What is Social Advertising and how does it works – Through advertising on social networks, companies can achieve important business goals: let’s find out how social advertising works
Social networks are part of the daily life of many people. Young people and adults use them daily to look for new forms of entertainment, news, information, and training content, to interact with friends and relatives, to make new acquaintances, or highlight their talents.
Platform users are also consumers with whom companies are strongly interested in communicating through advertising.
Table of Contents
What is Social Media Advertising?
Social Media Advertising means sending targeted and highly personalized messages to the potentially interested audience. In this, many social media platforms can be used and each has specific characteristics and functions.
Before starting an advertising business, it is necessary to understand all the characteristics of this powerful tool which, if used well, could lead to the achievement of ambitious business objectives.
What is social advertising and what are the advantages for companies?
Social advertising is the set of paid sponsorship and social media marketing activities. This is interactive advertising that is shown on one or more online social networks through advertisements, i.e. textual content, banners, or posts of various kinds and types.
The diffusion of social networks, now widespread, has meant that social advertising takes precedence over other more traditional forms of advertising. Just think that according to the data reported by We Are Social and Hootsuite in the Digital 2022 Global Overview Report, 4.62 billion people use social platforms.
A number that represents over 58% of the world population and is constantly growing. Users spend around two hours and 27 minutes a day on social media, viewing thousands of content. Over 1 in 4 people discover new brands, products, or services through advertising on social platforms.
Facebook is among those used and loved, but Instagram, TikTok, Linkedin, Pinterest, Youtube, and Twitter also continue to grow. If in the past, the favorite means of advertising were mass media such as television, radio, and newspapers, today everything has changed.
Companies prefer forms of online sponsorship to achieve business goals, and among these are advertisements on social networks. The reason is quickly explained. The audience that can be reached through this type of platform is very large and highly profiled.
With very low margins of error, all the details are known: interests, needs, age, sex, language spoken, where they live, level of education, hobbies, behaviors, passions, and tastes.
This enables companies to respond in a targeted way to their needs, maximizing the return on investment. Social media allow targeting and retargeting activities and to send personalized messages to users who have shown greater interest or curiosity towards the brand, its products, or its services.
Social advertising campaigns are highly personalized and only affect those potentially interested in purchasing certain products or services, favoring a significant saving of economic resources.
The results obtained are easily monitored, thanks to a series of KPIs and metrics that are returned in real-time.
Social advertising is not difficult, since almost all platforms accessible on the web provide wizards that allow everyone to quickly create advertisements.
To stand out in a world full of content and increasingly skeptical users, it is necessary to develop precise marketing strategies and carry out in-depth analyzes that lead to the creation of high-performance content.
Social Network and Community: the success of Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, and Instagram
A social network is a platform designed to allow users who subscribe to communicate and interact with each other and create real communities based on their interests.
Born around the end of the 90s, they developed later by increasing their functionality, increasing in number, and differentiating themselves by objectives, the public, and the type of relationships they are oriented to (friends, work, or public).
Their use is almost always completely free, except for the more advanced features provided by some platforms. Their income derives mainly from advertising activity and from the investments of companies that want to exploit these tools to obtain competitive advantages in the market to which they belong.
Among the most popular social networks chosen by organizations, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin, and Pinterest stand out. Each has its characteristics and can be used for the promotion of specific content.
Knowing the differences is essential to choosing the right one to strengthen your online presence and launch effective advertising campaigns.
Facebook is the most used platform in the world, with approximately 2.93 billion monthly active users worldwide in 2022. Born in 2004 as a university service to facilitate the exchange of information and meetings between students, it has become the most famous social network in absolute. Belonging to the Meta company, it is a free service available in over 100 languages.
On Facebook, users can connect with geographically distant people, talk to each other, create and publish content and interact with those proposed by others. Texts, images, videos, and GIFs can be uploaded and live broadcasts can be made.
Organizations, companies, and freelancers can open company pages through which to promote themselves. Given a large number of users, to increase views and conversions it is necessary to invest in advertising on the platform.
Facebook allows you to personalize your ads, selecting the objectives to be achieved (for example, increasing brand awareness, application downloads, or sales) and choosing from different ad formats. Images can be used, offering engaging and high-quality visual content, videos, carousels, or showing items from your product catalog.
In addition to numerous editing tools, the possibility of retargeting activities, selecting a personalized target, and identifying an audience similar to the one already conquered, Facebook provides advertisers with all the necessary data to be able to monitor the progress of campaigns in real-time.
At any time it is possible to intervene to block or modify all the activities that are not giving the desired and expected results.
Twitter is a microblogging service launched on the market on July 15, 2006. The platform allows you to publish short text messages, up to 140 characters, accompanied by images, videos, GIFs, and links. Hashtags are used to identify and report the topic of discussion.
The platform is particularly loved by journalists, who can quickly transmit news or get information directly from citizens, and by public or show business figures who find the perfect way to stay in touch with their target audience. Many companies have appreciated the strength of Twitter and have decided to invest in advertising on the platform.
To start a campaign, advertisers must choose the target based on interests, geographical area, gender, the device in use, or users similar to the followers they already have. You can sponsor tweets, accounts, or trends to make them known to as many people as possible about the budget available.
There is no minimum spending threshold and the activity can be started or stopped at any time deemed appropriate. To measure the effectiveness of the advertisements, statistics developed by Twitter are used, which provide a complete picture of the progress of the campaign. Based on the results obtained, you can decide whether to replicate the actions or change your strategy.
Linkedin is the social network created to offer professionals and companies a place to interact, create social networks, produce, share and discover content related to the job market. It is a platform particularly suitable for those who operate in the B2B sector.
