Social Media Advertising Basics

Social Media Advertising Basics


arnold on Nov 28, 2018

How are Advertisements Set Up?

Small businesses cannot overlook the benefits of advertising on social media. For one, it allows accessibility to consumers no matter the time of day. Businesses can share their images, news, and updates anytime while customers are given the convenience of access. With some planning and know-how, online profiles can build awareness and a customer base more easily than traditional marketing.

Advertising for small businesses can be overwhelming given the volume and channels to distribute product information. Banner ads and print ads can be expensive, and they are not always the optimal method to advertise. It is important to select which type of ad will lead to the greatest return. Fortunately, social media provides methods of advertising that companies previously did not have access to (Pilon 2018).

To create a social media ad, make sure your business has a clear idea of what you hope to gain from advertising. For many small businesses, online ads can be useful for promoting a special event as well as to test what kind of messages affect your audience.

Things to Consider for Ads

Ad Questions

Be clear about what your viewers will receive by clicking your ad.

Before creating an ad, do some initial research on your audience such as interests, gender, and audience size. Look at best your performing posts.

Actions can include getting viewers to go to an event, signing up for a newsletter, liking your page, etc. How much is an action worth to you?

The ad should include a measurable action like driving a certain number of mentions or reaching a certain number of followers.

Facebook Ads

Within the social media world, many small businesses find success with Facebook ads in order to reach targeted consumers. Facebook allows businesses to target specific demographics such as age, gender, education, and similar interests. The platform then estimates the number of people a business can reach and results to be expected before ordering the ad.

Facebook Ad Structure

  1. Your business goal (objectives)
  2. Who you want to reach (audience)
  3. Daily or lifetime budget
  4. Photos or videos to feature in the ad

1. Facebook (and Instagram) Business Goals


Ad Objectives are divided into three categories, and they are Awareness, Consideration, and Conversion; definitions are available when choosing from these objectives. These categories are very similar across major social media platforms. An objective can be to boost posts, promote your page, send people to your website, get people to claim an offer, etc.

2. Audience

Selecting an audience means advertising to people who will be most receptive to your post. This can come in the form of emails, visitors to your website, and users of your app; it can also include basic demographics as well as behaviors and connections. If you are a local business, you can further target people based on city or zip code to take a certain offer. Audience also depends on where to run your ad; Facebook can put it in feeds, on Instagram, or in Messenger.

3. Budget

Facebook uses three main methods of pricing  business ads.

CPC (Cost per Click) – Your business is charged each time an action is taken on your ad such as a like, share, comment, or website click; this is a good measurement for checking engagement.

CPM (Cost per Impression) – Your business pays each time your ad is shown to a member of your targeted audience; this is a good measurement for exposure.

oCPM (optimized Cost per Impression) – You pay for your ad based on number of impressions; Facebook puts the ad where people are most likely to engage with it WITHIN your selected target audience.

The cost of an ad depends on how much your business wants to budget. Facebook ads can range anywhere from $5-$50,000 a week. Users can control their total amount based on overall amount spent or the cost of each result. Facebook also allows businesses to set maximum amounts they are willing to spend on one advertising campaign or the total amount they are willing to spend on all campaigns.

4. Format

Facebook lets you choose how to display your ad. It can be an image, video, slideshow, or carousel. A carousel is a collection of images and/or videos with “cards” showing specific products. In this step, you can also set a schedule of when to start and end your ad as well as where it will be placed. Facebook ads appear in feeds, the right column, in videos, Marketplace, and Messenger.

If just starting out, a business might benefit most from choosing a Boosted Post. This is to expand the reach of a post that has higher than normal engagement, whether that be through likes, comments, or shares. Facebook makes suggestions for what posts should be boosted, but the post should promote your product/service, guide visitors, and spread awareness.

Here is a link to Facebook Ads:

Instagram Ads

Instagram Ad

In order to post ads to Instagram, your business must have a Facebook business page. However, switching from a normal Instagram account to a business one will automatically create one for you. Instagram is owned by Facebook, so many of the ad capabilities are the same.

