Chantelle Evelyn is a certified AdWords Specialist and Search Engine Marketer at Vovia. She was born in Barbados but moved to Calgary to experience all 4 seasons in one day. She enjoys running with her dog, getting out to the mountains, and her own jokes.

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Social Media Advertising: Opportunities for 2015

I often get asked which social network is best for advertising and the answer is always “it depends”. So, I thought I would dive into each social network and lay out the ad types available to help bring some clarity. Each ad type serves a slightly different purpose and/or is built to achieve a differing objective. With so many options, it can definitely feel overwhelming. Social-ad-image-SITE

Facebook—Lead Generation & Social Engagement

Facebook is the most well-recognized of all networks used for social advertising and is best used for lead generation and to boost social engagement. Facebook has offered advertising since its inception, but began really pushing it circa 2009. There are a multitude of options for targeting on Facebook, which makes it very versatile and effective. Also, having 1.19 BILLION users is undeniably a strong selling point for advertising on this network. All ad types are available in the news feed, mobile, and right column formats. Here are the options and details for advertising on Facebook:

  • Page Post Engagement – Otherwise known as promoted posts, this ad type boosts the reach of your post to get more eyes in front of it. The best practice here is to boost a post that tests well in terms of engagement with the initial audience to maximize impact.
  • Page Likes – Ads to build your audience with a bid that will be optimized to get you the most page likes for your dollar.
  • Event responses – Event responses are available on desktop and mobile and are tied to a specific event page that has been created on Facebook.
  • Offer claims – Offering discounts or specific promotions is a great way to drive traffic from Facebook directly to your physical store. Your post must have all of the information required to understand and claim the offer in order to promote it and it can be created right in the Facebook ad dashboard.
  • Video views – Ads to promote videos views and Facebook optimizes these ads to get you the most video views possible for your money. (The video should have a 16:9 ration and cannot be larger than 1GB).
  • Website Clicks – This ad type drives Facebook users directly to your website or any specified URL. With this ad type, call to action (CTA) buttons can be added into the creative.
  • Website Conversions – Ads can be optimized to get people to take specific actions on your website, like filling out a contact form or signing up for a newsletter. It is best to install a Facebook conversion tracking pixel on your site for this one so that you can measure the results within the platform.
  • App installs – This offering is exactly what it sounds like. These ads are designed to get people to install your app. This one is available in whichever format your app is in (desktop or mobile) but not both, and you can use either a photo or a video as the creative in your ads. You can also choose to include a CTA button with this one such as “Install Now”. Video details are the same as the video ad format (max 1 GB, 16:9 ratio).
  • App engagement – This ad is to get people that have already installed your app to come back and use it.

On the whole, Facebook advertising has many options to suit your specific needs. This network has the largest amount of daily users of its peers and the ads can be highly targeted; by region, demographics and even interests.

Twitter—Lead Generation & Social Engagement

Twitter also boasts a decent social advertising offering. Twitter launched “Promoted Tweets” in 2010 but has added a few other formats in recent times. There are certain stringent standards that your business must follow before even thinking about advertising on Twitter. For example, potential advertisers must have a Twitter Business account and must be avid users of Twitter before they can set up Twitter Ads.

Ad eligibility takes your account status into consideration before allowing you to advertise. Things like “protected tweets”, and deactivated or suspended accounts will inhibit your ability to access Twitter advertising. Also, the targeting options on Twitter are not as personal as Facebook, however, you can target users based on actions that they perform on the network such as: what they follow, what they tweet, and what they retweet (largely based on keywords). Here are the Twitter ad type options:

  • Promoted Tweets – This tweet will be served to people who fit your targeting description but, just like normal tweets, they will only see it once per day and then it will scroll through the feed. The main objective with this ad type is social engagement.
  • Promoted Trends – Promoted trends (basically a promoted hashtag) appear in the trends box on the left hand side of the Twitter home feed.
  • Promoted Profiles – Similar to the promoted trend, the promoted Twitter profile will be displayed at the top of the “Who to Follow” box on the right hand side of the Twitter home feed.
  • Twitter Cards – This is similar to the promoted tweet, except a creative box is added including a CTA and image. This ad type’s main objective is to drive website visits from Twitter.

