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A Guide to Social Media Advertising

Monday, December 09, 2013 /

There are a ton of choices in social advertising. Which is best for you? How do they work? Why should you bother?

We’ll delve into the various options and how they work later in this post. For now, here are some stats to convince you that social advertising is not an option, it’s a MUST. 

Social networks have vast amounts of users. More importantly, they have high engagement and attractive demographics; according to Business Insider, as of July 2012, Americans were spending an average of 12 hours per month on social networks with 18-24 year olds averaging 20 hours. And, BIA/Kelsey recently forecasted $11 billion of social ad spending in 2017, up from $4.7 billion last year

This is not a phenomenon and it’s not going away. It’s time to cut the newspaper ad cord and log on!

For starters, think about whom you are targeting for your ads. Facebook and Twitter make it simple; they both have programs that allow you to hone in on users by location, demographic and interests.

Second, choose your platform and complete your ad (that part’s coming next). Finally, optimize for mobile; your main points need to be made in the first 90 characters, and all photos and videos must look good on a mobile device.

So, what’s right for your business? Facebook and Twitter are definitely the most prevalent at the moment, but there are several others, such as YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest, that are catching up quickly. Here’s some detailed information on each of those options.


Number of Users: More than one billion

Advertising Tools Available:

·         Facebook Ad – These ads show up in users' news feeds or to the right of their news feeds on desktop and/or mobile, and can be designed for one of eight campaign objectives: page likes, page post engagement, clicks to website, website conversations, app installs, app engagement, event responses or offer claims.

·         Facebook Sponsored Story – This is a post that shows an action of a user’s friend(s). The filtered news feed only shows users the most important posts about their friends. But, if someone Likes your business, checks in at your business, uses your app or shares your link, you can pay to boost that action’s visibility in the feed or have it appear in sidebar ads.

·         Facebook Exchange – Allows you to reach users based on their browsing history elsewhere on the web. Cookies track users' movements, so that when someone checks out your website you can show ads to the person in the future.


Number of Users: 232 million

Advertising Tools Available:

·         Sponsored/Promoted Twitter Account – This is when your account shows up at the top of the “Who to Follow” box. Typically used to gain exposure for your company and increase your followers.

·         Sponsored/Promoted Tweet – This is a tweet that you have paid Twitter to tweet out frequently. You create a tweet that you believe will be very engaging and it will be displayed at the top of your followers’ timelines and to users who don't follow you.


Number of Users: More than one billion

Advertising Tools Available:

·         YouTube Homepage Redzone: This is a 24 hour opportunity for advertisers to use a large space on the Youtube homepage for any purpose. Most advertisers use a large banner with mixed media options.

·         TrueView In-Stream: These 30 to 60 ads are played before the video a user has chosen to watch. These campaigns must be highly targeted, but if the are done right, can be very effective at a low cost.

·         TrueView In-Search: These are similar to text ads in a Google search. Campaigns are created by adding and bidding on keywords that will attract users to click on your video on your brand channel.


Number of Users: 225 million

Advertising Tools Available:

·         LinkedIn Ad – These are the ads that show up on the right-hand side of your LinkedIn page. You can set them to be viewed by users with specific job titles or you can target relevant groups.

·         LinkedIn Sponsored Status Update – Similar to a Facebook sponsored post, this is a status update a person or business has paid to have show up more frequently.


Number of Users: 150 million

Advertising Tools Available:

·         Sponsored Photos/Videos – Videos or photos that have been paid for will have a "Sponsored" label where the time stamp normally would be. Currently, Instagram is only offering ads to brand that are already great members of the Instagram community.


Number of Users: 70 million

Advertising Tools Available:

·         Promoted Pins – These are just like magazine clippings, and are perfect for images you want users to see (such as model home beauty shots). The ads take into account what users follow. Basically, you can pay to show certain pins at the top of search results and category feeds.

Whichever site you choose, you’ll be charged per click or impression, so have specific goals set before you start. Your best bet is to start with a small budget and test a few of the platforms to see what works best for your ad goals. Once you figure that out, go for it! It’s the future of advertising and it’s smart and effective. Embrace it and you won’t be sorry.

For more information on social media advertising, make sure to ASK Carol! East Coast Carol (aka Carol Morgan) can be reached at or West Coast Carol (aka Carol Ruiz) can be reached at

Published by : Ask Carol
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