Social media platforms are no longer just a way for teenagers to have fun or for families to keep in touch. As social media platforms have grown in popularity and become a big part of daily socialization, they’ve grown their reach and have become a major area of influence.
For marketers and businesses, they’ve become indispensable – now they’ve become a critical part of business outreach and even eCommerce. There are many social media sites for marketing your business or products, but which ones are worth investing your time and advertising money?
Which social media sites are most popular? Which ones are the best social media sites for paid marketing and how can you take advantage of them? We’ve decided to rank the top platforms to help give business marketers an idea on where to start.
Though it may be tempting to use every social media website, that endeavor can actually be a wasted effort, not to mention stressful to keep up. You need to consider your budget, where your target audience spends their time online, and which platforms are worth learning to master.
So which paid social media is most popular for marketers? Let’s look at some of the top social media sites for paid marketing.
Facebook is one of the most widely used social media platforms in the world. Though the current audience on the site is shifting older than it used to be, there are always users creating new accounts. It’s also easily the most popular site for marketers with close to 90% of all businesses using Facebook in some way.
For this reason, a Facebook business page is crucial for any company or brand – as one of the largest social media platform it offers important marketing and advertising opportunities for all kinds of business. It also functions as a great platform inbound marketing with content that helps increase brand visibility.
Facebook is a great way to engage with your audience on a daily basis, keep them up to date on company news, promote sales, collect reviews, advertise, and provide customer service via Facebook Messenger.
Facebook is also the site with the highest ROAS in terms of paid advertising. Compared to other similar social media sites, users are more likely to click more ads they see in their Facebook feed, making it a highly beneficial place to invest your advertising budget.
By the end of the decade Facebook was driving more than 80% of all U.S. social referrals to eCommerce sites, and its dominance means that by itself Facebook now accounts for 40% of annual digital display ad revenue – more than even Google PPC. By sheer size and reach Facebook is the best social media site for advertising globally and is easily the most popular as well.
It’s position as a social network with vast resources of data is part of why it’s so appealing to marketers. Facebook is able to access highly-useful information about user interests, likes, sharing data, groups, cohorts, demographic information and more – which lets advertisers finely tune to whom their ads are being displayed.
The main types of Facebook ads include:
- Carousel ads that feature two or more scrollable images or videos.
- Single image: An ad that is comprised of a single image and which can appear across the Facebook online universe.
- Single video ads that feature one video (or images turned into a video).
- Slideshow: A looping video featuring up to 10 images.
- Collection: A collection of items that open into a full screen mobile experience.
One of the other benefits of Facebook for paid ads is that marketers are given the option to display ad types across the entirety of the Facebook network, including Facebook messenger and Instagram. With a relatively central source for ad creation this means that Facebook is widely consider the top social media platform for paid ads outside of traditional search engine PPC.
Instagram is a hugely popular platform, especially among users under 40 years-old, and it’s used its popularity to try and give businesses resources for reaching consumer audiences. It’s also important to note that Instagram is part of the Facebook ad network. Anyone who is creating ads on Facebook will have the option to display them on Instagram as well – but its relevancy is reason enough to list its benefits separately.
It is currently one of the most popular social media sites for paid advertising marketers – largely because its userbase has grown so rapidly.
Recently Instagram introduced shopping tags and the ability for business accounts to link their photos directly to their website so users can easily and quickly learn more information about products – this makes it a top choice for paid advertising marketers that exist in the eCommerce realm. It also helpful for businesses experimenting with influencer marketing. Paid media can easily be integrated into a user’s feed, so your advertising won’t interrupt their scrolling experience.
Instagram has many different types of ads that help make it one of the most popular social media sites for paid marketing:
- Photo ads: Advertisements contained within an image posted to viewer feeds.
- Video ads that can be up to 60 seconds long and that you can post to target audience feeds.
- Carousel ads that allow users to swipe through several photos or videos within the same ad space. This allows you to show a variety of products or services you offer, or a series of similar products.
- Stories ads: Appear while users are watching their friends’ stories in their feed, integrating seamlessly into the rest of the story feed.
A Hootsuite study says that 1 billion people are now using Instagram monthly, with as many as 75% of U.S. based businesses using the platform for marketing. This makes Instagram an important consideration for marketers trying to find the best social media sites for marketing in general – whether for content creation or paid ads.
What about cost? Like other paid advertising platforms, it depends. Social media sites like Facebook and Instagram are best for marketers who want highly customizable advertising campaigns. Because both sites operate on a CPC (cost-per-click) or CPM (cost-per-impression) basis, this means campaign costs will depend on how aggressively you want to target high value audiences.
For this reason Instagram offers higher ad engagement – making it a top social media site for advertising, but also making it slightly more expensive than Facebook.
As a social media platform for professionals, LinkedIn is a great place for business-to-business (B2B) advertising. LinkedIn offers many filter options and is ranked as the best platform for B2B lead generations, allowing marketers to connect with more qualified users.
The types of advertising on LinkedIn include:
- Text Ads: Simple ads with a headline, text, and optional images.
- Sponsored InMail: Messages sent through LinkedIn’s messaging system to potential customers.