In our initial tests, Twitter ads have proven to be quite effective; although, the analytics still need a bit of work in terms of consistency between ad types. For example, the Promoted Tweet ad type gives you detailed engagement statistics, while the Twitter Card gives you more detail into link clicks. As the advertising platform evolves, it would be nice to see a consolidated analytics approach.

LinkedIn—Social Engagement

LinkedIn is another very well-recognized social network that provides the opportunity for micro-targeted campaigns. LinkedIn launched advertising in 2008, and although it doesn’t have as many members as Facebook, it attracts approximately 20 million daily visits worldwide and approximately 1 million visits in Canada alone. The ad units available on LinkedIn are:

  • Featured Company Ads – Generate awareness and interaction for Company Pages. Measures impressions and clicks.
  • Follow Company Ads – Display ads that deliver a customized, personalized message to drive engagement with your Company Page. (Both of the “company” ads can be in image ad format—160x600px / 300x250px—or text with a 90 character limit).
  • Group Ads Target – 300x250px box with message to drive engagement—to get people to join the group.

LinkedIn provides a relatively straight forward offering with company/group engagement and promotion being the main objectives.

Pinterest—Lead Generation & Social Engagement

Since its launch in 2010, Pinterest has grown a relatively large following and as of July 2013, there were approximately 70 million users worldwide, with the primary gender being female. Pinterest is in the beginning stages of its advertising model and it actually won’t roll out to all advertisers until April 2015. There are very strict guidelines and requirements for advertising on this platform, including many restrictions on what images can contain. Amongst other constraints, agencies cannot promote pins; the pins that are advertised must be owned by the business offering the product or service. Also, similar to Twitter advertising, you must have a Pinterest business account in order to promote pins.
Promotional discounts and sales are restricted because Pins “live forever” and the sale would inevitably become irrelevant and obsolete. You can, however, include discounts if the affected dates are present in the Pin’s ad text. CTAs on Pinterest carry typical caveats. You cannot say “Buy Now”, “Save!”, or “Click Here”— Once again, Pins live forever. You can, however, use “Rich Pins” if you want to share an item’s price, but in order to do so, you must have your website setup with meta tags.
Some of the key targeting options on this network are: geographic targeting, device targeting, and keywords. Unfortunately, the ability to target by age is not yet available. Here’s the skinny on the current Pinterest advertising landscape:
  • Search keyword campaigns will use CPC, while ads in “Everything” and “Popular” feeds will be CPM.
  • Pricing is highly speculative at this point, but the CPM model would be roughly a $30 CPM (approximately).
  • Pinterest is currently seeking a 6 month commitment with a spend of $150k per month (nearly a total of $1M for the term).
  • Promoted pins can be placed in 32 different categories such as “Animal”, “Cars & Motorcycles”, “ DIY & Crafts”, “Food & Drink”, “Health & Fitness”, “Travel”, and “Tattoos”. The deck also shows “Men’s Fashion” as a category even though women are the focus elsewhere.
  • The geo-targeting capabilities include “U.S. only”, “user location”, and “metro-city level”, allowing Pinterest to attract local merchants in addition to national chains.
  • Promoted pins will also be targeted based upon device, including Android smartphones, Android tablets, iPhones, iPads, and desktop or mobile.

Though not yet within reach for most organizations, the Pinterest advertising model is very intriguing and it will be interesting to see how it develops.

Instagram—Social Engagement

Instagram also announced earlier this year that it would begin to allow advertising on the network. Similar to Twitter, this network will allow you to target users based on their engagements such as people they follow, photos and videos that they like, and other basic information from Facebook. This has been rolling out slowly over 2014, beginning with the U.S. and more recently the UK and Australia. Canada will also launch in the “upcoming months” according to Instagram. Here’s the details thus far:
  • Images must be “print worthy”
  • Engagement metrics (likes, comments, shares) are the focus
  • Comments cannot be managed, which can be problematic if users are being rude or abrasive

Advertise to Socialize

The social media landscape is ever changing and has been that way since the very beginning. Following in Facebook’s footsteps, many social networks are beginning to use advertising to monetize their respective platforms and, if Facebook is a baseline of where social advertising is going, each network may continue the shift towards “pay to play”.

Are you interested in social advertising, but not sure where to start? Give us a shout! We love this stuff and can help you get your campaigns rocking!