Social Media Advertising: Types and Importance (+Examples)

Social media advertising

Do you have an existing presence on social media platforms and you’ve been seeing social media advertising everywhere but you don’t know what to do or how to get it done?

Or, you are just setting up your social media presence and you want to know about social media advertising to get the best out of social media marketing.

Then this article is for you. In this article, we will be teaching:

  1. all you need to know about social media advertising
  2. the types of social media advertising that exists
  3. the importance of social media advertising
  4. Examples of social media advertising for business growth(A bonus)

Social media advertising is another aspect of social media marketing that is entirely different from engaging and interacting with your target audience or existing customers.

If you are looking towards targeting a new audience, then social media advertising is the right thing you need especially if you need it fast.

You might be a fan of organic traffic, and as much as you either like it or not, but it’s hard to achieve and not fast. It’s understandable if you are scared to move from an organic social strategy to putting your money on the table and that is why this article will be shedding more light on the basics of social media advertising.

In this article, we will show you how to use the different types of social media advertising to achieve real results for your business, and at the same time, you maximize your spending’s.


social media statistics

If we can have this number of social media users in 2021, you can be sure that at the time you are reading this article it has increased. Source: Statista

What is Social Media Advertising?

Social media advertising is the advertisement with the original intent of serving social media platform users. This internet community utilizes user’s information to serve relevant advertisements based on interactions on a specific platform.

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In several cases, when a target market aligns with the user demographics on a social platform, social media advertising can provide huge increases in conversions and sales with a lower cost of acquisition.

It can also be said to be a category of digital advertising that places ads on social networking sites.

Basically, this kind of advertising is done using social media platforms, any other platforms can not work in this type of marketing.

As a business owner, or as an individual who is interested in this type of advertising as a career, there are a couple of things that you should take note of while starting out.

1. Landing page: ensure your business has a landing page where your leads from the ads will be directed to the moment they click the call-to-action button on your ads.

A landing page is a single website page that appears in response to clicking on an online advertisement as well as a search engine optimized search result.

2. Campaign: This campaign is a set of advertisements that revolves around a single message and are intended to achieve a specific goal. For instance, a company may create an ad campaign to meet a business objective, which is to drive sales for a particular product or service.

3. Ad copy: An Ad copy is a text or a body of text that you include around the image, video, or any other creative asset that you use in your ad regardless of the platforms.

The video or image you use might be catchy enough to catch people’s attention, but the ad copy clarifies your message and actions that you want people to take.

4. Ad creatives: Ads creatives are creatively used to serve ads to users on a webpage, mobile applications, or other digital environments.

It can be in form of images, videos, audio, and any other formats available that will be delivered to users. Make your ads colorful, so they will catch attention. Use the right image size in case it’s an image, (1200 x 628) so your ads will look good on the screen.

  1. Ad algorithm: These are the set down rules an ad follows to position ads to internet users according to the social media platforms where they exist. It determines the ad that people will see every time they log in to their social media account.

N.B: In our 90% practical digital marketing course, we teach our students how to get the best out of social media advertising and what they need to know to be a world-class digital marketer.

Moving forward, let’s move on to the different types of social media advertising that exist.

Importance of Social Media Advertising

Social media advertising is a crucial aspect of modern marketing, offering businesses a range of benefits that can help them reach new customers, build brand awareness, and drive conversions.

Some of the key reasons why social media advertising is important for businesses include

1. Reach new customers

Social media advertising allows businesses to reach new audiences that may be interested in their products or services.

2. Low entry cost

Compared to traditional advertising, social media advertising has a relatively low entry cost, making it accessible for businesses of all sizes.

3. Gain audience insights

Businesses with valuable insights into their audience (interests, behaviors, and preferences), can be that to create good marketing strategies and improve the effectiveness of future campaigns.

4. Wide range of formats

Social media advertising offers a wide range of ad formats, including image ads, video ads, carousel ads, and more. This allows businesses to choose the format that best suits their message and goals.

Types of Social Media Advertising

1. Facebook Advertising

Facebook advertising which is also known as Facebook ads is paid messages from businesses that are written in their voice and helps to reach the people who matter most to them on Facebook.

Facebook has the biggest user base with a total of  2.7 billion monthly active users, and of course, they also make plenty of money with their advertising system and the structures in place.

This form of advertising is profitable if you know-how, considering that a lot of people fail when they use Facebook advertising because they don’t identify their target audience and they end up showing up in the wrong user’s feed and of course they won’t take action.

To get the best out of any form of advertising especially on social media not restricted to Facebook alone, identifying your target audience is key and it should be your priority. It sets the pace for every other action you will take while creating the ad.

According to eMarketer study, a large number of social media marketers about 96% consider Facebook advertising to be the most effective paid option of all the social networks.

One of the reasons why they consider it is because of Facebook’s size. Having billions of people sign in and with every person spending about 30 mins.

