Tag Archives: social media marketing

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Written by Caroline Cox on Dec 20 , 2021

As a relatively new type of brand partnership, influencer marketing doesn’t seem to be falling out of popularity anytime soon.

Here, you’ll find:

  • What influencer marketing is
  • Types of influencers to consider
  • What campaign metrics to measure
  • Tips to ensure the partnership is successful

Influencer marketing was a 9.7 billion-dollar business in 2020, and it’s expected to grow to $15 billion by 2022, according to The Drum.

Influencer marketing is when a company partners with a person or group that is influential – often within a certain industry – to endorse, advocate, or otherwise spread the word about their brand.

Want to get in on this paid social avenue? Keep reading.

woman influencer taking a video of herself

Once you’ve nailed down your plan, you can begin seeking out influencers that would make sense to collaborate with. (Image via Unsplash)

1. Map out your plan and goals

It’s exciting to jump into a new partnership like this. But before getting ahead of yourself, make sure you’ve taken the time to codify your plan and determine your goals.

You can start by asking questions like:

  • What are we hoping to achieve — more followers? Higher engagement? Increased traffic to a landing page?
  • What metrics or key performance indicators (KPIs) will qualify as a successful campaign?
  • What do we expect from our chosen influencer?
  • Are our expectations realistic for our budget?
  • How long will the campaign run?
  • How will we analyze the campaign once it’s over?

Creating a plan, much like you would with any other campaign, can keep you organized and on track, while also helping manage expectations when meeting with potential influencers.

2. Find key influencers in your industry 

Once you’ve nailed down your plan, you can begin seeking out influencers that would make sense to collaborate with. 

Ideally, you want to pair with someone who:

  • Has an overall voice or mission that you can get behind
  • Has enough followers to help you meet your goals
  • Can work with your budget
  • Has followers that more or less align with your target audience
  • Is reliable when it comes to completing the campaign ask and delivering metrics if needed

To find the potential influencers to work with, you have a few options. Of course, you can start by searching social media using hashtags and searching popular industry terms to see what profiles show up.

From there, it’s common to start with a quick search engine query and see which influencers, if any, show up for industry keywords and popular topics. These could be bloggers who also have a strong social media presence, for example.

You can also leverage special software platforms with features designed to help companies find influencers. Some of these platforms include BuzzSumo, Ahrefs, NinjaOutreach, ShareIt, and BuzzStream. 

Lastly, you can seek out agencies that specifically work with influencers. This option could save you time and resources, though influencers who work with agents often have a higher price tag, since their reps usually take a cut.

influencer post on Instagram

(Image via Instagram)

3. Determine the kind of influencer you want

“Influencer” isn’t a one-size-fits-all title. Under this umbrella, there are a variety of influencer types. These include:

  • Nano-influencer (500 to 10,000 followers)
  • Micro-influencer (10,000-50,000 followers)
  • Macro-influencer (500,000-1 million followers)
  • Celebrity influencer (high-profile famous people with millions of followers and known across various industries)
  • Industry influencer (prominent in a certain field or topic, such as marketing or vegan cooking)
  • Blogger influencer (creates sponsored blog posts)
  • Social media influencer (has a popular Instagram, Twitter, YouTube page, etc.)

Unsurprisingly, there are pros and cons to each influencer type. For example, those with smaller followings may not have the reach of an A-lister, but those who do follow are often more engaged and interactive with their content.

On the other hand, influencers with seven-figure followings are sure to garner some serious traction on your campaign, but you’ll likely be paying a premium price for those eyeballs. (OK, that sounds weird, but you get it.)

4. Brainstorm the content you’re looking for

After determining the influencer type that might work for your business, it’s time to focus on the content.

Influencer content can be any number of things, including (but not limited to) a:

  • Social media photo post
  • Status post on LinkedIn or Facebook
  • Blog post
  • Video
  • TikTok clip
  • Tweet
  • Story or Reel on Instagram

When brainstorming about the kind of content you’re looking for, remember that each type will have different metrics. For example, a Story is temporary content, so it will only have 24 hours to garner impressions. Obviously, you ideally want the post to be on whichever platform the person has the most followers on.

dk metcalf sponsored tweet

(Image via Twitter)

5. Align on expectations

This is arguably the most important aspect of your partnership. It’s key to be direct and clear about the terms, payment, parameters, and timeline of this influencer campaign. 

Have answers to questions such as:

  • Will you provide messaging or will the influencer be responsible for it?
  • If it’s the influencer’s responsibility, does he or she need to send you their copy? What’s the deadline?
  • Do you have minimum metrics you’re looking for when it comes to likes, engagement, etc.?
  • What qualifies as success in terms of this campaign?
  • How long do you expect the campaign to last?
  • Do you expect the influencer to promote the campaign other than through the agreed-upon content?
  • Do you expect the influencer to sign a non-disclosure agreement or a non-compete clause?
  • How soon after the campaign ends should the influencer expect payment, and in what form will it be delivered?
  • How soon after the campaign ends is the influencer expected to deliver post metrics?

If you’re working with an experienced influencer, they may already have many of these details outlined as part of their agreement before you all confirm the partnership. If not, it’s wise to flesh out these answers ahead of time so everyone is on the same page.

6. Make sure your brand’s own Instagram profile is optimized

When you create a stellar paid ad that leads to a poorly executed landing page? Congratulations, you played yourself.

Don’t let a similar thing happen during your influencer campaign. The last thing you want to do is have people discover your brand, click over to your social media profile, and be met with an experience that doesn’t properly reflect what you offer.

Before your partnership launches, make sure all of your social media pages are up to snuff. That means fully filled out profile bios, a consistent profile photo (like your company logo), up-to-date and accurate company info such as the link to your website, and at least a handful of posts that show your pages are active.

Pro tip: If possible, your social media profiles should always link back to a page on your website where people can go for more information or to connect with you further.

bekah ad post on IG

(Image via Instagram)

7. Review campaign performance

Once you’ve paid or reimbursed your influencer, it’s time to review campaign performance. 

As mentioned above, hopefully you and your influencer are in sync about when they’ll deliver the campaign metrics to you. That’s because, in the case of something like an Instagram post, the user posting may be the only one with access to the post’s data.

(Recently, Instagram has added a collab feature for posts and Reels that allows attribution to two accounts in one post.)

Check out the results and see how they measure up to your goals. You can analyze details like:

  • How much your followers grew from before the campaign to the end
  • The impressions and interactions the content received
  • How much website traffic came from the content
  • The number of demo or consultation requests resulted, if applicable
  • The number of clicks and conversions that resulted
  • Overall return on investment (ROI)

Once you’ve crunched the numbers, you can decide whether or not this type of partnership makes sense for your brand. If so, this data can help you optimize and tweak your future influencer campaigns.

Pro tip: Anticipate an influx of DMs coming to your Instagram page as a campaign result? Consider using an automated tool that works like a chat bot to gather info and send FAQ-type responses to direct people to the proper channels.

The takeaway

If you spend any time on social media, you’ve likely come across your fair share of influencer marketing. Influencing is an effective tactic because people often trust the influencers they choose to follow.

Once you know what to expect and how to best plan for working with an influencer, the better your outcome will be — and the higher ROI you can expect.

Caroline Cox

Caroline Cox

Caroline is HawkSEM's content marketing manager. She uses her more than 10 years of professional writing and editing experience to create SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of seltzer water, print magazines, and huskies.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

Related Posts

hawksem: e-commerce PPC blog

PPC Tips & Tricks for Successful E-Commerce Ads

Take your e-commerce ads to the next level with expert tips on proper product feeds, remarketing, testing, and much more. ...

Read More
hawksem: website design trends blog

8 Website Design Trends for 2022

With millions of websites online, you can't just lean on templates to beat competitors. Let these website design trends inspire you to make yours stand out....

Read More
woman at computer frustrated holding her head in her hands

Algorithm Update Hurt Your Rankings? Here’s How to Dea...

Algorithm updates can come with no warning. Luckily, there are ways you can mitigate any issues that arise and safeguard your site from future updates....

Read More
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Written by Sam Yadegar on Dec 7 , 2021

Create Twitter ads that fit seamlessly into your target audience’s timelines to garner attention, improve traffic, and more. 

Here, you’ll find:

  • Why you should consider Twitter Ads
  • The various types of Twitter advertising options
  • Twitter Ads examples
  • How to optimize your ads

Twitter began as (and, arguably, still is) a social media app to connect virtually with others, share thoughts, and have conversations. 

These days, it’s become a platform where users get breaking news, make jokes, post memes, and fire off random thoughts as well. 

Twitter is also one of the top platforms for social media marketing ads.

If you’re running Facebook and Instagram ads, you may feel like you’re set when it comes to paid social. But if you haven’t even thought about adding Twitter ads into the mix, you may be missing out. 

In fact, Twitter user numbers — and engagement rates — are growing. Whether you’re already aboard the Twitter Ads campaign train or just want to know more, let’s dive into the info you need to succeed on Twitter in 2022.

What are Twitter Ads?

Twitter Ads are paid tweets featuring text or multimedia. They show up on the Twitter platform as Promoted Ads, Follower Ads, and Trend Takeover via desktop or on the mobile app. 

You can usually interact with these tweets the same way you would an organic tweet (such as responding, retweeting, or liking), but they’ll be marked as “promoted.”  

Why Twitter Ads deserve your attention

People spend 26% more time looking at ads on Twitter than they do on any other social media platform. 

Not only that, but reports show the platform has approximately 206 million daily users across the globe. When these users are scrolling, some of the tweets in their timelines may be sponsored ads or promoted content. 

Your target audience may very well be active on the Twitter platform. According to Statista, men between 25 and 34 years of age are the largest Twitter age demographic (19%). 

The second-largest is 18- to 24-year-old women. However, Twitter users are hardly all young. More than 17% of them are ages 50 and up.

hawksem: twitter ads blog

When your Twitter Ads campaign parameters are standard, the platform evens out your spend rate throughout the day. (Image via Unsplash)

A few key benefits of Twitter Ads are that they’re:

  • Precise: The most effective ones are short and to the point
  • Unobtrusive: They blend into the news feed organically without jarring the reader
  • Cost-efficient: They allow you to build your campaign in a budget-friendly way
  • Tailored: It’s possible to tailor these ads precisely to target different audiences
  • Versatile: You can create an efficient retargeting campaign in just a few clicks

One of the best parts about Twitter Ads is that there’s no minimum campaign spend. Thus, they can be suited to virtually any budget.

Types of Twitter Ads

Twitter determines which audience your content is most suitable for. After that, the ads compete in an auction based on your budget. 

The more money you’re willing to pay and the more relevant your ads are, the more likely they are to appear where you want. 

Twitter Ads are a straightforward paid social media marketing tactic. However, the platform gives you multiple ad options for promoting your account and content.

