Printer-Friendly

social media viewpointsAre you wondering if it makes sense to advertise on your favorite social network? Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn all have different demographic profiles and use cases that may provide good advertising opportunities.

All three platforms are also developing new and innovative ways to target advertising messages, based on the overwhelming amount of data they possess about their users. Marketers should explore the paid opportunities social networks offer with as much thought and effort as they experiment with the “earned” and “owned” aspects that these networks provide.

Depending on your business objective, one platform will likely prove more useful than others. In this article, I will explore the functionality each provides and how you can integrate the paid activity for maximum impact and return.

Facebook Ads

Facebook’s advertising platform is by far the most developed and widely used of the three major social networks. Offering a self-serve platform very similar to the early Google AdWords interface, Facebook advertising is available to even the smallest businesses with the most limited budgets.

facebook ads

Examples of Facebook ads.

Because the platform is still developing and underutilized, prices remain low for clicks and impressions when compared with more mature channels like Google AdWords and online display advertising.

Facebook allows users to target messages by a host of different criteria, which are determined from users’ profile information. Whether you want to reach 24- to 35-year-old women or 55- to 65-year-old men, people who like gardening or people who like jazz music, Facebook can deliver that demographic due to its scale and targeting capability.

Because much of the data Facebook has is of a demographic and interest level, Facebook advertising is very effective at B2C targeting. It also offers geographic targeting, which works well for metro areas and cities, but is somewhat lacking if you want to target rural areas specifically. Facebook advertising is relatively ineffective for B2B advertising, because the information it bases its targeting on is largely of a personal nature.

Facebook also allows users to run ads to attract “Likes” on their pages, which can help you grow your community on Facebook into a business asset. Paying for Likes can help your “owned” messages on Facebook reach a wider audience, and can be a prudent investment if managed closely. Before running Facebook ads to acquire Likes, however, it is very prudent to think through in rough terms the value you think you can obtain from having that line of contact with individuals.

facebook advertising

Connect with real people with a real interest in your products.

LinkedIn Ads

On the other hand, LinkedIn advertising is tremendously effective for B2B industries because of the professional information LinkedIn uses to target its advertisements, which are called “LinkedInAds

linkedin ads

Examples of LinkedIn advertising.

LinkedIn allows you to deliver advertising only to people with certain qualifications or titles, such as VP of operations or director of marketing. This makes the advertising spending very efficient, and fast movers can also take advantage of the current low prices on the platform.

When setting up your LinkedIn campaign, also make sure to see if there are any relevant groups that you could use for your targeting. LinkedIn Groups draw users back for longer sessions, and this can be a great way to reach targeted individuals while they are considering business issues and topics in the group setting.

LinkedIn Ads are quickly growing in popularity, so be wary of quick spikes in the cost of advertising if you choose to establish a campaign through this network.

linkedin targeted self-service ads

Reach your exact audience with LinkedIn Ads.

Twitter Ads

Currently the most underdeveloped advertising platform, Twitter only offers advertising to large brands at this time, in the form of “Sponsored Tweets” or “Promoted Trends.”

Advertisers pay per impression to have their tweet show up at the top of feeds when certain hashtags are used or for certain search terms on Twitter’s search engine.

twitter promoted tweets

Promoted Trends give users something new and exciting to discover

sponsored tweets

An advertising platform that connects advertisers with tweeters.

As a result, Twitter advertising is neither practical nor attainable for most marketers and businesses today. To warrant the valuations it has received, however, Twitter will almost certainly begin to offer an advertising product to smaller customers as it focuses on its monetization efforts.

Due to the real-time nature of much of the communication on Twitter, it holds tremendous promise for marketers, if the eventual mass-market advertising application can effectively harness this power to make ads more relevant and timely. Twitter’s value to smaller advertisers and marketers remains on the “earned” and “owned” side of the equation for the time being.

promoted tweet twitter advertising

Example of Twitter advertising.

Overall

Marketers should think about their target customer base and begin experimenting with social media advertising to reach them at a lower cost. Each platform offers specific features and benefits that will be more relevant to some businesses than others. I suggest a “test and invest” approach in these new channels to determine what works before spending large sums.

What has been your experience with social media advertising? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Get Social Media Examiner’s Future Articles in Your Inbox!

Join 480,000+ of your peers! Get our latest articles delivered to your email inbox and get the FREE Social Media Marketing Industry Report (56 pages, 90 charts)!

