Paid advertising on social media can be an excellent way to increase your brand awareness and generate meaningful leads, but only if it’s done effectively. In this article, we’ll review everything you need to know to have success with your paid social media ads.
But First, What’s Your Goal?
Before you can commit to any type of paid advertising, whether it’s on social media or elsewhere, you need to establish a clear goal.
- What do I want this ad to achieve (lead generation, brand awareness, sales, etc.)?
- What do I want users to do when they see the ad?
- How do I want users to feel?
Answering these questions will guide how you create and execute your ads. Additionally, having a set goal makes it easier to measure the success of your ads and adjust accordingly to optimize results.
Now that you’ve defined your goals, it’s time to start your 5 step journey to paid social success!
5 Steps to Enhance Your Social Media Advertising
- Know Your Platform
Social media platforms have quickly become a dime a dozen, so it’s important to understand the platform you’re advertising on in order to get the best results. The main platforms to consider are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
You should choose 1-2 platforms to start with. You want to select platforms that you know will reach the right audience for your messaging and support your overall marketing strategy. We’ll discuss each platform in more detail later, but we’ve also designed this handy infographic that you can download to learn more about each platform’s audience.
- Define Your Target Audience
Similarly to choosing the right platform, you want to make sure you reach the right audience. This includes factors like location, but your ads will perform better if you make them more personalized.
If you could design an individual ad for every user on Facebook, that would be amazing! But of course, there’s no feasible way to do this. What you can do is define your ideal client and tailor every ad to that person. By focusing your ad on a specific type of person, you increase the likelihood that you’ll generate qualified leads and interest in your campaign.
Think about the perfect client walking through your doors. Maybe they’re a potential resident or maybe they’re an adult-child influencer. How old is this person? What do they enjoy doing on the weekends? How do they like to receive information and be communicated with? What questions do they need to be answered regarding your services?
Be specific when answering these questions, and then write and design every ad as if it were meant for this person.
- Create Compelling Content
Compelling content can mean different things depending on which platform you choose. As a general rule, all of your ad content should be visually appealing and high-quality. Avoid small images or pixelated content as it will appear unprofessional.
Every ad should be accompanied by a clear call to action. Your CTA should be short and accessible, such as “Book a Tour” or “Call Now.” Something like “Begin Your Journey” might seem cool and unique, but your user will likely have no idea what you’re asking of them. Anyone who sees your ad should know exactly what you do and what you offer within the first few moments of viewing it.
Make your content easy to understand and attention-grabbing. We’ll discuss the best kinds of content for each platform later.
- Set Your Budget
Set a budget for your social media ad campaigns that align with your goals and the costs of your platform of choice. You can start with a small amount and increase your budget as you start seeing results.
If you’re starting completely fresh, you’ll want to give your ads some time to run and optimize. The first 30 to 60 days should be spent evaluating your ads, adjusting as necessary, and testing different content to see what performs best for you. Once you have a foundation that generates results, you can begin expanding your strategy into retargeting and increased spending.
- Monitor & Optimize
The last, but ongoing, step is to monitor and optimize your ads as necessary. The performance of your campaign on a regular basis. As aforementioned, you’ll be doing a bit more monitoring in the beginning to optimize your campaigns.
Experiment with different ad formats, images or videos, copy, and targeting options to find the best campaign style for your business and goals. Each platform will provide you with analytics that you can use to determine what’s working and not working with your campaigns. This allows you to make data-driven decisions on every ad and campaign you run so you can see and measure the impact of your advertising efforts.
What Makes a Social Media Ad Stand Out?
Advertisements are everywhere, especially on social media, so it’s critical that you make your ad stand out. But not “stand out” from all ads. As we discussed earlier, your ad just needs to stand out to the right people.
When creating your social media ads, you want to consider the following factors:
- Relevance: A great social media ad should be relevant to the target audience. It should address a specific pain point, need, or desire of the audience.
- Eye-catching visuals: High-quality images or videos can make an ad more visually appealing and stand out in a crowded feed. The visuals should be attention-grabbing and reinforce the message of the ad.