Promoted Ads

These ads appear in the user’s timeline and look like any other tweet except for the “promoted” tag on the bottom. They come in several formats:

  • Text – Plain textual tweet
  • Single image – An image and a block of text
  • Video – Includes a video and a block of text
  • Carousel – A combination of 2 to 6 images or videos in a single ad 
  • Moment A combination of tweets with a title, description, and a cover photo

It’s also key to pay special attention to the specs of each format to ensure the highest quality of your ads. For example, you can add around 100 tweets to a Moment (curated stories), but the platform recommends fewer than 10.

Follower Ads

These ads show up in different locations on the platform, including the timeline, “Who to follow” section, and search results. They display your account to people who may find it relevant and interesting.

Twitter Amplify

This option allows you to pair your ads with premium video content from vetted publishers. In March 2021, advertisers gained access to some new Amplify options:

  • Curated categories – You can pair ads with the video content from 15-plus preset groups of publishers. These categories and publishers may change over time.
  • New design – Amplify ads have a specific look with a brand name and logo in the upper-left corner of the ad. You can also choose one out of several preset CTAs to appear next to the brand name.
  • More information – When creating Amplify ads, you can browse the list of publishers in the category to make better advertising choices.

You can also take advantage of the Amplify Sponsorships program which allows pairing with a single publisher for the duration of your campaign. According to Twitter, this option is currently unavailable to self-serve advertisers.

Twitter Takeover

This advanced approach to Twitter advertising allows you to create an immersive experience for the user. Your options for this ad type are:

  • Timeline takeover – Your ad is the first ad a user sees when they open Twitter.
  • Trend takeover – This puts your ads near whatever is currently trending under the Explore tab and on top of the Trends list for 24 hours.

The cost of Twitter Ads varies dramatically based on the industry, format, audience, and goals. The least expensive ads are generally the standard promoted ads. However, advanced options like Takeover are often more effective.

The latest Twitter Ads tips

Constructing a versatile Twitter Ads campaign can take time and practice. These are the latest tips to help your ads succeed in 2022.

Twitter Promoted Explore tab

An example of a Trend Takeover promoted ad in the #Explore tab (via Twitter)

1. Explore Trend Takeover and Trend Takeover+

In early 2020, Twitter introduced the Promoted Trend Spotlight global feature. It’s now called Trend Takeover, with the Takeover+ option including “immersive video creative.”

The feature allows you to place your ad at the very top of the “Explore” tab (for the first two visits per person per day), improving its visibility substantially. The option supports static messages as well as 6-second GIFs and videos.

2. Take advantage of accelerated delivery

When your Twitter Ads campaign parameters are standard, the platform evens out your spend rate throughout the day. So, if your daily campaign budget is $100, it’ll be distributed more or less evenly within 24 hours (approximately $4 per hour).

To speed up your campaign and achieve faster results, you can turn the standard delivery option off. When you do that, Twitter will start serving impressions and generating engagement as fast as possible until the daily budget is up. 

This is a perfect option for time-sensitive advertising campaigns that need to achieve high engagement during a certain timeframe.

3. Rethink your Twitter cards

Twitter cards appeared back when the character limit was 140 and companies were desperately wishing for more ad space. Since tweets with images often see an increase in leads, these cards are still trending.

When you post a link, Twitter automatically pulls the featured image from the page you’ve linked to and includes that image in your visual tweet, also known as your Twitter card. If there’s no established image, the card may be blank.

salesforce twitter card

An example of an in-feed promoted tweet with a Twitter card (via Twitter)

If you want to make a bigger impression with the cards:

  • Use summary cards with larger images to take advantage of higher-quality pictures (Twitter supports 560×750 pixels)
  • Leverage twitter:site and twitter:creator to pack two user names in one card for a more efficient promotional effort.
  • Use up all 200 characters to give value to the card. (The Title tag is a separate piece of text, so don’t double up on verbiage.)

Pro tip: Don’t forget to take advantage of the multi-image card option if it’ll improve your ad. This lets you post up to four images in one tweet, which expand when the user clicks on them.

4. Experiment with videos

Video content continues to gain momentum on Twitter and beyond. Create a video views campaign to take full advantage of this media and make your ads more appealing. 

These campaigns allow you to display your video in-feed and improve your engagement.

Here are the details for creating Twitter video views campaign:

  • Maximum video size: 1GB (ideally under 30MB)
  • Tweet copy: 280 characters (each link costs you 23 characters, so when you include one link, you’ll have 257 characters left)
  • Video length: the maximum is 2 minutes and 20 seconds (but the sweet spot seems to be around 15 seconds). If the video length is under 60 seconds, the video will loop.
  • CC: closed captions or text overlays are mandatory

Ready to run a successful Twitter Ads campaign? We can help.

5. Capitalize on retargeting

Retargeting features (also called remarketing) can help Twitter Ads stand out from other paid social media advertising options. You can use this feature on Twitter by setting the campaign to retarget those who:

  • Are past website visitors
  • Have engaged with your tweets
  • Are newsletter subscribers
  • Have abandoned their e-commerce shopping carts

Pro tip: The social media platform recently launched ​​a premium feature subscription called Twitter Blue. This gives users access to exclusive Twitter features. So far, this includes the ability to edit tweets up to 60 seconds after posting, filter important conversations with Top Articles, customize your icons and theme, and score early access to new features.

6. Be strategic with hashtags

Adding hashtags to your Twitter ad copy can have a significant impact on your campaign.

When using hashtags, aim to follow best practices, such as:

  • Creating and using branded hashtags, such as #yourcompanyname or a unique phrase related to your business or industry
  • Looking under the “explore” tab to find out which hashtags are trending
  • Checking to see which hashtags the competition is using
  • Not overdoing it — Twitter itself reports that “one to two relevant hashtags per [tweet] is the sweet spot”

The right hashtag could drive the potential customer to click your ad just as well as pairing with a publisher would without costing you a penny. Keep in mind that a hashtag is part of the character count.

“Who to Follow” section

An example of a promoted account under the “Who to Follow” section (via Twitter)

7. Experiment, test, rotate

Paid social ads, like all digital marketing campaigns, need regular testing and optimization to perform at their best. You can run a variety of Twitter ads, then analyze how well they work for your target audience and the platform after a significant period of time.

Experiment with elements like colors, multimedia, and text to see what provides top results. Designing several ads doesn’t just give you an opportunity to improve your campaign, but it also helps hold your audience’s attention. 

Running the same ads over and over again can annoy potential and existing customers. That’s why it’s a good idea to rotate your most successful pieces.

The takeaway

Twitter Ads can be a successful paid social avenue for a variety of brands and industries. These ad types give you an avenue for reaching your target audience in a seamless, creative way. 

Plus, with ever-changing social media trends, this is also an opportunity for you to have fun and create eye-catching, witty ads that garner double-takes. 

By keeping tabs on the latest developments, trends, and offerings, you can continue to improve your Twitter campaigns — and increase ROI as a result.

This article has been updated and was originally published in June 2020.

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar is the co-founder and CEO of HawkSEM. Starting out as a software engineer, his penchant for solving problems quickly led him to the digital marketing world, where he has been helping clients for over 12 years. He loves doing everything he can to help brands "crush it" through ROI-driven digital marketing programs. He's also a fan of basketball and spending time with his family.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

Related Posts

hawksem: e-commerce PPC blog

PPC Tips & Tricks for Successful E-Commerce Ads

Take your e-commerce ads to the next level with expert tips on proper product feeds, remarketing, testing, and much more. ...

Read More
hawksem: website design trends blog

8 Website Design Trends for 2022

With millions of websites online, you can't just lean on templates to beat competitors. Let these website design trends inspire you to make yours stand out....

Read More
woman at computer frustrated holding her head in her hands

Algorithm Update Hurt Your Rankings? Here’s How to Dea...

Algorithm updates can come with no warning. Luckily, there are ways you can mitigate any issues that arise and safeguard your site from future updates....

Read More
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Written by Charlotte Soto on Oct 1 , 2021

Gen Z has arrived — here’s how to get their attention.

Here, you’ll find:

  • How Generation Z feels about ads
  • Why social is so key for this demographic
  • Stats around this generation
  • Best practices for creating Gen Z-focused campaigns

As ultra-tech-savvy digital natives, members of Generation Z are leaving their parents’ homes, graduating college, and entering the workforce.

With over 67 million people born between 1997 and 2012, Gen Z is rapidly becoming the largest U.S. consumer group. Their 40% of the market wields an incredible $143 billion in spending power.

Reaching Gen Z has never been more critical for a brand’s success. Here are some effective social media marketing strategies to help brands connect with a Gen Z audience.

Group shot of best friends, summer in Venice Beach, Los Angeles

Although Gen Z is aware of paid social, they aren’t afraid to be influenced. (Image via Rawpixel)

Understand what Gen Z wants and needs

A McKinsey & Company study found most Gen Zers have an “undefined” identity, meaning they don’t see themselves through the lens of one or two stereotypes. 

Instead, they experiment with different ways of expression and allow their identities to develop over time. This makes unisex messaging and products very appealing to them. 

The same study found that Gen Z is more racially diverse and inclusive than any other generation before them. 

Tap into where Gen Z gets their information

There’s no better place to reach Gen Z than social media. According to a recent study, most feel driven to socialize and stay informed via social media platforms.

They spend an average of three hours every day on their favorite social apps, making them the largest group of mobile commerce (or m-commerce) consumers. Generally, the most popular platforms for Gen Z are Instagram, TikTok, Youtube, and Pinterest. 

Although Gen Z is aware of paid social, they aren’t afraid to be influenced. For example, the super-trendy #tiktokmademebuyit videos have a staggering 5.2 billion views. 

Produce creative, eye-catching visual content

If brands want to stand out on social media feeds, they need to customize content to Gen Z’s tastes. 

Studies have shown they prefer bite-sized, jam-packed multimedia messages and videos over static images. Posting short-form videos stuffed with stylish visuals is a guaranteed way to catch Gen Z’s attention.

Leverage gamification and interactive experiences

Gen Zers are serious gamers. A staggering 94% of this generation play games on various devices. They enjoy engaging with social media content by thinking, swiping, and tapping.

Including gamification elements into posts is an excellent way for brands to provide users with fun escapism while boosting their brand’s image. 

These elements include trivia quizzes, polls, rewards for user engagement, and social media scavenger hunts. Gamifying content is a surefire way to attract new customers and stay connected with existing ones. 

Understand the importance of influencers

A short video posted by a famous Instagram influencer can trigger hundreds of thousands of followers to buy everything from the sweater they wore to the chair they sat on. 

Gen Z considers social media influencers as more reliable than traditional celebrities. Not only are they dependent on these influencers for fashion and lifestyle inspiration, but they also trust their opinions. 

Purchasing a product vouched for by an influencer has never been easier. Personalized Amazon pages and Instagram closet accounts can be stocked with influencer favorites. 

Followers can now easily emulate their style with just a couple of taps. Partnering with influencers is a great way for businesses to reach a targeted section of this demographic.

lavender cake with Gen Z on top

Gen Z trusts word-of-mouth marketing more than previous generations. (Image via Pexels)

Showcase your brand’s beliefs and values

No other generation before Gen Z has shown such strong interest in consumer culture. Generation Zers are twice as likely as different generations to care about equality issues and three times as likely to believe a brand should serve their community and society. 

