Which Social Media Platforms Should Your Business Use for Ads?


When it comes to perfecting the paid social media advertising strategy for your business, half the challenge is actually deciding where to post your ads.

We’re spoilt for choice nowadays. Gone are the days where it’s Facebook or nothing for paid ads. All of the top social media platforms now offer their own paid ads services and they’re all good for different things… but which is right for your business?

As a paid social media advertising agency with clients in both the eCommerce and B2B sectors, we know a thing or two about where to publish your ads to make them fly. So, we’re going to be sharing our breakdown of the pros and cons of each platform for your business.

Facebook

Let’s start with what many consider to be the epicentre of all social media advertising, Facebook.

Facebook very much feels like the ‘OG’ of paid social media ads and honestly, it’s still worth claiming your slice of the action over there. Best for, well, pretty much every business ever, Facebook is the real all-rounder. Both eCommerce and B2B businesses can excel with Facebook ads thanks to the variety of users on the platform and the ways in which you can target them.

Despite the platform’s occasional technical glitches, there’s no denying that Facebook are the pioneers in paid social media ads. The Ads Manager software and options available to advertisers do feel far superior to those of other platforms. 

Whether you know your target audience well or not, there’s plenty of ways of using Facebook ads to reach them. Think about it;  from mumpreneurs to CEOs, early twos to late 70S, city lovers to rural livers, they’re all on Facebook.

Content and copy go hand in hand with equal importance in Facebook ads, so whether your brand is more about the visuals or the wording, you’ll be able to create an ad that does you justice.

Best for: every business.

Instagram

For those of you who may be super new to the social media scene, Instagram is owned by Facebook. However, that doesn’t mean the same users are active on the platform.

Instagram is typically thought to have a younger, more modern feel to it and therefore, attracts more of that audience. Ecommerce businesses can do seriously well on Instagram through both paid ads and influencer marketing.

According to Sprout Social’s 2020 Social Media Demographics Report, 75% of 18 – 24 year olds are on Instagram, as are 57% of 25 – 30 year olds. So basically, if your audience is 18 – 30, or even up to 40, you can find the majority of them on Instagram.

Who wouldn’t we recommend to advertise on Instagram? Typically, super corporate, traditional businesses aren’t going to get the engagement here. The platform is fast-paced, ultra-dynamic and all about the eye-catching visuals, so if that aesthetic doesn’t fit your brand then Instagram probably won’t either.

A pro-tip from us: run your Instagram ads through Facebook Ads Manager. You can run Instagram ads through the app itself but the service you’re provided with isn’t even on par with what’s available on Ads Manager. Link your Instagram to your Facebook, set up an ad account on Facebook and run your ads with Instagram only placements!

Best for: eCommerce brands, particularly with 18 – 40 audiences.

Snapchat

Firstly, if you’re wondering where on earth Snapchat ads are actually displayed, they’re shown as you swipe through news articles on the app.

You might be thinking that the visibility of Snapchat ads is going to be lower and therefore so is performance, but don’t be fooled. We know that 73% of 18-24 year olds are on Snapchat… so if you’re target audience is that age range, this is the place to find them.

Snapchat ads look a lot like Instagram stories and they work with a swipe up link, meaning your content needs to be designed for a portrait smartphone screen.

The platform’s paid ad service is ideal for eCommerce brands with a younger audience. B2B brands, there’s not much going on here for you unfortunately.

Best for: eCommerce brands, particularly 18 – 24 year old audiences.

LinkedIn

So we’ve told B2B brands where not to advertise with Instagram and Snapchat, but what about where you really should be paying to be seen? It’s time to throw LinkedIn in to the mix.

Anyone who is anyone in the working world knows that LinkedIn is the social media platform designed for business people and their companies to connect. This is professional social media networking at its best, so of course it is the ideal place for businesses to advertise their services to likeminded individuals. 

