Social media advertising – is it worth it?

Social media is a free tool, and it’s easy to assume that the benefits it can afford might come for free too. Isn’t good social media simply creating engaging content, sending it out there, and waiting for it to inevitably go viral?

Sadly, no. For it to be successful, social media advertising needs to have strategy, planning, and expertise behind it.

What is social media advertising?

Social media advertising comes in many forms across many different platforms. TikTok, LinkedIn, Instagram – these names are so ingrained in our culture, you only have to mention one for most people to know what you’re talking about. The number of social media platforms is growing all the time, and certain platforms fall in and out of favour, or are only valid for certain industries.

The one constant, however, is that social media advertising comes in three main forms.

1. Boosting a specific post 

On a crowded platform full of accounts making a lot of digital ‘noise’, boosting a post can be a great way to increase reach and engagement.

Boosting tends to work best when you already have an established following, and it can also help when algorithm changes are impacting on your engagement rate. It’s quick and easy to setup, and allows you to see how well a post is performing before you decide whether to boost it or not.  

2. Digital display advertising

Social media advertising doesn’t have to be limited to simply promoting your existing social media content. Image, video, or carousel adverts can be created, which are displayed in a user’s news feed and link back to your social channels or website.

There are estimated to be around 2.77 billion social media users worldwide, so using social media channels as an advertising platform to raise brand, product, or company awareness is a no brainer. With careful audience targeting this can be a fantastic way for new brands to build awareness and reach people who will be interested in what your business offers.

3. Remarketing

Whether your website is eCommerce or not, it should have clearly defined goals and conversion objectives. Without these, a website has little point and is unlikely to be an asset to achieving your business goals.

Remarketing comes into play if a visitor to your website visitor fails to convert. Remarketing allows you to remind the user of the product, service, or page they were viewing and encourage them to continue through your conversion funnel.

Remarketing can be setup across website display adverts as well as social media channels, but with the average adult spending over two hours a day on social media, remarketing via social channels may well be your best and quickest route to your target market.

Know your audience to reach your audience

Where social media really comes into its own is through audience targeting. Whenever any of us set up a social media profile, we typically provide the platform with a huge amount of personal information, including:

  • age
  • gender
  • relationship status
  • location
  • job role

Depending on how active an individual is on any specific platform (and the way they post and engage with content), additional information can also be included, such as:

  • hobbies and interests
  • frequently visited places
  • current location 
  • likelihood of having children (and their ages!)
  • specific lifestyle traits (e.g. vegan, gluten free)

A user’s content use even makes it possible for social platforms to gauge whether a user is moving house soon, or ready for a new car, or researching a holiday – and whether that holiday is a five star cruise across the Med, or a cheap ’n’ cheerful camping weekend.

All of this collected data is anonymously accessible to advertisers via audience targeting criteria. Providing you really know your existing and potential customers, you can deliver highly targeted, highly effective social media adverts. Social media advertising can bring in a huge number of sales your business would otherwise miss – provided it is supported by a clear, concise digital marketing strategy.

Engage your customers and turn social media into sales.

Let’s get started

Our industry expert

Matt Park

Paid Media Executive

Matt got his first digital role around 12 years ago and hasn’t looked back since. He is a huge asset to Cognique and our clients. From creating eye-catching campaigns to analysing their performance, Matt’s work is vital to creating winning marketing strategies.

Matt Park profile photo

Is now the time to start dominating online?

Let’s get started

Subscribe to our newsletter

Join over 600 like-minded individuals who benefit from our monthly roundup of marketing insights, tips and updates.

"*" indicates required fields

What are you interested in?
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.