- Clear, concise copy: The ad copy should be short, clear, and concise. It should convey the main message of the ad and include a clear call-to-action (CTA) that prompts the audience to take action.
- Personalization: Personalizing an ad can make it more effective. It can involve using the audience’s name, location, or other data points to make the ad more relevant and engaging.
- Social proof: Incorporating social proof in an ad can make it more persuasive. Social proof can include customer reviews, testimonials, or statistics that demonstrate the benefits of the product or service.
- Value proposition: A great social media ad should communicate a clear value proposition. It should explain why the product or service is unique, and how it can solve the audience’s problem or improve their life.
- Mobile optimization: As more people access social media on mobile devices, it’s essential to optimize ads for mobile. The ad should be designed to look good on smaller screens and load quickly.
- Implement “you-centric” language: Your client is the hero of your story. Your ads should frame the user as the main character of your service journey. You’re not selling a senior living community, you’re selling peace of mind, stability, medical care and compassion, and a life free of worry.
Types of Ad Content for Each Social Media Platform
Here are the best types of paid ads that you can do on each of the social media platforms:
|Photo & Video Ads: These are standard ads that appear in users’ Instagram feeds as sponsored content. Advertisers can create engaging photo or video ads with captions and call-to-action buttons.
Stories Ads: Instagram Stories provide a full-screen vertical format for ads. Advertisers can create immersive and visually appealing ads that appear between users’ Stories. These ads can include images, videos, stickers, and interactive elements.
Carousel Ads: Carousel ads allow advertisers to showcase multiple images or videos within a single ad unit. Users can swipe through the carousel to view additional content, providing a more interactive experience.
Explore Ads: Ads can also appear in the Explore tab on Instagram. These ads are targeted based on users’ interests and browsing behaviour, allowing businesses to reach a broader audience beyond their followers.
IGTV Ads: IGTV (Instagram TV) is a long-form video platform within Instagram. Advertisers can insert ads into IGTV videos, either as pre-roll ads or mid-roll ads, similar to traditional television commercials.
Shopping Ads: Instagram offers various shopping features for e-commerce businesses. Advertisers can create shopping ads that include product tags, enabling users to discover and purchase products directly from the platform.
Influencer Marketing: While not a direct advertising option provided by Instagram, many brands collaborate with influencers on the platform to promote their products or services. These partnerships involve sponsored posts, stories, or dedicated content created by influencers.
|Facebook Ad Funnel: You can create Facebook ad funnels that direct users through a curated journey to your website, encouraging them to book a call, a tour, or another ad goal you set up. Learn more by contacting our team.
Feed Ads: These ads appear in users’ news feeds as sponsored content. Advertisers can create various types of feed ads, including photo ads, video ads, carousel ads (multiple images or videos in a single ad), and slideshow ads (a looping video created from images).
Right Column Ads: These ads are displayed in the right-hand column of Facebook on desktop devices. They typically include an image, headline, and description.
Instant Experience Ads: Formerly known as Canvas ads, Instant Experience ads provide an immersive and interactive full-screen experience when users click on the ad. Advertisers can include images, videos, carousels, product catalogues, and other interactive elements.
Stories Ads: Similar to Instagram Stories ads, Facebook Stories ads appear in a full-screen vertical format within the Stories section of users’ Facebook mobile app. Advertisers can create engaging ads with images or videos to capture users’ attention.
Messenger Ads: These ads are displayed within Facebook Messenger. Advertisers can use Messenger ads to initiate conversations, promote products or services, or provide customer support.
Audience Network Ads: Facebook’s Audience Network extends ad placements beyond the Facebook platform, displaying ads in third-party mobile apps and websites. Advertisers can reach a wider audience through this network.
Sponsored Messages: As part of Facebook Messenger marketing, sponsored messages allow businesses to send targeted promotional messages directly to users who have previously interacted with their Facebook Page or Messenger.
