Skip to content

What Are Social Media Ads?

7 min read

What Are Social Media Ads?

Social media ads are a method of online advertising through social networking platforms. Unlike more traditional campaigns such as print and billboards, they allow you to specifically target certain audiences based on their interactions and demographics. With almost 3 billion individuals of the planet’s population on social media, harnessing the power to make your ads appear directly in their feeds is a powerful tool for any business.

Defining a target audience

Social media users tend to share personal information in several manners; ranging from the content on their profiles through to the information they share with apps that link with social media accounts. Businesses can then harness this information and target users based on specific criteria.

The most important first step to take is understanding who your target audience is; where they are and being able to define their characteristics around the molds that social media platforms provide. The questions to ask yourself regarding your audience should include:
* What age groups do your target audience consist of?
* Is there a particular location your target audience is likely to be based in? (Are they local, national or global?)
* What are their common values?
* What are their common interests; which brands, topics and pages are they engaging with the most?

Platforms such as Facebook offer businesses an extensive range of options to use when it comes to defining a targeted audience. Components such as age range, location, and gender comprise some of the broader options, whilst personal interests and interactions based on pages that your audience likes and engage with allow for more specific targeting factors.

Where can I find my target audience?

Each of the major social media platforms typically has a niche when it comes to having a specific audience.

Facebook is one of the largest social media platforms in terms of global user count; used by every type of demographic and age group in virtually every location across the globe. If you are looking to cover as much ground in terms of sourcing your target audience as possible, chances are they will typically be on Facebook (and using it multiple times a day). 74% of users visit the platform at least once a day, with the largest audience being those in the 25 to 30 year old age bracket.

LinkedIn is predominantly utilized by working professionals and as such, any content created for ad usage should be tailored to such a standard. This platform typically tends to reflect the nature of busy working schedules, and as a result, is used on a less frequent basis compared to Facebook. The platform is primarily used by users aged between 25 years old upwards to 49 years old.

Instagram is an extremely attractive platform for brands and influencers, particularly driven by a dominant visual foundation. 42% of the platform’s users earn over $75,000, making Instagram the ideal platform for reaching those in the high-earner brackets.

Twitter is the platform ideal for engaging directly with brands, as well as timely content which ensures the platform is popular for current affairs and customer service. Twitter is predominantly used by men, with 66% of its user-base formed by male users.

Snapchat is the platform that is commonly attributed to being popular with a younger user-base. With over 210 million active users, Snapchat is the ideal platform for reaching those aged anywhere between 13 to 29 years old.

What options can I use to reach my target audiences?

Each platform has different targeting options to reach your intended audience, with Facebook having the most expansive offering. As Instagram is owned by Facebook, cross-platform advertising between the two is a great feature when utilized effectively.

Facebook and Instagram’s broad range of targeting options range from the basics such as age, gender, and location, through to relationship status, education levels, language, and even to the extent of what pages and brands individual users engage with.

These two platforms allow you to create different forms of social media ads; from the standard photo and video posts, to more in-depth targeted options such as instant experiences, slider and carousel ads. These require more input when it comes to listing the specifics of your target audience.

With a greater niche audience than both Facebook and Instagram, the advertising options are slightly more tailored. However, the type of content you craft to suit this platform can reach your target audience in equally as powerful ways. LinkedIn allows for targeting options based on the size of a particular company, relevant industries, seniority of employees, alongside refined location options.

Message Ads on LinkedIn are similar to email marketing. The exception is that messages go directly to users’ LinkedIn inboxes, which is considerably less irritating than cluttering your email inbox. Users only receive these ads whilst they are active on the platform, meaning the messages aren’t delivered in off-peak hours and wind up at the bottom of a message pile.

Sponsored Content ads are another option offered by LinkedIn, appearing in news feeds for both desktop sites and mobile. They’re used to place your content in front of a larger audience and highlight brand expertise. It’s worth noting that headlines under 150 characters have better engagement, whilst larger images also get higher click-through rates.

Like the other platforms, Twitter also allows tor targeting options based on location, gender, age, and interests. It also permits username targeting, which allows for reaching users who connect with certain brands and user profiles; ranging from companies to celebrities.

Advertising on Snapchat allows businesses to display a single piece of content at the top of users’ feeds. These ads can be run as static images, or as videos and GIFs. Whilst these ads don’t permit advertisers to implement clickable URLs, nothing is preventing you from adding a visual URL as content on the ad, as well as the ‘swipe-up’ feature integrated on Snapchat.

These types of ads are ideal for promoting events, sales, or one-off activities. They can last up to 10 seconds, meaning that the ads need to be visually striking to make an impact. An ideal method of using Snapchat ads is to drive people through to website landing pages, or to install their app.

What is retargeting and how does it work?

Social media retargeting is a method of online advertising used to reach users who have already visited or displayed interest on your website. Retargeting allows you to remind users of products or pages they viewed and encourages them to proceed further through the purchase funnel.

It also can be used to generate awareness by drawing the user’s attention to products, features, or announcements that are relevant to your business.

List-based retargeting allows you to upload a list of email addresses from potential customers or past customers. The platform you’ve chosen then identifies people using that same email address on their network and shows ads specifically to those people.

Pixel-based retargeting on the other hand utilizes unobtrusive cookies (a piece of JavaScript) to track pages and products that each user views. The cookie then notifies the ad networks chosen by the adsiser to serve specific ads to that user based on what they browsed. Ads run for up to 30 days from the last time a customer visited a website.

The advantage of a social media retargeting campaign is that people can see that the ad is from a real account. This encourages users to share, reply to, and discuss your content on well-known platforms.

The benefits of utilizing social media ads and retargeting options in your marketing strategy often speak for themselves. With typical methods of advertising no longer having the impact they initially demonstrated, it is more crucial than ever to harness the intuitive and also unobtrusive powers that social media ads have. With expertise in crafting targeted social media ad campaigns and harnessing the power of retargeting, Carbon Web can easily demonstrate and succeed at achieving the results that your company deserves.

Share on linkedin
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on reddit

Join our newsletter.