Social Media Advertising 101: How to Get the Most Out of Your Ad Budget

9 Likes Comment

In this social media advertising guide, learn how to use various types of social media ads to achieve real business results while maximizing your spend.

Social media advertising is a must if you’re looking to reach a new, targeted audience—fast.

Like it or not, organic reach is harder and harder to achieve. The days of going viral without a little boost might be gone forever.

Of course it can be scary to move from an organic social strategy to putting real money on the table. So, it’s important to understand all the options.

In this guide, we explain how to use the various types of social media ads to achieve real business results while maximizing your spend.

Types of social media ads

Advertising on social is a hyper-direct way to reach the audience you want. You can target brand new customers or returning ones. (New friends! Hooray!) It’s also a chance to do some hands-on A/B testing.

All the major social networks offer advertising options. That doesn’t mean you should use all of them.

When choosing where to place your ads, it’s also helpful to know which networks are most popular with your target audience. Where is your target group most engaged, most concentrated and most accessible?

Targeting teens? TikTok is where to find them. Moms, meanwhile, love Facebook.

Try looking at which social networks perform well organically for your brand. Where does your content naturally strike a chord with fans? This is an obvious choice for your first social ad campaigns.

Here’s a quick summary from the Pew Research Center’s most recent social media fact sheet. It shows a great snapshot of the preferred platform of different demographics.

Pew Research Center social media fact sheet

Types of social media ads

Advertising on social is a hyper-direct way to reach the audience you want. You can target brand new customers or returning ones. (New friends! Hooray!) It’s also a chance to do some hands-on A/B testing.

All the major social networks offer advertising options. That doesn’t mean you should use all of them.

When choosing where to place your ads, it’s also helpful to know which networks are most popular with your target audience. Where is your target group most engaged, most concentrated and most accessible?

Targeting teens? TikTok is where to find them. Moms, meanwhile, love Facebook.

Try looking at which social networks perform well organically for your brand. Where does your content naturally strike a chord with fans? This is an obvious choice for your first social ad campaigns.

Here’s a quick summary from the Pew Research Center’s most recent social media fact sheet. It shows a great snapshot of the preferred platform of different demographics.

Pew Research Center social media fact sheet

Source: Pew Research Center

Now that you have a sense of which social networks might be best for your business, let’s take a look at each network’s ad types.


Facebook ads

Facebook ads help you achieve one of three broad types of campaign objectives:

  • Awareness: Build brand awareness or increase reach.
  • Consideration: Send traffic to your website, increase engagement, encourage app installs or video views, generate leads, or encourage people to communicate with you on Facebook Messenger.
  • Conversion: Increase purchases or leads via your site or app, make cata, or drive foot traffic to offline stores.

Audience considerations: Facebook is popular across many demographics, with 2.45 billion monthly active users. Just as many teenagers use Facebook as their parents—and seniors are quickly catching up.

With detailed targeting options for this huge pool of users, Facebook is a great platform to get started with social media advertising.

With ads, you can direct users to your Facebook Page or your website. You can also direct them to a customized Instant Experience. This is a full-screen interactive or informational destination page within the Facebook mobile app.

Hootsuite Digital 2020 Report Facebook advertising audience

Source: Hootsuite Digital 2020 Report


Photo ads

Facebook’s internal data shows that a series of photo-only ads can drive more unique traffic than other types of ad formats.

In addition to a photo, Facebook photo ads include 90 characters of text plus a 25-character headline. Show and tell! These ads can also include a call-to-action button like Shop Now or Download.

You can create your photo ad in Facebook Business Manager, or simply promote a post with an image from your Facebook Page.

Pro tip: If you’ve got a tangible product, a Facebook photo ad is a great way to show it off. Show people using your product, rather than a simple photo of the product itself.

Facebook Business Manager photo adsSource: Facebook


Video ads

Facebook video ad options range from short, looping video clips that autoplay in users’ feeds, to original 241-minute promoted videos for the desktop. You can also develop video ads that play within other videos (Facebook video ad Inception!), or even share 360-degree videos.

With so many options, it’s critical to have solid goals and understand who your target market is and where your video will reach them.

Pro tip: Short videos tend to have higher completion rates. However, if you’ve got a compelling message, you can go a little longer. Video can help clearly demonstrate your services—like a cool dance class—and stand-out in a mostly static news feed.