How eco-conscious and sustainable a company is truly matters to Gen Z and plays a big role in whether or not they will purchase from them. 

Around 50% of Gen Z have reported that helping the environment is important, while 61% are willing to pay more for ethically produced products. Brands shouldn’t be afraid to show off their sustainability efforts and any positive work they’ve done within their communities. 

Want to reach more Gen Z consumers? Let’s build an effective social media marketing campaign today.

Repurpose customer testimonials

Gen Z trusts word-of-mouth marketing more than previous generations. Because WOM is a significant factor in their decision-making, it can be super helpful for brands to promote positive customer testimonials. 

Not only will this build their brand’s rep, but it also provides social proof that strengthens their credibility with Gen Z.

Gen Zers want to feel heard. Always responding to positive and negative feedback is an excellent way for businesses to show their willingness to accept and listen to criticism. 

Develop a strong brand personality

To be unique is to be remembered. Gen Zers appreciate humanized brands they can talk to, joke around with, and build an emotional bond over time. 

Brands should aim to create a 3-D personality that fully aligns with this generation’s beliefs and values. 

Posting funny memes and sending out witty responses is a great way to catch Gen Z’s attention. However, staying on top of trends is crucial, as recycling outdated memes or posting out-of-touch content can seriously turn them off.

Make the shopping experience a breeze

As the first truly digital generation, Gen Z has high expectations for seamless m-commerce transactions. Being redirected out of an app or having to input financial information is disruptive to them. 

Businesses should invest in ways to make moving through the funnel as easy and distraction-free as possible. 

Offering third-party payment options, such as PayPal and pay-it-later services, allow shoppers to side-step entering their financial info, increasing the chance they’ll complete a purchase.

The takeaway

Now that Gen Z makes up a massive portion of the market, it’s never been more critical for businesses to reach them.

Connecting with Gen Z consumers comes down to understanding who they are, what they want, and how to grab their attention on social media. 

It may seem like a daunting task, but they’re far more open to trying new brands on social media than the generations before them. By leveraging the right social media marketing strategies, it’s easy to tap into this generation and its mighty e-commerce spending power.

Charlotte Soto

Charlotte Soto

    Charlotte is a lead digital strategist at HawkSEM. Through SEO, email, content, and managing website redesigns, she has helped drive digital strategy for several brands including Fortune 500 companies. In her free time, she enjoys binge-watching Netflix, spending time with family, and traveling.

    Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

    Related Posts

    hawksem: e-commerce PPC blog

    PPC Tips & Tricks for Successful E-Commerce Ads

    Take your e-commerce ads to the next level with expert tips on proper product feeds, remarketing, testing, and much more. ...

    Read More
    hawksem: website design trends blog

    8 Website Design Trends for 2022

    With millions of websites online, you can't just lean on templates to beat competitors. Let these website design trends inspire you to make yours stand out....

    Read More
    woman at computer frustrated holding her head in her hands

    Algorithm Update Hurt Your Rankings? Here’s How to Dea...

    Algorithm updates can come with no warning. Luckily, there are ways you can mitigate any issues that arise and safeguard your site from future updates....

    Read More
    Facebook
    Twitter
    LinkedIn
    Written by Sam Yadegar on Jul 12 , 2021

    Learn the most effective ways to create winning ads on the social media app geared towards professionals.

    Here, you’ll find:

    • Why LinkedIn Ads are worth looking into
    • The different LinkedIn ad options at your disposal
    • Tips for leveraging the social media platform properly
    • What elements make up a successful LinkedIn ad

    As the largest professional network in the world with more than 756 million users from all corners of the globe — 200 countries, to be precise — LinkedIn is simply too big a marketing opportunity to ignore. 

    Since launching back in 2002, the platform has grown not just as a place to connect and network but, among all the popular social platforms, LinkedIn consistently stands out as the most effective tool for connecting with your audience.

    How effective are LinkedIn Ads?

    LinkedIn has huge potential when it comes to paid social, particularly for B2B marketers. For starters, the platform has more than 61 million senior-level influencers and 65 million decision makers across a diverse range of industries and companies. This presents an unrivaled opportunity for marketing experts to link up with potential clients.  

    While research by HubSpot indicates that social media isn’t the largest generator of company leads overall, it’s still a worthwhile component of a well-rounded marketing strategy. Over 80% of social B2B leads come from LinkedIn. Even if social media isn’t the key lead generator for your company, you can see positive results if you position yourself strategically.

    Let’s dive into some of the most effective approaches you can use to generate leads via LinkedIn.

    woman holding "like a boss" mug

    A customized ad experience delivers tailored messages to specific audiences that match their unique interests. (Image via Unsplash)

    Scaling up your 2021 LinkedIn Ads strategy

    To compete in today’s digital marketing climate, you’ve got to be strategic. That means investing in what works, getting rid of what doesn’t, and staying on top of the latest and greatest updates when it comes to ad platforms. 

    Here’s how you can attract more leads with LinkedIn advertising.

    1. Create tailored ads

    One of the biggest factors in the success of your LinkedIn ads will be targeting the right audiences in the right way. Luckily, LinkedIn lets you easily tailor your content and ad format to match their interests or requirements. You can choose from a range of criteria when targeting your audience, including:

    • Industry, company name, or size
    • Job title or position
    • Institutions attended
    • Age or gender 
    • Skills
    • Level and field of study

    These are the main targeting categories, but they get more granular from there.

    2. Choose the right ad type for your campaign

    When running LinkedIn sponsored ads, you have several types to pick from for your campaign. These include:

    Sponsored content
    These native ads appear directly on the feed as users scroll through. They’re seamless, appearing like any other posted content by users. The sponsored content alternative makes your ad visible to all device types. They build awareness, nurture relationships, and drive leads. This makes them an excellent tool for creating an ideal audience from professionals interested in your brand. 

    Message ads
    Formerly dubbed Sponsored InMail, this ad variety is especially effective at reaching people directly. Its unique format allows for the creation of personalized ads so you can deliver relevant content to qualified leads. The ad goes straight to a user’s inbox as any other text-based professional message. 

    Text ads
    These ad types work the same way as pay-per-click (PPC) ads and appear on the site’s sidebar. You can choose between pay-per-click or cost-per-thousand-impressions payment options (so, whether to pay when a user clicks on the ad, or whenever 1,000 people view it). Your objectives and budget will determine the best choice for your ads. 

    3. Pick the appropriate ad format

    Once you determine the type of ad you want to leverage, it’s time to select the format that best suits your ad campaign. The formats you can choose from are:

    • Text ads – These only include text phrases and are located on the feed sidebar.
    • Single image ads – These ads should feature an engaging, high-quality photo paired with short text. Single image ads are ideal for sponsored content and are among the most common ad formats.
    • Carousel ads – This format is used explicitly for sponsored content. You can add several images, which is ideal if you want to showcase a variety of products. 
    • Video ads – Videos are one of the most effective ad types these days. LinkedIn allows you to use video ads in sponsored content to get your message across, attract attention, and garner clicks.  
    • Follower ads – These ads help promote your LinkedIn page to attract followers. This is a good option if you’re looking to grow your audience so more users can potentially see your content. 
    • Spotlight ads – Advertisers use these to showcase their overall brand. Whenever a user clicks on the ad, they’re taken to a landing page. These ads are only available with sponsored content. 
    • Job ads – This is the appropriate ad format when you’re looking to hire new talent. They can be used in Message ads or sponsored content to help connect you with qualified candidates. 

    4. Personalize your ads

    Seasoned marketers know personalized ads can get your target audience interested in your brand in a way more generic ads just can’t. A customized ad experience delivers tailored messages to specific audiences that match their unique interests. 

    Of course, not every user will be interested in your brand or in the market for what you offer. But by creating different campaigns that target different ideal client personas at the various stages of the buyer’s journey, you can be better positioned to attract the right leads. 

    5. Create more content

    LinkedIn offers you up to 1,300 characters for a personal post. When it comes to the content that sees the most success on this platform, it turns out longer is better. By using long-form updates, you can earn significantly more visibility than you would with a short post or embedding an article link. 

    When you want to post a link to a blog, ensure you provide value in your post by writing context on what the content is about and why they need to read it. You can do this by offering a teaser or a quote that previews the topic. 

    Creating new content for your LinkedIn advertising strategy can be time-consuming. You can cut costs and capitalize on your existing assets by repurposing content. Use content from your blogs, knowledge base, and lead magnets by changing it to fit LinkedIn format and audience.

    Additionally, you can take advantage of third-party content like industry news. Simply sharing the news may not be highly effective. However, if you add your insight and provide an original opinion about the situation, you can get high-quality content without writing a long-form post.

    two men outside on laptops

    To err on the safe side, it’s best to keep your LinkedIn ads polished, professional, and on-brand. (Image via Unsplash)

    6. Monitor key LinkedIn Ads metrics

    To take full advantage of your LinkedIn Ads campaign, it’s imperative to measure it properly. These metrics can help you evaluate your effort and adjust your future tactics:

    • Click-through rate
    • Cost per click
    • Conversion rate
    • Cost per conversion
    • Engagement rate

    The numbers vary depending on the ad types you run as well as your industry.

    7. Emphasize your video ads

    On LinkedIn, video ads earn 30% more comments per impression than images in the news feed. That’s why it’s important to pay more attention to this ad format.

    Depending on your current marketing goal, you can take advantage of the top practices listed below.

    Goal: Brand Awareness Ads

    • Include storytelling and branding content at the end of the video.
    • Focus on real-life human experiences to make your product and services relatable.
    • Try to keep videos under 15 seconds. Longer videos may work. However, 10 to 15-second videos are more likely to be watched in their entirety.
    • Don’t aim for conversions with a brand awareness video. Analytics should focus on different metrics.

    Goal: Thought Leadership Ads

    • Make sure to introduce your brand at the beginning of the video ad.
    • Use industry buzzwords if targeting a warm audience.
    • Add captions to your video to be more inclusive to your target audience and for those who can’t or don’t want to have their sound on.
    • Take advantage of words that suggest growth, potential, and profitability: “thriving”, “successful, “growth,” “progress,” “rewarding,” etc.

    Goal: Lead Generation

    • Make sure to introduce your brand at the beginning of the ad.
    • Use the combination of video ads and lead generation forms.
    • Make lead generation ads more dynamic, especially at the beginning of the video.
    • Communicate your key message in the first 5 seconds of the video.

    And remember: your video ads should be rendered properly for mobile devices as well as desktop.

    8. Take advantage of Matched Audiences

    LinkedIn offers a variety of effective advertising tools. To widen your reach, you can take advantage of Matched Audiences. The option is available for all LinkedIn advertising products, including Message ads and sponsored content.  

