Never before have companies had such far-reaching access to existing and potential customers as we now have thanks to social media. A study done for Hootsuite’s Digital 2021 report shows that as of January 2021, there are more than 4.2 billion social media users, meaning that nearly 54% of the entire world’s population are actively using social media.
With new social platforms becoming popular with each passing year, it can often be overwhelming to decide which platforms are worth spending both ad dollars and time on. As with all other forms of public relations and advertising efforts and strategy, there is no one-size-fits-all formula for social media advertising.
HubSpot marketing experts Kelly Hendrickson and Andrew Delaney suggest that starting with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is typically a safe bet for most companies who are considering spending ad dollars on social media.
Here are reasons why Facebook, Instagram and Twitter may be a good use of your advertising budget, based on benefits and challenges for each:
According to Statista, more than 1.85 billion people use Facebook every day, and approximately 98% of Facebook users access the site exclusively via their mobile devices.
Facebook advertisements typically see a 5% conversion rate, which ranks higher than all other social media platforms and just under search engine sites like Google and Bing. This is largely in part because Facebook has created an advertising infrastructure that allows brands to build out a full buyer’s journey within the platform, allowing better optimization and targeting.
Capitalizing on targeting tools in Facebook’s ad management platform, brands have the potential to reach an audience who are keen e-commerce shoppers and who are typically more apt to share things with their audience. In a 2019 study conducted by Cowen and Company, 15% of Facebook users said they use Facebook specifically to find and shop for products, and 57% of users said they use the app to share content with a wide audience.
With the potential to reach such a vast number of consumers directly on their phones, coupled with the optimization of Facebook’s in-app buyer’s experience, every company should have an advertising presence on Facebook. However, while simply getting views may be a driving factor for novice advertisers, companies should be hyper-focused on their intended audience when creating Facebook ads to ensure increased ROI on advertising dollars.
While Facebook remains king among social media usage, Instagram has seen tremendous growth since launching and is projected to continue to grow at a steady, fast pace. According to Statista, there are more than 500 million daily active Instagram users — an enormous number for an app that was developed just over 10 years ago. Due to the rapid growth of the app, it is no surprise that more than 82% of B2C brands are already advertising on Instagram.
Instagram’s in-app advertisements show products and services in appealing, stylish posts that are seamlessly integrated into a user’s typical feed. This style of advertisement, amplified by Instagram’s targeting tools, allows marketers to create an experience for users that feels hyper-personalized and complimentary to posts that they would typically see.
While it may be more difficult for B2B companies to take advantage of Instagram’s visual-heavy model, all businesses can benefit from Instagram’s smooth mode of serving advertisements once they understand how to properly target ad dollars toward their intended audience.
Unlike Facebook and Instagram, Twitter’s infrastructure offers advertisers the chance to amplify their brand voice and directly engage with consumers. There are more than 500 million Tweets (or Twitter posts) created per day, creating an in-app environment that makes each user feel as if they are a mini-blogger of sorts. This app culture allows brands to position themselves as thought leaders and experts in their own field, according to Hendrickson.
With 145 million daily active users, there is huge potential for brands to reach people through Twitter, using targeted ads, hashtags and geotagging, whom they would not typically reach via traditional marketing. And once those targeted consumers are reached, Twitter provides clean thread conversations that allow for easy interaction in the app.
While in-app functions through Twitter are short and often simple, Twitter does not have as seamless of an in-app buyer experience as Facebook or Instagram. The lack of in-app buying, as well as character limits in tweets and the ever-refreshing nature of users’ Twitter timeline, requires brands to be vigilant in creating a constant stream of content that will keep them top of mind for consumers in order to see conversions through Twitter advertising.
While Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are typically regarded as safe and smart options for brands testing out social media advertising for the first time, marketers should strive to stay connected with their target audience to understand what social media sites they are using, and their buying habits on each platform.