What is social media advertising?
Social media advertising is a type of digital marketing that utilizes social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to deliver paid ads to your target audience. Social media ads are a quick and effective way to connect with your consumers and boost your marketing campaigns.
By leveraging various data sources, advertisers are able to hyper-target their audiences and deliver personalized content based on demographics and user behavior. When an audience is introduced to a brand on social media, advertisers may see more interactions and conversions. Social media ads are also cost-effective, offering the potential for high rates of return.
Social advertising is a must if you want to quickly reach new target markets. More and more companies — including the world’s top-performing brands — utilize social media ads to grow their companies and reach out to new consumers. To keep up with the competition, it’s important to learn how these ads work and how they can benefit your company.
Types of social media ads
Because both the internet and content marketing are constantly evolving, there are many ways to go about your advertising strategy on social media platforms. The types of ads you choose depend on your preferred platforms and the audience you want to reach. Below are a few examples of the most common types of ads used on social media.
Static image ads
Photos are commonly used in social media advertising because they allow you to show your products or services in a visually appealing way. People tend to be drawn to visuals rather than text and will likely be more drawn to photo ads. Photo ads can also include "Shop Now" buttons that take customers directly to your website for easy checkout. When using photo ads as a part of your marketing strategy, ensure that you post high-quality photos and keep ads consistent with your organic content.
As with photo ads, video ads are best for visually appealing content. Many people only want to watch short-form video ads, which means you have a small amount of time to keep people interested in your videos. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram have options to create short videos that people can view and interact with quickly while scrolling through their feeds.
Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter provide Stories ads options that can use both photos and videos. These ads are full-screen and displayed for a certain amount of time depending on the ad type and platform. If a photo is used in a Facebook story, it can be viewed for six seconds, while videos can play for up to fifteen seconds. Instagram Stories ads can be as long as 120 seconds for both photos and videos. These ads often give users the option to swipe up to access the advertiser’s website. Stories ads can be viewed for only 24 hours, which advertisers can take advantage of when promoting short-term deals on products or services.
Messenger ads are Facebook ads placed in the Chats tab in Messenger rather than on users’ news feeds. They are part of a 1:1 conversation a consumer has with a brand when communicating with them via messenger. They can be used to start automated conversations with potential customers, directly answer consumer questions, or link users to your website.
Popular social media networks
When considering social media advertising options such as which advertising platforms to use, remember that each platform has its own audience. That means that you’ll want to choose a platform where your ideal customers are. If you’re already active on social media, pay attention to which platforms perform well and which organic posts get the most interaction to target the best audience.
Facebook is the largest social media platform in the world, making Facebook advertising a popular choice. With such a wide variety of age, gender, and location demographics, brands can easily find their target markets on Facebook. Brands can target consumers by locations, interests, past activities, occupations, and more. It is also a very visual platform, making it one of the most reliable advertising options.
Facebook ad options include photo ads, video ads, Stories ads, carousel ads, Messenger ads, and more. All of these can be used to build brand awareness, drive traffic to your website or landing page, reach out to customers on a more personal level, and increase conversion rates.
The price of Facebook ads varies depending on multiple factors, including the type of audience you want to target and the budget you set. You can decide how much to spend on Facebook ads but generally speaking, the more you spend on ads, the better Facebook’s algorithm will use your money to increase ad performance.
Instagram advertising is an ideal tool for brands that have more visually appealing products. Organic content itself is a great way to increase brand awareness, but Instagram ads can link directly to your website or landing page, allowing for quick and easy access and website engagement. Instagram ads are popular among both large and small businesses and are most commonly used by ecommerce brands.
As Instagram is most commonly used by people ages 18-34, you may see the best results by targeting a younger audience. With Instagram ads, you can target your ideal audience with options similar to Facebook, and you can find your audience based on demographics, activities, interests, and more. Advertising options include photo ads, video ads, carousel ads, and collection ads. You also have the option to post ads to your company’s main Instagram feed, Stories, or IG TV.
Because Instagram is owned by Facebook, you can manage both Instagram and Facebook ads with Facebook Ads Manager. This allows you to view metrics such as click-through rates and other ad interactions across both platforms and optimize your spend based on highest performance.