    Matched Audiences offers:

    • Retargeting — helps market products to people who visited your website, clicked on a LinkedIn ad, or participated in your LinkedIn Event
    • Contact targeting — allows you to market to LinkedIn members on your contact list
    • Account targeting — helps you set up an ABM (account-based marketing) campaign by matching target companies against other LinkedIn pages
    • Lookalike targeting — allows you to find audiences similar to the current audience you work with

    With the third-party cookie phase-out still slated to go into effect, these targeting tools can keep your marketing strategy afloat.

    For more paid social tips, check out our articles on best practices for ads for Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook.

    9. Monitor LinkedIn Stories 

    In 2021, LinkedIn launched a new content-sharing format called LinkedIn Stories. It works similarly to Instagram Stories where your posted videos (20 minutes max on LinkedIn) and images remain available for 24 hours.

    Once created, these stories appear as a tappable bubble on top of the user’s feed. While not available yet, LinkedIn is likely to introduce an opportunity for paid advertising in-between stories, as apps like TikTok and Instagram have done.

    Meanwhile, you can use this new format to share professional tips, provide real-time event updates, host corporate Q&A sessions, and share brand announcements.

    10. Keep it professional

    Knowing the voice and tone your audience responds to best is, of course, key to a strong marketing strategy. But it’s also important to keep the ad platform in mind. For example, a short bit of pithy copy with a GIF attached might do really well on Twitter, but it could fall flat on Instagram.

    Think about what’s bringing your audience to this specific platform. For LinkedIn, the intent is usually professional, networking, or job-related. Because of this, creating an ad that could be deemed too edgy or wacky may not resonate in the same way it would on a platform like Twitter.

    To err on the safe side, it’s best to keep your LinkedIn ads polished, professional, and on-brand. 

    The takeaway

    When developed correctly, LinkedIn ads can deliver targeted, quality traffic to you. Keep the above tips in mind when you’re looking to fine-tune your campaign to achieve optimal results. 

    This post has been updated and was originally published in July 2020.

    Sam Yadegar

    Sam Yadegar

    Sam Yadegar is the co-founder and CEO of HawkSEM. Starting out as a software engineer, his penchant for solving problems quickly led him to the digital marketing world, where he has been helping clients for over 12 years. He loves doing everything he can to help brands "crush it" through ROI-driven digital marketing programs. He's also a fan of basketball and spending time with his family.

    Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

    Related Posts

    hawksem: e-commerce PPC blog

    PPC Tips & Tricks for Successful E-Commerce Ads

    Take your e-commerce ads to the next level with expert tips on proper product feeds, remarketing, testing, and much more. ...

    Read More
    hawksem: website design trends blog

    8 Website Design Trends for 2022

    With millions of websites online, you can't just lean on templates to beat competitors. Let these website design trends inspire you to make yours stand out....

    Read More
    woman at computer frustrated holding her head in her hands

    Algorithm Update Hurt Your Rankings? Here’s How to Dea...

    Algorithm updates can come with no warning. Luckily, there are ways you can mitigate any issues that arise and safeguard your site from future updates....

    Read More
    Facebook
    Twitter
    LinkedIn
    Written by Sam Yadegar on Jul 8 , 2021

    From the various ad types to costs, the latest tips, and more, here’s the 411 on creating YouTube ads in 2021.

    Here, you’ll find:

    • A breakdown of YouTube ad types
    • Average costs for YouTube ads
    • Expert tips for successful YouTube advertising
    • The latest video ad tools worth exploring

    From the first “Evolution of Dance” viral video to vloggers-turned-bonafide celebrities, few websites have seen as much rousing success as YouTube. 

    So it’s no surprise that YouTube is a fertile ground for advertising. With 81% of adults in the U.S. using the platform — up 8% from 2019 — and more than 2 billion unique monthly viewers, it’s likely where members of your target audience can be found.

    Not only that, but YouTube saw the most significant growth of any social media app among American users during the pandemic, according to the Pew Research Center.

    YouTube ads are an excellent way to reach out to potential clients. After all, when it comes to social media marketing, YouTube is the only online platform that matches Facebook’s reach. Here’s how to make it work for you.

    HawkSEM: youtube ads blog

    YouTube Ads don’t require a minimum spend. That means you can start as low as you wish and then tweak the budget according to the campaign’s results. (Image via Unsplash)

    Types of YouTube Ads  

    In 2021, there are six types of YouTube ads to choose from. The type you choose will depend on factors like your niche, budget, and marketing goals.

    • Discovery (display) ads: These appear among organic results and suggestions on the YouTube search page, homepage, and suggestions list with a thumbnail image and a bit of text. YouTube’s TrueView ads only count a view after it’s been watched for at least ten seconds.  
    • Overlay ads: This banner ad appears in the lower part of the video. The ad can contain text or images. It’s clickable and available only to desktop viewers. A user has a choice to close the ad at any time.
    • In-stream skippable ads: This ad appears in the beginning, middle, or end of the video. It runs for several seconds before giving the viewer a choice to close it. These ads can appear on all devices, including TVs and game consoles.
    • In-stream nonskippable ads: These ads appear the same way as their skippable partners, but they don’t allow skipping. The maximum running time for these ads is 15 seconds.
    • Bumpers: Bumpers are non-skippable ads that appear while the video is running. They can’t be longer than six seconds.
    • Sponsored cards: These clickable ads are similar to overlay ads. They offer content relevant to the video the user is watching (such as products shown in the video). The teaser appears on the right side of the video for a few seconds and then turns into a card icon.

    The cost of YouTube advertising in 2021

    The cost of YouTube advertising depends on the type of ads you use.

    • In-stream ads, sponsored cards, and overlay ads: These ads are between $0.10 and $0.30 per engagement (view or click). Skippable ads are generally less expensive than non-skippable ads.
    • Discovery ads: These cost about $0.30 per click.
    • Bumper ads: These ads are charged by CPM (you pay each time the ad gets 1,000 impressions) — between $1 and $4 per 1,000.

    Overall, the average cost of YouTube ads in 2021 is $200 per 1,000 views. It can range from between $0.05 and $0.30 per view, which is about $50 to $300 per 1,000. Remember, you only pay per view if the user watches the video for 30 seconds. (If the ad is shorter, they have to watch the entire video.)

    YouTube Ads don’t require a minimum spend. That means you can start as low as you wish and then tweak the budget according to the campaign’s results. Many companies start with a $10 daily budget and go from there.

    Pro tip: As of June 2021, YouTube has started showing ads on non-monetized videos. This means that if you’re not part of the YouTube Partner Program (YPP), YouTube still reserves the right to run ads on your videos, as Search Engine Land reports. 

    Now, let’s dive into some tried-and-true tips for successful YouTube advertising in 2021.

    Explore masthead ads

    Masthead ads can be a costly ad format, but they’re also known to be effective. They can produce a massive audience reach and achieve a huge boost in brand awareness. These ads appear in the YouTube home feed across all devices. They autoplay on mute for 30 seconds or longer.

    The payment for these ads is based on cost-per-day or cost-per-impression. You can only take advantage of mastheads after making a reservation through a Google sales rep. They’ll give you an estimate during a consultation.

    Overall, masthead ads provide the highest reach in the shortest period.

    Pro tip: As of July 2021, YouTube masthead ads are no longer available for advertisers of prescription drugs, alcohol, gambling, and political content.    

    HawkSEM blog: YouTube ads

    To make in-stream ads appealing to your target audience, focus on attention-grabbing, hyper-targeted content. (Image via Unsplash)

    Invest in remarketing

    YouTube offers powerful remarketing campaign options. This can be a beneficial ad option since people who have viewed your videos, ads, or channel in the past have a higher conversion potential than brand-new leads. After linking your YouTube channel to your Google Ads account, you can create such remarketing lists as:

    • Viewed videos or ad from a channel
    • Directly viewed a particular video or ad
    • Visited a channel page
    • Liked, added, or shared a video from a channel

    You can’t, however, create remarketing lists from views of the bumper and non-skippable ads.

    You can also connect your website and YouTube advertising efforts. If someone visits your website and views a certain product, the remarketing feature can advertise the product the next time the visitor watches a YouTube video.

    Pro tip: Looking to start a successful YouTube channel for your business? Check out this helpful guide from Shopify.

    Optimize your in-stream ads

    Sure, in-stream ads are a bit more intrusive to the video viewer, but it’s also true that they often bring about impressive results.

    These ads have lower conversion rates than other formats but have been shown to aid tremendously in brand awareness. To make in-stream ads appealing to your target audience, focus on attention-grabbing, hyper-targeted content.

    Pro tip: The first five seconds are the most important part of the in-stream ad, so prioritize grabbing the viewer’s attention during that time.

    You can ensure your in-stream ad is as effective as possible by: 

    • Showing some motion in the first three seconds of the video to hook the audience’s attention
    • Creating curiosity by asking a question but leaving the answer on the other side of the five-second gap
    • Showing your brand name and logo in the first five seconds so that, even if the viewer skips the ad, you achieve brand exposure
    • Keeping ads shorter than 45 seconds
    • Using soft CTAs to lead potential clients to other videos or channels

    For more paid social tips, check out our articles on best practices on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

    Use the YouTube Video Builder

    In 2020, YouTube launched the beta version of its Video Builder. This tool lets you animate static content like text, logos, and images with music and transitions to create six to 15-second videos for further use as YouTube ads.

    This is an excellent opportunity for companies with a low marketing budget to create an impressive multimedia experience for target audiences. Established brands can also use this tool for testing new content.

    The Video Builder can help freshen up your existing assets to keep the target audience’s interest piqued without substantial expenses.

    Embrace the person-to-person connection

    A recent HubSpot article warned businesses not to forget the human element when it comes to YouTube marketing. Often, we’ve seen brands too focused on themselves and what they’re selling and not enough on helping their audience. 

    After all, people don’t engage with brands to help the brands. They engage because of the ways the brand can help them. Always put that value front and center for your audience.

    Additionally, it’s important that your message doesn’t feel cold and robotic. If your content feels like an interaction with a digital assistant, people won’t as easily connect or engage with it. 

    Remind your audience that there are human beings behind your brand. One great way to do this is by responding to comments and engaging with the people who interact with your content, on YouTube and elsewhere.

    The takeaway

    YouTube is a highly engaging platform that opens up numerous possibilities for companies across all industries. In fact, 54% of YouTube users visit the platform daily and 36% do so several times per day. 

    By looking into all the ad types on offer, determining what might catch your target audience’s attention, and ensuring the content is top notch, you can build a successful YouTube ads campaign, even without a huge budget. 

    This post has been updated and was originally published in July 2020.

    Sam Yadegar

    Sam Yadegar

    Sam Yadegar is the co-founder and CEO of HawkSEM. Starting out as a software engineer, his penchant for solving problems quickly led him to the digital marketing world, where he has been helping clients for over 12 years. He loves doing everything he can to help brands "crush it" through ROI-driven digital marketing programs. He's also a fan of basketball and spending time with his family.

    Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

    Related Posts

    hawksem: e-commerce PPC blog

    PPC Tips & Tricks for Successful E-Commerce Ads

    Take your e-commerce ads to the next level with expert tips on proper product feeds, remarketing, testing, and much more. ...

