Overview: These social ads are right for your business!

19 min

Around half of the world’s population is on social media. Compared to the previous year, there was a growth of 13 percent. It’s also interesting to note that the average time spent on social media in Germany is almost 1.5 hours a day. This means that you can find potential customers “en masse”, who you can in turn address specifically via social ads. But how do you place social ads efficiently, and which platform is the right one for you? We provide you with an overview!

What are social ads?
What is the purpose of social media advertising?
What goals can you pursue with social ads?
How do social ads work?
Social Ads – advantages and disadvantages at a glance
For which companies are social media ads suitable?
Running ads – a comparison of ads on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and the like
Social media advertising: Do the costs pay off?
Conclusion: Why you should run social media ads

What are social ads?

Social (media) ads are a form of digital marketing and are used to address your target group via social networks. They are advertisements that are placed on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. in the context of social advertising in order to increase your reach and optimally address potential customers. Advertising of this type is a paid media instrument of the marketing mix. This means that all ads are displayed on purchased advertising space within the social channels. Thus, social ads can be assigned to your social media strategy as well as in your paid advertising strategy.

What is the purpose of social media advertising?

Social ads are a very effective online marketing tool. The biggest plus point is that they are very comprehensive due to the different channels. Thus, they are suitable for a wide variety of industries and companies. The task of this form of advertising is to target potential customers with advertising as naturally as possible. This means that ads are marked as such, but are integrated into the user’s feed without making a big fuss. In this way, you create a more subtle advertising effect.

What goals can you pursue with social ads?

You can pursue very different marketing goals with the help of social advertising. On the one hand, this advertising format can greatly support you in increasing the awareness of your company and your brand. It supports direct communication with your target group and potential customers. Likewise, classic sales or conversion goals can be achieved through social ads. Like Google Ads, social media advertising can be used in a variety of ways and helps you achieve your goals.

How do social ads work?

To be able to run social ads at all, you need an advertising account and a company profile on the corresponding platform. Depending on which social network you choose, you have different options in terms of placement, media, etc. Before you create your advertising campaign, you should pay attention to various points that are important when placing social media advertising. If you take the following into account, nothing will stand in the way of your campaign’s success.

Goal setting

Setting good goals is the be-all and end-all of any advertising campaign. Otherwise, you may spend money without achieving the desired success. Your goals can be very different. Common intentions are among others:


Only with the right target group your ad can reach the right people. Therefore, determine factors such as age, gender, place of residence, interests, etc. and align your campaign accordingly. Define your target group as concretely as possible.

You want to get more information about finding the right target group? We’ll tell you everything, you need to know about target group analysis!

Measure success

To see how well your ad has performed, you need to measure its success. Make sure that you use meaningful parameters to analyze your ads. Important social media KPIs could be the following:

Social Ads – advantages and disadvantages at a glance

– You reach the user in his private environment. With Google, you address the user when he is specifically looking for something. With social, you accompany the potential user on his “private (customer) journey
– More effective and easier than classic advertising measures
– Several billion active users with several hours of use daily
– Targeting with user details and behavior ensure targeted advertising
– Easier communication options guarantee better customer relations
– Direct and accessible advertising
– Relatively low costs (compared to other advertising measures)
– Can be used by all companies
– Targeted approach thanks to defined target group
– User numbers are constantly increasing, which regularly enlarges the market/target group
– Internationalization of ads campaign relatively easy to realize
– Detailed measurability of campaigns
– Not every platform is suitable for every company
– Precise knowledge of the target group and the networks used accordingly are a prerequisite for success
– High time expenditure for maintenance
– Every platform works differently – dealing with this also takes time
– Complex monitoring

For which companies are social media ads suitable?

Basically, any company can run social ads. The important thing here is to focus on the right channel. Since budgets can be used individually, this form of advertising is worthwhile even for small and medium-sized companies. Depending on the target group and the type of advertising, ads can be placed for very little money. In the next section, we will show you which platform is right for you and your company.

Running ads – a comparison of ads on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and the like

In 2024, it’s Facebook’s 20th birthday – incredible, isn’t it? The once revolutionary platform, whose concept is successful worldwide, has actually caught on and is one of the big players in the tech industry. In the meantime, there are numerous “imitators”, so that we have a broad mass of possible social platforms at our disposal.

