What is social media advertising?

Before we can develop your social media advertising strategy, it’s important to understand exactly what social media ads are. A social media ad is any kind of paid content on a social media network. The options run from a highly focused and costly Pinterest campaign to a simple promoted Tweet or Facebook post. Each social network offers different options.

Facebook offers several ad formats.

Photo Ads

Technical specs for photo ads vary depending on objectives; for clicks to your site, photo ads have a max headline of 25 characters, 90 characters of text, and a link description of up to 30 characters. You may be able to add a call to action button under some circumstances.

Video ads

Video ads have the same call to action options and character counts as photo ads. 


A carousel ad includes up to 10 images and links in one ad. There are still only 90 characters of text, but a larger 40 character headline, and a smaller 20-character link description. 


A slideshow is an ad that creates a video from several static images. All images should have the same size and aspect ratio.


Canvas is a full-screen mobile ad combining your choice of video, photo, and call to action buttons. It allows users to interact with the imagery.

You may not know that Facebook owns Instagram and as such sets the guides for their advertising too.  

So, Instagram ad types mirror three of the Facebook ads: photo, video, and carousel. They also support a number of different objectives.

Goals, or Objectives in Instagram advertising are

  • website clicks
  • website conversions
  • mobile app installs
  • mobile app engagement
  • video views
  • reach and frequency
  • page post engagement
  • mass awareness
  • local awareness.

Ad types

Since the hook of Pinterest is Pins, Pinterest ads are called Promoted Pins. They are Pins, except that you have paid to promote them rather than pinned them for free! The three main campaigns allowed on Pinterest are:

  • Awareness campaigns to get your Pins in front of people who have not heard of your business before or are not already interacting with your brand.
  • Engagement campaigns encourage users to repining or clicking your Promoted Pins thereby engaging with your brand.
  • Traffic campaigns are to funnel visitors from your Promoted Pins to your website.

Ad types

There are three Twitter Ad types: Promoted Accounts, Promoted Trends, and Promoted Tweets.

  • Promoted Tweets are messages that will appear in the timelines of targeted Twitter users.
  • A Promoted Account is an ad that invites targeted Twitter users to follow your account.
  • Promoted Trends allow you to put your story at the top of the Trending Topics list in the upper left quadrant of a twitter page.