    Read More
    hawksem: website design trends blog

    8 Website Design Trends for 2022

    With millions of websites online, you can't just lean on templates to beat competitors. Let these website design trends inspire you to make yours stand out....

    Read More
    woman at computer frustrated holding her head in her hands

    Algorithm Update Hurt Your Rankings? Here’s How to Dea...

    Algorithm updates can come with no warning. Luckily, there are ways you can mitigate any issues that arise and safeguard your site from future updates....

    Read More
    Facebook
    Twitter
    LinkedIn
    Written by Caroline Cox on Jun 3 , 2021

    From tweets to TikTok, here’s how to pick the right paid social platform for your business.

    Here, you’ll find:

    • A breakdown of the main paid social platforms
    • Pro tips for paid social success
    • How these platforms compare to one another
    • Which industries see the most success on certain platforms

    The aim of social media is to help us connect with people — and the world — around us. That could mean following an influencer whose style you envy, a travel writer who always finds a city’s best hidden gems, or a vlogger with killer recipes. 

    So, when your company is looking into ads on a paid social platform, it’s helpful to keep in mind why people are on them in the first place. It’s all part of understanding your target audience, their goals, and how you can meet them where they already are. 

    smartphone with social media platform apps

    When it comes to members, you just can’t beat Facebook — the platform boasts 2.85 billion monthly users worldwide. (Image via Unsplash)

    Once you explore your audience and assess your resources (like images, videos, or brand even ambassadors), it can be a challenge to know where to begin. But don’t fear! Let’s dig into all the main paid social platforms and how you can make them work for your business.

    LinkedIn

    If other platforms are like happy hour, LinkedIn is the networking event. Sure, you can be quippy and share fun thoughts or links, but at the end of the day, it’s all about professionals. By its own estimations, LinkedIn has a whopping 756 million members in 200 countries and regions across the globe. 

    According to Sprout Social, 65% of B2B companies have used LinkedIn paid ads to acquire new customers, and the platform is reportedly 277% more effective than Facebook in generating leads. 

    Because of its business-centric purpose, LinkedIn can be a great paid social platform for ads relating to software, services, and anything else that could be used in a professional setting or to improve workday processes.

    Other industries that tend to do well with LinkedIn paid social ads include:

    • High-end retail
    • Wine and spirits
    • Aerospace
    • Automotive
    • Professional businesses (such as performing arts, banking, pharma, and international affairs)

    While LinkedIn has a lot of opportunity, LinkedIn’s Campaign Manager has a few minimum requirements that can be costly for small businesses to leverage. They also have limited targeting, as well as more expensive CPC and conversions compared to other platforms. 

    Pro tip: Since users view LinkedIn as a professional place, it’s a good idea to have your ads follow suit — and don’t forget to maintain the correct ad specs!

    Facebook

    When it comes to members, you just can’t beat Facebook. That’s because the social media platform boasts 2.85 billion monthly users worldwide.

    But while that number is impressive, it’s worth noting that younger generations aren’t as active as older ones, and visibility for both organic and paid posts can be hard to come by. (For example, a Facebook page with more than 1 million likes only averages an organic engagement rate of less than 2.5%.)

    Regardless of the drawbacks, marketers love Facebook because it’s affordable and generally results in high engagement. When it comes to paid social ads on Facebook, retail really shines. Think: items like clothes, accessories, beauty products, and the like. The visual format ad options make it easy to showcase your products and grab people’s attention.

    Industries that tend to find success with Facebook (in terms of engagement and sharing) include:

    • Automotive
    • E-commerce 
    • Travel
    • Non-profit organizations

    Industries like software may do as well as the above when it comes to Facebook ads. However, if the audience isn’t right and the industry isn’t a fit, ads can really flop.

    Pro tip: Facebook’s updated Ads Manager lets you duplicate ads and campaigns, edit any settings, view your metrics, customize your graphs, and more.

    girl by pool looking at social media

    Because of the visual nature of Instagram ads, any photos, videos, or graphics used should be high-quality and high-resolution. (Image via Unsplash)

    Instagram

    Instagram is owned by Facebook. Because of this, there are plenty of similarities between the two platforms in terms of ad offerings. Additionally, the industries that tend to do well on Facebook also perform rather well on Instagram.

    While the platforms fall under the same umbrella, they’re also different in many ways. Though Instagram trails a bit behind Facebook in terms of members, its visibility and cultural relevance is significant.

    After all, Instagram is basically the reason why “influencers” exist in the way they do today. And studies show ad recall from sponsored ads on Instagram is often much higher than the typical norms for online advertising.

    Instagram ads also see decent engagement rates compared to other platforms. This is likely due to the visual nature of the app, and how seamlessly ads show up in Instagram Stories (temporary posts users create) and regular feeds. It could also be because the majority of Instagram users are part of younger, tech-savvy generations. 

    You can manage your Instagram ads inside Facebook’s Ads Manager. This allows you to create Facebook and Instagram ads simultaneously, complete with a robust variety of targeting options to leverage.

    Because of the visual nature of Instagram ads, any photos, videos, or graphics used should be high-quality and high-resolution (nothing fuzzy or grainy). And while the maximum caption length is 2,200 characters, experts say 125 characters is ideal.

    Pro tip: For e-commerce brands, Instagram’s shopping capabilities allow you to add multiple hyperlinks to an ad, leverage in-app checkout, and complete sales within the app. They also recently added a dedicated “Shop” section to the home screen and launched Instagram Live Shopping. 

    Twitter

    Twitter has around 192 million daily active users, according to Hootsuite. That’s a lot of potential for advertisers. Not only that, but Twitter itself also reports that people spend 26% more time viewing ads on Twitter than on other leading platforms.

    Similar to Instagram, Twitter ads fit subtly into members’ existing feeds and are relatively cost-effective. This platform is all about getting visibility, engagement, and spreading the word to grow awareness about your brand. Conversions can be a bit trickier here, though you can try generating quick leads with Twitter Cards or Trend Takeovers.

    The platform describes promoted Trend Takeovers as “a 24-hour high-impact takeover of the Trends list on Twitter,” ideally to launch something new or weigh in on a trend. 

    According to Social Media Today, industries that perform best on Twitter include:

    • Music
    • Entertainment
    • Games
    • Aerospace
    • Retail & e-commerce

    Pro tip: Twitter users can “like,” respond to, and share your paid ad tweets in the same way they interact with organic ones, thus boosting your reach without costing you more. This is why it’s crucial to make your ad stand out — so you can go viral for all the right reasons.

    man looking at youtube on tablet

    Along with TrueView ads, YouTube offers non-skippable video ads and bumper ads. (Image via Unplash)

    YouTube

    Owned by Google, YouTube lets you create video or image ads that play before and interstitially between videos on the platform. Much like Instagram, it’s huge with younger generations: 77% of 15 to 35 year-olds in the U.S. use the platform.

    Don’t have a video to promote? No problem. YouTube’s creative directory network connects you with pros who can help you with everything from motion graphics to voiceover, animation, and more. As far as payment for skippable ads, “YouTube charges you whenever a viewer clicks on your CTA, watches for at least 30 seconds, or views your ad all the way through (if it’s shorter than 30 seconds),” according to Mailchimp.

    Along with TrueView in-stream ads (which “run on videos served on YouTube or on a collection of sites and apps in the Google Display Network,” as Google explains), the platform offers non-skippable video ads and bumper ads. Non-skippable ads are ads that appear before a video, and mid-roll ads appear at the midpoint of videos that are at least 10 minutes long. Bumper ads, on the other hand, are 6 seconds max and are paid for on a CPM basis.

    Want more insight into paid social success secrets? You’re in the right place. 

    Pinterest, TikTok, and other platforms

    While the platforms above are arguably the most popular paid social platforms, there are other players in the space that offer their own unique benefits. Apps like Snapchat, TikTok, and Pinterest all have ad options. While their reach may not be as wide as the Big Four, depending on your industry and target audience, they could still be worth your time and budget. 

    TikTok is the fastest-growing platform in terms of popularity, particularly with Gen Z. It offers interactive ads in more than 20 global markets. Snapchat lets you target your ads based on users’ interests, behaviors, location, and more. 

    Pinterest gives you the option to choose to pay for either engagement or visits to your site, and pins often have a longer lifespan than a lot of other paid social ads. As Search Engine Land reports, “for visually-driven businesses, such as wedding gown shops, food blogs, visitors’ bureaus, and clothing and accessories, the visual search engine is a way to get your products and ideas out there to an audience that is likely to click through to your site.”

    girl standing and looking at phone

    How you measure paid social success will depend on your goals, whether that’s purchases, engagement, followers, or CTR. (Image via Unsplash)

    Leveraging multiple platforms

    Because each paid social platform has its own unique benefits and users, you may want to experiment with multiple platforms at once. Of course, it’s good to have variety, and testing out a few platforms can help you determine which ones have better ROI for your company. 

    Just make sure you go into any testing with a game plan for the KPIs you’ll be monitoring, and how long you want to experiment before revisiting your strategy. 

    The takeaway

    How you measure paid social success will depend on your goals, whether that’s purchases, engagement, followers, click-through rate (CTR), or something more.

    If you’re looking for ad options that are affordable, visual-forward, and have the potential to reach far and wide, finding the right paid social platform may be just the solution you need.

    This article has been updated and was originally published in April 2020.

    Caroline Cox

    Caroline Cox

    Caroline is HawkSEM's content marketing manager. She uses her more than 10 years of professional writing and editing experience to create SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of seltzer water, print magazines, and huskies.

    Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

    Related Posts

    hawksem: e-commerce PPC blog

    PPC Tips & Tricks for Successful E-Commerce Ads

    Take your e-commerce ads to the next level with expert tips on proper product feeds, remarketing, testing, and much more. ...

    Read More
    hawksem: website design trends blog

    8 Website Design Trends for 2022

    With millions of websites online, you can't just lean on templates to beat competitors. Let these website design trends inspire you to make yours stand out....

    Read More
    woman at computer frustrated holding her head in her hands

    Algorithm Update Hurt Your Rankings? Here’s How to Dea...

    Algorithm updates can come with no warning. Luckily, there are ways you can mitigate any issues that arise and safeguard your site from future updates....

    Read More
    Facebook
    Twitter
    LinkedIn
    Written by Sam Yadegar on Apr 8 , 2021

    One billion people reportedly use Instagram every month. There’s a good chance that includes your target audience.

    Here, you’ll find:

    • A breakdown of Instagram ad types
    • Best Instagram ad practices to follow
    • Mistakes to avoid making in these paid social ads
    • Instagram ad guidelines to know

    There are plenty of reasons to dip your toe into paid social ads, if you haven’t already. Not only are they one of the more affordable digital ad types out there, but they’re a great way to meet your audience where they often already are: staring into their phones, of course.

    The success of your paid social media marketing (SMM) campaign depends on factors like your ads themselves, your target audience, and how much you can invest in the process. 

