Advertising on Social Media – What are the Options?

Social media is an increasingly powerful tool and one that shows no sign of slowing down, so any marketing campaign that doesn’t include social media advertising is seriously missing out.

The beauty of advertising on social media is that not only can you reach the millions of users that access these networks, but you can harness the power data.

Everything from demographics, behaviors, and interests can be selected by advertisers so they can pinpoint their target market.

In this article, we take a look at the advertising options available to marketers on each of the biggest social media networks.


By far the biggest social media platform, Facebook is used by more than two billion people every month.

The user data is plentiful and specific so that you can hone in on a carefully chosen target market to make the best return on your advertising investment.

As with all advertisements, Facebook ads must be visually appealing.

The text should make up less than 20% of the available space.



The Facebook Offering

Facebook offers advertisers a comprehensive range of options.

There is a selection of ad types and objectives on Facebook which makes it quick and easy. Below are the most popular:

  • Domain Ads – The domain ad is a single image with an option for text. It links to your web page. It can appear on the right-hand column or on the news feed.
  • Carousel Ads – Offers users more choice by displaying multiple images.
  • Offer Ads – Send potential clients discounts.
  • Video Ads – Nearly eight billion videos are watched on Facebook every day. Use the power of video to sell your product.
  • Lead Ads – Collect information so that you can use it for future prospects.
  • Canvas Ads – These are Interactive ads which use story ads to advertise on mobile phones for a full-screen experience.
  • Dynamic Ads – These ads can offer a single or multi-product experience based on the user’s behavior on your website. They are tailor-made to the user.
  • Branded Content – Partner with a publisher or use your expertise to create interesting content that will draw your target market.


Instagram is one of the fastest growing social media platforms.

In the second and third quarter of 2017, the number of businesses advertising on Instagram doubled from 1 million to 2 million.

By September 2018 the platform had 800 million users.

60% of the users are under thirty.

Instagram is part of the Facebook family with similar advertising and targeting options.

Many advertisers have realized that this is one of the best platforms to run photo advertisements that grab the attention of the target market.

Instagram uses Facebook’s powerful demographic information, so you get the benefit of targeting the market that you want.  



The Instagram Offering

  • Photo Ads – Share images of your product. Give your pictures a distinctive look, add a supported call to action button and start converting.
  • Video Ads – Time spent watching video on Instagram is growing. There were four times more videos posted on Instagram in 2017 than in 2016. One-quarter of all Instagram ads are single videos. Your Instagram video ad may not exceed sixty seconds, and research suggests that half that length is optimal.
  • Story Ads – Instagrammers love stories with 400 million viewed every day. Story ads self-destruct in just twenty-four hours so this is a great way to advertise promotions or events. This feature allows advertisers to create advertisements that look like normal feeds. A fifteen-second video or an image will appear in the user’s normal feed.
  • Carousel Ads – Carousel ads are the newest addition to the Instagram stable. With these ads, you show a series of images that are scrollable. You can choose up to 10 images to show off your product or to tell the story of your brand. Use the call to action button to link users to your website. It is also possible to connect three back to back fifteen-second story ads to create a forty-five-second video.
  • Canvas Ads – Canvas ads have now been added to Instagram from the Facebook portfolio and are used to create an advertising experience for the mobile phone using story ads that offer a full-screen experience.


Twitter is the cheapest pay-per-click option for advertising.

Advertising on this platform increased by a staggering 151% in 2017.

Advertisers on Twitter choose the target audience, a budget, and objectives.

Payment is calculated on objectives met.


The Twitter Offering

With Twitter, you have a choice of three categories:

  • Promoted Tweets – Use Promoted Tweets, to reach your targeted audience who can then retweet, like or comment, ensuring that your advertisement spreads around the globe. You can personalize your ad to the needs of your targeted audience. The ads are mobile friendly and you only pay for the Tweets that reach the user. Tweets can include videos and gifs.
  • Promoted Trends – This option is used to encourage clicks for promotions and special events. It allows you to put the subject of your campaign near the trending topics.
  • Promoted Accounts – Promoted Accounts appear in the audiences “who to follow” block. The campaigns are displayed in several areas on the platform, such as the timeline. They are intended to encourage followers to broaden the number of accounts that they follow. They allow the advertiser to increase their following.   


LinkedIn boasts a user base of 467 million professional business people from across the globe.


The LinkedIn Offering

  • Sponsored Content – Sponsored Content appears in the news feeds of the professional people that you target on the platform. Sponsored content will appear on any and all of the devices that the professional has connected to the platform. You can use your company profile to easily create this content and then you can disseminate the content to users outside of your usual followers.
  • Sponsored InMail – This advertising tool allows you to send personalized emails directly to the members of your target market, and it will reach them through their laptops, desktop computers or their mobile devices. These emails are sent only when the members are engaged in the content on the platform. When the service was first introduced it was managed by LinkedIn but now you can easily send your own bulk InMail campaign to your chosen target market.
  • Text Ads – With text ads, you pay only for the ads that get a response through clicks or impressions. They are used to target a specific audience.


SnapChat is creative and young.

Its demographic is younger than any of the other social media platforms, with the bulk of the users in the 13 to 34 age group.

191 million people use SnapChat every day.

This media platform offers augmented reality advertising and shopping.

It is a self-serve platform that offers three different products.

SnapChat offers fullscreen service with sound.

Because the users are young, punchy content delivered in the first two seconds is the key to advertising success on this platform.


The Snapchat Offering

  • Snap Ads – A full-screen video of no more than 10 seconds that allows the user to swipe for more info. The background information can include longer (10 minutes) videos or a link to your site. Snap ads cost less than the Sponsored Lenses. Sequenced messaging is a bundle of several ten-second videos that run together to form a longer video
  • Sponsored Lenses – Sponsored lenses combine the organic with real life. They are built on the selfie image, which makes them much more personalized. Advertisers can purchase lenses that blend with the user selfies and videos. When users receive an interesting sponsored lens from a friend they may be encouraged to send off one of their own.
  • Sponsored Geofilters – With geofilters users can engage with their favorite brands using this product to send sponsored messages alerting the user to the proximity of their products.

Social Media Advertising

Social media advertising offers the marketer a wide selection of products and endless targeting possibilities.

The key is choosing the right social media platforms for your brand.

Then, as long as you understand your audience and can create interesting and eye-catching advertisements that quickly hook the user you can develop a business-boosting campaign that should quickly deliver a return on investment.

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