More info...
  • I recommend to buy from buysellads tweets, very secure http://buysellads.com/buy/allsites/proptype/social

  • Great article. I’ve been wondering if I should run ads for my new business. I have some LinkedIn ads but so far they haven’t had any clicks. Maybe Facebook is the way for me to go!

    Dawn DiLorenzo
    Locust Grove Designs

  • Peter I say if you have a local business trying to target local people..then I will say yes. But beside that its just not a good investment unless your just trying to get “Likes” juts my opinion..

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

  • Great post! Very informative. I’ll definitely take this on board for my clients this week.

    Cheers!

    Stephanie Campanella
    http://www.stephaniecampanella.com.au

  • I tried the facebook ads for a little while and found that they were charging me for more clicks than were appearing on my analytics. I also did not get any business leads coming from it at all. I’ve gotten far better results with google adwords at this point. Or from free listings on kijiji.

  • Recently ran a FaceBook ad campaign to promote a 10 day contest. We were able to secure close to 15,000 new fans with a $1,000 spend and $200 prize cost. What I liked about FaceBook ads is the level of targeting available, I believe that was a key factor in securing the success of the program.

  • In my Linkedin training we talk about how LinkedIn ads are converting double what Facebook ads are… so in my opinion if you want to promote to people who have more money to spend, and can make more buying decisions, then LinkedIn is the way to go.

  • Pingback: Social Advertising and River Monsters « youngbloodcreative()

  • Hey Dawn,

    With any of these channels, the key is “test and invest”. Set a specific business goal for the advertising campaign, start small, and see if you can achieve initial results that indicate that channel is cost effective for expansion.

    Thanks for your comment!

    Peter

  • I agree that Likes in and of themselves are not very valuable. If you are actively thinking about how to engage those individuals and offer them value, and you’re seeing them convert and either get further in their purchase process or actually buy, then it’s a different story.

    Thanks for the comment,

    Peter

  • Thanks Stephanie!

  • Erin,

    The product or service you sell will directly affect which of these channels is most effective. Google Analytics will not pick up every visitor, because it tracks cookies, and some of your visitors will have disabled them.

    Sorry to hear that FB ads did not produce leads, but I might recommend revisiting your targeting, or seeing if you have any insight into who is purchasing through Google AdWords that could help you refine the FB campaign.

    Thanks for the comment!

    Peter

  • Sam,

    Glad to hear your campaign was successful! The FB targeting is really powerful, and especially useful to certain brands that can reasonably use that information to improve results.

    Thanks for commenting,

    Peter

  • Lewis,

    Interesting thought, and for certain businesses, LinkedIn is much more effective. In my experience, it’s all about what the company is selling and how predictive you can be about attributes that indicate affinity to purchase.

    For some companies, that affinity is that the customer needs to be a VP of Marketing of VP of Supply Chain. For others, it is that the customer is usually between the ages of 20 and 30. Other companies want to capitalize on real time information/news to sell their product. Each of these different scenarios warrants a different advertising approach, and each of the major platforms have different capabilities that make them more or less suited to each.

    Thanks for your comment!

    Peter

  • I worry that Facebook ads might attract fraudulent clicks which I know happens a lot with Adwords and has put me off using Google.

    Keith

  • Do you have any insight into the “value” of Likes gained through a Facebook ad vs. those gained organically (referral from a friend)? For example, do you know if people who like your page because it was recommended by a friend are more likely to engage as opposed to those who like your page just to enter a content? Thanks!

  • kristathomas

    Hey Peter — Actually, Ad.ly celebrity endorsement campaigns on Twitter are accessible to brands of all sizes, and start at $25K.

    You may want to clarify that Sponsored Tweets is not part of Twitter –> they’re conflated in the text above.

    Thanks,
    -Krista

  • Good tips, Peter. Thanks. I agree on the potential of B2B advertising on LinkedIn for businesses of all sizes. I particularly like the options that allow you fine tune your target audience and create variations of your ad. But the cost creep is a major consideration. I attempted to set up a campaign a few days ago, but I’ve decided to hold off for now — too pricey for my current budget.

  • carlos

    If I want to advertise health products, based on age or gender, for example, Energy & fitness, Skin Health, Stress relief, Weight control,… according to tour experience, which social media would it be better to advertise, Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIN?

  • Hi Lewis, do you have any articles on using LinkedIn ads specifically? Linda

  • Hi Peter, great piece of info. Where can we find more resources from you specifically on ads for FB and LinkedIn? Linda

  • zbiejczuk

    Thanks for the post – I believe FB ads might really create a value for certain brands, however, “buying fans” is imho not the right way to go – they will leave often or they will not bother to engage with you any way. “Organic” fans are usually much more of a value, or you have to be really good with what you do on your page. Not many companies succeed to carefully mix the fun, information, advice and a little stir of controversy that brings more comments while not hurting the brand. There’s still long way to go for most of them – to realize, FB is not a sale channel, but a community tool!