- Sponsored Content: An ad that allows you to create an advertisement with an article, image, link, video, or image carousel.
- Dynamic Ads: Advertisements that highlight job openings or your business itself to encourage users to follow your company page.
For business who needs to cater to commercial clients, brands, and business focused customers than LinkedIn is a no-brainer. Like other social media sites, one of its top strengths is its ability to give marketers a wealth of demographic data. Because of its unique style it’s the #1 best social media platform for lead generation.
Its position as a platform for business networking makes it the best social media site for business marketing by default. Its combination of user feed ads and sponsored InMail ads means that it is broadly similar to other social platforms (like Facebook) but also that its strong for this particular niche of marketing.
Why is LinkedIn a top social media site for business ad strategy? Marketers can now take advantage of 675 million monthly users, and Sponsored InMail ads have an open-rate of 52%, meaning that a well-tuned campaign can vastly improve visibility. It’s a platform that’s ideal for business online marketing through networking and direct business relationships Plus its numbers make LinkedIn the fifth most popular social media platform of all. It also has strong performance for content impression with (15x more than job postings in fact).
LinkedIn ranks among the best for social media sites suitable to marketing especially for those looking to utilize ad budget for precise industry related audiences.
Twitter is an immensely popular social media network that is incredibly fast-paced. Famously known for limiting tweets to 280 characters, this is a platform where every word counts. It’s still a top social media site in 2020, and one that provides an opportunity for marketers to quickly grab their audience’s attention and give them a link to the information they need and the products they want.
The following types of ads are offered on Twitter:
- Promoted Tweets: Ads that look like regular tweets but allow you to share content with users who don’t follow you.
- Promoted Accounts: Also known as a Follower Campaign, this type of ad promotes your Twitter account to encourage people to follow you if they have shown interest in content similar to yours.
- Promoted Trends: Ads that display at the first or second lots of the “Trends for you” section of a user’s timeline and “Explore” tab.
Twitter offers opportunity for both a content presence that leads to inbound traffic, and a paid advertising presence for disruptive traffic. Since Twitter is one of the older, larger social media sites it represents a good opportunity, but it hasn’t grown into the marketing giants that Facebook and Google have. However, since 2019 Twitter’s site referral traffic has increase by 6%, meaning that its popularity for marketers may be rising.
YouTube is one of the top social media sites and is the number one video sharing platform in the world, which makes it the perfect place to share video advertising. It’s the ideal site for B2B and B2C (Business to Consumer) companies to target their audience with the different types of video ads shown below.
- TrueView Video Ads: Skippable advertisements that you only pay for when viewers watch or interact with your video.
- TrueView In-Stream Ads: Are played before, during, or after other YouTube videos.
- TrueView Discovery Ads: These are displayed as a thumbnail and can promote your content in different locations of discovery (YouTube’s mobile homepage, search results, or next to related videos).
- Bumper Ads: Unskippable videos up to six seconds long that play before, during, or after a user watches a video.
Youtube represents a huge opportunity for marketers looking for multi-media ad formats – in fact it’s inarguably dominant in this area. For video ads Youtube is undoubtedly the best social media site – but this style of advertising might not translate well for companies already focusing on other styles of text ads.
As much as 80% of shoppers who watch a Youtube video related to a purchase they are planning to make claim they watch it in the beginning of their shopping process. This means that this platform represents an opportunity for catching shoppers at the beginning of the shopping funnel.
Pinterest is a discovery platform, most often utilized by users as a digital inspiration board. By creating posts on Pinterest, you create a natural link to your website where users can learn more about your products and services.
It’s also growing as an opportunity for business advertising. Since last year Pinterest’s user base has grown by over a quarter to more than 330 million making it overall one of the best social media sites for marketing – plus its focus could make it a special resource for eCommerce brands.
There are several types of Pinterest ads for you to utilize:
- Promoted Pins: These appear in the home feed and search results. They look and behave like other Pins, only they’re boosted and targeted to deliver a wider reach.
- Promoted Carousels: Feature two to five images for users to swipe through. They appear wherever regular Pins can and behave the same way, but each Pin can have its own title, description, and landing page.
- Promoted Video Pins: Just like Promoted Pins, except the image is replaced with a video. They appear in the home feed, search results, and “more like this” sections. These are great for awareness campaigns or for telling a brand or product story.
- Promoted App Pins: Mobile-only ads that let users download your mobile app directly from Pinterest.
- Buyable Pins: Ads that are designed to be shoppable. These Pins allow users to find and buy products directly from the Pin itself, which deliver quick sales to your company.
Figure Out Your Best Social Media Marketing Path
As you can see, there are many options available for businesses to advertise on social media. Even if you don’t decide to invest in paid advertising immediately, it’s highly beneficial for businesses to create social media platforms to market their products and services to potential customers. Keep in mind, it’s often best to focus on a few social media sites that are most widely used by your target audience rather than try to have a presence on every possible platform.
We encourage you to create accounts on a few and see which social media sites are best for marketing your way and that are enjoyable to use.
Contact us for more information about paid media marketing resources and strategies – our team can give you a free site consultation.