As you ready your ad budget for 2019, you may find yourself wondering if you should allocate your funds elsewhere for 2019. After all, 2018 brought huge changes to all major social media ads—some for better and some for worse.
For example, we saw the Cambridge Analytica scandal cripple many of Facebook's targeting features, while also seeing the rebirth of Pinterest Sponsored Pins and the cost of Twitter ads go down significantly.
And that's not even taking LinkedIn and Instagram ads into account...
So with five solid ad options on your plate, you may be wondering: what social media ads should my brand use in 2019?
And while there's no one-size-fits-all answer to the question, you can assess what kind of ads will best fit your company by looking at each network's user base and the types of ads they offer.
So with that in mind, we'll compare and contrast Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn ads in this article. We'll dive deep and discuss which companies should use each social network's ads, and take a look at what kind of ad types each platform offers.
Here's the social media ads we've covered in this article:
Sound good? Let's dive in!
As of third quarter 2018, Facebook has an insane 2.27 billion worldwide monthly active users. To put that into perspective, that's just under the entire population of India and China combined.
So with that in mind, every business should run Facebook ads in 2019.
You can use Facebook ads to promote just about any product, blog post, or other piece of content. And better yet, Facebook's powerful targeting features let you get your products in front of just the right people.
Do note, however, these ad targeting features aren't as powerful as they once were.
Marketers used to be able to pull third-party targeting options from TransUnion, Experian, and others into their ad targeting. Unfortunately though, third-party ad targeting was removed following the Cambridge Analytica scandal in early 2018.
But even with that, Facebook ads continue to be an asset to companies of all types and sizes. Here's the types of Facebook ads you have to choose from:
Image, link, and video ads
When you post a link, video, or photo to Facebook, you're given the option to promote the post as a Boosted Post.
This is the most basic form of Facebook ad. Essentially, it lets you promote any type of standard Facebook post to an audience of your choosing. This gives you more reach for your standard Facebook posts, and gets your product in front of an interested audience who otherwise wouldn't have seen your post.
These ads are shown in the Newsfeeds of your targeted audience, and largely look like a standard Facebook post,. The only thing that differentiates sponsored posts from standard Facebook page posts are the small sponsored icon underneath the page's name.
See an example of a link ad above.
Facebook Stories are on the rise, and so are Facebook Stories ads. These appear when Facebook users are flipping through their Facebook Stories, and can include video, text, and photo content as well as swipe-up links.
One advantage to using Facebook Story ads is that they're full-screen, giving you the full attention of the person viewing your ad.
Facebook lead ads are mobile-only and let you quickly collect information about your users.
When a user clicks on your lead ad, they're prompted to fill out a form. Generally, this includes an email address, name, and potentially ZIP code or phone number.
This makes it easy for people to ask for a free trial of your product, sign up for your newsletter, or otherwise get in contact with your company. Consider using lead ads for collecting email addresses for your sales funnel.
Want to promote more than one product at once? Consider making a carousel ad.
A carousel ad lets you include up to 10 images or videos, each with their own link, in one ad.
Sounds great, right?
Users can scroll through each of the images and click on each of the individual links. Consider using a carousel ad to tell a story or explain a step-by-step process.
Collection ads give vital information about your products right in the Facebook feed.
In short, the collection ad format includes a cover photo as well as product images with pricing or other product details. This allows viewers to learn more about your product without leaving Facebook.
Instagram is the fastest social media platform, and every brand should consider using them to promote products and other web content.
You should especially use Instagram ads if your audience is generally comprised of Millennials. In fact, nearly 60% of millennials have an Instagram account, making it a treasure trove for brands that appeal to the younger audiences.
Since Facebook owns the photo-sharing network, it should be no surprise that the ad types are very similar. Here's what you have to work with:
Photo and video ads
As you can see in the example above, photo and video ads are essentially standard Instagram posts. But like Facebook ads, you can promote your Instagram photo and video ads to a specific audience.
Another great feature about photo and video ads is that you can add a call-to-action button. This can be a link to buy your promoted product, download your app, or read your blog post—the choice is yours.
These are essentially the same as standard photo and video ads, but users can flip through multiple images. Use these to tell a story, or show a breakdown of a complicated process.
These are the same ad Facebook Story ads: they appear when users are flipping through their Stories, and can contain photos, videos, links, and text. Instagram Story ads can be up to 15 seconds long.
Twitter ads are especially useful for companies that are targeting audiences outside of the United States and Canada. Specifically, we've seen a huge boom in the Japanese market, where Twitter's revenue is up 61%.