  • zbiejczuk

    this sounds to me as a sure fit for Facebook – with some A-B testing and appropriate copywriting & good and often changed images, FB ads shall work for you.

  • Keith,

    This is certainly concerning, and you have to factor in those types of issues into the total cost of running a Facebook campaign. Measure the conversions that matter, and that will help mitigate the problems with potential overcharging or fraudulent clicks.

    Thanks,

    Peter

  • Liza,

    I don’t, but this is a wonderful question for future followup and research.

    Thanks for commenting!

    Peter

  • Krista,

    Thanks for adding that information for the benefit of the community.

    We’ll update the post, thanks for the catch!

    Peter

  • Rachel,

    You could always set low daily spend limits if you were worried about cost overruns.

    Thanks for commenting!

    Peter

  • Almost certainly Facebook.

    Thanks for commenting.

    Peter

  • Adam,

    You make some great points, especially about the goal of acquiring fans and how companies should think about using their community once they’ve created it.

    Peter

  • Nicky Kriel

    Thank you for doing this comparison. It is useful to see how the three ads compare. I have used Facebook ads because as a small business I can set a daily budget, run it for a short period and target local people specifically. I have yet to try LinkedIn ads.

  • Pingback: Should You Advertise on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? « SoHoBizNet()

  • hi Peter. Thanks for this valuable content.

    I have a question: recently I wrote a post for Smedio “6 Key Reasons to Buy Yahoo! Ads Instead”.

    One of the compelling features Yahoo! offers is Smart ads. Smart ads combine Yahoo!’s targeting templates to dynamically create and serve the most relevant ads to consumers, based on a variety of targeting data. Think about ads with different colors, images, headlines and call to action messages. These ads automatically adapt to the likes and lifestyle of the receivers.

    What are your thoughts about this?

  • Peter,

    I own a design build firm that specializes in kitchen and bath remodeling. We need to target homeowners that have a good budget. This is a more involved purchase process. I’ve used Facebook ads, but do you think Linkedin would be better? Would you target above a certain professional level? I have felt Linkedin was more b2b and might not work well.

    Thanks,

    Nancy Dalton

  • Glad to hear it Nancy, you’re welcome.

    If you are more of a consumer-facing brand, Facebook is going to be more effective, so I think you’ve made a good choice.

    Thanks,

    Peter

  • Juan,

    That’s very interesting. Honestly, I’ve never tested Yahoo! Smart Ads, so I don’t have an opinion.

    I will look into them for sure though, thanks for the tip!

    Peter

  • Nancy,

    I would continue to refine your Facebook targeting, as I think that the broad professional targeting would not add a lot of value, given your niche.

    Thanks for commenting!

    Peter

  • Great post. It exposes the benefits of 3 top Social Media sites. I like your response to Dawn “Test and Invest”. It can be a fearful thing to many when embarking on any endeavors towards marketing their businesses that requires an out of pocket investment. The plan is also essential. Moving forward with this endeavor without a plan will cause you to waste time and money. I’m getting ready to do a Social Media Empowerment Virtual Days event which I’m sure some of the questions will be around placing ads. I now have a little more to refer to in this area. Thanks. “The Empowerment Diva”

  • Good information. Glad to see someone is willing to state where B2B and B2C advertising is effective and where it is not effective.

  • I have found Facebook B2C ads prohibitively expensive! like 45-60c per click far to high to be of any use to me. This compares with 15-30c for a typical Google ad for a Shoe brand.

  • Hi Lewis,

    I was interested to read your post. I have tried LinkedIn ads to promote my B2B business with no sales at all as a result and the geographic targeting on LinkedIn is way behind Facebook. Other than that I am a big fan of LinkedIn for business building but not convinced on the advertising side of things, although always happy to listen to the advice of others!

    Alan

  • Hi Lewis,

    I was interested to read your post. I have tried LinkedIn ads to promote my B2B business with no sales at all as a result and the geographic targeting on LinkedIn is way behind Facebook. Other than that I am a big fan of LinkedIn for business building but not convinced on the advertising side of things, although always happy to listen to the advice of others!

