (there are actually a few more questions I could include here, but the below are based around the issues I believe arise the most).

#1. Have you optimised the ad copy by sticking to recommended character limits?

I get it. Character counts can be a bit annoying when you’re trying to shoehorn a complex message into an already small ad space. Hear me out though. It’s really important that you try and stick to any limits so that you avoid your messaging (which may include your CTA wording) being truncated — particularly for those users on mobiles.

Character limits also challenge you to be clearer and more succinct with your messaging; messaging which might otherwise end up reading as quite vague or ‘waffly’.

#2. Is the ad really going to work for mobile users?

Related to the character count point above is that of the suitability of your final ad for mobile users (aka: having the ‘mobile first’ mindset).

Beyond the copy aspect, does the image you’ve produced contain too much text — or are any logos/captions simply going to be too small for people to read? Have you tried to cram too much on there, full-stop? Take an objective look at what you’ve got (even if time is tight and you just want to get it done) it’s wise to make any amends needed now — rather than just ‘go with it’.

Making minor tweaks to improve the readability aspect, for example, could positively impact the final ad’s performance.

#3. Does the ad’s image actually work with the copy?

Sounds obvious, but it’s a common pitfall in situations where copy and design teams are not working together in unison.

Whether your image is conceptual or spelling something out as a statement, the elements of the whole ad need to work together. No matter what order the users’ eyes scan the elements of your ad, it should still makes sense to them!

#4. Is the right CTA wording on the CTA button?

Platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn have set wording options for their CTA buttons, so make sure you factor this into any creative mock-ups and drafts, rather than creating some ultimately academic wording! (‘See it now’ or ‘Download whitepaper’ is not CTA wording you can use on LinkedIn for example…)

#5. Will the ad actually make sense to the audience?

If you were looking at these social ads ‘in situ’, would they make sense to you?

Would you understand the messaging, and would it be engaging enough to make you complete the action it wants you to?

If the answer to any of these is ‘no’, it’s time for some more tweaks…

I personally find that trying to put myself in the shoes of the end user and making an effort to think objectively about the ad creative all the way through the process can really help keep you on track.

Because, no matter who you’re producing those ads for; a client, an employer, or even a colleague…

…the audience is the thing.



Fi Shailes

Content strategist and copywriter for B2B | Editor at | Twitter: @Writefulcopy | Better Marketing columnist ✍🏼