Further, Twitter's audience is increasingly using the platform to do two things: find "new and interesting things" and read news. So if you're running a publication, consider running ads for your blog posts and newsletter subscription.
Here's what kind of ads you can run on Twitter:
Twitter Promote lets you put your Twitter ads on autopilot. When enabled, Twitter will promote your ten most recent Tweets to an audience of your choice. Currently, Twitter lets you choose up to five different audiences to promote your content to.
Currently, Twitter Promote costs just $99 per month. Twitter sees says that—on average—accounts with Promoted Tweets reach 30,000 additional people and add 30 followers each month.
If you want more control over your Twitter ads, you can set individual Tweets as promoted content. Twitter lets you choose existing Tweets to promote, or you can create Tweets that are specifically used for ads.
Pinterest Promoted Pins are the shopping-centric social network's take on social media ads. We recommend Promoted Pins to companies that want to promote physical products or blog post to an audience that's:
- Generally young; the average Pinterest user is under 40
- Female; 81% of Pinterest's user base is female, but the male user base is growing fast too
- Well-to-do; half of Pinterest's user base makes more than $50K per year
Some of the most popular uses for Pinterest is finding new products, sharing recipes, and sharing other arts-and-crafts centric content.
Pinterest revamped its Promoted Pins platform earlier this year, and there are now four different types of Promoted Pins to choose from. Take your pick at one of the following:
The most common type of Promoted Pin is called the Promoted Pin. This is a standard Pin that is promoted to an audience of your choosing.
When it comes up in a user's search feed, the small "Promoted by [Brand Name]" box we discussed earlier will appear underneath it. Beyond that, it functions the same as a standard Pin, so users can share the pin or otherwise link to it.
When a user saves a Promoted Pin, the "Promoted by" box doesn't transfer.
This is a huge benefit for brands as it makes the saved Pin look like it was found naturally by the user—not because it was a paid ad.
See an example of a Promoted Pin above.
Video Promoted Pins
Video is the king of social media.
And thankfully, Pinterest recently added Video Promoted Pins to its ad platform. Pinterest video ads automatically play (with the sound off) when a user scrolls over it in his or her Pinterest feed.
Video Promoted Pins convert too.
Pinterest's blog recently published an article on Cheetos' experiment with Promoted Video Pins. The snack company saw a 51% increase in likelihood to buy Cheetos products, and an 18% lift in brand favorability after running the video ad.
Promoted App Pins
Consider running a Pinterest ad for your new mobile app? Try aPromoted App Pins.
These are specialized Pinterest ads for app developers. These Pins look like any other, but redirect to an app download page in Google Play or iTunes—it's as simple as that.
One Tap Promoted Pins
When you tap or click on a standard Promoted Pin, you're taken to a Pinterest page with more details about the product in question.
On the flip side, Tap Promoted Pins skip this step and take the user right to the advertiser's site to learn more about the product, making it more like a Facebook or Twitter ad.
Want more info on Pinterest Promoted Pins? Here's our full guide.
LinkedIn ads are perfect for companies that are trying to:
- Hire new employees or
- Market to other businesses (software, professional services)
Why is this? Simple: LinkedIn is the biggest professional social network on the web, and its demographic is comprised of professionals looking to connect with other professionals or buy new products and services for their business.
So with that in mind, LinkedIn is a place you'd go to advertise your professional services, not your latest blend of coffee or blog post on the best way to book cheap flights.
If you think LinkedIn is a good fit for your company, you have a few types of LinkedIn ads to choose from. Here's what the website currently offers:
These are the standard LinkedIn ads that you're used to seeing when you scroll through your LinkedIn feed. This is your best bet for sharing blog posts, products, and other links with targeted users
Sponsored InMail is essentially email marketing, but on LinkedIn.
You can use this to automatically send sales messages in bulk to people fitting your targeting criteria. Even cooler, LinkedIn will only send sponsored InMail to recipients when they're online and active.
Text ads are micro-ads units that appear at the top and the right of the LinkedIn news feed. They only appear on the LinkedIn desktop, and not on the mobile website or app. You can add a small 50px by 50px thumbnail image to your text ads as well.
How do you plan to allocate your ad budget?
And there you have it: all the major social media ad platforms, compared!
Now we want to hear from you. In the comments, let us know your take on each of the major social media ad platforms. Do you plan on trying a new type of social media ad? Or maybe you plan to allocate your ad budget differently? We're excited to hear about it!
Need an amazing social media management tool? Try Social Report risk-free for 30 days.