    Pro tip: Before diving into these #Insta marketing tips, make sure your company’s profile is an Instagram Business Account, not a personal page. A business profile offers insights into your audience, posts, and ads that help set your Instagram marketing efforts up for success. 

    hawksem: instagram ads

    These days, the average cost per click (CPC) on Instagram is between $0.7 and $1. (Image via Unsplash)

    1. Know the key Instagram ad types

    Paid Instagram advertising goes well beyond static ads that appear in the user’s feed. To take full advantage of the opportunities, you need to know what’s available.

    • Story ads: Ads appearing organically in between a user’s Instagram Story posts
    • Photo ads: The standard ads appearing in the viewer’s feed
    • Video ads: Videos that start playing automatically in the user’s feed
    • Carousel ads: Ads consisting of several photos or videos for users to swipe through
    • Collection ads: Ads allowing the user to buy the product directly from the platform instead of being led to an external website
    • Shopping ads: Ads that take users to product description pages within the app
    • Paid partnerships: Appear as “paid partnership with (brand name and tag)” in an influencer’s post
    • Explore ads: Ads that appear when users click on a photo or video in the “Explore” section
    • IGTV ads: Appear inside IGTV videos

    2. Set the right budget

    These days, the average cost per click (CPC) on Instagram is between $0.70 and $1, according to HubSpot. The cost, however, depends on several factors and may go up to several dollars per click. An auction bidding system determines when your ads are posted in the place you want them most. 

    Similar to other ad platforms, you need to set the budget and submit a bid. During the auction, the app determines which ads are the most valuable and relevant for the users and selects a winning bid. It’s guided by factors such as:

    • The bid size
    • How likely the viewer is to take actions your bid is optimized for
    • The perceived quality and relevance of the ad

    The cost of your bid can also depend on:

    • Demographics of your target audience — Especially if you’re targeting multiple demographics, it’s important to understand how each group is likely to engage with your ads, as it will vary. 
    • Timeframe of ad posting — When more users are on the social media platform, it will result in more competition (and higher bids) for ads to be shown to prospective customers. The CPC for ads can also fluctuate at different times of the year as brands readjust advertising strategies or with changing seasons. 
    • Type of ad and ad placements — With the varying types of Instagram ad types, it’s not surprising that your CPC is impacted by the type of placements you choose. 

    According to a CMO survey, most companies spend about 13% of their marketing budget on SMM. And it’s expected to reach more than 21% in the next five years. Depending on how many social media channels you’re leveraging, you can determine how much you want to spend on Instagram ads.

    3. Watch IGTV ads closely

    IGTV is a standalone video platform within the Instagram app meant for posting longer videos. (Videos on the main feed are limited to two minutes, and those on Stories are limited to 15 seconds per card.)

    While the monetization program for IGTV was released to a select number of video creators in June 2020, it’s expected to be a widely available option in the coming months. 

    IGTV ads allow you to place your ad in the middle of an IGTV stream. Similar to Facebook Watch, the video needs to be longer than three minutes to feature an ad.

    4. Always split-test your ads

    It’s hard to pinpoint the perfect Instagram ad design from scratch. What may have worked for other SMM channels could fail on this particular platform. That’s why it’s best to test several ad designs simultaneously to see which one gets the most clicks.

    You could test and adjust elements like:

    • CTA wording
    • Image placement
    • Video length
    • Colors
    • Text and element positioning

    Just remember: Visuals on Instagram are everything. If you fail to create an appealing image, your ad could stay in the dark.

    hawksem: instagram advertising

    To make sure your ads look appealing, you need to learn the parameters. (Image via Unsplash)

    5. Cater your ads to the platform

    Most Instagram viewers aren’t looking for highly polished, professional-looking ads. When you “stick” the ad into a user’s feed, you want it to look as organic as possible while they’re scrolling. That’s why it’s a good idea to use real-life situations and backgrounds to promote your products.

    The “hero” (buyer persona) in your ad should appear in a situation your target audience can relate to. Don’t worry about going out of your way to shoot an impeccable video if you don’t have the budget or bandwidth.

    Rather, focus on making your ad look as close to what your buyers see in their daily feed as possible. Just make sure to keep the overall quality high (no pixelated or blurry imagery). 

    6. Learn the proper Instagram ad specs

    Each Instagram ad type comes with certain size requirements. To make sure your ads look as appealing as possible, you’ve got to learn the parameters.

    Technical requirements for Instagram Feed ads

    For images: 

    • Minimum width: 500 pixels
    • Minimum aspect ratio: 400 x 500
    • Maximum aspect ratio: 191 x 100
    • Aspect ratio tolerance: 1%

    For videos: 

    • Video length:  1 second to 2 minutes
    • Minimum width: 500 pixels
    • Recommended resolution: 1,080 x 1,080 
    • Aspect ratio tolerance: 1% with a recommended ratio of 4:5

    For Carousel:

    • Number of Carousel Cards: Minimum of 2 and maximum of 10
    • Maximum file size: video – 4GB, image – 30MB
    • Video length: 1 second to 60 minutes 
    • Aspect ratio tolerance: 1%

    For collection: 

    • Instant experience is required 
    • Maximum file size: image – 30MB, video – 4GB
    • Minimum width: 500 pixels
    • Minimum height: 500 pixels
    • Recommended ratios: 1.91:1 to 1:1

    Technical requirements for Instagram Stories ads

    For images: 

    • Maximum file size: 30MB
    • Minimum width: 500 pixels
    • Aspect ratio tolerance: 1% (with a recommended ratio of 9:16)

    For videos:

    • Length of video: 1 second to 2 minutes
    • Minimum width: 500 pixels
    • Recommended resolution: 1,080 x 1,080 
    • Aspect ratio tolerance: 1% (with a recommended ratio of 9:16)

    For Carousel:

    • Number of Carousel Cards: 2 to 10
    • Maximum file size: video – 4GB, image – 30MB
    • Default video length: 1 second to 2 minutes 
    • Video length for a fixed number of cards: 1 to 15 seconds
    • Aspect ratio tolerance: 1% (with a recommended ratio of 1:1)

    Technical requirements for Instagram Explore ads

    When advertising in Instagram Explore, both your image and video ads will follow the same format as the Instagram Feed ads listed above. Instagram Explore ads are an excellent way to introduce your brand, products, or services to new users. 

    Explore is a section that shows content across the social media platform related to a person’s interest. Therefore, having your ads show between the organic content in a person’s Explore section gives you the opportunity to connect with your target audience. 

    If your image or video specs are wrong, the app will crop them according to its needs. This could inadvertently turn your perfectly-designed ad into something confusing, sloppy, and ineffective. Instead, try to maximize the usage of the available space as much as you can and make use of every pixel allowed by the app.

    Pro tip: Instagram’s design recommendations include using a .jpg or .png file, uploading the highest resolution image available, and keeping in mind that only two rows of text will automatically display.

    7. Take full advantage of user-generated content

    User-generated content (UGC) has been shown to be a highly efficient Instagram marketing tool. In fact, about 90% of consumers say they trust UGC more than traditional advertising.

    When your customers take photos and videos of themselves using or recommending your product, this piece of content can turn into a priceless ad with word-of-the-mouth benefits.

    You can leverage this content by following your clients on Instagram closely to find these pieces of content. When you see a post that could become good UGC for your brand, ask them for permission to repost this content on your page. 

    This also makes your ad more authentic, since it’s a client testimonial vs. claims being made by your brand.

    8. Keep your Instagram ads fresh

    Instagram is a dynamic environment. People are often turning to the app to see diverse content. To continue grabbing their attention, it’s key to create new ads as often as possible.

    Your target Instagram audience may get bored with your content faster than it would on other marketing channels. Plus, regularly switching up your ads gives you an excellent split-testing opportunity.

    Pro tip: You don’t have to make new ads every day. Rather, you can create a few and regularly switch between them.

    9. Take notice of Instagram Reels

    Short-form videos have become a popular way users consume content. Instagram introduced Reels to take advantage of this shift, and many people see a clear comparison to the fast-growing video platform TikTok. Whether it’s because of shorter attention spans or making sharing easier, Reels is expected to grow in 2021

    Instagram Reels allows the creation of 15- to 30-second multi-clip videos set to music or other audio. It lets brands showcase their personality and products creatively, in a way that’s a happy medium between professional and informal. 

    While advertising on Reels is not yet an option, we expect to see it in the future. According to Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, they’re working on the new feature to ensure it’s engaging for consumers and creators before building an ad business into Reels. 

    10. Analyze, analyze, analyze

    A regular analysis is the pillar of your Instagram Ad campaign. Luckily, Facebook (which owns Instagram) has a number of useful tools to help track your ad performance.

    As a reminder, the increase or decrease in conversions isn’t always an indication of your campaign’s quality. By keeping track of a variety of metrics, you’ll know which ads deserve an extra budget and which tactics need to be dropped.

    The takeaway

    To build a successful Instagram Ad campaign, you need to learn all the little nuances and take advantage of the majority of available options. 

    As a social media channel, Instagram offers tremendous conversion opportunities. Take advantage of these practices and you could turn a scroll into a sale.

    Looking for more social media marketing advice? You’ve come to the right place.

    This article has been updated and was originally published in May 2020.

    Sam Yadegar

    Sam Yadegar

    Sam Yadegar is the co-founder and CEO of HawkSEM. Starting out as a software engineer, his penchant for solving problems quickly led him to the digital marketing world, where he has been helping clients for over 12 years. He loves doing everything he can to help brands "crush it" through ROI-driven digital marketing programs. He's also a fan of basketball and spending time with his family.

    Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

    Related Posts

    hawksem: e-commerce PPC blog

    PPC Tips & Tricks for Successful E-Commerce Ads

    Take your e-commerce ads to the next level with expert tips on proper product feeds, remarketing, testing, and much more. ...

    Read More
    hawksem: website design trends blog

    8 Website Design Trends for 2022

    With millions of websites online, you can't just lean on templates to beat competitors. Let these website design trends inspire you to make yours stand out....

    Read More
    woman at computer frustrated holding her head in her hands

    Algorithm Update Hurt Your Rankings? Here’s How to Dea...

    Algorithm updates can come with no warning. Luckily, there are ways you can mitigate any issues that arise and safeguard your site from future updates....

    Read More
    Facebook
    Twitter
    LinkedIn
    Written by Caroline Cox on Mar 29 , 2021

    Ready to grow your audience and humanize your brand? Then it’s time to get social.

    Here, you’ll find:

    • How to properly build your social media profiles
    • Tips for keeping your social media plan organized
    • Why cross-platform consistency is key
    • Pro tips for optimizing your social presence

    Nearly half of the world’s population — more than 3 billion people — uses social media, according to Statista. And while these platforms were once mainly for personal profiles, brands have hopped on the bandwagon in a big way.

    Though social media may not directly benefit your SEO, reports show the links you share across these platforms increase brand exposure. It’s also one of the most efficient and cost-effective ways to reach your target audience.

    But these days, merely having a business profile set up on the major social platforms isn’t enough. You’ve got to be mindful about how you present yourself on these apps if you want to stay competitive and maximize your opportunities. 

