Social media advertisements have become a major tool for businesses to promote their products and services. But, with the ever-growing competition, creating effective campaigns can take a lot of work.
How can you leverage all the new technology available in 2023?
The social media landscape changes rapidly, and staying on top of new trends is key if you want your company to stay competitive.
This is especially true regarding advertisement strategies; what once worked may not work today. It means that, for companies to remain successful with their campaigns and produce effective ads, they must continue to innovate in this arena.
It’s no small feat to keep up with the latest trends in social media advertising, but as more people turn to online platforms, there are great rewards for those who adapt quickly.
With some effort and knowledge of the ins and outs of marketing technologies and automation solutions currently available, businesses can succeed with their advertisement campaigns.
Here are some tips on how to exceed expectations when it comes to social media advertisements in 2023.
Table of Contents
Social Media Advertisement: What Is it?
Let’s go back to the basics for a second.
Social media advertising serves paid ads on social media channels to a defined target audience.
All popular social media platforms offer advertising services, from Facebook and Instagram to Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, TikTok, and Snapchat.
Advertising works similarly across all social channels, and even the backend of each platform has similarities. Paid social ads enable businesses to reach users through powerful targeting capabilities such as the following:
- Demographics targeting, including age, gender, relationship status, life events, etc.
- Location targeting, from targeting individual postcodes to entire continents
- Interest-based targeting, choosing predefined interests
- Behavior targeting, including consumer, purchasing and travel behaviors (and more!)
- Retargeting page followers, social media post engagers and website visitors
- Uploaded customer lists, such as newsletter signups or past purchasers
- Lookalike audiences, e.g., custom list lookalikes, or website visitor lookalikes
The above are examples of some of the most common types of targeting used as part of a social media advertising strategy.
Use combinations to build highly targeted audiences that convert.
Difference Between Social Media and Other Channels
Social media is unique in that it falls into the owned, earned, and paid media matrix categories.
It’s owned in the sense that you own your social media profiles, though you can also earn social engagement with follows, mentions, comments, and website traffic. It’s also a form of paid media when social media advertising is used.
This is one way that social media is unique.
You can also reach online communities and audience segments in a way that’s not possible with other channels.
This is one of the many benefits of social media advertising and what makes it stand out from other channels – it’s the ability to show ads to highly targeted users at all stages of your funnel.
Types of Social Media Ads
As well as being spoilt for choice in the number of ways advertisers can target their audiences with social media ads, there’s also a wide array of ad formats and placements.
This is ideal because it enables you to tailor your ad campaigns based on your objective, creative resources, and how best to engage your target audience.
Let’s run through the most common types of social media ads.
Single image ads are static images and the simplest form of creatives to use in paid social advertising. Image ads are cost-effective and relatively easy to put together. They are also really versatile and can appear in almost all placements.
For example, single-image ads can be used in newsfeeds, stories, reels, in the Facebook marketplace, instant articles, and right-column placements.
Social media platforms can automatically fit your creative into various placements, or you can tailor the images yourself.
Video ads are identical to image ads in their function and purpose and are also highly versatile. There is a movement towards prioritizing video ads over static image ads, especially with the rise in popularity of stories and Instagram Reels and video-first platforms such as TikTok.
An experiment by Biteable found that video ads were -497% cheaper per click and -280% cheaper per lead than image ads. They claim video ads are more dynamic, stop users scrolling in their tracks, and can convey a message in seconds. The latter is important for cutting through the noise and countering short attention spans.
Single image and video ads are eligible to run as story ads. The main differentiator is the placement and the size of story ads. Story ads are also known as vertical ads.
You can bring your business to life in an immersive format with stories. There’s more creative freedom to add stickers and other creative elements.
Typically, advertisers make tailored creatives to fit story placements to make the most of this space. However, it is common to see a single image and video newsfeed ads in story and reel placements.
The screenshots below show a single image ad by Prada in the newsfeed – it’s also being used as a story ad. On the far right is another Prada ad in Instagram stories that’s been tailored to fit that placement.
Reel ads enable advertisers to create fun, short-form, entertaining videos. It provides an immersive, built-for-mobile opportunity to reach high-intent audiences engaging in entertainment through their interests.
As mentioned above, traditional single-image and video ads are still eligible to run as reel ads.
Carousel ads can show a collection of two or more images and videos in the form of a carousel. They can appear in various placements, such as newsfeeds and stories.