    Alan

  • exit the machine

    I have experimented with FB ads for two concerts now. I changed the ads constantly, pictures, tag-lines. I tried everything that was suggested by ‘experts’. The first concert I didn’t think to include a tracking mechanism, the second I did. I tried very narrow targeting, and as broad as regional. After almost a million impressions, and hundreds of click, I garnered zero results.

    The price jump from FB between January and April was also significant. I had to increase my bids by almost a Dollar to guarantee exposure.

    FB ads are not there yet, in my trials…

  • exit the machine

    I have experimented with FB ads for two concerts now. I changed the ads constantly, pictures, tag-lines. I tried everything that was suggested by ‘experts’. The first concert I didn’t think to include a tracking mechanism, the second I did. I tried very narrow targeting, and as broad as regional. After almost a million impressions, and hundreds of click, I garnered zero results.

    The price jump from FB between January and April was also significant. I had to increase my bids by almost a Dollar to guarantee exposure.

    FB ads are not there yet, in my trials…

  • Pingback: » Influencer Metrics » Ubercool()

  • Pingback: Should You Advertise on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? « Joe The Flow()

  • Pingback: EngagingDentists()

  • Actually, this is one of the basic platforms to advertising on those social media. And, it will be more helpful for business people 🙂

  • Actually, this is one of the basic platforms to advertising on those social media. And, it will be more helpful for business people 🙂

  • Great article. A lot of the clients we talk to sometimes have misunderstandings of why we focus efforts more so on one channel then the others. Ill be shearing this post along!

  • Great article. A lot of the clients we talk to sometimes have misunderstandings of why we focus efforts more so on one channel then the others. Ill be shearing this post along!

  • whybarbara

    Great summary offering practical insights. Thank you.

  • whybarbara

    Great summary offering practical insights. Thank you.

  • Dwheeler

    Sam can you give us any further insight into your campaign, Ad type Multiple Ads how often you changed the Ads/text etc?

  • Dwheeler

    Sam can you give us any further insight into your campaign, Ad type Multiple Ads how often you changed the Ads/text etc?

  • Jeff Chookazian

    Great article. I really see the social advertising blowing out to B2C and B2B. Facebook will dominate B2C and LinkedIn will dominate B2B. My company (primarily B2B) is currently only using Google Adwords. Adwords are great for the amount of impressions and inexpensive clicks but what is really going to drive our B2B sales is LinkedIn Ads. Although, LinkedIn ads are much higher CPC they will bring in greater qualified leads. LinkedIn Ads has only been out of beta a few months. I see it blowing up big time and driving CPC up.

  • Morgan

    Facebook ads have been extremely effective in getting more ‘likes’. However, after the ‘likes’, I never saw any interaction from the people who ‘liked’ it because of the ad. I saw more interaction from people who naturally ‘liked’ it, from those who just liked it because of an ad.

    The next time I advertise through FB, I’ll use a product or my website, not my Facebook page. By directing them to my website, they can see the Facebook widget and like my page naturally if they so choose.

  • I have a lot of experience with Advertising on Facebook with Real Estate. And by and large it has never produced the same results as Adwords. I believe that people that are on Facebook are there “for a good time” and are not interested in clicking on some link that shoots them off to a sales pitch. I think that using the service to get “Likes” is ok… because it keeps people on Facebook.

  • I have a lot of experience with Advertising on Facebook with Real Estate. And by and large it has never produced the same results as Adwords. I believe that people that are on Facebook are there “for a good time” and are not interested in clicking on some link that shoots them off to a sales pitch. I think that using the service to get “Likes” is ok… because it keeps people on Facebook.

  • You’re right. That’s what I’ve now decided to do with a “trial run”; learn from it, refine & go from there.
    Thanks!

    Rachel

  • You’re right. That’s what I’ve now decided to do with a “trial run”; learn from it, refine & go from there.
    Thanks!

    Rachel

  • Thanks for posting such an informative article…need to change some of my policies about internet marketing now…

  • Thanks for posting such an informative article…need to change some of my policies about internet marketing now…

  • Super informative post! I really am thankful to get the lowdown on buying ads on these networks. Before I really did not have a clue where to start. Thank so much Peter!

  • Super informative post! I really am thankful to get the lowdown on buying ads on these networks. Before I really did not have a clue where to start. Thank so much Peter!

  • We always depend on Google Adwords.

  • We always depend on Google Adwords.

  • I think where you advertise depends on what you want to accomplish and who you want to reach, for sure.