    Below, we’ve highlighted 7 best practices to ensure your business’s social media profiles are set up for success.

    1. Keep your display names and images consistent

    Having the same username on each of your profiles is one way to optimize your brand’s social media pages by making it easy for people to find you on these platforms. The trick here is to snag these profile display names before someone else does.

    Particularly if your company name is also a common word or phrase, someone may already have created an account with your name. If this is the case, you have a few options. 

    You can:

    • Reach out to the account holder and see if they’ll give or sell you the account name
    • Add a word or your city to your account name across all profiles (such as @getzifty or @ziftyATL)
    • If the account is inactive or the owner is impersonating your brand, reach out to the platform and see if they’ll release it to you

    It’s also a good idea to have your company logo or mascot as your profile image across platforms. This way, people can easily recognize the page as yours.

    Pro tip: When uploading cover and profile photos, make sure you know the required specs or sizes so your images won’t be blurry or pixelated. (Image requirements will vary by platform.)

    social media business best practices

    One product of social media platforms becoming increasingly leveraged by brands rather than just individuals is the added features and tools. (Image via Unsplash)

    2. Fill out your profile completely

    Each social platform has its own unique profile setup and character limits. The key is to use all the available options at your disposal. This means building out your profile with things like a cover image (a background image that platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn have), a brief bio about your business, and a URL linking back to your site. 

    Business profiles often have added features, like the ability to list a category for your Instagram page. Facebook lets you include your business category, phone number, “About” description, when your company was founded, and more. 

    Since LinkedIn is the most professional-focused social media platform, its profile features are arguably the most robust. It allows for most of the above, along with a fleshed-out company overview, company size, specialties, and even open job listings. 

    Fill out your profiles completely so that those who stumble upon your profiles can get as much context and info about your business as possible.

    3. Take advantage of optimization features and tools

    One product of social media platforms becoming increasingly leveraged by brands rather than just individuals is the added features and tools. While most of these offerings are available for business and personal profiles alike, they allow you to optimize your profiles and let you work smarter vs. harder. 

    For example, Instagram does have a “contact” button feature, but it only allows one active link on your profile. They also don’t allow you to hyperlink within captions or via Instagram Stories, meaning it can be difficult to effectively drive traffic to your site from this platform. Luckily, you still have options.

    Consider creating an account with a tool like Linktree. This way, you can put the Linktree URL (creating an account is free) in your profile. Those who click the link will be taken to a mobile-friendly page with a list of links they can choose to click on. Here at HawkSEM, our Linktree often includes links to our latest blog, our homepage, and our industry newsletter signup form. 

    If you have at least 10,000 Instagram followers, you also have access to the “Swipe up” Stories feature, which does allow you to link to a web page from a posted Story. (Stories, as a refresher, are temporary posts that show up on your profile for 24 hours unless you save them as a Highlight on your profile page.)

    Pro tip: Don’t stretch yourself thin by trying to be super active on all the social media platforms, especially if you’re a one-person team or manage other marketing channels. It’s good to create your profile, but focus more on the platforms that your audience seems to be on the most, or the ones on which you get the most engagement.

    4. Keep an eye on analytics

    One of the biggest benefits to business social media pages is the analytics these platforms gather. 

    Depending on which one you’re viewing analytics for, you can gauge things such as:

    • how your posts are performing in terms of engagement, impressions, and clicks
    • the rate at which you’re acquiring followers
    • how your page’s performance stacks up against previous months or years 
    • which content types are resonating most with your followers

    Using a free or paid scheduling tool (like Buffer, HubSpot, and Sprout Social, just to name a few) can offer even more analytics. Different account tiers will have different options, of course, but you may be able to see additional insights like what days and times your audience is most active on a particular platform, which can help you determine the best times to post.

    Once you can see the type of content that your audience responds best to, you can plan to create more similar content. Which brings us to…

    5. Create a content plan

    Even if your job is purely to manage a business’s social media accounts, staying organized is key. That’s where creating a content plan comes in handy. This can be a brief overview or a granular day-by-day schedule, depending on your priorities, goals, and bandwidth. 

    At the least, this can help you track when you plan to post on each platform, and what type of content you’ll publish. The frequency is up to you — after all, it’s better to post when you actually have something valuable to say to your audience, rather than simply adding noise to someone’s timeline. 

    Pro tip: Posting the exact same content on each of your social media profiles may save time, but this can create a poor experience for those who follow you on multiple platforms. Instead, try to mix up the verbiage or images you use, even if you’re promoting the same thing on multiple apps.

    business social media profiiles

    Whether you post multiple times a day or a few times a month, having a presence on the main social media platforms can be a great way to boost your business. (Image via Unsplash)

    6. Pay attention to competitors

    It can be difficult to come up with unique content for multiple channels consistently. For this and other reasons, Hootsuite recommends keeping an eye on what your competitors are posting on social media

    You certainly don’t want to just copy their same posts, but you can use their content as inspiration that may help if you’re struggling with what to post. (You can also see what resonates most with their audience through things like comments and likes, as your target personas are likely similar.)

    7. Don’t forget to be “social”

    Social media shouldn’t be a one-way street. These apps are great places to let your company’s personality shine. One way to do that is by looking for creative ways to interact with and engage your followers. 

    You can publish fun polls on Twitter and Instagram Stories for followers to weigh in on. Plus, many of the popular platforms allow you to “go live,” or broadcast a video in real time. This could be great for sharing big company news or having a virtual chat with another industry pro. 

    Interacting can be as simple as following back those who follow you, “liking” posts others make about your brand, and responding to comments. Not only will it make your followers feel valued, but it’ll remind them that there are humans behind your business. 

    The takeaway

    Whether you post multiple times a day or a few times a month, having a presence on the main social media platforms can be a great way to boost your business.

    With just a bit of front-end planning when you’re building your social media profiles, you can have a strong foundation that’ll help you build your following and grow your reach with success. 

    Caroline Cox

    Caroline Cox

    Caroline is HawkSEM's content marketing manager. She uses her more than 10 years of professional writing and editing experience to create SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of seltzer water, print magazines, and huskies.

    Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

    Related Posts

    hawksem: e-commerce PPC blog

    PPC Tips & Tricks for Successful E-Commerce Ads

    Take your e-commerce ads to the next level with expert tips on proper product feeds, remarketing, testing, and much more. ...

    Read More
    hawksem: website design trends blog

    8 Website Design Trends for 2022

    With millions of websites online, you can't just lean on templates to beat competitors. Let these website design trends inspire you to make yours stand out....

    Read More
    woman at computer frustrated holding her head in her hands

    Algorithm Update Hurt Your Rankings? Here’s How to Dea...

    Algorithm updates can come with no warning. Luckily, there are ways you can mitigate any issues that arise and safeguard your site from future updates....

    Read More
    Facebook
    Twitter
    LinkedIn
    Written by Sam Yadegar on Sep 23 , 2020

    Let’s break down two popular social media ad types to determine which one might be right for your brand and goals. 

    Here, you’ll find:

    • The difference between promoted posts and paid social ads
    • How these social media marketing ads operate
    • When to use each type of paid social ad
    • Which social ad might be right for your brand

    Whether your customers like to tweet about social issues, spark conversations on Facebook, or post picturesque outdoorsy scenes on Instagram, having a business presence on the main social media platforms is a great way to connect with your target audience.

    Social media is a huge part of consumers’ lives today. It’s where many of them get their news, stay connected to friends and family, and even research and buy products or services. 

    Of course, you want your brand’s social media posts to be seen by as many people as possible. Even more importantly, you want your posts to be seen by the right people. 

    Influencers might make it look easy, but mastering social media marketing is no easy feat. Many find it difficult to know the difference between terms that sound similar. Even once you have the jargon down, mapping out the right strategy can be a delicate task.

    When you’re delving into paid social ads, you may come across two different options: creating ads and campaigns from scratch, and “boosting” or promoting existing organic posts. You can see these options on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

    But what do they mean? What’s the difference? When should you use each? Knowledge is power, so let’s dive into paid social ad types and see what we can discover.

    facebook boosted posts

    Facebook’s explanation of boosted posts. (via facebook.com)

    What are boosted posts?

    A promoted or boosted post is a social media post that you pay the platform to make more visible. To boost a post is to promote it to a wider audience. On Twitter, these ads are called “promoted” tweets. Basically, you’re boosting the post’s reach so it can be seen by more people. Depending on the platform, you may be able to set any of the following variables:

    • Target audience: Decide which people you want your post to reach. You can target followers, people who have liked your page, or friends of followers. You can also segment by age, gender, location, interest, or create your own custom demographics.
    • Location of focus: Choose where in the world you want people to see it. If you have a promotion in a specific country, you can target that location and people who have listed it as their home country. If you target the right audience, you can potentially maximize your return on investment (ROI) and save precious marketing dollars.
    • Timeframe: How long should the post be promoted? Maybe you have a sale and you want to draw in as many people as possible. Once the sale is over, the post won’t be promoted anymore.
    • Budget: How much do you want to spend? The bigger the budget, the more people will see it (no surprise there). For example, a budget as little as $2 a day could help you reach as many as 872 people, while $15 could put your post in front of 6,834 people.  

    The general idea behind boosted or promoted posts is that you can either grow the reach of a well-performing organic post, or create an ad from a post without creating a whole marketing campaign around it. 

    hawk promoted social IG

    The “Promote” option allows HawkSEM to get this Instagram post in front of a wider audience for a fee. (via Instagram)

    What are paid social ads?

    In general, paid social ads are any form of advertising or marketing on social media platforms that you pay to have shown to the target audience. This includes, but isn’t limited to:

    • Pay-per-click (PPC) ads
    • Influencer marketing partnerships
    • Social media display ads
    • In-feed ads

    Depending on the content, paid social ads could have more of a call-to-action (CTA) message, and be part of a larger overall campaign. This could be anything from a general awareness campaign to a campaign around an event like a holiday sale or upcoming live webinar. 

    The way these ads are displayed depends on the ad options you choose and the platform you’re advertising on. For example, Twitter ads can be on a user’s timeline or under the “What’s happening” tab to the right of the feed. And LinkedIn offers an ad type that will send a private message to users who fit a certain audience targeting profile. 

    promoted social tweet

    Here’s how promoted posts look on Twitter. (via twitter.com)

    What’s the difference between promoted posts and paid social ads?

    You may have noticed that, according to the above definition of paid social ads, promoted posts could technically fall under that umbrella. One of the main differences between the two is that paid ads were created as ads, whereas boosted posts were posted organically, for free (the boosting or promotion is where the budget comes into play). 

    Some marketers feel like promoted posts are more natural and subliminal-looking than paid social ads. Another difference is the options. With paid social ads, you have quite a few additional options that allow for more advanced customization. Depending on the platform, these may include:

    • Where on the platform or related media the ad will be visible
    • The ability to optimize for more and/or broader goals for the action generated by the audience
    • More ad types, formatting options, additional graphics, and ad features
    • What time of day your ad is seen

    When and why should you boost a post?