The chart shows the development of the individual social media platforms over time. Here you can see the most popular social media platforms and when they were launched.
Developments over time – the most popular social media platforms and when they were launched
The chart shows the monthly active users of the most popular social media platforms in Germany in 2021, measured in millions.
The monthly active users of social media platforms in Germany

Facebook Ads

With around 1.9 billion active users worldwide, Facebook is probably the most popular network globally. This ensures an immense reach. In addition to private user profiles, companies can also create profiles on the platform. It is precisely these professional company or fan pages that make Facebook interesting for companies of all kinds.

The image shows a Facebook Ad that is placed in the user's feed. It is marked with the "Sponsored" tag.
Example of a Facebook Ad in the user’s feed (recognizable by the “Sponsored” marker)
Example of an ad in the margin of the Facebook browser application.
Example of Facebook ads in the border area of the browser application.

Advertising on Facebook

Through precise targeting, you can run social ads on Facebook very efficiently and often relatively inexpensively. In doing so, you have the option of combining users into a group according to interests and demographic characteristics. This allows you to create your own individual target group and reduce spreading losses.

In addition, there is the option to test campaigns for the response of different target groups, if you are not 100% sure what your desired target group should look like. By testing, you can find out and display your campaigns more precisely. A clear advantage is the possibility of retargeting on Facebook. This means that you can place your social ad in response to earlier user queries in order to address this user again. Due to the high relevance of the ad, the chance that the user will respond to the ad is higher.

Facebook ads not only have a high reach, but can also greatly increase your brand awareness. This way, you can not only increase your number of followers, but also traffic to your website.

Instagram Ads

Instagram is a subsidiary of Facebook. Unlike its parent company, it is an audiovisual platform that only distributes images and videos with short descriptions or subtitles. For this reason, social ads on Instagram are more suitable for companies that work with moving content or captivating images. Through a creative strategy, you gain attention on Instagram and reach out to the community.

The image shows an Instagram ad placed in the user's feed. It is marked with the "Sponsored" tag.
Example of an Instagram ad placed in the user’s feed (identified by the “Sponsored” marker)
The image shows an ad placed within Instagram Stories. There it appears between Stories of people the user follows. It is marked with the "Sponsored" tag.
Example of an ad in Instagram stories (recognizable by the “Sponsored” tag)

Advertising on Instagram

Since on Instagram it’s primarily the visual content that has to convince the user, it’s important that you generate attention here in a creative way. Therefore, you should have a clear focus on branding to create recognition value.

Just like Facebook, there are a lot of targeting options on Instagram. So if you’re already targeting your audience with Facebook Ads anyway, it’s relatively easy to set up an Instagram Ad. You also have the option on Instagram to place ads in the user’s feed as well as in the stories feature.

LinkedIn Ads

LinkedIn is perfect for the B2B sector, as the platform specializes in maintaining and expanding business relationships. As an international network, LinkedIn has 610 million registered users – 12 million of them in Germany alone. The good thing is that it is very easy to see here, through the corresponding stored positions in the company, whether you have addressed a decision-maker or not.

The image shows a LinkedIn ad
Example of a LinkedIn ad

Advertising on LinkedIn

To run successful ad campaigns on LinkedIn, you need access to the campaign manager. There you can set goals and budgets and have full control over your campaign. When choosing your campaign goal, you have the following three categories at your disposal:

  1. Awareness
    With the goal of pushing brand awareness
  2. Consideration
    With the goals of increasing website visits, engagement, or video views.
  3. Conversion
    With the goals of generating leads, driving website conversions, or targeting potential applicants.

Additionally, you can target campaigns using targeting measures. On LinkedIn, you can choose from over 20 different target group-related attribution categories. These are particularly interesting for B2Bers, as “job title”, “career level”, “company size” and the like can be included in the target group here, for example.

Twitter Ads

As a microblogging platform, Twitter is known for the fact that users publish their tweets (short messages) and thus make their opinions known. However, the network is also suitable for social ads and offers a large reach with its approximately 330 million users worldwide. With Twitter Ads, you have the opportunity to use short messages as a medium and a kind of “brand ambassador” for yourself. They support the following of your business goals:

The big advantage of Twitter Ads: Since you do not necessarily need Twitter images, but text is often sufficient, you save a lot of time. Thus, social ads on Twitter can often be placed without much effort and with manageable costs.