Carousel ads are great for e-commerce and storytelling because they allow you to highlight different products, showcase specific details about one product, service, or promotion, or tell a story about your brand.
They are also highly effective when using a product catalog, enabling you to show products from your feed and choose what product attributes to highlight, such as product title, price, size, etc.
Collection ads are similar to carousel ads but have a creative edge. They allow users to discover, browse and purchase products and services from their mobile devices in a visual and immersive way.
Collection ads feature a hero image or video and smaller images underneath, meaning you can showcase multiple products within the same ad. A collection ad will expand into a full shopping experience if you click on a collection ad.
On a side note: If you’re looking for a simple social media management tool to handle all these different types of social media advertising for Facebook, we recommend using SocialPilot. It enables you to boost your Facebook posts directly from the SocialPilot dashboard and manage them with ease.
5 Steps to Create a Successful Social Media Advertising Strategy
Here are some steps to follow to create a successful social media advertisement strategy.
1. Decide What to Advertise
When dealing with hundreds or even thousands of products, it’s important to prioritize them in order to determine what to sell.
It might make sense to choose best selling products and products that yield a high return on ad spend (ROAS). Or perhaps you want to drive awareness and visibility for lesser known products that need some extra promotion.
Either way, it’s best practice to first decide what you want to sell and then build that into the social media advertising strategy. In fact, a 2022 eCommerce industry research by DataFeedWatch has found that 55.84% of advertisers who place product ads on both Search and Social platforms diversify the product set for each channel.
2. Research Your Target Audience
Make the most of powerful targeting capabilities by reaching your target audience.
Firstly, ensure the target audience you plan to reach with paid social ads aligns with the products you plan to advertise. Define your buyer personas, understand their demographics, interests and online behavior, or if you plan on using custom audiences for retargeting, clearly define them.
For example, if your average path to purchase is seven days, then perhaps a retargeting audience of people who’ve viewed a product or added to their cart in the last seven or 14 days would be appropriate.
3. Choose the Right Social Media Channels
Learn where best to reach your target audience based on the social media channels they are present on.
If you know your audience is on Instagram, it makes sense to advertise there. Similarly, if your audience is not on TikTok, don’t put advertising dollars behind that channel.
Your advertising objective plays into this as well. Some channels might be better suited to bring awareness and engagement, like using Twitter and Snapchat for your business. In contrast, others are known for being more ‘shoppable’ or conversion-focused, such as Facebook, Instagram, and even Pinterest.
Another angle to look at is which social channels your competitors are present on.
As discovered in the Feed Marketing Report 2022, the most chosen Social channels for eCommerce ads are currently Facebook and Pinterest – both made their way to the top 10 eCommerce channels ranking
4. Optimize Your Product Data
If you plan to use a product feed, ensure that the feed is up-to-date and optimized for social media ads. By using a feed, your ads will only be as good as your product data, so though it can be time-consuming, it’s vital not to skip this step.
This includes ensuring your data source is up to date and then building product sets from your catalog to prioritize which products to promote. Optimize item attributes for vanity rather than keywords and searchability.
For example, product titles should be short and precise, which is a different way of approaching titles compared to search advertising and Google Shopping.
We run through 6 tips for product catalog optimization below.
5. Create an Ad Campaign on the Chosen Channels
Finally, create your ad campaign on the chosen channels and begin your social media advertising journey.
Build experiments and adopt a testing and learning approach to your campaigns to improve and optimize performance continually.
Importance of an Optimized Product Feed for Social Media Campaigns
Product attributes will be pulled in automatically to form the ad. The ad will suffer visually if the catalog is not optimized for this. So, it’s important to make your ads look as appealing and enticing as possible while providing shoppers with all the information they need.
For Instagram shopping, the following are the required fields that you’ll need to include in the product feed, with title, description, and image link requiring optimization:
- Image Link
- Product ID
- Availability – do not advertise unavailable items
- Link – this will link to your product on your online store
The below screenshots show how products will pull in from a feed, highlighting the importance of optimizing the above attributes for social media ads.
Tips for Creating a Perfect Catalog for Social Media Channels
The potential on social media is enormous, with 130 million monthly accounts tapping on a shopping post to learn more about the product. A product catalog will feed the product data they see.
Product catalogs are excellent for showcasing your products and turning social media users into customers. Here are six tips for creating the perfect product catalog for social media advertising.