Video Ads: Facebook supports in-stream video ads, which are video ads that appear within video content on Facebook. Advertisers can run mid-roll ads during longer videos or pre-roll ads before shorter videos.
|Sponsored Content: Sponsored Content allows advertisers to promote their posts in users’ LinkedIn feeds. These ads appear seamlessly within the organic content stream and can include text, images, videos, or carousels. Sponsored Content helps increase brand visibility, generate leads, and drive website traffic.
Sponsored InMail: Sponsored InMail allows advertisers to send personalized messages directly to LinkedIn members’ LinkedIn inboxes. These messages are sent as a part of LinkedIn’s messaging platform and can include text, images, and call-to-action buttons. Sponsored InMail is effective for targeted messaging and driving engagement.
Text Ads: Text Ads are small, text-based ads that appear on the right side or at the top of LinkedIn pages. These ads typically consist of a headline, a description, and a small image or logo. Text Ads are useful for driving traffic to external websites or LinkedIn Pages.
Dynamic Ads: Dynamic Ads are personalized ads that are tailored to individual LinkedIn members. These ads use member profile data, such as profile pictures or job titles, to create more personalized and engaging advertisements.
LinkedIn Video Ads: LinkedIn Video Ads allow advertisers to showcase video content within the LinkedIn feed. These ads can be used to share brand stories, promote products or services, or deliver educational content to the professional audience on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms: With LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms, advertisers can collect leads directly within LinkedIn. When users click on an ad, a pre-filled form appears with their LinkedIn profile information, making it easier for them to submit their details. Lead Gen Forms streamline the lead generation process and improve conversion rates.
LinkedIn Display Ads: LinkedIn Display Ads provide visual banner ads that appear on the LinkedIn platform. These ads can be customized to include images, logos, and headlines, and they are displayed on various LinkedIn pages.
|TrueView In-Stream Ads: TrueView In-Stream Ads are skippable video ads that play before, during, or after YouTube videos. Viewers have the option to skip these ads after 5 seconds, and advertisers only pay when viewers watch the ad for at least 30 seconds or until the end, or if they engage with the ad.
TrueView Video Discovery Ads: TrueView Video Discovery Ads appear in YouTube search results, related videos, and on the YouTube homepage. These ads are displayed as thumbnail images with a headline and description. When users click on the ad, they are directed to the video’s watch page or a designated landing page.
Non-Skippable In-Stream Ads: Non-Skippable In-Stream Ads are video ads that play before, during, or after YouTube videos, and viewers are not able to skip them. These ads can be up to 15 seconds long (20 seconds in some regions) and are best suited for shorter content.
Bumper Ads: Bumper Ads are short, non-skippable video ads that appear before YouTube videos. They are limited to a maximum length of 6 seconds and are designed to deliver a concise and impactful message.
YouTube Masthead Ads: YouTube Masthead Ads are premium ad placements that appear at the top of the YouTube homepage. These ads provide maximum visibility and exposure to a wide audience and can include video content, interactive elements, and call-to-action buttons.
Sponsored Cards: Sponsored Cards are displayed as small, clickable overlays within YouTube videos. They can feature products, images, or relevant content and can be used to promote additional content or drive traffic to external websites.
YouTube Shopping Ads: YouTube Shopping Ads allow advertisers to showcase their products alongside video content. These ads display product information, images, and prices within the video player, enabling viewers to directly explore and purchase products.
|Promoted Tweets: These are regular tweets that advertisers pay to promote to a wider audience. Promoted Tweets appear in users’ timelines, search results, and relevant hashtag feeds.
Promoted Accounts: Advertisers can promote their Twitter accounts to increase followers and expand their audience. Promoted Accounts are suggested to targeted users in the “Who to Follow” section or in search results.
Promoted Trends: This option allows advertisers to promote a hashtag to increase its visibility and generate conversation.
In-Stream Video Ads: These are video ads that appear before, during, or after video content in users’ timelines.
Website Clicks or Conversions: Advertisers can create ads with a call-to-action button that directs users to their website. These ads can be used to drive traffic or encourage specific actions on an external site.
