A Quick Guide to Social Media Advertising

Social media advertising can be an effective tactic to use as each social media platform offers a unique and targeted way to share your message with your target audience.



Facebook advertising has become a growing component of digital advertising as companies spent more than $9 billion on Facebook ads in the second quarter of 2017 alone.

More than two billion people are on Facebook, which allows you to reach a large audience for a relatively low cost. However, an audience that is too large inhibits maximization of your resources and is why Facebook offers several layers of targeting to pinpoint your ideal audience and maximize your ROI.

Types of Facebook ads

Facebook offers 10 different objectives as a guide to help create an ad to reach your business goals. These objectives are in three categories: awareness, consideration and conversions. Based on the objective you select, you will be prompted to use one of the following types of Facebook ads:

  • Photo
  • Video
  • Slideshow
  • Carousel – A rotating collection of five unique images, headlines and links within the same post.
  • Collection – A mobile-only format for users to discover, browse and purchase products in a visual and immersive way.
  • Canvas – Interactive, mobile-optimized ads to engage through videos, photos, carousels and tagged product images in a single ad.
  • Lead generation

Check out this article from Hootsuite for a complete guide to advertising on Facebook.



Instagram may be the “little brother” of Facebook, but the platform still boasts over 700 million users. Ad recall for sponsored posts on Instagram were 2.9 times higher than Nielsen norms for online advertising, which is six percent on average.

Individuals follow more brands on Instagram than any other social media platform and Instagram is constantly evolving to provide brands with more tools to create engaging content and advertisements. Facebook and Instagram have become increasingly integrated, which makes it easier to target your audience on Instagram by utilizing your Facebook audience data.

Types of Instagram ads

Facebook and Instagram have similar approaches for creating ads. Instagram focuses on the similar objectives as Facebook with the three categories of awareness, consideration and conversions. Instagram also offers similar types of ads:

  • Photo
  • Video
  • Carousel – A rotating collection of photos and videos with different captions in one post.
  • Stories – Content that is housed in the account profile image and disappears after 24 hours.

Instagram also allows brands to target their audience based on location, demographics, interests and behaviors, and allows brands to create custom audiences, lookalike audiences and automated targeting. A new tool is the Shopify integration on Instagram, which now allows brands to sell directly on Instagram without customers having to leave the app.



For business-to-business brands, LinkedIn is the premier social media platform. Over 500 million active professionals are on LinkedIn. More company decision makers are on LinkedIn than any other social media platform. 41 percent of B2B marketers say it is the most important social media network they use.

There are 14 targeting options available on LinkedIn: location, job function, job seniority and more. You can select up to 100 different targeting specifications to reach your target audience. Based on your business goals, you can pay for ads based on a pay-per-click (PPC) or by pay-per-1,000 impressions (CPM) to ensure you are getting the highest ROI.

Types of LinkedIn ads

Businesses can utilize LinkedIn advertising through the Campaign Manager, a self-service advertising platform that allows you to deliver highly targeted messages to your audience through:

  • Sponsored Content – Ads with valuable content that appear in the homepage feed
  • Sponsored Inmail – Ads that appear directly in a member’s inbox
  • Text Ads – Ads with an image and link that appear in the Ads you may be interested in section (only available on desktop)

LinkedIn also offers other advertising options, such as Dynamic Ads, that are available through LinkedIn Marketing Solutions representatives and only sold through programmatic buying platforms.



Twitter has more than 328 million active users posting 500 million Tweets per day. While it is a great tool for posting content and interacting with your audience, your message may get overlooked. Many businesses use Twitter ad options to meet their specific business goals.

Like LinkedIn, Twitter is another platform that can be highly effective for B2B marketers because of its potential to reach new clients and customers. 84 percent of B2B marketers use Twitter specifically for paid content distribution because of the platform’s high effectiveness and return on investment.

Types of Twitter ads

Twitter provides businesses with three different ad types that can be used alone or in combination to create a campaign. The ads can focus on engagement, followers, awareness, video views, website clicks, app installations, or lead generation through:

  • Promoted Tweets – Tweets that are displayed to users not already following your account.
  • Promoted accounts – Your account is displayed directly in a potential follower’s timeline and in the Who to Follow
  • Promoted trends – A hashtag that is promoted to the top of the trending hashtag list.


Each social media platform provides its own statistical analysis of your advertising campaign for future optimization to ensure that you are using the platform as effectively as possible and generating a strong ROI. Social media advertising is a cost-effective option for businesses looking to increase their digital presence.