The paid ads service on LinkedIn isn’t quite as extensive as Facebook’s but it does the job well. If you have a service that you want influential people within businesses to see, this is the right place to shout about it 

49% of people making over $75,000 a year are on LinkedIn which means there’s a lot big decision makers on the platform to see your ads.

Best for: B2B businesses.

Twitter

When we think of Twitter, we don’t typically think of paid ads but the platform does offer various different types of paid ads and they can work ok for various different businesses.

The great thing about Twitter is the same thing that’s great about Facebook and that’s the broad age range of users. There’s a lot of users on Twitter and they range from 18 – 65+, so there’s likely to be a group of people on the site interested in your brand.

Twitter has different types of ads, including promoted tweets that appear on people’s feeds and paid results, so your ad will appear near the top of selected hashtags and searches.

Twitter ads can actually work well for B2B businesses due to the formatting of the ad – they’re more words than imagery. This means if you have a corporate appearance and don’t do much in the way of visual content, you can still create good ads here.

The targeting still doesn’t quite match up to what Facebook have on offer but it’s usable and it’ll allow you to find a relevant audience for your ads.

Best for: corporate brands and B2B business.

Pinterest

Pinterest is a unique platform in the sense that it is social media but it feels so incredibly different to all the other platforms we’ve discussed above. Despite the fact that the entire concept is about sharing ideas, the platform has a much less ‘social’ feel to it.

Putting that to one side, the paid ads feature on Pinterest lends itself perfectly to select eCommerce businesses, particularly those in the creative sectors. Promoted pins are where you pay for your image to be shown in relevant searches. You can then attach details and a website link to this pin for the user to find when they click on it.

The big thing with Pinterest ads is content. Really, REALLY great imagery. If visual content is not what your brand does, then Pinterest simply won’t work. The whole paid ads feature on Pinterest works by placing your pin in amongst 100s of other relevant ones. It might be promoted and designed to stand out against the rest a little but a user still has to like what they see to click on it.

If your audience is females aged 18 – 40, then you have a good chance of reaching them on here. Pinterest is ideal for brands in the home interiors, food, fashion or beauty sectors due to the eye-catching, ‘very Pinterest’ style imagery you can capture.

Best for: visually aesthetic eCommerce brands with a female audience.

YouTube

Lastly, let’s talk YouTube. Again, this is a platform that falls under the category of social media but has a slightly less ‘social’ feel to it than some of the other networking sites.

Saying that, YouTube is one of the original paid ads platforms and has been for years. Run by Google, there’s no surprise that the YouTube paid ads feature is pretty good. There’s different types of ads on YouTube including True View, Pre-roll and Bumper but the bottom line is with all of them, you need good video content.

YouTube can work for ANY business, be it eCommerce or B2B thanks to the fact that over 70% of all age groups between 18 – 64 use the platform, so the reach is massive. However, referring to our previous point, your video content has to be good.

Your ad is going to play before, during or alongside thousands of high quality, engaging videos that your users are choosing to watch. If your ad is boring or poor quality, they’ll simply skip or click off the video all together.

If you’ve got a story to tell in your ads and you can say it in between 6 and 30 seconds, YouTube could be the right place for you.

Best for: any brand with good video content.

So, to answer the question of which platform has the best paid social ads for businesses, the answer is… it depends on your business. Every platform has a USP when it comes to paid ads and hopefully this blog has helped you understand them a little bit more.

Social media is only getting bigger, better and more advanced and the paid ads features are growing with them. There’s never been a better time to get in on the action and take advantage of the millions of eyes always scrolling on smartphones. Want some help to get your paid social ads just right? We’d be happy to help!

We help eCommerce and B2B brands hit massive business milestones everyday using social media advertising and we can do the same for you. Book a 15-minute strategy call with one of our team today and let’s get started on turning your business’ dreams into reality.

*Stats sourced from Sprout Social’s 2020 Social Media Demographics Insights report. Full report linked in section 3 of the blog.