Another reason is that Facebook allows a more advanced targeting than any other advertising platform that exists. Advertisers can target by location (within a 5-mile radius), job description, interests, past activity, and several other incredibly valuable criteria.


facebook advertising

An example of what Facebook advertising looks like. Source: Facebook

You can learn more about Facebook advertising here: 15 Advanced Facebook Advertising Techniques That Would Improve Your Marketing Strategy

2. Twitter Advertising

This is the use of Twitter as a social media platform for advertising. This is an opportunity for your brand to promote its product and services as well as to reach new users who might be interested in what your brand has to offer.

There are different types of Twitter ads. They include:

1.Promoted tweets

They look like regular tweets but they are not. The difference is that there is an advertiser somewhere who has paid to display the content of a brand to users who are n to following them on Twitter.

Just like ordinary tweets, they can be liked, retweeted, and commented on, but they carry a label that signifies them as an ad. You will always see “Promoted” in the lower left-hand corner of the tweet.

Like in the image below.


Twitter advertising


2. Promoted account

This type of Twitter ad provides you with the option of promoting the entire Twitter account of your brand. It definitely targets users who are not already following your brands to grow your Twitter following.

Promoted accounts on Twitter are displayed on the timelines of the potential follower. This type of ad will also show in the Who to Follow suggestions and in search results as well.

As much as they get the label clearly identifying them as promoted, they still get the follow button.

As well as being labeled to show that they are ‘Promoted,’ they also include a Follow button.

We also have promoted trends, promoted moments, and several others.

To start advertising on Twitter, you have to :

  • Set up a Twitter ads account. If you don’t have an existing Twitter account, you will have to create a new one to access the Twitter ads.Twitter advertising Source: Twitter


  • Identify your advertising objective
  • Set up your ad group and bidding.
  • Target your audience
  • Choose your ad placement
  • Launch your campaign.

3. Instagram Advertising

According to Statista, today, Instagram has 800 million active users, and the rate at which it has grown since 2013 is quite astonishing. See for yourself in the graph below.

Instagram statistics

Source: Statista

With such a large number of active users who scroll through their feeds all through the day, you will wonder how can a business like yours, either small, medium or large stand out, right?

Not to worry, that is why there is something called Instagram ads. Like other social media advertising, you can reach a wider audience in relation to your target audience.

Just like Facebook, to get your focus on the right people, at the right time, and with the right message and visuals, Instagram ads are your go-to vehicle for that.

Instagram advertising is a type of advertising that allows you to pay to post a sponsored content on the platform to reach a larger target audience.

This type of advertising is often utilized to grow the brand’s exposure, increase website traffic, generate new leads and of course, move existing leads down through the funnel towards conversion.

Instagram on its own is a visual platform, and so text ads won’t work as much as images and videos. You need an image, a visual representation of what your brand does, a set of images, and videos which may be accompanied by text to reach your audience.

You don’t only want your audience to enjoy the pictures you share, you also need them to take a step after seeing either the videos or pictures, and that is why there is a need for text.


Instagram ads

An example of Instagram ads.

To get started with Instagram advertising, you should take these steps:

  1. Navigate to Facebook ad’s manager. Facebook and Instagram are owned by the same person, so their features are intertwined with each other. and of course, you need to have an account on Facebook and Instagram before you will be able to run ads.

Instagram advertising


2. Set your advertising objectives. Like every other step you need to take to advance either your business or your personal life, you need to set your objectives.

What do you intend to achieve with this advertising? When your objectives are set out, you will know what step to take to achieve them. You will also be able to measure what you are doing.

3. Select your target audience. Target audience is very important for any business and for advertising, you should have a specified target audience. It is this target audience that you have that you can direct your Instagram ads too.

4. Identify your placements. After you must have selected your target audience, the next step is to identify your placements. If your goal is to show your ads only on Instagram, don’t ignore this part because if you do, Facebook will display your ads on both platforms.

5. Create your budget and ad schedule. You can go ahead to create your budget. Remember that Instagram advertising is paid and not organic, so you would have to generate a budget and an ad schedule as well.

How much do you want to spend, how frequently do you want your ads to run. All these are essential to get the best out of Instagram advertising.

6. Create your Instagram ad. Now, you can create your Instagram ads. While taking the previous steps, you should have content in mind already. Your ad can appear as image feed, image story, video feed, video story ads, carousel, and canvas story ads.

You can read more about Instagram advertising here: The Complete Guide to Advertising on Instagram

4. YouTube Advertising

 YouTube has a vast reach as well as powerful targeting capabilities that make it an undeniably valuable platform across the customer journey. It may not be on the top of your social media strategy but you can leverage it as well.
According to YouTube, more than 2 billion users log in every month, this may not be as large as Facebook’s 2.74 billion active users monthly but bear in mind that a user can have access to youtube content without creating an account.
This shows that the so-called “logged-in monthly users” statistics likely underreports the actual number of people who access YouTube content every month. There are several types of YouTube advertising, namely

1. Skippable in-stream ads

This type of ad plays before, during, or after a video. The ad plays for about 5 seconds, and then the viewer gets the option to either skip it or continue watching.
Like in the image below.
Youtube advertising
As a YouTube advertiser, you only pay when viewers decide to keep watching beyond the first 5 seconds, your ad must be at least 12 seconds long, although under 3 minutes is recommended.
When a person watches the first 30 seconds or the whole thing, or if they interact with your ad by clicking the call-to-action button.

