We all know social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, for their social aspects, and you may already be familiar with some of the platforms’ advertising opportunities, but how do you know which one is right for your business?
There are about 3.96 billion users on social media platforms that are eagerly engaging with their favourite brands. If you’re not in amongst this feeding frenzy, it might be about time to join. It all starts with choosing the right social media platform to launch your ad campaigns.
What is Social Media Advertising?
Advertising through social media is another branch of digital marketing where paid ad campaigns are run on social media to targeted audiences. Businesses can promote their brands to inspire sales and engagement through social channels that consumers already use. When advertising using social media, the ads tend to be quite visual and branded. Along with this, they also appear quite natural on the platforms, sometimes making it difficult to distinguish that it is an ad. Advertising through social media is a very non-disruptive way to reach your audience.
Unlike paid advertising through search engines, where you target keywords and phrases, advertising through social media targets specific audiences, interests, and behaviour. One of the advantages of using social media for advertising is the sophisticated targeting capabilities of the platforms.
Social Media Advertising Platforms
There are plenty of advantages of using social media for advertising; however, each platform has its own benefits and drawbacks. A lot of the benefits and drawbacks of each social media platform depend on what your business goals and budget are, along with the audience you wish to target. These are some of the more popular choices when advertising through social media:
Facebook offers comprehensive advertising using social media with options that enable brands to run ads across awareness, consideration, and conversions stages of the buyer’s journey, with each stage also offering various ad types to reach these goals. Facebook is one of the platforms with the most options for types of ads available for brands.
Facebook is the most popular social media platform, with 2.963 billion monthly active users as of January 2023. Not only does Facebook have the audience reach when advertising using social media, but it also has sophisticated targeting capabilities. This allows brands to target their specific audience, which has a higher chance of increasing ROI. Not only can you target the right audience, but they also have retargeting and microtargeting tools available, along with in-depth analytics tools to track the performance of your ads. The average cost-per-click (CPC) for Facebook ads is, on average, $0.44, which is cheaper than some other platforms.
Among the many benefits of using Facebook as your platform when advertising through social media, there are a few drawbacks. Age may be one of those drawbacks, as Facebook has an aging demographic, and they aren’t so good at advertising to the younger generations. Fake ads have also been seen a little too frequently by Facebook users, which can bring into question a business's credibility when using Facebook ads.
When advertising using social media, brands could reach 1.318 billion users (as of January 2023) on Instagram. Because Instagram is owned by Facebook, both ad campaigns can be designed and managed through Facebook’s ad manager. This means that Instagram comes with all the ad-building advantages that Facebook does, including ads based on business objectives and sophisticated audience targeting; however, there are slightly fewer options than Facebook. One of the key advantages of using social media for advertising, particularly Instagram, is that the ads seamlessly blend in with the user’s newsfeed or stories making them less disruptive to consumers.
The visual nature of Instagram can be useful in many ways; however, it can become a double-edged sword with users liking an image without clicking the link or reading the caption. This makes Instagram ads less likely to drive traffic to your website but instead, create brand awareness. Largely when contemplating advertising through social media, the age demographic of users on the platform needs to be taken into consideration. Instagram does have a larger number of users to target, but the majority of these users are in the age range of 18-29, which could be considered a positive if this is the age group you want to target.
TikTok is a fast-growing social media platform making it great for some brands to jump on board with advertising through social media. One of the main advantages of using social media for advertising, particularly TikTok, is the way ads can seamlessly blend into the users' feeds without being disruptive. This coincides with TikTok’s mantra of ‘make TikToks, not ads.’ The platform offers its own range of ad types, including sponsored posts as well as hashtag challenges which are great for incorporating everyday users. TikTok’s ad format, of not appearing as ads, has encouraged a sense of authenticity in advertising through social media.
Just like with Instagram, the seamless blending also has its downsides, with users easily glossing over advertisements without much engagement. Advertising using social media is anything but passive and requires a hands-on approach from brands. This is particularly the case with TikTok, and brands need to create updated and interesting content continuously.
Pinterest is a visual discovery social media platform for topics such as redecorating a room, vamping up a backyard, or planning a home, amongst other things. The aim of the platform is to spark inspiration and aspiration and for users to store ideas that they love. Pinterest is a visually appealing platform that is great for brands to showcase their products in the most appealing light. It also levels the playing field amongst advertising as it is an interest-based platform rather than brand based. It is also a great platform for creating brand awareness as it can increase brand recall by users saving pins to their clipboard for as long as they desire. Pinterest is also a platform that can integrate well when advertising using social media platforms such as Facebook or Instagram.
Pinterest does have a niche market that your brand will need to fit into in order for ad campaigns to perform well, and its user base is largely considered to be female. Pinterest can also be quite labour-intensive as it needs quite a few pins each day, along with very high-quality photos.
LinkedIn is a business-based platform and has opportunities for brands and individuals alike to promote themselves. Unlike Facebook and Instagram, LinkedIn’s advertising targeting options mostly revolve around professional criteria, such as education, job title, industry, and organisation size- it also allows for retargeted advertising for those that have already visited your site. Although LinkedIn isn’t the social media platform with the most users, it is the largest professional network. LinkedIn users are typically more affluent, and they are also well-educated.
Although LinkedIn is a great professional network, it doesn’t allow ad campaigns to be launched through the company’s profiles and requires ads to be launched from an individual’s profile, putting the CEO and senior leaders of the company at the forefront as brand ambassadors. While LinkedIn is recognised for the quality and engagement of its users, it is one of the more expensive platforms for advertising.
Types of Social Media Marketing
Each platform will offer an array of formats to create an ad. The key is to understand your target audience and then, from there, work out the best medium to advertise to them. These are some of the options when advertising through social media:
Static image ads are commonly used when advertising through social media to promote products or services of brands in a visually appealing way. Different platforms offer different placements and ratios for the images. Consumers are often more drawn to images rather than text, and there is also the potential to add a call-to-action button such as ‘shop now’ to the image.
Similar to photo ads, video ads allow brands to promote their products or services through video. Video ads and content don’t always need to promote products either, they may also be videos such as tutorials. 96% of marketers agree that users understood their product or service better through using video ads. Shorter videos with minimal text tend to work well on social media platforms.
Stories ads appear seamlessly amongst users’ stories on social media platforms and can be either images or videos. They appear as full screen on mobile devices and display for a certain amount of time, depending on the social media platform. There is usually an option for the user to swipe up to view the advertiser’s website. Typically it is social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram that host advertisements in their stories.
One of the advantages of using social media for advertising is prompting conversations through messenger ads. There are options to either start one on one conversations with your consumers or to appear in the messenger tab. They can be used to link users to your website or even start automated conversations with potential customers.
Which Social Media Advertising Platform is Right for Your Business?
There are an incredible amount of advantages of using social media for advertising. It all starts with knowing your target audience and which platform they are most likely to engage with your content on.
The right social media platform for your business will depend on your target audience, your business goals, and the types of advertisement you want to use. There may also be multiple platforms that could work hand-in-hand and boost leads and sales to a whole new level.
If you are still unsure about which social media platform is best for your business to launch an ad campaign through, then Anchor is here to help; contact us for more information on social media marketing.