Social media advertising is one of the most popular forms of digital advertising and digital media buying options. You’ve probably been subject to several social media ads just today.
The major advantage of social media advertising is its reach paired with the ability to effectively target your key demographic, unlike with paid search ads or search engine optimization (SEO). With the ever growing popularity of social media, ad costs have increased; though, it’s still an affordable and effective option for most small businesses. This is often a good and more cost-effective solution for small businesses who cannot afford to run larger digital media buying campaigns.
Which social media platform
is right for you?
Most of the most popular social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and LinkedIn provide a variety of advertising possibilities.
Social ads can be displayed within the stream of organic social media content or displayed alongside the organic posts, creating less disruption than a traditional ad. This means a user is more likely to see and/or interact with it.
Choosing the right platform for your business will depend heavily on your goals, brand, business and target audience – meaning, there’s not a one-size-fits-all answer. Let’s take a look at the advantages and approach for some of the most popular social media platforms.
No surprise this one is up first: Facebook is the leading social media site across every demographic. It’s simply too big to ignore and should be part of your ongoing digital marketing plan. According to Pew Research a 2019 study survey showed that among U.S. adults who use Facebook, around three-quarters (74%) visit the site at least once a day.
That’s significant – so, how can you maximize your ad efforts on this platform?
- Focus on lead generation. Content downloads, coupons, special offers, giveaways all work well.
- Utilize Facebook’s advanced user targeting, which includes user location, job description, interests, past activity, and many other datasets.
- Quickly run wide-spread A/B tests to your audience. Making continual changes, tweaking ad copy, images/graphics, and offers allows you to fine-tune your ad performance.
- Capitalize on the visuals. People are drawn to authentic images and videos. Avoid stock photography. Invest in professional photos and video. Experiment with what types of visuals your audience responds to most.
Facebook is an excellent platform for any ad campaign, but beware that it’s also notoriously known for having low click-through and conversion rates when compared to other digital advertising tactics.
Instagram is owned by Facebook, and as such, you can choose to run your Facebook ads on Instagram as well. If your customers are millennials, make sure you include Instagram in your digital advertising plan. It’s a popular platform among the Gen Z and Gen X demographics as well.
Like Facebook, you can target your ideal viewer with advanced targeting. Create lookalike audiences, define your audience’s behaviors and activities, interests, and demographics.
These ads have one of three objectives:
More than any other platform: visuals rule on Instagram. If you don’t have professional assets, hold off on these ads until you do. Ads can utilize photos or video. All ads should match your overall brand aesthetic and your organic Instagram content.
Pinterest is a very active visual search engine platform on which 71% of Pinterest users are females. Ads are marked as promoted Pins, and they seamlessly blend into the user’s feed. Ads have a few different display types: basic photo Pins, video Pins or carousel Pins of up to five images. As an added bonus, when users save your ad, the Pins drop the “promoted” label and earn you organic exposure – meaning your content will have increased longevity, too.
What types of businesses should explore Pinterest Advertising? E-commerce, those targeting women, as well as holiday-centered products and services (“Holidays” is the most popular search category on Pinterest) could all utilize Pinterest as an effective advertising platform. Though, keep in mind that many users use Pinterest to save items for later, and purchases may not convert immediately.
LinkedIn is often looked to as the “professional” version of Facebook. Most users are using the platform to network with their business colleagues, find jobs, or seek career advice. Unlike most social platforms, which excel at B2C advertising, LinkedIn is uniquely suited for B2B ads and social media marketing campaigns.
Here’s a breakdown of LinkedIn US Internet users by age (source):
- 15-25 years old: 16%
- 26-35 years old: 27%
- 36-45 years old: 34%
- 46-55 years old: 37%
- 56+ years old: 29%
As you can see (and may expect), the users tend to be older than on other platforms. Most of LinkedIn’s US users earn more than $75,000, and when you consider that 45% of LinkedIn users are in upper management, this platform can be a great option for those looking to target a more affluent customer.
Ad display options are more streamlined and limited when compared to Facebook or Instagram. There are only three types of LinkedIn ads: sponsored content, sponsored InMail, and text ads. Ads can be targeted by company, company size, titles, location, seniority, age, education and skills, again making this a good choice for B2B businesses.
Twitter allows your business to post ads directly on users’ timelines. Known for its brief posts and character limit, Twitter provides a platform for personalities to shine. Humorous and personable ads gain the most attention and can be displayed in just 3 options:
- Promoted Tweets
- Promoted Accounts
- Promoted Trends
Twitter has far more male users (70%) than female users (30%). Just like with other social media platforms, it’s important to maintain a consistent brand voice and image on Twitter. Use it as an opportunity to build a dialog with your followers (and potential customers). Twitter advertising utilizes advanced targeting, but it’s not quite as in-depth as on other platforms.
Even though Twitter has a smaller audience than Facebook or Instagram, it can be an appealing advertising platform to businesses wanting to only pay for performance (when you achieve your marketing objective), target keywords or hashtags, retarget to users who engage with your Tweets, or pay a lower cost per click.
YouTube is the most popular video search engine and home to how-to walkthroughs, product reviews, and funny cat videos galore. Like the other social media platforms listed, businesses can utilize the platform organically as well as for their advertising efforts. Learn more about video advertising.
How Back40 Can Help
Social media ads can play an important role in generating leads, increasing brand awareness, and driving traffic to your website. It’s a budget-friendly digital advertising option and can be fine-tuned to your ideal target audience. Social ads are most effective when paired with a comprehensive digital marketing strategy built to target users at all stages of the customer journey.
Our experts can identify which platforms make the most sense for your business, utilize user data to optimize your campaign, and develop effective ad creative to connect with your customers. Contact us today to schedule your one-on-one digital marketing consultation to see which social media platforms can maximize your business.