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How Brands Can Decide To Divvy Up Ad Spend Among Various Social Platforms

Par Forbes Agency Council

Reposted from Forbes Agency Council, January 11, 2023

Carol Levine, APR, Fellow CPRS is co-founder and CEO of Toronto-based public relations and corporate communications agency, energi PR, and a though leader on Forbes Agency Council. Here Carol joins fellow Forbes Agency Council PR, media, creative and ad agency executives on their Expert Panel to share trends and tips.  To learn more about energi PR visit  and follow us on LinkedIn, TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

A strong social media presence is essential to most brands’ success these days, with social advertising playing a key part in any company’s overall digital marketing strategy. While the majority of a brand’s target audience may spend a lot of time on one or two social platforms, there are bound to be other paths prospects follow into the inbound sales funnel.

A critical step that brands hoping to reach those consumers must take is figuring out how much of the marketing budget to devote to advertising on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube or other platforms. Below, 14 members of Forbes Agency Council explore the best ways to divvy up ad spend among the various social platforms to gain more strategic exposure and attract more prospective customers.

1. Look At Conversions

Where are your customers interacting with your content the most? And then what do they do after the interaction? If customers spend the most time with your content on Instagram, but they buy more often from Facebook, it’s important to consider what the goals are—visibility and brand recognition or immediate sales? Then, you can determine the budget for each platform. – Scott Keever, Scott Keever SEO

2. Leverage The 80/20 Rule

We leverage the 80/20 rule, where 80% of the spend is run to the most profitable sources and 20% is set aside for testing. But it’s super important to watch how other platforms feed into each other. A good marketing budget is an ecosystem where it all works together, but sometimes attribution is hard to forecast. “First click” and “sale click” are not always the same, of course. – Joe Burton, ROI Marketplace LLC

3. Start Small, And Do A/B Testing

When evaluating social media spend, brands need to look at which platforms their audience is most active on. List the top three, and spend accordingly. Some platforms are more expensive, so I recommend A/B testing and a test-and-learn approach. Start small, and if it grows or shows you ROI, then double down. Also, look at starting small with emerging platforms so that you aren’t left behind. – Christine Faulhaber, Faulhaber Communications

4. Scale Up The Most Profitable Sources

Without key insights from Google Analytics and data on omnichannel ad spend and return on ad spend, you won’t know where your most or least profitable traffic sources are. Scale up the most profitable sources, and scale down the least profitable ones. It’s not rocket science. It’s all about testing and seeing which platforms convert best for your ads. – Rohaan Khan, Orange Trail

5. Allocate Resources Per Data-Driven Insights

Data-driven insights are, by far, the best and, in my opinion, the only way to effectively allocate resources. Social platforms are as diverse as the audiences you need to reach, and the way to get it right is to know where your customers get their information, as well as what and who influences their buying decisions. Then, connect the dots. – Carol Levine, energi PR Inc

6. Identify Platforms Where You Have Organic Reach

One approach to divvying up ad spend among social platforms is to first identify the platforms where you have the most successful organic reach. If you are able to create content worthy of organic reach on a platform, then you can divert spending to platforms where you have less reach or fewer followers. Also, successful organic content is a clear indicator of content worth boosting as an ad. – A. Lee Judge, Content Monsta

7. Set Up Tracking Systems And Conversion Metrics

The first step is to set up detailed tracking—via tracking tags, pixels, UTM parameters and so on—which not only allows each service to optimize from within its platform but also allows you to track the user journey. The second step is setting up conversion metrics (pageviews, clicks, sales), which are success signals. The math is simple when you can track how the ad spend led to your desired goal. – Stefan Pollack, The Pollack Group

8. Double Down In Areas Where Competitors Aren’t Spending

Digital is a congested medium, so success in this space goes beyond understanding your target audience and their viewing preferences. The reality is, consumers are on all of these platforms. What is often overlooked is the competition and where they are placing their spend. Make your investment count by doubling down in the areas where the competition is not spending heavily. Break through the clutter! – Katie Schibler Conn, KSA Marketing

9. Get Crystal Clear On Who You Want To Reach

The best way to divvy up ad spend is to be crystal clear on the audience you want to reach. If it’s B2B, LinkedIn is a must. A bit more Gen-Z? Then it’s TikTok. Knowing who you want to reach—and what platform they are on—is the key to making the most of the ad investment. Then, it’s a win-win for everyone. – Leeza Hoyt, The Hoyt Organization, Inc.

10. Know Your Ad Campaign Goal And Target Demographic

Brands need to know the goal of their ad campaign and their target demographic to determine which social media platforms make sense to run the campaigns on. With that narrowed-down list of platforms, the campaigns must be run doing split tests to see which platforms and creatives work best. Based on the data, double down on the platform or platforms that most effectively generate the desired result. – Tony Pec, Y Not You Media

11. Decide What Role Social Channels Should Play

Do not lose sight of the forest for the trees. What role are you looking for social channels to play? Generating awareness? Engagement? Conversion is becoming a more viable social option. Think “role” first, and then allocate budget as you normally would across the customer journey. Additionally, while channels are adding capabilities, Meta has the most sophisticated commerce capabilities. – Mark Skroch, BCV Social

12. Gather Insights And Learn About Your Audience

Gather insights and learn about your audience to understand what works best. LinkedIn is great for Gen-X and older Millennials, but if your target audience is 18 to 24 years old, then you’re better off on TikTok. Understanding who you are marketing your products to will do wonders in terms of helping you divvy up ad spend. For us, Facebook and Instagram tend to be staff-focused, whereas LinkedIn and YouTube are client-centered. – Nataliya Andreychuk, Viseven

13. Use Social Listening To Mine Real-Time Consumer Data

Divvying up ad spend is where the whole point of really getting to know your target audience comes into play. But advertisers will need to go beyond the basics of defining demographics and generalizing patterns. They will need to mine consumer data at that moment—in real time—before allocating budgets for a campaign. This is where social listening will play a key role in offering insights on what to focus on. – Vanhishikha Bhargava, Contensify

14. Determine Where Your Audience Is Most Likely to Take Action

Dividing ad spend among social platforms begins with having a firm understanding of where your audience is most likely to take action (which may not be the place they spend the most time). Cross-reference your goals to ensure your marketing spend is aligned with your mission. Then, commit to testing and adjusting on a consistent basis. That commitment to flexibility is critical. Do what works, and stop when it doesn’t. – Marc Hardgrove, The HOTH