Social media has become an essential marketing tool for most businesses; in fact, some businesses have opted to build profiles on social media versus creating their own websites and registering domains. Social media advertising is cost-effective and can have excellent conversion rates, which is why many businesses are operating almost completely through social media – building Facebook and Instagram marketplaces and shops that account for the majority of their sales or driving foot traffic to their locations primarily through social media.
Companies are now seeing the value of advertising on social media to drive traffic and generate business leads. However, companies need to do some research to maximize their advertising dollars on social media platforms.
The Algorithm Knows Best
Both Facebook and Instagram use an algorithm to find ads that are best suited for their users, which favors businesses. And, their algorithms are pretty spot on…if you’ve ever wondered how Facebook and Instagram know exactly what you are looking for and how they serve up ads you are interested in more than 50% of the time – that’s the power of the algorithm! So now, how do you get that algorithm to work for you?
1. Determine The Best Platform for Placing Ads
Every social media platform offers businesses a way to run social media advertising, but that doesn’t mean that you should blow your entire advertising budget on shotgunning your ads. Companies can boost their ads by looking at their target audience and researching which platform is best for their customers.
If you already know your target audience’s demographics, you can view the Pew Research Center Social Media Fact Sheet to decide which platform meets your needs. When you choose which platform best fits your target audience, you focus your ad budget on those platforms to expand your customer base.
2. Determine Your Type of Ad
Most businesses find that their customer demographics fall within Facebook and Instagram – and a new entry is TikTok – as the best platforms for building their business brand and generating awareness. Facebook actually owns Instagram, so the types of ads that they offer are very similar.
Facebook states that a series of photo-only ads outperform any other ad formats with driving unique traffic. However, when you create the ad, you are allowed 90 characters of text to describe what it is you are showing your potential customers.
Stories is a new function with Facebook but is an older function with Instagram. Stories are typically a short video clip or photo that the user can swipe to lead them to an external website or company profile quickly. Stories only last for 24 hours, so this might be perfect for companies that have limited time offers.
Video ads are the option that allows for the most creative reach to your customers. You can develop a video ad that stands by itself in a customer’s newsfeed, or it can be a short commercial inside other Facebook/Instagram videos. The trick is that it needs to be engaging.
A collection ad takes a cover photo or video as the main image. In smaller images under the cover image, users can scroll through a collection and get pricing information. A collection ad is an excellent option for those who are in retail sales, home collections, or travel collections.
This type of ad allows businesses to showcase several products at once, up to ten. Each of the ten products has its own link and a short description of the item. Facebook/Instagram has an automatic optimization feature that places the product that a customer might like the best at the carousel’s front.
This ad type is unique to Instagram. Instagram has a feature called IGTV, where users can watch small shows created by people they follow. An ad in IGTV will be like a commercial that you would find on a typical TV show, but with a max time of 15 seconds.
3. Determine Your Advertising Budget
Believe it or not ads on most social media network is sold in an auction format. Companies can set a maximum budget per day or set a budget for a specific result, such as how many times a video is viewed. Several elements will factor into the cost of your ad campaign, such as the time of year, placement in an audience feed, and the quality of your ad.
When starting out, I recommend testing various ad formats with small budgets and pay close attention to engagement and results. As you learn what works best for your brand and business, you can begin to put more of a spend behind strategies that work and test others.