Just a couple of years ago, marketing professionals were getting their feet wet with social media advertising, testing different types of display campaigns on Facebook. Since then, however, the burgeoning channel of online marketing has evolved to adopt a multitude of advertising products across all social networks. Although some remain to be released to the general public (Twitter outside of the United States, Pinterest & Instagram self-serve options), brands will have the ability to promote content to targeted audiences and see their content go viral.
Social Media Site: Facebook
Advertising Solutions: Promoted Page, Promoted Post, and Display Advertising
Facebook has become infamous for its ads, whether they are perceived as obtrusive or interesting. However, brands are quickly realizing the potential of leveraging the social media giant’s ad platform, particularly when it comes to mobile marketing. Promoted page advertising provides a simple way to build up fanbases, whereas promoted posts give brands an opportunity to push original content to the forefront. Lastly, display advertising on the right side of the site offers marketing professionals with opportunities to push traffic to external sites for the purposes of collecting leads and/or generating sales.
Social Media Site: Twitter
Advertising Solutions: Promoted Tweets, Promoted Accounts, Promoted Trends
Unlike Facebook, Twitter’s ads are more warmly received by general users, as the promoted products integrate seamlessly within timeline feeds and the left menu. In fact, yours truly believes Facebook adopted promoted page and promoted post advertising based on Twitter’s success, providing users with more “organic” ads. Although the self-serve advertising is only open to USA accounts, promoted tweets and promoted accounts provide opportunities to increase engagement and build massive followings. For brands with deeper pockets, the promoted trends can help businesses push a topic to become “trending”, potentially inviting thousands of users to follow the promoted hashtag feed.
Social Media Site: LinkedIn
Advertising Solutions: Display Advertising, Sponsored Updates, Enterprise Solutions
LinkedIn, the world’s most popular B2B social networking site, provides an advertising platform that allows marketing professional to target users based on job titles, job functions, groups, demographics, geographics, etc. While a bit more expensive than the other two social networks (bidding can rise up to around $8-10 a click), it provides a more targeted form of advertising on via a social platform. Additionally, sponsored updates allow brands to take advantage of space within news feeds, increasing exposure for audiences and encouraging non-fans to follow the respective company pages.
Social Media Sites: Pinterest and Instagram
Advertising Solutions: Promoted Pins for Pinterest, Sponsored Photos and Videos for Instagram
It wasn’t a surprise this year when both Pinterest and Instagram announced that they would be releasing advertising products for marketing professionals within months of each other. Both social media networks have built up a considerable following and have become a staple for brands alongside Twitter and Facebook. Although they are slowly being rolled out now, both companies will most likely introduce self-serve ads by Q2-Q3 next year, after the respective initials testing periods end and refinements are made to each platform. Pinterest will prove to be more valuable for driving e-commerce traffic, whereas Instagram will prove its worth as a branding tool.
Social Media Site: Foursquare
Advertising Solutions: Foursquare Ads
The popular “checking-in” tool for social media users has also joined the monetization game, launching Foursquare ads for businesses that want to increase foot traffic for physical locations. These ads help businesses attract customers within the area of a targeted location, encouraging users to take advantage of a special or learn more about the advertiser. For bigger brands without retail locations, this is not an adequate avenue; however, for businesses with physical locations, both big and small, it can help them capture valuble traffic and hopefully generate sales.