Advertising on social media

Guidelines for advertising and retargeting on social media.

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Creating cost-effective campaigns 

To make sure that your campaign is effective on social media, you can't “set and forget”. 

Whether you’re working with an agency or running the campaign yourself, you need to:  

  • choose the right platform for your target audience and subject matter 
  • create assets specifically for the platform you’re advertising on  
  • set measurable objectives and define how you intend to achieve them 
  • identify each ad’s purpose, for example to raise awareness, to encourage conversation or to drive traffic to your website 
  • consider refreshing creative for recurring campaigns so your audience doesn’t get fatigued 
  • A/B test copy and creative to help you understand what resonates best with your audience 
  • continuously check whether creative, copy and targeting is performing as expected and update as needed 
  • implement learnings from previous advertising activity 
  • have a strong focus on community management – moderating comments and answering questions. This includes in-language moderation if the ads are for CALD audiences. 

Contact us

If you need help delivering a paid social campaign, email our Ad Review team at: 

Advertising compliance

If your social and total campaign budget is under $250,000 you need to follow the  advice on advertising rules and restrictions.  

If your total campaign budget meets or exceeds $250,000 it will need to undergo a peer review process and budget approval via the Expenditure Review Committee (ERC). Please follow the advertising rules and restrictions for campaigns with a budget of $250,000 to $1 million.

If your campaign exceeds $1 million in budget please follow the relevant rules and restrictions. 

To remain apolitical, you must never mention or feature a minister in an advertising campaign. If you post something organically that mentions or features a minister, you cannot boost it or advertise with it. Political parties must not be mentioned or featured in any paid or organic post. 
Additional restrictions apply in the caretaker and pre-caretaker periods. Find out more on the advertising section of the NSW Government website. 

Reporting on budget

You need to report on your agency’s social media advertising and campaign budgets. This will include estimated forward expenditure and final campaign costs. This will be published on Data.NSW. You are encouraged to publish information about your own advertising programs on your websites too. Information may include advertising rationale, objectives, costs and outcomes. 

If another NSW Government agency posts about your campaign and links to your campaign landing page (either via your website or the relevant content page on, the spend needs to be added to your total campaign budget.  

However, if another agency posts about your campaign but links to another website instead of your campaign landing page, it wouldn’t be considered part of your overall campaign budget. This is because the campaign message and call to action have been altered and therefore it can be considered a separate campaign.  

Work closely with other agencies who are promoting your campaign messaging so you can maintain oversight of total campaign spend and manage ongoing compliance to the regulatory framework.



If Treasury, through the NSW Government Facebook page, spends $500 on advertising a post about the latest Budget and links to a article about the campaign, then the boosted amount ($500) does not need to be added to Treasury’s total media spend. 


Retargeting allows you to reach your website visitors with your social ads after they leave your website. If you’re using a pixel or insights tag, make sure you’re using the capability effectively. This means:

  • align your creative with the page that it leads to, where possible
  • make it easy for people to take the action you want them to take
  • cap how many times people see your ad so they don’t get fatigued
  • rotate your creative to avoid ad fatigue
  • chat to your media agency or the relevant social platform for further tips.

If you’ve not used retargeting before, speak to your media advisor or campaigns specialist (if you have one of these) if this is a suitable fit for your pages.

Determining budgets 

Social media teams may be asked to recommend a budget for a social media campaign or ad. Understanding your stakeholder’s objectives is key to providing the best possible advice in this instance. 

Before recommending a budget, you should consider the following questions: 

  • Who is the target audience, and can they be reached on your social media channels? 
  • What is the campaign’s overarching KPIs? 
  • Are there any specific objectives (for example, minimum number of people reached or clicks to the website)? 
  • Have you or other agencies run similar campaigns in the past that can inform decisions around budget on future campaigns? 
  • What benchmarks can you determine from prior campaigns (for example, average cost per outcome)? 
  • Will other campaigns targeting the same audience be running on your or other agency’s channels that may cannibalise outcomes? 

If you’ve considered these questions and are still unsure how much to spend on a campaign or ad to meet your objectives, you may wish to reach out to your advertising team or platform contact for further advice. 

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