Twitter has been a popular social media platform since 2006 and as such, Twitter ads have increased in usage. It is most often used for reading news stories and interacting with influencers. There are two ad options offered by Twitter advertising:
Promote: With this option, you find a tweet from your timeline that you want to promote, tell Twitter who your target market is, and Twitter will automatically promote your tweets to your specified audience.
Twitter Ads: With these objective-based ads, you can set up marketing campaigns on your own based on your business goals.
LinkedIn has a large professional user base and can target users based on their job history and qualifications. Because of this, LinkedIn advertising is primarily aimed at B2B audiences. LinkedIn gives you the option to personally and directly target users to encourage them to read your content, apply to your job postings, or follow you.
TikTok is a fairly new platform that has significant potential for reaching consumers, especially younger ones. Most of TikTok’s advertising focuses on product ads that appear as videos on users’ “For You” page. These ads are full-screen, nine-second videos that are similar to organic TikTok content. “Shop Now” options at the bottom of each video take users directly to the brand’s website to complete checkout. Other TikTok advertising options include Brand Takeovers, where your ad is displayed immediately after users open the app; branded hashtag challenges that encourage users to use your hashtags in their own video; and video trends like filters or trending dances.
Because Snapchat is most popular among millennials and Gen Zers, Snapchat ads should be more fun and casual. Snapchat ads can help with brand awareness, drive traffic to your website, encourage engagement and lead generation, and drive catalog sales. The Instant Create feature is an easy way to get your ad up in just a few minutes, whereas Advanced Create is intended for more in-depth advertising. Snapchat offers several types of ads, including:
Snap ads. These are images or videos up to three minutes long. They are full-screen and appear before or after other content.
Story ads. These ads appear as a branded tile in a users' Discover feed.
Filters. These are graphic overlays that can be applied to a user's own Snaps. You can create your own filter that is related to your business.
Lenses. Lenses are similar to filters but use AR for more interactive visual effects.
Tips to optimize your social media ads
Once you’ve decided which social platforms to use and the types of ads to display, it’s time to create your content. Here are some tips to help you determine the kind of content you should create to optimize your brand.
Understand your target audience
Make sure you have a firm understanding of your ideal target audience. This ensures that you target the correct audience using messages that resonate with them. Using keyword searches and interviewing customers can give you a better picture of who makes up your ideal audience, what they are looking for, and what kinds of advertising will best reach them. It’s obviously important to target potential customers, but keep your current customers in mind as well. Remarketing to customers will remind them of your brand and may encourage future purchases.
Utilize organic posts
If you already post daily content on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, use these posts to determine the success of future ads. Some posts tend to stick out to consumers more than others. You can track which posts are most shared, commented on, liked, or clicked, and the most successful posts can be used for future ad campaigns. You can also get an idea of which types of posts are most successful — such as photos or videos — to determine the best content format for your ads. Keep organic posts consistent with ads to build brand awareness and help consumers know what content belongs to you.
Create mobile-friendly ads
Most users view their social media accounts on mobile devices, meaning your social media ads are viewed in the same way. Optimize your ads for small screens and ensure the images are easy to see on small screens. Use tools such as geofencing to target mobile users in your area. This is especially helpful for companies with physical storefronts as geofencing ensures that consumers only see your ads when they are close enough to physically visit your store.
Track ad progress
Pay attention to how well your ads are doing. Analytics reports allow you to see how many interactions you’ve had and whether or not you’re hitting your goals, so you can determine what works and what doesn’t and what improvements need to be made for future ad campaigns. Knowing if your ads are working can also help you set additional ad budgets.
Plan, execute, and optimize your social media advertising with Sprinklr Social Advertising.
With social media advertising point solutions used across different channels, enterprises are unable to deliver a consistent brand voice, drive leads from channels to site, and effectively tie advertising to sales and support. Sprinklr’s Modern Marketing & Advertising suite is powered by the world’s only unified customer experience management (Unified-CXM) platform, purpose-built to help marketing teams orchestrate omnichannel campaigns across 30+ digital channels, including social media.
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