Facebook and Instagram have the same options for business objectives. Businesses on Instagram are also able to target users based on factors like location, demographics, interests, behaviors, and customer audiences. They can promote posts directly in the Instagram app, but it has limited targeting features. Therefore, users also have the option of creating an ad through Facebook Ads Manager. There, businesses have greater control over the budget, targeted audiences, and content.

Instagram ads appear in the feed, and they have the same format options as Facebook (photo, video, collection, and carousel). Ads can also be seen in stories where businesses can include images, videos, and a link.

Here is a link to Instagram Ads:

Twitter Ads

Twitter Ad

There are 1.3 billion Twitter accounts but only 336 million are active (Hainla 2018); however, small business still have room to benefit from their ad options if it fits their marketing goals and is a place where their audience can be reached.

Twitter Business Objectives

An Awareness ad is to get more people to see your tweets – you only pay when the promoted tweet appears in a targeted user’s feed (not charged for retweeting or liking).

An Engagement ad is used to maximize engagement and get more people talking about your business – you are charged for actions taken rather than the number of times it shows in the feed.

A Followers Campaign is used to promote tweets and places your profile in the “Who to Follow” section – you will be charged every time you gain a new follower.

Twitter also offers conversion ads like app installations, website clicks, and app reengagements. Website clicks can be visits to your page or actions taken on your website such as downloading something or making a purchase. App re-engagement ads make existing users open and use your app that they have already installed.

Your business can also pay for video views where you are only charged when a user plays your video. Promoted tweets are another available option; this method easily boosts your best performing tweets just by defining your audience and setting a budget.

Twitter Ad Structure

Timeframe – Your business can choose to start immediately and run continuously; you can also customize start and end dates.

Creative – Twitter lets you pick existing tweets or create new ones. You also have the choice to create a Twitter “card” which is a format with a headline, call to action, image, and link.

Targeting – You can choose an audience based on location, gender, interests, key words, followers, or devices they use.

Budget – You can set a daily budget. Once you select a budget, Twitter can automatically optimize your budget to get the best results at the lowest price. There is also a manual option where you can choose your maximum amount. Finally, you can set a total budget (optional), so the campaign will stop running once the budget is reached.

Here is a link to Twitter Ads:

Pinterest Ads

Pinterest ads are meant to build awareness, generate more consideration, and grow sales. Much like other platforms, Pinterest follows the same outline for setting up an ad.

  1. Choose campaign goal
  2. Choose targeting from audience, keywords, interests, demographics, and ad placement
  3. Budget and schedule
  4. Promote Pin

Here is a link to Pinterest ads:

LinkedIn Ads

LinkedIn Ad

LinkedIn ads are good for B2B companies as they are also able to target specific demographics such as skills, job title, company, or area of study. LinkedIn ads appear at the top of the page, in the home feed, along the side bar, or in messages.

LinkedIn Business Objectives

Sponsored content promotes your content with targeted advertising. It is the most common ad, and it appears in feeds of the targeted audience (desktop and mobile). It can be formatted in text, photo, video, link, or carousel. You can send people to your website, company page, or to get video views.

Dynamic Ad drives strong results with automatically personalized ads that engage your audience. It appears in the sidebar, and uses profile data like photo, company, or job title to personalize ads. This is useful to drive engagements to your page or website and to find applicants for jobs.

Text Ad drives traffic from desktop users with easy-to-create ads. It displays as a banner at the top of the page or in the sidebar. The ad is made up of a headline, small text caption, and optional image. Using this ad, you can drive viewers to your page or to an external website.

Sponsored InMail sends targeted messages directly to people who matter most to your business. It is customized to individuals and encourages one-on-one conversations. Further, the ad only delivers messages when a user is logged in, increasing chances that the message will be read.

LinkedIn Ad Structure

Creative – LinkedIn lets you choose from multiple formats, and you can build multiple ones to test effectiveness.

Targeting – You can target people based on company, industry, job function, field of study, skills, member groups, age, experience, connections, job titles, etc.

Campaign Options – You can pay based on CPC and CPM, or a daily budget. Twitter also lets you choose start and end dates.

Here is a link to LinkedIn Ads:



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