What is social advertising?

Social advertising, or social media ads, are the sponsored content you come across when scrolling apps like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. The brand owner or content manager has paid the app to promote that specific post.

How does social advertising work?

For a fee, the advertiser directs the brand to expose the post to a certain number of people, for a certain number of days. The higher the fee, the longer and wider the exposure. Other customizations can be made, such as narrowing the target viewers to an age range or location.

What are the pros of social advertising?

Canadians love being online. Three out of every four Canadians spend at least three hours online every day. It’s not just a “young person’s game” either. Compared to 2015 when just 24 per cent of the population aged 55+ surfed the web using a mobile device, that demographic is now 57 per cent in 2019! Online usage is growing across all demographics.

This makes social advertising a powerful tool. All the social apps have analytics that track who is using the app, what people are interested in, and what people are responding to. With social advertising you get to take advantage of their data. Instead of an ad that you hope gets seen by your target market, your ad can be placed right in front of your intended audience, giving you a much higher return on investment.

Social ads, unlike print ads or billboards, also tap into the human impulse. By adding a button or link for consumers to learn more or make a purchase, you dramatically improve conversion margins.

What are the cons of social media advertising?

Social media advertising can be overwhelming, and it can be hard to know which app to advertise on. You must do research before you begin to identify which apps your target market is using. For example, Pinterest is known for its mainly female viewers, while Snapchat is aimed at a younger demographic. However, your type of business also plays a very big role in which medium you choose. If you are a photographer, your ads may do better on Instagram than on LinkedIn, however a mechanical service could do quite well with explainer videos or short blogs (or links to blogs) on Facebook or LinkedIn.

Before you start placing ads, you must narrow down the medium, the message, and then tailor the ad for the demographic.

Why, and how, should you do this?

Despite the challenges, everyone with a business should be taking advantage of social media advertising. It is just one, but one very powerful, tool in your toolbox of innovations that will help to grow your brand. Why ignore a massive subset of the population that is already online and already browsing?

To get started, you could do research as to which apps are the best for your brand and market, or you can engage the services of a digital marketing agency that can not only help you make and place the most impactful social media ads, but will also design a comprehensive strategy across multiple disciplines (print, digital, SEO, social media, web design, etc.).