  • Pingback: Relevant Reading for Dentists April 2011 | EngagingDentists()

  • Initially, thank you so much for given here 🙂 Initially, it has no security in the face book Ads as well as linked-in ads. Great effort 🙂

  • Pingback: Should You Advertise on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? | ashleyfogar()

  • Pingback: Best of web 4/25-5/1 | Project Rev()

  • I agree with Facebook being more advertiser friendly and functional. I’ve linked to some of my sites from twitter several times and it just seems I can’t see that it helps in any way to bring traffic to the site and doesn’t even show in any of the link checker tools I’ve used.

    Dave Crutcher
    http://StockPrices.net

  • We have done a little bit with all of these and I think they all still have a long way to go. Twitter promoted accounts couldn’t have been a bigger waste of money (paying to get unqualified followers) but the promoted tweets definitely have potential. I think once Twitter gets some kinks worked out it could be very valuable.

    As for LinkedIn, as a B2B company I expected to see better results but admittedly our budget was pretty small and it ran out before we really gave it a chance. It would be really nice to start seeing real results/studies and posts from people doing it.

  • We have done a little bit with all of these and I think they all still have a long way to go. Twitter promoted accounts couldn’t have been a bigger waste of money (paying to get unqualified followers) but the promoted tweets definitely have potential. I think once Twitter gets some kinks worked out it could be very valuable.

    As for LinkedIn, as a B2B company I expected to see better results but admittedly our budget was pretty small and it ran out before we really gave it a chance. It would be really nice to start seeing real results/studies and posts from people doing it.

  • I’ve tried Facebook ads but never tried Linkedin or Twitter. However I would say, Facebook advertising is mostly for entertainment ad campaigns.

  • I’ve tried Facebook ads but never tried Linkedin or Twitter. However I would say, Facebook advertising is mostly for entertainment ad campaigns.

  • Bill

    Awesome information. I think, since all three of these platforms have different “personalities” so to say, it is important to have presence on all of them. After all, the more places you are seen, the better chance to capture potential customer.

    Chatmeter offers a great service that helps small businesses and agencies track all social media and see how their online presence is improving. I suggest you take a look!
    http://www.chatmeter.com

  • Bill

    Awesome information. I think, since all three of these platforms have different “personalities” so to say, it is important to have presence on all of them. After all, the more places you are seen, the better chance to capture potential customer.

    Chatmeter offers a great service that helps small businesses and agencies track all social media and see how their online presence is improving. I suggest you take a look!
    http://www.chatmeter.com

  • Pingback: Weekly Small Business Roundup – May 6, 2011 << Circa Consulting LLC()

  • Jinal Shah

     great content got us as many fans organically as facebook ads. that has got us wondering- if advertising on facebook is necessary at all?

  • I find Facebook is great for advertising. A great return on investment for businesses. Although recently prices have jumped up.

  • Sandy Wu

    Great post! You analysed three different advertising method through Social media, that’s very useful for my recent research which I consider to choose a suitable tool to promote a non-profit organisation. Thank you for sharing.

  • JWOJR

    Ditto Morgan. I placed an ad for a contest I was running on FB and got a great response. Since that time though, there has been no interaction from most of the people that came on during the contest. I’ve found that natural likes that come from my website link or consumer searches work the best. There’s no perfect formula, it’s gonna take continuous testing to find what works. 

  • Pingback: LinkedIn Groups: Analytics, Stats, the data – Digital Brand Marketing Education()

  • Pingback: What future for Twitter ? | anniecit()

  • Pingback: The Hive Mind And Enterprise Social Networks ,Social Media Maven |social Media Tips|Google+ Enthusiast()

  • Pingback: 5 Social Media Tips for Finding and Engaging Your Target Audience: New Research | Jo Shaer Social Media Solutions()

  • Pingback: Social Media Monday (Vol. 1, No. 3) « Maryland Social Media()

  • Pingback: 5 Social Media Tips for finding and Engaging your target audience: New Research | Niki Peach Design()

  • Pingback: LinkedIn and Body Wraps « mbamother()

  • Pingback: Influencer Metrics | Social Revolution()

  • Pingback: Lots of tools in the roundup this week()

  • Jak D. Rippah

    Twitter is nice is you don’t mind promoting your business flanked by extremist political rants, pornography or snake oil spam.

    There’s a reason twitter stock is plummeting.

  • Raul

    We have run successful campaigns on Facebook, with clicks as cheap as $0.01 and with calculated lead price as cheap as 0.03 cents. With investment of not more than 2000 dollars on Facebook, we generated in 2014 about US $100,000 on our bank account. Twitter test, and LinkedIn test and Google Adsense test, did not give as much as result as on Facebook. If anyone needs help on doing this, me and my friends will be glad to help you.