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Do Social Ads Make Sense For My Business

Frank Jackson, 12/19/2017,

Before investing in any traction channel, any smart entrepreneur will weigh out the pros and cons. So just because it seems everyone around you is throwing money into all the social media campaigns, it’s wise to evaluate what actually will move the levers for you.

In order to make an informed decision, it helps if you understand each site and how they work. All social media sites that allow advertising, allow you to target your audience in different ways. It will allow you to select exactly who is seeing your advertisements based on categories.

Each site is different with how they allow you to target your audience. Understanding how they categorize your target demographic can help you ensure you are advertising to the right group of people.


Facebook currently has 1.86 billion users worldwide. Facebook offers highly targeted categorization based on location, age, gender, likes, interests, and profession.


  • Largest user base of any social media platform

  • Facebook is the cheapest of all advertising mediums if you are accurately selecting your target audience

  • Facebook Ad Manager is easy to use and offers many tools to help you advertise

  • Designed for both mobile and desktop use

  • Tracking the success of an ad is simple and effective. The tracking data can tell you if a person clicked on the ad from Facebook and whether or not they purchased something. Facebook is good about tracking how effective your advertisements are in getting sales.


  • Non-organic user base. Instead of creating a page and getting people to like your page and interact with you, you are simply paying to advertise to them

  • Interaction is minimal. There are effective tools to increase interaction on your posting, but for the most part, users do not typically interact with ads unless there is an incentive to do so.

Pro-Tip: Always post a photo with your Ad. Posting a photo with your headline increases the likelihood of it being seen, liked, or commented on. Photos are better than no image or videos in terms of getting a positive response. You would be surprised at how many ads are simple blocks of text.


Instagram currently has 800 million users but is gaining more users every day. Because it is owned by Facebook, it offers many of the same tools to advertisers that Facebook does. Ad targeting is mostly based on the pages and accounts that people follow which speaks more directly to their interest and likes.


  • Instagram is highly mobile. Most users are on mobile devices which means they can literally take your advertisements with them wherever they go

  • It is visually appealing. It relies heavily on images and videos and less on text. Visuals have more power to evoke emotions in your customer and emotions are what drive buying habits

  • Promotes interaction with your customers. Instagram users are 58% more likely to comment, like, or share a brand’s advertisement over Facebook and 120% more than Twitter

  • Tracking conversions on Instagram is easy. Because Instagram is owned by Facebook, it uses the same tracking tools that allow you to see which ads are actually leading to sales and not just visits to your website


  • Instagram users are a much younger demographic. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing, just keep in mind that the low average age of users limits your potential audience

  • Because the types of interests on Instagram are so broad, it is much more difficult to create targeted ads to exact groups or demographics so targeted ads are not as exact

Pro-Tip: One of the most effective ads to run on Instagram is a video. Make it short. The longer the video, the more disengaged your audience becomes. Try to hook the customer in less than 30 seconds. You will also want to add captions to your video as a majority of users watch videos with no sound.


Pinterest is one of the most underutilized advertising platforms out there. Especially if you are selling products that are related to crafts, DIY, home décor, cooking, and more, this is a highly effective tool. There are currently 150 million registered users on Pinterest. Pinterest is the second highest source of social traffic to Shopify[1]. This group is highly targeted based on interests and not so heavily on demographic information.


  • Advertisements can be cleverly disguised as visually stimulating images

  • If you are selling products that include this demographic, Pinterest can be an unlimited resource potential

  • It is easy to share pins and information between users

  • Pinterest allows you to have a more unique and intimate relationship with your audience

  • It is free to get started


  • Images have to be visually engaging to capture the attention of your audience because they are competing with every other image around it

  • Pinterest’s user base is a limited demographic. If your target demographic falls into this, then it is great. Otherwise, you are limiting yourself in advertising potential

  • It can be difficult to measure engagement. Re-pinning does not always equal increased sales. Once someone re-pinns an advertisement, it can take anywhere from 3 days to 3 months to actually make a purchase

  • Tracking conversions from Pinterest can be tricky. Pinterest analytics will only tell you how often your pin was shared, liked, commented on, clicked, or pinned. Their tracking software does not allow you to determine whether or not that actually resulted in a sale.

Pro-Tip: Make sure your pin has the right content. A picture without a face in it receives more re-pins. Pins with prices get more likes than those without. Using keywords in the description such as DIY, cup, recipe, and other words that are searched for more than others, increase the likelihood of your ad showing up in search results.

Tracking Your Advertising

Once you realize the necessity of advertising on social media, it is also important to know how to track your ad campaigns to make sure you are effectively using your advertising budget.

No one wants to spend money on advertising. But if you are going to have to spend the money, you need to know what is actually going to work best for your business. Luckily, there are tools available that can give you data to show you which sites will best increase your ROI.

Imagine you have this amazing website. You want to know how many visitors a day you get to your website. You can use tools like Google Analytics to find out you get 100 visitors a day to your website. You are also paying to advertise on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. You are looking to optimize your advertising budget. In order to do this, you want to find out how your current customers are getting to your website.

Using the tracking tools from the various social media sites you pull the data to see that of your 100 website visitors, 15 came from Pinterest, 32 came from Instagram, and 53 came from Facebook. This data allows you to see where you might want to start increasing your resource allocation for advertising. If you are spending 70% of your budget on 15% of your visitors, you most likely are not effectively using your advertising resources.

Overall, if you are not advertising on social media, you are missing out on a huge audience of potential customers. The type of product you sell will determine which social media site is best for you. The highly targeted advertising along with the tracking tools make social media one of the best advertising platforms out there. Follow this guide and begin your journey through the social media advertising world and watch your business soar.

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