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Social Media Ads: Why They Work

October 2017

Having a social media presence is a great way to interact with customers or clients and keep your brand visible. However, growing your brand’s following on social platforms organically isn’t always easy. Posting company news, blog post links, and industry-relevant news bulletins can help followers feel connected and informed, but while shares and retweets can gradually expand the reach of your content, most of your social media activity will only come from your existing community of followers.

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Social media ads are an important part of the marketing equation when you want to grow your impact. Social platforms like Facebook and Twitter offer businesses the opportunity to sponsor or promote posts, which widens your reach beyond the scope of your followers list. As you might expect, many brands are already using this tactic to gain exposure and win new followers.

The question is, does social media advertising work? Here are a few things to consider about social media ads.

1. They are targetable: Perhaps the biggest advantage of advertising on Facebook or Twitter is that these platforms already know so much about their users. From location to interests to education to age, social platforms have advertising data that most brands dream of obtaining. Both sites have advertising platforms that let you harness that data with sophisticated targeting tools that help you get your ads in front of the right people.

2. They are measurable: Both Facebook and Twitter have built-in analytics tools that let you measure and monitor the effectiveness of your ads. On Facebook, for instance, it’s a breeze to track ad performance (engagements, clicks, and more), test out different versions of your ad (with A/B split testing), and quickly tweak your targeting. This inherent measurability makes it easy to revamp ads on the fly to ensure they are delivering the best results possible.

3. They integrate with the rest of the social media ecosystem: The average social user doesn’t like ads that intervene with their browsing experience. The genius of social media ads is that they usually integrate right into a user’s news feed. Sponsored and promoted posts are highly visible, but minimally invasive. Some users will scroll past sponsored content without even noticing, while others will engage regardless of whether a post is sponsored or not. Either way, there is very little risk of a social media ad creating a negative perception of your brand in the way that louder, more distracting online ads can.

4. They function similarly to regular posts: Sponsored and promoted posts on Facebook and Twitter often behave almost identically to regular everyday posts. Integration isn’t the only reason this factor is valuable. Engagement is another benefit, since comments on your posts can give you instantaneous feedback on your advertising. Who needs a focus group when you have social media commenters ready to tell you whether they had a positive or negative reaction to your brand? Shares, meanwhile, still have power to extend