2. Non-skippable in-stream ads

About 76% of users admitted to always skipping ads without batting an eyelid, advertisers now decide to stick with pre-roll or mid-roll ads that don’t have a skip button.”
If you are aiming for a wide lift in brand awareness and you are so confident that your creativity can keep the attention of your audience for the entire 15 seconds.
For this ad, advertisers pay per impression and not by click.
This ad is specifically designed to allow you to reach your customers with the entire message of your ad and is always 15 seconds or less.

3. Video discovery ads (formerly known as in-display ads)

Unlike in-stream ads that function as a traditional Tv commercial, discovery ads are more the ads you see on Google’s search results page.

They show up alongside organic search results, if your video looks more relevant than the organic results, people can choose to watch it instead.

When interested users click on the ad, they are sent to either your video page or YouTube channel.

YouTube advertising

4. Non-video ads (i.e., overlays and banners)

This type of YouTube advertising is for advertisers that do not have a budget for video, don’t be surprised that YouTube allows non-video ads, anything for your business.

These ads can be in form of a display ad, it appears on the right-hand sidebar and includes an image and text, alongside a call-to-action button with a link to your website or landing page. and it could also be in the form of in-video overlay ads, floating on top of video content from monetized YouTube channels.

In an ideal situation, both of these ads can appear in conjunction with related content or not.

As you must have seen or noticed, all the types of social media advertising that exist have similarities, although they still have their differences. Getting started with any of them is similar to the other.

While getting your social media strategy ready, you can also plan your social advertising as well by doing the following.

  1. Identify your audience. Don’t ever skip this one. It is what will determine the success of your social media advertising and your business as well.
  2. Write an effective headline. Yes, make sure the headlines you are writing for your ads, are effective enough to get your audience to take the next step.
  3. Invest in creative visuals. The human brain has a way of getting attracted to visual representations and good creative visuals will get you the result you desire with social media advertising.
  4. Use keywords. For visibility, use keywords. Do keyword research to get what your audience may likely look for and include it in your text for the ad creative.
  5. Have a CTA(call-to-action) button. A call-to-action button should exist on your ad. It is the next step you want your audience to take after seeing your ad. Just like in the image below.
Social Media advertising

An example of an ad creative showing the call-to-action button.

To get practical knowledge about how to successfully run a social media advertisement either as a business owner or as an individual who wants to run ads for a business, register for our 90% practical digital marketing course.

Social Media Advertising Best Practices

Social media advertising is a crucial aspect of digital marketing, and following best practices can significantly improve campaign performance.

  • Audience targeting: Ensure you’re reaching the right people by understanding your target audience and their behavior on different platforms.
  • Match the vibe of the social media platform: Each platform has a unique culture and audience, so tailor your ads to fit the platform’s style and audience expectations.
  • Fit social media advertising into your social strategy: Use insights from your organic content to inform your paid advertising strategy and ensure you’re spending on the right kind of posts and messaging.
  • Ad creative: Use eye-catching visuals and messaging that communicate the offer and benefits of your product or service.
  • Ad budget: Determine your ad budget based on your marketing goals and the platform’s targeting capabilities.
  • A/B testing and experimentation: Regularly test different ad formats, copywriting techniques, and creatives to determine what performs best and optimize accordingly.

By following these best practices, businesses can create effective social media advertising campaigns that drive brand awareness, engagement, and conversions.

Social media advertising examples

Nike: “Dream Crazy” Campaign

This powerful campaign featured a video ad narrated by Colin Kaepernick, celebrating athletes who have fought against discrimination and pursued their dreams. The ad sparked conversations and generated significant engagement on social media.

Spotify: “Thanks 2016, It’s Been Weird” Campaign

Spotify created personalized video ads for its users, highlighting their listening habits in a humorous and relatable way. The campaign went viral on social media, with users sharing and engaging with their personalized videos.

Learn Social Media Advertising

At Digital Marketing Skill Institute (DMSi), we offer a comprehensive digital marketing course that includes social media advertising as a key component. Our course covers the best practices and strategies for creating effective social media ads that drive engagement, build brand awareness, and generate leads.

If you’re interested in learning more about our social media advertising course or any of our other digital marketing courses, enrol to get started.


In this article, we talked about the definition of social media marketing, the key terms, and the types with examples as well. As you must have noticed, they are all similar but they don’t follow the same process.

Social media is taking root and as business owners who want to grow their business with digital marketing, social media advertising should not be ignored.

To learn how to create and get leads from social media marketing, register for our 90% practical digital marketing course. Our coaches are available to give you hands-on experience as well as other digital marketing knowledge you need to become a digital marketer.

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