    It’s important to know how to determine which organic posts are worth promoting. There are some specific goals that boosting a post is great at achieving. These include:

    • Growing brand recognition
    • Increasing post engagement
    • Fueling website traffic
    • Increasing the reach or engagement of an already high-performing post

    As HubSpot explains, if you just want more eyes on a certain webpage, then promoted tweets might be a great option for you. For this option, they add, you pay a flat monthly fee for as long as you’re promoting a tweet.

    All business accounts on the platforms with this feature should have access to a “boost post” or “promote” button next to the “publish” button or once their post is live. Keep in mind that the platform may take time to review your post first, so be careful with time-sensitive content. 

    linkedin sidebar social ads

    A look at the ads sidebar on LinkedIn’s homepage. (via linkedin.com)

    When and why should you create paid social ads?

    Paid social ads have several strengths of their own. They excel at accomplishing things like:

    • Generating leads
    • Increasing conversion rates
    • Growing event RSVPs or newsletter signups
    • Encouraging a specific action (like app downloads)

    Paid social ads may be the way to go when you’re looking for more ROI-generating results in a shorter amount of time. To build up your audience or grow your followers, you may want the added options that come with actual paid social ads vs. promoted posts. 

    How can you determine which is right for you?

    It isn’t always a matter of picking just one method that fits your business. Since each approach is best at creating different outcomes, it makes sense to use both, but in separate circumstances. Your goal will be the main factor in determining which technique is ideal for you.

    Good reasons to boost a post include:

    • Inform followers of updates and new features
    • Highlight new content
    • Increase views for brand awareness
    • Promote one-time events

    Good reasons to launch paid social campaigns include:

    • Inform a new audience of your product or service
    • Drive sales by convincing leads to make a purchase  
    • Compel the specific behavior stated in your CTA
    • Significantly grow your audience
    boosted paid social posts

    While post boosting and paid social ads are similar in some ways, they also have key differences that allow them to specialize in different areas. (Image via Unsplash)

    The takeaway

    The ultimate aim of social media is to help people connect. And with so many consumers using these platforms, creating a thoughtful, strategic presence can be a game-changer for your business. 

    Luckily, these platforms keep improving and simplifying their social media marketing tools to help you reach the most people and meet your  goals.

    While promoted social and paid social media ads are similar in some ways, they also have key differences that allow them to specialize in different areas. Knowing how to use them to their fullest potential is crucial. 

    The guidelines above should help you differentiate between which circumstances call for each so you can make the most of your social media marketing strategy and get the most ROI out of your marketing dollars.

    For more paid social tips, check out our articles on best practices for ads for TwitterInstagram,  Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

    Sam Yadegar

    Sam Yadegar

    Sam Yadegar is the co-founder and CEO of HawkSEM. Starting out as a software engineer, his penchant for solving problems quickly led him to the digital marketing world, where he has been helping clients for over 12 years. He loves doing everything he can to help brands "crush it" through ROI-driven digital marketing programs. He's also a fan of basketball and spending time with his family.

    Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

    Related Posts

    hawksem: e-commerce PPC blog

    PPC Tips & Tricks for Successful E-Commerce Ads

    Take your e-commerce ads to the next level with expert tips on proper product feeds, remarketing, testing, and much more. ...

    Read More
    hawksem: website design trends blog

    8 Website Design Trends for 2022

    With millions of websites online, you can't just lean on templates to beat competitors. Let these website design trends inspire you to make yours stand out....

    Read More
    woman at computer frustrated holding her head in her hands

    Algorithm Update Hurt Your Rankings? Here’s How to Dea...

    Algorithm updates can come with no warning. Luckily, there are ways you can mitigate any issues that arise and safeguard your site from future updates....

    Read More
    Facebook
    Twitter
    LinkedIn
    Written by Caroline Cox on Jul 23 , 2020

    Your leads could be browsing on Pinterest — here’s how to get their attention on the popular platform.

    Here, you’ll find:

    • What Pinterest Ads are
    • Steps to create a Pinterest Ads account for your business
    • Best practices for creating ads 
    • Why these paid social ads are worth exploring

    More than any other social media platform, Pinterest is where people go to be inspired. What’s more, with 300 million people active on Pinterest each month, 89% of Pinners in the U.S. use the site on their path to making a purchase. 

    Anyone can publish content on Pinterest by uploading images or videos. As a brand, you can also connect a product feed that’ll turn every product into a Pin, or publish from your site by linking your RSS feed to have the platform automatically create new Pins. And with all that purchasing intent, it stands to reason that Pinterest Ads are worth a second look.

    pinterest ad manager

    A look at creating an ad from an existing Pin on Pinterest (Image via Pinterest)

    Using Pinterest Ads Manager to promote your content

    Pinterest has made it pretty easy to get up and running on their ads platform. Once you create a business account, you go to the Ads dropdown menu on ads.pinterest.com and select “Create ad.” From there, you’ll choose a campaign goal based on the action you want people to take from your ad.

    Next, you’ll enter your ad group details and make selections for things like your budget, targeting, and the run dates of your campaign. After that, you’ll select the dates for your campaign, add your budget, and set a maximum bid. 

    Next, you’ll decide which Pin you want to promote in your campaign (make sure the Pin’s name is accurate and that it links to the proper URL). Once everything looks good, it’s time to launch your ad. 

    Pro tip: All ads are reviewed by the Pinterest team to ensure ad policies are being followed — this process can take up to 24 hours, so don’t panic if it takes a day for your ad to be live.

    pinterest ads in feed

    An example of how ads look when browsing the Pinterest site (Image via Pinterest)

    1. Prioritize the visuals

    Much like Instagram, Pinterest is all about the visuals. If your image isn’t high quality and engaging, you risk getting lost in the shuffle. Some experts recommend keeping images simple and vertically aligned so they’re easy to see on mobile. The recommended ratio for Pins is 2:3, or 1,000 by 1,500 pixels.

    For Pin titles, you can up to 100 characters, with the first 30-35 actually showing in feeds. (It’s wise, of course, to use keywords in your title.) For description, you get up to 500 characters, but Pinterest advises prioritizing the first 50-60.

    With the limited amount of characters you get for your image description, some brands add text to the image itself to maximize the amount of words you can pair with your visual.

    2. Determine the right format for your goal

    There are five main ad formats you can choose from when it comes to your Pinterest ad. The one or ones you opt to use will depend on your overall goals. These formats are:

    • Standard – A basic ad that allows you to showcase your products and content via a vertical or square image format
    • Video – Use a looping video clip to grab viewers’ attention and tell a story
    • Shopping – Easily convert Pins of your products into their own ads that can be clicked on to take the user right to the purchase page
    • Carousel – Lets you showcase multiple images in a single ad that viewers can swipe through
    • Collections – A stylish way to mix individual products images with a larger image showing the items in context (like a living room image above individual photos of a lamp, couch, and coffee table)

    Depending on your offering, you can play around with various ad types to see which ones resonate most with your audience. 

    Pro tip: If you’re unsure about what format to try, consider video. Later Media reports that video content is thriving on Pinterest in 2020, “with Video Pins quickly becoming one of the top creative tools for brands, businesses, and creators.”

    pinterest ads budget

    How to enter your Pinterest campaign goals and details (Image via Pinterest)

    3. Figure out your budget

    When it comes to pricing, Pinterest makes setting your budget pretty simple. You can determine how much you want to spend daily, the duration of your campaign, and which audience action you want to pay for. These actions could be views, engagement, or clickthroughs. 

    Plus, it’s easy to turn your ad off anytime if you’re worried about blowing through your budget too quickly. As a reminder, your ad groups are where you determine things like targeting, your schedule, and your budget.

    For more paid social tips, check out our articles on best practices for ads for TwitterInstagramFacebook, and LinkedIn.

    4. Take advantage of the targeting options

    Speaking of targeting, you can choose one or multiple segments from the following targeting options:

    • Audiences – Combine your own data with Pinterest’s to reach those who have previously made a purchase on your site or have engaged with your Pinterest content in the past 
    • Demographics – Allow you to reach users by specific location, device, gender, or language
    • Interests – Targets users who have created boards, engaged with Pins, or have shown interest in a relevant topic
    • Keywords – Allow you to reach people who are searching for a specific topic on Pinterest 
    • Placements – Choose if you want your ads shown in Pinterest search results, while users browse, or both
    • Expanded – Pinterest populates additional interests and keywords based on the ones you’ve already chosen along with your ad content and audience

    All of the ad decisions you make should take your target audience into account, from the language in your copy to the visuals you choose. Once you’ve nailed down your ideal client persona, it shouldn’t be too difficult to determine what’s bound to appeal to them most.

    pinterest promoted pins

    How to add existing Pins to an ad group (Image via Pinterest)

    5. Keep an eye on performance

    You may be surprised by how much success you find through Pinterest ads. Alternatively, you may find that the platform simply isn’t used by enough of your target audience. The only way to know how successful your ads are is to track their performance.

    Pinterest encourages brands to promote Pins they’ve created that are already popular, as it’ll be easier to get these Pins more exposure. From there, you can check out the Analytics section in your account to gauge performance. And, of course, you should test a few different strategies and ad elements to ensure your campaigns are optimized. 

    E-commerce brands with active accounts can take things a step further by enrolling in the verified merchant program, which adds a verification check symbol to your account and allows you to have a “Shop” tab on your profile page. 

    Pro tip: Pinterest offers two ways to create ads: one is more automated, while the other is more manual and customized. Once you get familiar with the platform, we recommend familiarizing yourself with the advanced tool settings that let you build and edit campaigns, ad groups and custom targeting in Ads Manager.

    create pin

    Pinterest offers tools to create the most effective Pins for your audience (Image via Pinterest)

    The takeaway

    Pinterest is where people go to find inspiration — whether it’s for their home, career, wardrobe, or next meal. Take advantage of this visual-centric platform to target those who are browsing or searching the site for something that aligns with your product or service.

    By being mindful about your content, properly targeting your audience, setting the right budget, and leveraging the proper ad format, you could gain access to a whole new segment of your audience. 

    Need a bit more help to get going on Pinterest Ads? You’ve come to the right place. 

     

    Caroline Cox

    Caroline Cox

    Caroline is HawkSEM's content marketing manager. She uses her more than 10 years of professional writing and editing experience to create SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of seltzer water, print magazines, and huskies.

    Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

    Related Posts

    hawksem: e-commerce PPC blog

    PPC Tips & Tricks for Successful E-Commerce Ads

    Take your e-commerce ads to the next level with expert tips on proper product feeds, remarketing, testing, and much more. ...

    Read More
    hawksem: website design trends blog

    8 Website Design Trends for 2022

    With millions of websites online, you can't just lean on templates to beat competitors. Let these website design trends inspire you to make yours stand out....

    Read More
    woman at computer frustrated holding her head in her hands

    Algorithm Update Hurt Your Rankings? Here’s How to Dea...

    Algorithm updates can come with no warning. Luckily, there are ways you can mitigate any issues that arise and safeguard your site from future updates....

    Read More