Advertising on social media

Learn the basics of advertising on social media, and how to make the most of your advertising dollar.

Social media provides several popular options for online advertising campaigns. Each social media platform has its own advertising offering, designed to fit well with how the platform works. And different platforms attract different demographics, influencing what type of advertising works best and how well it works for a particular goal. You might focus on the platforms that best fit your business, or even pick the most suitable platform for individual campaigns.

Common features include targeting to a specific audience and defining your goal for the campaign. Some platforms offer more than one method for advertising, and others stick to ‘boosting’ specific posts.

This article focuses on advertising on LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter. Read Online Advertising Campaigns for more about advertising on Facebook and YouTube.


LinkedIn is considered an excellent social network for generating business-to-business leads. It’s home to professionals who keep their career information up to date and specifically look for content about business. Placing ads on LinkedIn is more expensive than on other social networks, but it generally gives the highest conversion rates and lead quality.

You can choose from three marketing objectives when you advertise on LinkedIn:

  • Build brand awareness
  • Drive website traffic
  • Generate leads and convert prospects.

After you set your goal, you can choose to advertise using sponsored content like posts or videos in LinkedIn’s news feed, sponsored ‘InMail’ direct messages in your audience’s LinkedIn inbox, or text ads.

A huge benefit of using LinkedIn is targeting professionals accurately. Because people on LinkedIn keep their career information up to date, you can target your ideal customers based on their company information, experience, education, and interests.

LinkedIn and Facebook advertising are quite similar. But LinkedIn lets you target your ads using more career info – which means campaigns can be better targeted to professionals with specific interests.


Sixty-four percent of Instagram’s users are aged 18-29 – it’s considered the best platform for attracting the attention of millennials and Generation Z.

You can choose from three marketing objectives when you advertise on Instagram:

  • Awareness: An ad with this objective amplifies the reach, brand awareness and local awareness.
  • Consideration: An ad with this objective amplifies the website clicks, video views and reach
  • Conversion: An ad with this objective amplifies website conversion, mobile app installs and engagement.

You can create five different types of ads: photos, video, carousel, collection and story ads. Instagram’s targeting capabilities are simpler than Facebook’s, but work well if your targets are defined by their location, demographics, interests, and behaviours. For example, if your sales depend on people seeing images of your product, you might choose Instagram over LinkedIn or Twitter as Instagram has great image filters. Facebook could be a second option.

Instagram lets you focus on:

  • A custom audience: run ads to customers you already know based on their email addresses or phone numbers
  • A lookalike audience: find new people who are similar to your existing customers.
  • Automated targeting: create an audience who might be interested in your business, using a variety of signals including location, demographics and interests.


Twitter has over 300 million active users – with 80% living outside the USA. This makes Twitter advertising a promising option if you want to extend your international reach, especially in Asia, Europe and South America. Twitter ads have relatively affordable rates and are ideal for building an audience with interested followers and picking up retweets for particular updates.

Twitter provides two tools for promoting tweets. Twitter Promote Mode advertises your first ten daily organic tweets to your target audience, as long as they pass a quality test. It requires you to specify five of your potential follower’s interests or metro locations.

Twitter Ads campaigns let you set up your advertising campaign by yourself. You can use targeting options like language, gender, age, location, device, interests and keywords.

Depending which approach you use, Twitter lets you choose from campaign objectives including:

  • awareness and reach
  • tweet engagement
  • followers
  • website clicks or conversions
  • promoted video views
  • app installs or re-engagement

Need help? Get in touch!

The Digital Journey team are happy to help you navigate your social media advertising, and what the best methods for you would be. Drop us an email at and let’s chat.

By Robyn Bradley