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Compact Strategy Guide to Using Social Ads

Planning to increase brand awareness and leads fast on social media? Do social ads.

Strategy Guide to Using Social Media Ads

Here's a quick guide on how to succeed in social media advertising. We'll cover:

  • The different social ad types and what they're each best for
  • How to creates ads campaign to get result
  • Best practices for running effective social ads

What Is a Social Media Ad?

According to Digital Authority Partners (DAP), a social media ad is a paid online advertisement that promotes a product, service, or brand on a social networking platform.

It is different from other paid media channels, such as Google or Bing, in many ways:

  • Audience. Google and Bing Ads have a much wider market reach. For instance, the mega search engine receives billions of daily queries.
  • User intent. Those who visit search engines already have a goal: to look for information or purchase a product. Social media users sign up to engage with friends, read the latest news, or watch videos. While there is a search feature on most platforms, it’s not the primary reason people are there.
  • Targeting options. You can target your Google and Bing Ads by keywords, interests, demographics, and other factors. Social media ad targeting is much more sophisticated. For example, you can target by interests, behaviors, demographics, and even life events on Facebook.
  • Bidding options. Google and Bing Ads use different bidding models, such as cost-per-click (CPC) and cost per thousand impressions (CPM). Social media platforms also have various bidding models, but they don’t necessarily work the same way as paid search. LinkedIn, for one, has sponsored content ads and in-mail messaging.

Despite the differences, social ads still make a great addition to your online marketing strategies for these reasons:

  • Facebook and Instagram already have a billion members each.
  • Social media is popular among millennials, Gen Zs, and Alphas. They are not only the biggest generations today. Their purchasing power is massive.
  • These platforms render visual assets well. Videos and images add more context to content, making it more relatable and easier to consume.
  • Social media platforms are quickly becoming e-commerce venues. There's no better time to ride with the transition today when social commerce is still in its nascent stage.

Types of Social Media Ads

One of the biggest appeals of social media ads is the various ad types you can use. These include:

  • Static ads. They usually consist of an image or video with a call-to-action (CTA) button, such as “learn more” or “shop now.”
  • Carousel ads. Carousel ads let you include multiple images or videos in a single post, which users can swipe to see. These are ideal for items in different colors or styles, such as clothing and shoes.
  • Collection ads. Collection ads are similar to carousel ads but focus on product images. They also have an instant store feature that lets users purchase products without leaving the app.
  • Slideshow ads. Slideshow ads are video ads that use still images instead of videos. They’re beneficial if you don’t have video content or want to repurpose existing videos for social media.
  • Instant Experience ads. Instant Experience, or Canvas, ads are full-screen and interactive. They load faster than regular web pages and are ideal for mobile users.
  • Lead-generation ads. Lead-generation ads let you collect leads without redirecting users to a landing page. Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn have lead forms that pop up when you click on an ad. You can use the information you collect for email marketing or sales campaigns.

The options are practically endless. And with the right strategy, you can use social media ads to achieve your business goals, whether it’s generating leads, boosting sales, or increasing brand awareness.

Here's how.

Best Social Ads Strategies to Begin Now

Here are five tips to start social advertising today. If you want something more comprehensive, we strongly recommend hiring a digital marketing agency specializing in social media marketing and paid ads.

These ideas, however, will give you the head start you're looking for.

1. Set Your Goals

What do you want to achieve? Your goals will determine the platforms you use, the type of ad you create, and your targeting options.

Some common social media marketing objectives include:

  • Generating leads
  • Increasing sales
  • Driving traffic to your website
  • Boosting brand awareness or reach
  • Creating engagement

Stick to one specific objective as much as possible. Measuring your success and adjusting your strategy is easier if you have a clear goal. For example, track how many people clicked on your ad and made a purchase to increase sales.

2. Research Your Audience

Next, learn about your target market. Who are they? What social media platforms do they use? What are their interests and favorite topics?

Your target audience research will come in handy when you start creating your ads. The more you know about them, the easier it will be to create content that resonates.

Here are some ways to learn more about your target audience:

  • Check out your website analytics.
  • Conduct surveys. Ask your current customers about their age, location, interests, and social media habits. You can also use survey tools like Google Forms and Typeform.
  • Look at your social media followers. Check out the insights on your Facebook Page or Twitter profile to see who’s engaging with your content.
  • Spy on your competitors. You share similar demographics. Know the ads that work well with them, and try to improve them.
  • Use social media listening tools to track conversations about your brand, industry, and competitors. Some popular options include Mention, BuzzSumo, and Hootsuite Insights.

3. Know Your Budget

Your budget determines the scope of your campaigns. If you have a limited budget, consider running ads on one platform first and then expanding to others.

Note that the cost of social media advertising varies by platform. Using Facebook, for instance, could mean spending $0.28 on CPC if you're seeking a US audience and $0.35 globally.

Know your numbers with these tips:

  • Create a monthly or annual budget for social media advertising.
  • Learn industry benchmarks. In other words, how much are your competitors spending on social ads?
  • Consider the cost of your time.

4. Test Your Ads

After you've created your ads, it's time for the fun part: testing. Try different ad types, copy, images, and targeting options to see what works best with your audience.

Here are tips to make this process more effective:

  • Consider making subtle changes only. For example, if you're testing images, use the same copy but switch up the pictures. Test one variable at a time to track your results and pinpoint what's working more easily.
  • Track your progress. Keep tabs on your click-through rate (CTR), conversion rate, and cost per acquisition (CPA). These metrics will tell you if your social ads are achieving your objectives and whether they're worth your money.
  • Test for a week or two. You need enough time to gather data, but you don't want your tests to drag on forever.

Final Thoughts

Social media advertising can help you reach a larger audience, generate leads, and increase sales. This brief social ads guide should give you a good starting point.

But if you're looking for more marketing ideas or help, work with a digital marketing firm that can assess your business goals and create a customized plan.

Author Bio:

Pranjal Bora works as Head of Product Development at Digital Authority Partners.