The ads that can be made on Linkedin are different and are created to achieve specific social business objectives, such as finding new customers, increasing brand awareness, seeking competent collaborators and new employees, or disseminating company updates.LinkedIn is used by companies to sponsor job offers and find increasingly trained and motivated employees and professionals.
It offers the possibility to do remarketing activities, personalize the contents based on the interactions that people have had with the brand, and access multiple targeting options.
You can send messages to other companies, select your audience based on professional demographics by directly reaching people who have decision-making power within the workplace or create a personalized audience by uploading lists of email addresses.
After launching the campaigns, LinkedIn provides accurate data on the progress and performance of advertisements, the rate of conversions obtained, and the behavior of the audience. The platform guarantees excellent results in the generation of qualified leads.
Extremely popular social network, Instagram focuses on sharing visual content. Users and companies can publish images and videos accompanied by short texts and hashtags wisely used to allow communities to find what they find most interesting.
They can create reels, short permanent videos to which effects, audio, and filters are added, or stories, contents that remain visible for only 24 hours. Many realities have decided to use Instagram to reach a heterogeneous audience in terms of demographic characteristics and interests.
By opening a company profile, it is possible to pursue commercial objectives, increase sales and launch effective advertising campaigns with simple and flexible tools. After creating a business account on Instagram, you can highlight a post to increase its views or create more elaborate ads through the ‘Ads Management platform.
You will be able to choose your target audience, configure budgets, choose the most suitable and captivating creativity and gain real-time insights to make decisions supported by concrete data.
Pinterest is a social network based on sharing images, photographs, infographics, GIFs, memes, and videos. You publish Pins or share them on virtual thematic message boards that function as containers.
The platform is mainly used by users looking for inspiration or new products to buy. Companies are particularly interested in advertising on Pinterest, as the public is well prepared to welcome promotional messages and suggestions.
You can prepare static ads, video ads, carousel ads, collection or Pin idea ads (a set of contents), or promote products in a catalog linked to your e-commerce. Pinterest connects directly with the company’s e-commerce: it is the perfect social network if you want to increase sales.
After creating advertising campaigns and publishing them on Pinterest, the platform returns customizable reports to the advertiser containing the metrics deemed most useful for evaluating the performance of their actions and for making decisions regarding their social advertising strategy.
How to do social advertising: develop an effective strategy
The social platforms on the web are numerous. Before selecting the one deemed most right and effective to achieve your marketing objectives and start the creation and publication of advertising content, it is good to develop a detailed strategy.
The results to be obtained must be immediately identified with precision. With social advertising you can mainly reach three:
Brand awareness, to increase brand awareness
Conversions or lead generation, to make the user perform a desired action or transform him into a qualified contact
Traffic generation, to increase access to a website by intercepting the public on social networks
Identify the audience
The audience is a key element of social advertising. The ability to create targeted advertisements for highly profiled audiences makes this tool particularly effective. It is necessary to precisely identify your target audience, the one potentially most interested in the products and services offered and inclined to perform the actions indicated.
On social networks, audiences can be created based on personal characteristics, such as gender and age, geographical indications, interests (hobbies, passions, sports activities, musical tastes), behaviors, communities frequented, or devices used. The same platforms can be used to study your target and select the one most similar and inclined to purchase and listen to.
Social networks provide a lot of information about those who interact with the company’s content. By creating a similar audience, it is possible to identify all those who have similar characteristics to those who have already demonstrated their appreciation of the activities and content already published on social networks, who are included in a mailing list to receive newsletters, or who are part of a certain community of reference.
Select the right platform
Once you have identified all the audiences you want to target and understand their characteristics, you can choose the most suitable platform to use. Not all web users are present on the same social networks: companies and professionals, for example, prefer LinkedIn, while on Instagram and TikTok it will be possible to find a younger audience.
Define the budget
To do social advertising you need to invest resources and establish a budget to be allocated to advertising campaigns. It is a very variable element because it is influenced by the type of platform used, the reference market, its level of competitiveness and saturation, the type of business and the objectives to be achieved and the time established to do so.
The ideal would be to carry out tests, allocating a budget for a first experimental phase useful to obtain data to study to understand how much it is necessary to invest to obtain a good ROI ( Return on Investment ).
Type of advertisements and content creation
Online advertising is highly customizable and allows you to send targeted messages to a specific one or more groups of people. It is recommended to create content designed for each identified public segment, trying to respond to their needs and meet their expectations. To be successful, it is not enough to select the right platform and invest large amounts of budget.
The quality of the published contents is of great importance, as they must be able to distinguish themselves from those created by competitors. Ads must be captivating and capture the attention of a user accustomed to being constantly targeted with information and messages.
To achieve this purpose, different types of advertisements can be used depending on the selected social network: images, videos, carousels, slideshows, collections, banners, and many others. The more interesting the content, the more there is the possibility that the public will interact with likes, comments, and shares.
Insert a call to action
The call to action is important to indicate to the user what activity they need to perform after viewing the ad. It consists of a short sentence that must be concise and persuasive to convince the audience to do what is asked of them.
Many social networks allow you to insert buttons in ads that have the function of a call to action. During the creation of the campaign, by indicating to the platforms which are the objectives you want to achieve, you can add the most relevant one.
Analysis of the results: the metrics of social advertising
Unlike traditional media ads, online advertising can be constantly monitored. It is possible to understand, at any moment, what are the results that are being obtained. Social advertising consists of advertisements that allow companies to interact with users.
The first feedback comes from them through the likes, comments, and sharing of sponsored content. All platforms provide the advertiser with statistics, data, and information to be able to create reports and evaluate advertising activity.
On social networks, KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are extremely important, regarding the number of likes, interactions, followers, comments, mentions generated, posts published, timing, and engagement rate.