1. Optimize Your Product Titles
Arguably, one of both important elements for social ads, product titles must be optimized. They are the first thing a potential customer will see, so pay attention to how they look and read.
The maximum title length is 200 characters, and Facebook recommends less than 65 characters to avoid titles from being cut short, which has happened in the Aqua di Parma screenshot below. Keep product titles short and simple.
Here are some top tips to use when optimizing your product titles:
- Use numerals where possible, such as ‘2’ instead of ‘Two’
- It’s best practice to capitalize all of the first letters so your title stands out
- Don’t capitalize all letters as this may appear spammy
- There’s no need to include keywords when it comes to catalog ads
- There’s also no need to include brand name within your product title
- Include useful attributes alongside product name, such as size, weight, color, etc.
2. Exclude Products That Do Not Generate Profits
This is a simple yet effective tip when it comes to maximizing return on ad spends.
Why waste your advertising budget on products that are not profitable? Instead, exclude non-profitable products from your catalog or product sets and focus on top performers. This will help improve overall performance and ROAS.
Study shows product exclusion is already a widely used practice among eCommerce advertisers.
64.74% of online shops remove products from advertising catalogs – oftentimes based on the product price (with a clear preferrence to cut products with low prices).
(Feed Marketing Report 2022 | DataFeedWatch anonymised data)
3. Merge Product Variations
It may be overkill to showcase all product variations within a single ad.
For example, the same product in different sizes will most likely benefit from being merged into one product variation by typically showing the parent product.
Doing this will allow you to showcase more products in a single ad, which is also good from a user experience perspective.
In the above collection ad by Cartier, only seven products have been included within the collection.
On their website, there are multiple variations of these products with variations of material and color, yet the collection ad is small and optimized. Also, notice how the product titles are concise, and the seven products are likely to be either top sellers and profitable or at least chosen for a reason.
4. Optimize Images of Your Products
People remember 80% of what they see and 20% of what they read, meaning the images you choose are critical.
Choose high-resolution images of your products that show off their best angles. Include more than one image to offer variety and let the algorithm show the best-performing product image over time.
Another tip is to include images of people using or wearing your product.
It’s said that product or service images in action are 67% more likely to drive sales. Therefore, including high-quality product images in your feed is vital, and you can take your catalog ads to the next level by including lifestyle images or images with people.
You can also achieve this by including a hero image or video when using the collection ad format, at the beginning of a carousel ad, and with shop posts.
5. Create Custom Labels to Have More Control Over Your Bids
Similar to Google Shopping, you can optimize your product catalog for social media advertisements using custom labels. They are essentially used to provide additional information about items, enabling you to organize your campaigns, set budgets better, and optimize bids.
Group products together using custom labels based on attributes that are relevant to you. Product being on sale shines as marketers’ most popular custom label grouping. Other popular custom label categories include:
- Best sellers
- Profit margins
- Seasonal products
- Product types
(Feed Marketing Report 2022 | DataFeedWatch anonymized data)
6. Update Your Product Data in Real-Time
There are many benefits to updating product data in real time. Keeping your product catalog up to date will equal a better-optimized feed and, therefore, better results.
One of the main benefits is to ensure you don’t promote products that are out of stock. Not only is this frustrating for potential customers, but it’s also a waste of ad spending and will likely not result in a purchase.
Real-time product data can also benefit other attributes that are subject to change, such as price and product link. Also, if product images are updated with new photography or seasonally, this will be automatically reflected in the product feed.
With more than 2 billion online shoppers in 2022, approximately 26.90% of the world’s population, there’s enormous potential to sell products online using social media.
Product catalog ads are shop-focused and dynamic, a must for online retailers that want to leverage social media advertising. Product catalog optimization is vital, and following our tips for creating highly optimized catalog ads will put you on the road to success.
Frequently Asked Questions
🌟 Is social media advertising still effective?
Social media advertising is still highly effective as it influences users’ purchase decisions on social media platforms. In fact, 28% of internet users have found new products after viewing its ad on social media.
🌟 What is the biggest benefit of social media advertising?
One major benefit of social media advertising is that it allows you to target highly-specific users, build an audience database, and track your ROI directly.
🌟 How much does it cost to advertise on social media?
It varies from one platform to another. The average advertising cost for Facebook is $7.19 per 1000 impressions, while for YouTube is $9.96 per 1000 impressions and $6.59 per 1000 impressions for LinkedIn.