Stories ads

In this full-screen format, photos display for six seconds, and videos can last up to 15 seconds.

One hiccup: You can’t specifically select Facebook Stories ads on their own. They’re included as a possible placement when you select Automatic Placements when creating your ad for the News Feed or Instagram Stories campaigns.

Pro tip: Stories only last for 24 hours, so this is a great format for in-the-moment marketing like limited time offers. The majority of people Facebook surveyed said they wanted Stories ads to be “quick and easy to understand.” Keep things simple.

Facebook Stories ads

Source: Facebook


Carousel ads

No whimsical horses on this kind of carousel. A Facebook carousel ad lets you include up to 10 images or videos, each with their own link, all in one ad.

Carousel ads work well to showcase different features of a product, or to explain a step-by-step process. They’re also a great way to present multiple products or services. For example, a Gap polo or a Gap t-shirt.

Pro tip: Use the different elements in your carousel ad together to present a compelling, effective story or message. (That being said: if you need them to stay in a certain order, opt out of the automatic optimization feature.)

Facebook carousel ad

Source: Facebook


Slideshow ads

A slideshow is an ad that creates a video from several static images—your own or stock images that Facebook provides.

Slideshows offer the compelling motion of video, but require no video-specific resources to create. The best of both worlds! If you’re not ready to try video ads but want to move beyond static photos, slideshow ads are a great option. Plus: fun music!

Pro tip: If you don’t have professional photography on hand, stock photos can be a great option to help you express your brand’s vibe.

Facebook Slideshow ads

Source: Facebook

Collection ads

A collection ad highlights your products right in the Facebook feed. The ad includes a cover photo or video, plus four smaller product images with pricing and other details.

Think of it as your digital storefront, or an instant peek into your catalog. This format allows people to learn more about your product without leaving Facebook.

Pro tip: Collection ads work especially well for retail and travel brands.

Facebook feed collection ads

Source: Facebook


Messenger ads

Messenger ads are simply Facebook ads placed in the Chats tab of the Messenger app. They’ll appear between conversations.

You can use them to start an automated conversation with a potential customer right there on Messenger, or link out to your website to your website or app.

Over 1.3 billion people use Messenger every month—many of whom aren’t even Facebook users. Get chatting.

Pro tip: You can use Messenger ads to restart conversations that have trailed off. Use a custom audience of people who have previously messaged your business.

Facebook Messenger ads

Source: Facebook


Playable ads

Facebook Playables are mobile-only interactive previews of your game or apps. This offers an opportunity for users to try before they buy (or download).

These ads start with a lead-in video prompting people to play, via a “tap to try” icon. From here, users can click and instantly test-drive a full-screen demo version, without having to install anything.

It’s a great way to showcase your game, with a low barrier to entry for someone scrolling by.

Pro tip: Make sure you accurately represent the game in your lead-in video, and keep your tutorial simple: as little as two steps, ideally.

Facebook Playable mobile-only interactive game or app previews

Source: Facebook

Get all the step-by-step instructions you need to set up your Facebook ads in our Facebook advertising guide.


Instagram ads

Facebook owns Instagram. So it’s not surprising that Instagram ads support the same three broad categories of campaign objectives as Facebook ads:

  • Awareness
  • Consideration
  • Conversion

Audience considerations: Instagram is most popular with millennials. Plenty of Generation Z and Gen Xers also use the platform.

Like Facebook, you can target your ideal viewer with custom targeting options. Create lookalike audiences, define your audience’s behaviors and activities, interests, and demographics.

Hootsuite Digital 2020 Report Instagram advertising audience

Source: Hootsuite Digital 2020 Report

The specific Instagram ad types also mirror four of the Facebook ads types:

  • Photo
  • Video
  • Carousel
  • Collection

You can create each type of ad for either the main Instagram feed, for Instagram Stories. Placing ads on IG TV offers a unique ways to reach your audience, too.

Instagram Reels are a new content format for the platform, but so far, there are no paid advertising opportunities here. That being said: the novelty of Reels could make it a great opportunity to experiment with organic reach. Get in on the ground floor, and tell your grandkids you were there when it all began.


