How Effective is the “Pay to Play” Concept in Paid Social?

By: Morgan McAnally

Twitter: @morganmcanally

Featured Photo Source

Many times it feels as if we can never truly get away from advertisements. They are constantly thrown in our face forcing us to look at them and tempting us to buy. From billboards, big screens, and paper, advertisers didn’t stop there. You can now find them on our social media platforms. Since the rise of social media platforms, paid social has become so much more prevalent while we scroll through our news feed. However, are these tactics effective? As consumers, many of us hate the idea of having ads thrown into our face every time we are looking at something so by putting advertisements on our free social platforms seems a little compulsive. However, facts show that it is effective and I believe this comes from proper research and effectiveness of reaching their intended audience.

Gone are the days where people are easily influenced by advertisements on the street, social media is completely taking over the way brands and consumers interact with each other. The thought of having to pay for advertisements on free social media sites may have seemed far fetched for most companies at first, however, now it is essential in making sure you stand out in the millions of content out there especially when it comes to big players because paid gets favored over organic.

Below is a case study on Castrol Moto who wanted to expand their consumer engagement in the North America region through Facebook. The results are as followed:


Photo Source

Although the organic numbers are not as bad, you also have to consider that Facebook reaches consumers internationally so this does not account for the consumer market in North America that the brand wanted to reach. Not only does organic social not reach the total consumer market you are trying to reach it can end up more costly in the long run. Shane Snow states in this article that “it would take almost 6 years for organic Facebook clicks to pay off the cost of acquiring your followers, versus just buying the clicks through paid updates”.

In the long run, paid social is going to be more effective when reaching an audience, saving on costs, and marketing your brand globally or nationally.


Lambert, J. (2014, August 7). 3 Things Content Marketers Need to Know About Paid Social [Web Blog Post]. Retrieved from

Snow, S. (2017, May 7). Why Paying for Social Is Better Than ‘Doing’ Social  [Web Blog Post]. Retrieved from




Published by

UNT Eagle Strategies

Class members of the social media class in the Mayborn School of Journalism