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Digital Marketing

How Storytelling can fit into your Paid Social Strategy: Pt2 – Building trust and humanising your brand

How Storytelling can fit into your Paid Social Strategy: Pt2 - Building trust and humanising your brand

In September, we introduced Storytelling marketing, and why the technique can be such a powerful tool. But how can it be implemented on Paid Social? This month we’ll be looking over:


  • Paid Social interaction
  • Gaining trust through humanisation
  • Where Paid Social fits in

Paid Social interaction

First, we need to understand how users interact with advertising on this channel.


With billions of active users , social media giants such as Facebook, Instagram and TikTok offer sponsored advertising on their platforms, allowing marketers to target specific audiences.

‘Increased exposure and traffic are considered the main advantages of using social media for marketing purposesEurope: Social Media ad revenue 2021 – Statista, 2021.

Utilising this large pool of users can be extremely profitable for small and large businesses, driving brand awareness and initiating conversions. However, despite these opportunities, there are drawbacks to Paid Social too; audiences show clear distrust for social media compared to other channels.

Gaining trust through humanisation

This lack of trust is important for brands to consider when advertising through Paid Social because research has found one of the greatest barriers which prevents internet transactions is a lack of trust. Similarly, trust in a brand has been found to positively correlate to brand loyalty and therefore overcoming the distrust of Paid Social is critical to ensuring consumers will trust brands using this channel.


To top this off Apple have released their iOS 14 update, offering new privacy measures that makes tracking users more difficult. In July, we published a breakdown of the impacts that this has had on Facebook advertising, specifically, with simple and effective solutions. The main takeaway from this change is that 96% of US users have decided to opt out of targeted advertising. This supports a general distrust of social platforms and their advertising practices from their users.


To put it plainly, the main barrier of advertising through Paid Social is gaining trust from users. Therefore, marketing through these platforms, businesses will have to:


  1. Overcome user distrust of the platforms in general
  2. Overcome general user distrust in new brands


So where does Storytelling come in? Well, Storytelling connects to people through emotions, allowing for a firmer connection between user and brand – ultimately increasing levels of trust for both brand and platform.


Before we dive into Paid Social, let’s take a quick look at effective Storytelling on some other platforms, and how it can alleviate distrust through human-connection.


‘During Christmas, 80% of TV advertisements use stories, compared to just 40% at other times of the year.’ – secretssuccess/130253">Poole, 2019

Marketers capitalise on audiences being more emotionally responsive at a time of year particularly focused on family and giving. This was also seen throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, where many corporations changed their messaging drastically in order to appeal to the everyman and their struggles. Tesco was at the forefront of reactive marketing, with their DaKh1Y8I">‘Some little helps for safer shopping’ incentive, delivering helpful information on how shopping will look during the pandemic. According to Marketing Week, the advert scored 89% for long-term return potential, as well as 92% for short-term sales likelihood.

This example shows how important it is for companies to humanise their brand, connect with emotions and tell an educational and impactful story. This is further supported by Garth Viegas, whose study shows that television commercials that use a Storytelling approach have a 20% greater brand cut-through, compared to those without a Storytelling narrative.


In a post-pandemic culture, the humanisation of brands has become an integral step to connecting with consumers, as building trust and emotionally connecting with one another is as important as ever.

‘When brands behave more like humans, in a more nuanced way, with appropriate intent, demonstration of value, relevance, good timing and emotion, they develop stronger bonds with consumers.’ – Kantar, 2019

Where Paid Social fits in

Developing these bonds is vital to a business’s longevity and curating a loyal consumer-base that will drive success for small businesses. One of the most powerful ways to communicate the humanisation of a brand is through social media, as the channel is designed for human connection. 


Therefore, social media channels are a prime-spot for Storytelling marketing. High-quality Storytelling and the use of social media for this purpose is widely seen as the message-strategy that most effectively enables the achievement of innovation communication’s specific objectives.


Nowadays, Paid Social is just one small part of a complex customer journey that incorporates multiple touchpoints. Although Storytelling may be suitable for this channel, it may not necessarily impact purchases directly, instead being a part of a larger experience that would increase brand advocacy and therefore increase the lifetime value of customers. Brands must therefore apply Storytelling on Paid Social as part of a larger digital strategy, rather than considering it as a singular approach. They must also be sure that this tactic is delivered to specific audiences that are at certain points in their complex customer journeys; for instance, delivering a Storytelling approach to past-purchasers will be beneficial for increasing the longevity of that relationship. 


Additionally, targeting ‘cold’ audiences with Storytelling may be harder to capture immediate attention, as these audiences are unaware of the brand and therefore may show distrust, however it will probably increase the likelihood of brand advocacy over time

What's next?

With all the increasing competitiveness of Paid Social, what’s going to put you a cut above the rest?


Being able to communicate effectively will be the most important factor in getting profitable results in the cutthroat arena, and ensuring your campaigns make an impact through Storytelling marketing will ensure your brand lasts.


So get Storytelling! It’s good for customers, good for customers, and good for business.

Sam headshot

Sam Bacon

Performance Marketing Executive

Sam Bacon


Sam Bacon

Senior Creative Marketing Executive