Photo and video ads

Your Instagram photo or video will look like a regular Instagram post—except that it will say Sponsored in the top right. Depending on your campaign objective, you may also be able to add a call-to-action button.

Pro tip: Make sure your photo and video ads are consistent in style with the organic posts you share on Instagram. This helps viewers recognize that the ad is from your brandInstagram photo and video ads

Source: Instagram


Carousel ads

In an Instagram carousel ad, viewers swipe to scroll through different images.

Pro tip: Make sure the images you use in your carousel ad are visually similar and tied together by a common theme. It shouldn’t be jarring to swipe between the different photos in the ad.

Look at this Carousel ad for Shutterstock. (Does it make you hungry? Sorry.) The similar images and consistent bar of text across each photo clearly connect the components of the ad and help to tell a consistent story.

Instagram carousel ads

Source: Instagram


Collection ads

Just like Facebook Collection ads, these feature a cover image or video plus several product shots. Clicking on the ad directs the user to an Instant Experience.

It’s the perfect fit for a retail brand. Show ‘em what you’ve got!

Pro tip: Instagram Collection ads don’t include a headline, but they do allow up to 90 characters of text.

Instagram collection ads

Source: Instagram


Ads in Explore

Extend your ads into the Explore feed and reach an audience who is looking to for new and novel accounts to follow.

It’s a way to place yourself next to the content that’s relevant and trending—and catch the eye of the 200 million-plus users who check out the Instagram Explore tab daily. (They’re brave explorers, out looking for new adventure on the Instagram frontier, and we salute them.)

Pro tip: Your ad won’t appear in the Explore grid directly, but when a user clicks through on any photo, they’ll see your post in the scrolling news feed.

Instagram Explore feed ads

Source: Instagram


Instagram Stories ads

Instagram Stories ads can use photos or videos up to 120 seconds long. These ads display in full-screen format between people’s stories.

Pro tip: Add interactive elements to Story ads for the best performance.

Dunkin’ found in an A/B test that a Story ad with a poll sticker had a 20% lower cost per video view. Plus, 20% of people who watched the video voted in the poll. (On the very important topic of which is better: donuts or fries.)

Instagram Stories ads

Source: Instagram


IGTV advertising

Users can post longform videos on a platform-within-a-platform called IGTV. This feature was introduced on Instagram back in 2018, and as of June 2020, you may now place advertising within user-created videos.

IGTV video ads will only appear once a user has clicked over to IGTV from their feed. Ads need to be vertical (mobile optimized) and can be up to 15 seconds long.

Pro tip: This feature is only available with certain Instagram accounts at this point, so you might be limited to working with content from influencers, rather than big-name media companies.

 

Source: Instagram

Get all the step-by-step instructions you need to set up your Instagram ads in our Instagram advertising guide.


Twitter ads

Twitter ads work towards three different business objectives:

  • Awareness: Maximize the reach of your ad.
  • Consideration: Whether you want video views, pre-roll views, app installs, web traffic, engagement or followers, this is your category.
  • Conversion: Bring users to your app or website to take action.

Audience considerations: Nearly two-thirds of Twitter’s advertising addressable audience is male.

Hootsuite Digital 2020 Report Twitter advertising audience

Source: Hootsuite Digital 2020 Report

Twitter offers two ways for brands to create Twitter ads:

  • Twitter Promote automatically promotes Tweets for you. (Note: this service is no longer available to new users.)
  • Twitter Ads campaigns allow you to set up campaigns yourself based on your marketing objective.


Twitter Promote

With Twitter Promote, the Twitter algorithm automatically promotes Tweets to your specified audience. It promotes your first 10 daily organic Tweets that pass the Twitter quality filter. It also promotes your account to attract new followers.

You can focus on up to five interests or metro locations, and let Twitter do the rest. Unfortunately, with this feature, you can’t choose which Tweets to promote. (But maybe that’s part of the thrill?)

Pro tip: Twitter Promote mode costs $99 USD per month. Twitter says accounts will on average reach 30,000 additional people per month and gain an average of 30 new followers.

Twitter Promote Mode

Source: Twitter


Twitter ad campaigns

With Twitter ad campaigns, you first choose a business objective that aligns with your business goals.