Twitter Amplify: This program enables advertisers to sponsor high-quality video content from publishers and influencers. The ads appear alongside the content and can be used to reach a targeted audience.
|Promoted Pins: Promoted Pins are native ads that appear within users’ Pinterest feeds, search results, and relevant category feeds. These ads blend in with organic pins and can include an image, a headline, and a description. Promoted Pins help businesses reach a larger audience, increase brand visibility, and drive traffic to their websites or landing pages.
Video Ads: Video Ads on Pinterest allow advertisers to share engaging video content with Pinterest users. These ads autoplay in users’ feeds and can help showcase products, tell stories, or provide tutorials. Video Ads can have a custom cover image, a headline, and a description.
Shopping Ads: Pinterest Shopping Ads enable businesses to showcase their products with relevant information, including images, prices, and product descriptions. These ads appear within users’ feeds and can drive direct purchases by linking to the product pages on the advertisers’ websites.
Carousel Ads: Carousel Ads on Pinterest allow advertisers to showcase multiple images within a single ad unit. Users can swipe through the carousel to view additional images and content. Carousel Ads are effective for showcasing a range of products, telling a visual story, or highlighting different features of a single product.
Collections: Collections are immersive ad formats that combine multiple images with a cover image or video. Advertisers can feature several related products, and users can explore each product in more detail by tapping on it. Collections provide an engaging and interactive shopping experience on Pinterest.
Promoted App Pins: Promoted App Pins are specifically designed for mobile app promotion. Advertisers can create pins that feature an app download button, allowing users to install the app directly from Pinterest. These ads help drive app installations and engagement.
Why Consider Paid Social Ads?
Paid ads on social media can be an integral part of your marketing strategy. The main benefits of paid social media advertising include:
- Reach your targeted audience: Social media platforms offer advanced targeting options that allow advertisers to reach a highly specific audience based on demographics, interests, behaviours, and more. This means that your ad will only be seen by people who are likely to be interested in your product or service, increasing the chances of engagement and conversion.
- Cost-effective: Social media advertising is generally more cost-effective than traditional advertising methods like TV or print ads. Advertisers can set their budgets and bid on ad placements, so they have greater control over their ad spend.
- Measure performance: Social media platforms provide detailed analytics and metrics that allow advertisers to track the performance of their ads in real time. This means you can quickly adjust your campaigns based on data, improving their effectiveness and ROI.
- Increase brand awareness: Social media ads can help increase brand awareness by reaching a wider audience and generating more impressions. This can be especially important for new or emerging brands that need to build awareness and credibility.
- Drive website traffic & conversions: Social media ads can drive traffic to your website or landing page, increasing the chances of conversion. With clear calls-to-action and targeted messaging, ads can encourage users to take specific actions like making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter.
How Can I Tell My Ads are Performing?
Now that your ads are up and running, it’s important to understand how to read and evaluate your analytics. Some key performance indicators to monitor include:
- Impressions: The number of times your ad was shown to users. This metric can give you an idea of how many people have been exposed to your ad.
- Click-through rate (CTR): The percentage of people who clicked on your ad after seeing it. This metric can help you determine how well your ad is resonating with your target audience.
- Cost per click (CPC): The amount you pay for each click on your ad. This metric can help you optimize your ad spend and ensure that you’re getting the best return on investment (ROI).
- Conversions: The number of people who completed a desired action after clicking on your ad, such as making a purchase or filling out a form. This metric can help you determine the effectiveness of your ad in driving desired actions.
- Cost per conversion (CPC): The amount you pay for each conversion. This metric can help you optimize your ad spend and ensure that you’re getting the best ROI.
- Return on ad spend (ROAS): The revenue generated from your ad campaign divided by the cost of the campaign. This metric can help you determine the profitability of your ad campaign.
- Engagement: The number of likes, comments, and shares your ad received. This metric can give you an idea of how well your ad is resonating with your target audience and how likely it is to be shared.
Getting Started with Paid Social Media Ads
That is basically everything you need to know to find success with your paid social media advertising campaigns. If you have questions about your ads or aren’t sure where to start, contact our experts at CITIZEN. You can count on our team of experts to lend a helping hand.