Social media advertising is taking off and for good reason. Social media advertisements are often targeted in advanced and highly effective ways. Furthermore, they often reach consumers at times when they aren’t busy or in a bad mood, because much of social media use is recreational. If you’re convinced of the benefits of social media advertising for your business, then the choice is: which site? There are a plethora of options so we’ll go through the main ones which we have divided into: The Big Three and The Emerging Five.


The Big Three



  • Overall, named as the most effective social media platform based on the factors of targeting and return-on-investment (Facebook named as the most effective social media platform for advertising).
  • The social media monolith – Facebook has the largest user base at “1.65 billion monthly active users as of March 31, 2016” (Facebook Newsroom Company Info).
  • Ads are interpolated into the Facebook ‘News Feed’ amongst unpaid content, making them more likely to be noticed and read by consumers.
  • Ability to integrate video, e-commerce, maps and downloads into the advertisement.
  • Advertise for as little as AU$5 total.



  • Relatively basic analytics (the ad performance statistics).




  • Good at targeting specific groups of consumers:
    • You can target hashtags (make your ad show up on the pages of and with certain hashtags). It is a very effective way of targeting the right audience and is similar to targeting keywords with Google Adwords.
    • You can also target specific users. This is a powerful targeting feature because Twitter users include celebrities from Katy Perry to Barack Obama, as well as brand evangelists, fashionistas, foodees and all kinds of users with niche followings.
    • You can even target based on your CRM list! (Customer Relationship Management list: a list of your customers often managed by marketing software such as Salesforce).
  • Several types of ads: promoted tweet (a tweet that you pay to show up on user’s timelines), promoted account (your account shows up in user’s timelines), promoted trend (a topic that shows up in a box in the sidebar).



  • You can target by interest category as well, but it’s quite unspecific. There are 350 interest categories to choose from which is less than it sounds when you consider how many interest categories there are in the real world. We suggest using the other targeting options unless you’re targeting broadly (for some reason).
  • Analytics are not as advanced as say Facebook or Google+.




  • LinkedIn caters for business professionals, so by advertising on this site, you are already targeting a category which generally has substantial disposable income.
  • It is the best website for targeting people based on their job titles, companies, industries, etc. It is the only practical choice for these powerful targeting bases.



  • Low click-through rate. A few reasons for this that we surmise are: businesspeople are at large quite time-poor; also, LinkedIn is intended primarily for business as opposed to leisure, so clicks are much more serious and intentional. This second point works in your favour however, because LinkedIn has a higher conversion rate than the other more recreational social media sites.
  • Expensive cost-per-click. Rates are around $2+. However, LinkedIn’s low click-through rates and high conversion rates may balance this out.


The Emerging Five


Pinterest (an image and video board website) doesn’t get the same kind of traffic as many of the other options, but one way that digital marketers have been using it is for content marketing and backlinking. Content marketing draws people to your website through content that they are interested in e.g. a picture they saw on Google Images that you posted on your Pinterest board and linked to your website. Backlinking is an SEO technique (SEO = Search Engine Optimisation = making your website rank higher in Google search results pages) that works by creating links back to your website which are clicked on by web surfers. Also, a potentially useful stat for targeting: 85% of Pinterest users are female […] Amazing Pinterest Statistics […].



Advertising on Instagram (an image and video sharing website) is restricted to certain parties that have been granted access to the Instagram API or who have had the option rolled out to them in the Facebook Business Manager.

But for those who have the option, Instagram’s pros include:

  • Young user base: useful if this is the demographic you’re targeting.
  • High brand engagement: the user interface makes it easy to scroll through and tap a ‘Like’ button or call-to-action button.



Snapchat (a ‘self-destructing’ media sharing platform) is a newcomer to social media advertising, only first releasing ads in 2014. As a rather innovative social media concept, it has a few advertising nuances to be aware of:

  • It uses opt-in advertising: this is where users have the option to turn off ads if they please. The downside: less views; the clear upside: you will create less negative brand impressions.
  • Youthful user base
  • Users flick through content very fast: your message must be short, sharp and ‘gettable’ immediately.



You can’t place ads within Google+ itself, but you can pay to promote your Google+ posts in the same way as Google Adsense listings. This relatively new feature (released: 2014) called +Post makes Google+ an excellent website for brand networking. By creating a Google+ brand page (another 2014– feature ) and using +Post to attract consumers to it, you can interact with your consumer base through content marketing and also directly, by using the full feature-set of this social media platform.



Reddit (a forum-like content sharing site) is the most ‘alternative’ social media marketing platform in this list because it isn’t exactly tailored towards ads.  So with Reddit advertising, the stats are basic, there a limited ad types, there is very limited customer service, but…

  • It’s cheap: ~$1.50 CPM (cost per thousand views).
  • Subreddits (content categories) can be targeted, enabling the marketer to target 884,716 (the amount of subreddits at the time of writing) niche to very niche consumer groups.
  • It’s simple.


So that’s a neat, summarised little introduction to advertising on eight of the most popular social media sites. There is no ‘best’ option – the intent of the article is to let you compare the pros/cons/differences to decide which one is best for your situation.

For a walkthrough on integrating the vast benefits of social media onto your own website, read our post: Social Media For Your Website […].

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