There are billions of monthly users on social media platforms combined. Social media advertising offers one major benefit over traditional out of home or TV, this is targeted advertising. Data collected through social media platforms with the consent of the user, is used to show them adverts that most relate to their interests. They are also very diverse and allow a multitude of formats, sizes, lengths and more. It is important to keep up to date with all new additions and features that these platforms offer as all could be potentially new advertising opportunities. The latest is the addition of stories to Facebook. Instagram advertisers will already be familiar with this format and can easily adapt to take advantage of the new ad space. Another new addition is to Instagram where shopping posts allow the advertiser to tag their product directly in the post with a link to the landing page where the customer can purchase the product. This can be done all without the user leaving the app. Still the most common for social media advertising are sponsored posts where your ad will appear as part of the viewers and even the viewers friends feeds and should seamlessly blend in with the other pages the user is viewing.
The sheer volume of users on social media platforms, specifically Facebook, which has an estimated one third of the entire world's population, and Instagram make it almost impossible that your target audience are not using one of these platforms. The key is in finding them. The ability to customise your audience makes social media an ideal and efficient way to tap into your market. Luckily these platforms make targeting your audience easy. You can target in a number of different ways. First being simple demographics. Targeting by age, gender, location or interests is a starting off point for targeting the right people for your product or service. But having such a large audience has both a positive and negative side. Using only these parameters can still give far too broad of a target audience. Therefore you can narrow down your audience by re-marketing to those who have already shown an interest in your or your competitors pages. By using these techniques you can find the most relevant audience.
”It’s important to review and audit your social media advertising style as updated features, trends and even new applications can shift your target audience from one to another.”
Facebook ads manager is a platform marketers should be very familiar with especially since it covers two of the largest platforms Facebook and Instagram. It will also save marketers time with being able to cover their two main social marketing platforms at once. With Instagram's younger audience base it may be a more relevant platform for many brands. The main ad space on Instagram includes sponsored posts much like on Facebook slip right into to the feed on the user ultimately trying to blend in with their current feed. It is important to note that although ads can be placed on both platforms it can be a good idea to customise the target audience for both platforms due to the varying audiences. The types of accepted media for ads remain the same on both platforms which means only minor adaptation is required to place the same campaign on both.
YouTube also remains one of the key ad platforms and has a user base of over 2 billion users each month. Here, ads must be tailored to the type of video chosen. Ads may appear before or during the video being viewed. The length and also whether the ad can be skipped after the 5 second bumper limit can both be customised. For this reason it’s crucial to adapt your ad to the length it will be viewed at, most ads will be skipped as soon as they are allowed to be and therefore if you promote your message make sure it will come across in the 5 seconds allowed. Not by any means an easy task but crucial if you want your message to be heard on this platform, which based on the user base you probably do.
Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest are also viable platforms to use and may offer the benefit of more specific user types. LinkedIn being tailored for business professionals may be more appealing to high end automotive brands and Pinterest being tailored for the creative type may appeal more to smaller arts and craft businesses.
It’s important to review and audit your social media advertising style as updated features, trends and even new applications can shift your target audience from one to another and if you’re not on top of these you will miss out and may be pouring your ad budget down the drain.