For example, this Ritz Crackers ad uses a video to showcase its product, combined with a link to easily… learn more about crackers.

Twitter ad campaigns

Source: Twitter

You can select existing organic Tweets to promote, or create Tweets specifically as ads.

Pro tip: Run separate campaigns for mobile and desktop users to get the best conversion rates. Twitter recommends you avoid using hashtags and @ mentions in your ads. (These may cause your audience to click away.)

Get all the step-by-step instructions you need to set up your Twitter ads in our Twitter advertising guide.


Snapchat ads

Snapchat ads can help you achieve three types of marketing objectives:

  • Awareness: Reach a large audience to increase awareness of your brand and showcase products and services
  • Consideration: Drive traffic to your website or app, increase engagement, and encourage app installs, video views, and lead generation.
  • Conversions: Drive website conversions or catalog sales.

The Instant Create service is a simplified way to get your image or video ad up in under five minutes. If you’ve got a simple advertising goal—for example, getting a Snapchatter to call up your pizza parlor—this is a quick and easy way to get started.

For more in-depth advertising goals, there’s Advanced Create. This is for advertisers who have more long-term or specific objectives and might need more control over budgets, bids, or optimization.

Audience considerations: Snapchat is overwhelmingly popular with younger users, with 220 million users under the age of 25. Nearly three-quarters of 18- to 24-years olds use the app. Compare that to only 25% of 30- to 49-year-olds. About 60% of the audience you can reach with Snapchat ads is female.

Hootsuite Digital 2020 Report Snapchat advertising audience

Source: Hootsuite Digital 2020 Report

Snapchat offers six types of ads to help you meet your objectives.


Snap ads

Snap ads start with an image or a video up to three minutes long (though Snapchat recommends keeping things short and sweet at 3 to 5 seconds).

The ads are full-screen, vertical format. These appear between or after other content. They can include attachments for app installs, landing pages, lead forms, or long-form video.

Snap ads

Source: Snapchat

Pro tip: Don’t try to do too much with a short ad: Feature one strong call-to-action and key message. Try experimenting with different forms, like gifs or cinemagraphs, and see what really catches people’s attention.


Story ads

This ad format takes the form of a branded tile in users’ Discover feed. The tile leads to a collection of three to 20 Snaps, so you can provide a detailed look at new products, special offers, and so on.

You can also add attachments with a call-to-action, so that users can swipe up to watch a video, install an app, or buy a product.

Pro tip: Write a powerful headline for your Story ad to encourage Snapchatters to tap.

Snapchat story ads

Source: Snapchat


Collection ads

Collection ads allow you to showcase a series of products with four thumbnail images in one ad. Each thumbnail image links to its own URL. Snapchatters can also swipe up to see your website.

Pro tip: Keep the snap itself simple to focus attention on the thumbnails in your collection ad.

Snapchat collection ads

Source: Snapchat


Filters

Snapchat filters are graphic overlays that users can apply to their Snaps. Snapchatters use them hundreds of millions of times per day.

You can make your filter “smart,” so it includes real-time location, countdown, or time information.

Pro tip: Snapchatters use filters to provide context to their Snaps. Make sure your filter is relevant to the time, place, and purpose of your campaign. Leave room for Snapchatters’ own images to shine. Only use the top and/or bottom quarters of the screen for your filter creative.

Snapchat filters

Source: Snapchat


Lenses

Similar to Filters, Lenses are a way to layer your brand on to a user’s content. Lenses are a little more high-tech, however, using augmented reality for a more interactive visual effect.

Bonus: Download a free guide that teaches you how to turn Facebook traffic into sales in four simple steps using Hootsuite.

Get the free guide right now!

Face lenses, for example, can manipulate a user’s facial features on-screen to transform them. Using a branded Snapchat lens, a makeup fan could try a digital makeover, or become Colonel Saunders.

World lenses work on the outward facing camera. These can map images onto the environment or surfaces around you—and find yourself seeing just how that Ikea couch would look in your living room.

Pro tip: A cool lens is great; a shareable lens is better. Think about creating a visual experience that’s either beautiful or funny, to give your users a reason to share their video with friends… and tempt them to try for themselves. Like this sweet LOL Doll lens.

Snapchat lenses

Source: Snapchat

You might like

About the Author: admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *