What Is Social Advertising? Types & Examples of Social Media Advertising


With 3.5 billion users around the world, social media has come to stay. The various social platforms offer marketers a shot at promoting their brand to hypothetically 1 in 3 people worldwide.

They also provide an excellent opportunity to connect and engage with their target audience. However, this requires an understanding of social media advertising.

What is social advertising?

What is social advertising

Social advertising involves creating and releasing clickable ads targeted at a specific demographic on various social media platforms.

Brands around the world use social advertising for a wide range of reasons, including building brand awareness, generating leads, and increasing sales revenues.

What are the benefits of advertising on social media channels?

There are many benefits of advertising on social media channels. Some of these are covered below.

1# More brand recognition

How many times have you run into an interesting brand while simply scrolling through your social media feed? If the brand didn’t embrace social advertising, what are the odds that you would have ever heard about them?

Billions of people are on social media at any given minute of the day, so what better way to gain more recognition than taking your brand to where it is most likely to be seen by your target audience?

The higher the number of people that can recognize your brand, the easier it will be to get your marketing messages across.

2# Better brand loyalty

Most businesses need a loyal clientele to stay profitable. Social media advertising means it is easier for your customers to see your brand’s social pages and interact.

A customer getting an interaction off a brand they love or seeing resolved customer service queries is a perfect way to get them more loyal to the brand.

Additionally, it simplifies the process of recommending your business to their immediate circle.

3# Higher conversion rates

With millions of people viewing your social adverts and, by extension, your social media pages, it is only natural that you will attract more leads.

This will, in turn, lead to more conversions—which could be more sales, app downloads, or email list subscribers.

4# Lower marketing costs

You can get started on your first social advertising campaign with a few hundred dollars. With traditional advertising, you’d typically need tens of thousands to get started.

This makes it easier for smaller brands to challenge well-established businesses on the same platform.

Another important cost-related benefit of social advertising is the fact that you will enjoy flexibility with your advert spending.

Best Social Networks For Advertising

The best social networks for advertising are those with the most active users. The top options include the following:

1# YouTube advertising

YouTube is the largest video sharing website on the internet. It is the third most visited website today and should be high on your list for social advertising.

Apart from the sheer number of YouTube users per day, it is a Google service, which makes it a perfect platform for targeted ads.

Google has a deep trove of information on its users so you can create adverts designed for only a select demographic. Don’t want your adverts to appear on certain channels? You can also do that with ease. Your adverts can be video or text.

2# Instagram advertising

Instagram is another popular social network. It is favored by people less than 35 years old, but the demographics distribution is deep enough to make adverts successful. If you have exquisitely designed graphic or image adverts, the platform is an excellent option.

Once you have quality advert content, upload it, add a caption, and publish. Depending on your advert goals, it may be a good idea to work with established influencers to get your advert more traction.

This is especially true for new brands still working hard to gain recognition. Marketers favor Instagram because it is easy to keep users engaged.

There are a variety of automated solutions for engagement, allowing you to focus on achieving your objectives.

3# Pinterest advertising

Pinterest is another social network that is high on visual content. With around 250 million active users, the platform isn’t as popular as some of the others. However, there is something super unique about it.

A massive 81% of Pinterest users are female. This means that you simply can’t ignore this platform if your brand is women-centric.

The platform is best for advertisers of creative design products. The adverts blend seamlessly into organic content which ensures high engagement rates.

If your goal is sales, you’ll also love the in-app checkout feature, which ensures people can complete a purchase without leaving Pinterest.

4# Facebook advertising

With more than two billion active users per month, there is no denying the fact that Facebook is the king of social media networks.

The users of the platform have a truly global spread, so if you have a worldwide focus with your adverts, you can be sure to attract impressions from dozens of countries.

When it comes to flexibility to advert spend, few platforms come close to Facebook. You can set a desired daily spending limit (after which your adverts won’t be displayed for the rest of the day).

You can also target your audience based on demographic factors such as age, location, gender, interests and more. Further, you can also target desktop or mobile users specifically.

5# LinkedIn advertising

LinkedIn is the social network of the professional world. The B2B-facing platform is the home of decision-makers.

It is no surprise that 50% of web B2B traffic from social media comes from LinkedIn. Your adverts can be Sponsored content, text ads, or Sponsored InMail.

If you are running a business in the B2B niche, LinkedIn should be high on your list of social advertising networks.

6# Twitter advertising

Twitter is another niche social network that attracts 326 million users per month. More than 500 million tweets are posted on the platform each day.

The best way to use Twitter advertising is to focus on creating brand awareness and promoting your products.

The ads appear as “Promoted” tweets on the timelines of your target audience. Regardless of the size of your business, you can derive some benefit from Twitter advertisements.

As your follower base grows, however, you will need to reassess your advert spend. Twitter adverts will certainly help a business with less than 10,000 followers more than one that already has two million followers.

7# Snapchat advertising

Snapchat is another social platform favored by people aged 18-34. There are 190 million daily users so you can expect a high rate of engagement for your adverts.

The various advertising models include Sponsored Local Geofilters, Sponsored Lenses, Snapchat Discover and Snap Ads.

Most effective types and examples of advertising on social media in 2020

Although you can simply create an advert graphic or video detailing what your business is about, it is not always the most effective type of advertising. Here are a few approaches you should consider:

1# Join the conversation

Many social media users have mentally tuned out marketing messages from brands. If your advert is only talking about your business and what it is offering, you won’t get as much attention as another advert that takes advantage of the conversation.

Creating Christmas themed ads during Christmas or Super-Bowl related ads around the big are just some examples of how to join the conversation with your ads.

2# Run promotions

Promotions always work. A carefully designed promotion-based advert can trigger curiosity in a large percentage of your target audience.

The Fear of Missing Out will nudge them closer to conversion. Examples of promotion-based ads include product giveaways, free shipping for the next “x” orders, a chance to win an impressive grand prize, etc.

3# Offer something for free

Just like promotions, the average web user loves it when they can get something they want for free. Social media users are no different. Create adverts that contain the promise of attractive freebies.

For example, if you are in the fashion niche, your advert could ask people to buy a product or supply their email address and get a look book for free. If you are in hospitality, not many people will pass up the chance to get a free ebook on “finding the cheapest destination holidays” for example.


Social advertising is the perfect way to take your business to where your target audience is most congregated. However, it is important to look beyond the numbers.

It is possible to gain more success with your advertising strategy on less popular platforms like Pinterest and LinkedIn compared to Facebook and Instagram. Let your brand focus guide you.

Author: Marquis is a writer, social media manager and SEO content marketer.  She currently lives on the coast of Ecuador, working remotely as a freelancer. Her primary focus is on building online visibility of new, up and coming brand, particularly brands that promote health and wellness. She lives a nomadic lifestyle, though is originally from California.