Social Media Advertising 2020: The Ultimate Guide to Make the Most Out of Your Ad Budget

In this in-depth article, we will share with you everything you need to know about social media advertising in 2020! A complete guide for beginners to understand what social media advertising is, why it’s important, types of different social media advertising platforms, detailed stages to create a social media advertising campaign and the best practices you can start implementing right now to make the most out of your marketing budget.

What exactly is Social Media Advertising?

Social Media Advertising, in simple words, is online advertising that focuses on social media platforms. Popular social networks include Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, Reddit and TikTok. The advertising process includes planning, content creation, copywriting, audience targeting and budget planning, along with reporting and analyzing analytics.

Social media advertising - Microswift
Content creation is a part of social media advertising

Why is Social Media Advertising so important?

The day when you post something on social and expect clients to come to you are long gone, in this day and age, it’s a pay-to-play game. Social media advertising has become a MUST for brands to reach new audience and convert them to long-term customers.

Social media algorithm is always changing and businesses find that even their existing followers rarely see their posts anymore. It’s a way that Facebook/ Instagram try to push businesses to spend more money on ads (which is their main revenue stream).

Ad spending on Social Media amounts to US$ 102 billion worldwide in 2020 (according to Statista). The Digital Advertising industry has surpassed traditional advertising (TV, prints, radio) in 2019. The industry is growing at a rapid rate. Just in 2015, digital advertising was only half the size of traditional advertising, but as of now, the two have apparently swapped roles.

“If you don’t change, you die.”

In order to compete with the competition, you simply need to run effective, highly targeted ads on social media to attract new customers and create traction for your business. Don’t know where to start? Don’t fret, we’re here to help you!

Spending on Social media advertising - Microswift
Ad spending on Social Media amounts to US$ 102 billion worldwide in 2020 (Statista)

The 3-Step Process to Creative Effective Social Media Advertising Campaigns

1. Awareness

In the Awareness stage, consumers are not aware of your brand or have not realized that they have a pain point they need to solve.

During this stage, you can boost top-performing content on your social media sites, advertise helpful articles, fun videos, memes or GIFs - anything that you know the audience will react to positively and potentially share with their friends/followers. Any content that catches someone’s eyes or stirs up positive emotions will work!

The content you advertise during this stage doesn’t necessarily include a promotion or ask for a sale. It should simply aim to provide useful, fun and entertaining content to people who have not heard of you before or unaware of their pain point.

Social media advertising example - Microswift
An example of a social media ad focusing on the awareness stage.

2. Consideration

In the consideration stage, people are familiar with your brand and products or they are aware of their pain points and are researching their options to solve their problem.

Pixel retargeting is crucial in this stage. If you have never heard of Pixel retargeting and don’t know what it is, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s start with Marketing pixels first, aka tracking pixels, are essentially those tiny code snippets that allow you to gather visitor information on a website — how they browse, what kind of ads they click on, etc.

As a marketer, this behavioural data helps you send advertisements that are likely to be of greatest interest to particular consumers. Tracking pixels are also used to measure the performance of a marketing campaign, track conversions and build an audience base.

Retargeting pixels are tailored exclusively to the actions of visitors to your website.

For instance, let's say you're shopping for a new toaster online and then you go to a completely different website, like Facebook, and find that all the pop-up ads are related to toasters. That is how pixel retargeting works. They're essentially tracking your actions to target advertising they think will catch your attention on other websites.

Retargeting pixels - Social media advertising - Microswift
Retargeting pixels in a nutshell (Vizury)

In addition, you can also set your target audience by using the lookalike audience feature on Facebook. One way to set it up is to create a lookalike audience based on your own Facebook Page audience - so you will target people who are closely related to the people who already like and follow your page.

3. Conversion

This is the last stage when people are familiar with your product and company and are ready to make a purchase/ they have identified a solution to their problems and are ready to purchase a product.

It’s noteworthy that conversion doesn’t necessarily mean a sale or a monetary transaction. Different businesses have different goals: some might be sales, others might be signing up for webinars, email lists or free trial, it all depends on which offers fit the business goals the best.

The three essential components that determine the success of your ad campaign are:

  • How well you set your target audience
  • How quality is your ad (visual attractiveness and convincing offers)
  • How well you track results

Tracking how well your ads are performing is crucial to make the most out of what you pay for. Using tools like Facebook Pixels or Google Analytics can help you understand which campaigns are effective at driving conversions and engagement as well as which campaigns are not performing well; from there, you can double down on what’s working and alter what’s not.

Types of Social Media Advertising Platforms

Most popular platforms for Social media advertising - Microswift
Most popular social media platforms (by number of users - in billions) - Influencer Marketing Hub

The six most popular social media platforms for businesses in 2020 is:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Snapchat
  • Pinterest

Each platform has different user demographics and offers unique targeting options and ad types (photos, videos, or texts) to help you reach your audience. Ultimately, the type of social media advertising you choose will depend on:

- Your target audience

- Your target audience’s preferred social platform

- Where your target audience engages most with ads

In the future, we will publish detailed guides to advertising on each platform, so make sure to check back our blog every two weeks for the latest insights in the digital marketing field!

5 Best Practices in Social Media Advertising

1. Define your audience

The first and one of the most important components in any social media marketing/ paid advertising plan is to define your audience, and it includes demographics, psychographics and geographics (more on these in a future article). Also, where to find them and which social media platforms they use daily and interact with the most. This step requires lots of research, making user personas, and testing; but it sure does pay off by saving you money and improve ad performance in the future.

2. Focus, focus, focus

You don’t have to spend big bucks on social media advertising. It’s not the same as spending thousands of dollars to broadcast your business on TV or radio to generate mass awareness, it’s about narrowing down your target audience and market specifically to them. If you’re a family dentist in Mississauga, you don’t want to target everyone in Ontario, you want people who live in the GTA, have a certain level of income, age-range and occupations and interests. If you’re trying to market to everyone, you’ll end up selling to no one.

If you’re trying to market to everyone, you’ll end up selling to no one.

Social media advertising Audience - Microswift
Make it clear to the audience what you want them to do

3. Tell the audience what to do

So you have crafted an ad, be it a photo or video or a simple sponsored tweet. Great, what’s next? What is your offer? What do you want the audience to do? Whether you want them to complete a form, click a button, or visit your website, make it clear so the viewers know how to interact with your ad and navigate the next step.

4. Route the viewers to your website/ landing page

You can collect a lot more data on consumers' behaviours on your web properties compared to social media platforms.

Your best bet for monitoring metrics (and triggering conversions) is to route prospects to a campaign-specific microsite or custom landing page. Also, try to minimize the number of clicks required to complete the call-to-action and required form fields to essential-only (like name and email). Progressive profiling may be used to collect more data later.

5. Measure & conduct tests

It’s worthwhile to measure campaigns and conduct tests to see which topics, images, content types, and tone of voice work best for your target audience. You can conduct these tests with both organic and sponsored posts to better understand your audience and do more of what works and make the most out of your advertising budget.

Now it’s your turn!

Here you have it - the beginner guide to social media advertising! We understand that reading about something is not the same as actually doing it and there will certainly be a lot of trials and errors before you figure out what truly works for your business and audience.

You can start with the basics such as boosting posts to help build an audience that you can eventually target down the line. Or, you can put out a compelling offer right away if you have a piece of content that you think would work particularly well.

Whatever it is, we encourage you to get out of your comfort zone, try it for yourself and ask for help if you need it :)

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