The image shows a Twitter ad being displayed in the user's feed.
Example of a Twitter ad that is displayed in the user’s feed

Advertising on Twitter

To advertise on Twitter, you need an advertising account in addition to your private profile. You can create this account in a few steps. After you have created your account, you should make important account settings. Correct settings regarding the target country and time zone are important here. These affect the billing and analysis reporting. You can also choose between the following advertising targets:

  1. Tweet interactions
  2. Website clicks or conversions
  3. App installs
  4. Video ads
  6. Leads

Targeting is similar on Twitter as it is on Facebook. With the help of various targeting options, you can easily reach your target group. This can be clustered by common language, gender, interests, for example. Additionally, it is possible to target people from specific accounts, with the same device, similar search queries, same geographical locations or with high purchase intentions.

YouTube Ads

YouTube is a subsidiary of Google and is now the internet’s largest video platform. In principle, YouTube can almost be described as a video search engine. With around 1.9 billion users, it is the second most popular social network and offers you plenty of opportunities and possibilities to reach your target group with ads.

Advertising on YouTube

YouTube Ads are created through the Google Ads interface. You have a wide choice of ad formats and different targeting options.

Pinterest Ads

It was relatively late that Pinterest unlocked the ability to advertise through the platform. As a visual search engine, however, this was only a matter of time in order to market products efficiently. Around 250 million people worldwide are active on the platform, which promises a potentially large reach. The prerequisite for creating campaigns is a business account, with which you can access the Pinterest Ads Manager. This is very similar to Facebook’s ad manager. If you have already placed ads here, you should be able to use the Ads Manager on Pinterest relatively intuitively.

Advertising on Pinterest

Advertising on Pinterest should not interrupt the user, but rather fit into their creative information flow. You have the opportunity with Pinterest to pursue the following solutions:

By creating a specific target group, you can ensure that your campaign is targeted precisely. This way you can target your campaign efficiently.

Snapchat Ads

Snapchat Ads are only worthwhile if your target group is actually active on this platform. The fact is that 66 percent of users are 24 years old or younger. That limits you a lot. On the other hand, Snapchat ads can be perfect if you want to score with the young target group.

Advertising on Snapchat

The cool thing about ads on Snapchat is that they are not just ads, but you can use Snapchat lenses and geofilters as advertising tools. Both are the so-called “filters” that users use when they send pictures via Snapchat. In addition, your social ad can also be displayed in the „discover” section of the platform.

In order to be able to place ads, you need the corresponding ad manager, just like on other social media platforms. The Snapchat ad manager is comparable to the one on Facebook. There, you can create your campaigns and ads in just a few steps and also select which target you want to pursue with them. You can segment and address your target group either via geographic or demographic targeting.

TikTok Ads

TikTok’s target audience is clearly Generation Z. Over two-thirds of users are between the ages of 16 and 24. The video portal is the youngest social media platform – don’t forget that if you want to advertise there. Unlike more mature platforms, there are therefore still “teething problems” here and there. Nevertheless, there are some ways to advertise well and targeted.

Advertise on TikTok

With TikTok Ads, you have the opportunity to present your brand in a completely new, creative way. This is because there are video ads only. You can choose between five campaign types:

  1. Reach: to increase brand awareness
  2. Traffic: to increase website visits
  3. Install app: to promote downloads
  4. Video views: similar to Reach
  5. Valuable interactions on website: to improve performance marketing

Targeting and remarketing are also possible with social ads on TikTok.

Social media advertising: Does the cost pay off?

The cost of social ads depends on several factors. These include:

Often, there are no fixed prices that you can use as a guide, as they are calculated individually per ad. Nevertheless, advertising measures on social platforms are very popular and rightly so. They are not only cheaper than offline measures, but can also be better evaluated. Since you can set budgets individually, you don’t run the risk of costs getting out of hand. By billing with the CPC model, you can see how successful your ad is. A big plus of social media advertising is that the ads can be placed specifically. This way you can reach your target group and the costs will pay off.

Conclusion: This is why you should include social media ads in your advertising strategy

As long as you are not a small brick-and-mortar store without any internet presence, social ads will definitely pay off within your advertising strategy! Especially compared to classic offline measures, such as print ads etc., social media advertising can be placed and measured very precisely. Spreading losses are reduced, which allows you to use advertising budgets more efficiently. Last but not least, reach is a big plus. Many people spend a large part of their free time on social media, so you can address them optimally here.


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