Social Media Ads Explained

Written By Alexis Duong


Let's talk social media ads. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and more. What is the best option for your business? Let's get your brand in front of the right audience without breaking the bank.

Let’s Talk Social Media Ads

Social media is like politics in a way. What happens when you put money into politics? The message is spread and people are influenced. What happens when you put money into social media ads? Pretty much the same thing, but in a positive way for your brand.

But what can paid do that organic can’t?


Don’t get us wrong, organic social is 100% necessary.  Organic social tells your brands story. Organic is free exposure.


Paid social ads connect you to your audience with the purpose of driving profit to your business.  Whether you’re generating leads, brand reach, gaining product exposure or running a flash sale to increase store site traffic, social medias influence knows no bounds. Let’s dive in so the different platforms so you can see what they’re all about.

Facebook and Instagram

Worlds apart in how the platforms work, but simultaneous in how ads can be run. Facebook and Instagram are the two heavy hitters in the social media world and to be relevant you have to play the game by their rules. Facebook, in its infinite potential also has a few options to run ads that Instagram does not…But we’ll get into that later.

Facebook’s ad machine has evolved exponentially over the years. From a simple tool to promote posts and get brand exposure to a complicated (but amazing) tool capable of dialing in details to micro target audience types, locations with focused objectives. So before we decide to run any ads for your business on Facebook, we have to establish some base objectives. What is the goal you’re trying to achieve for your business? When we get that figured out Facebook breaks down ads purposes into three categories.

Awareness. Consideration. Conversions. 

These are separated by two buying types.

Reach and Frequency. Auction.

Reach and frequency basically guarantees that your product, service or brand gets in front of people at a certain cost. This cost determines the CPM. CPM meaning cost per 1000 impressions.

Auction is the original, default way to buy Facebook ad space. Meaning if you run an ad you want to show to 500 people and you spend $300 but your competitor spends $400, your competitor in the “auction” would be the higher bidder and they would have their ads shown to the target market/area more than you.

Now you’re probably wondering about the three aforementioned categories. Awareness. Consideration. Conversions. 

How these are used is based on what your goal is for your product, brand or service.

If you’re looking to build awareness for your business you’d choose the “Brand Awareness” or “Reach”. This puts your business in a poll position to get the word out to your target area to the maximum amount of people.

If you’re looking to start  a conversation, generate web traffic or gain leads then you’d fall in to the “Consideration” category.

Lastly the “Conversion” category is pretty self explanatory. If you have a website store, Facebook store, or catalog and you’re looking to specifically increase actual sales then this is where you’d go.  This differs between the “Reach and Frequency”  vs the “Auction” buying types when it comes to specifics but the end goal is still the same. The ad is ran specifically with a conversion in mind.

From here we break down the targeting for each ad set (which can vary largely depending on your goal for that campaign, your location, and your target audience) and then creative for each ad.

Creative can vary wildly from ad to ad and coming up with the best objective focused creative is what will help drive your ads home with audience attraction.

TikTok and Snapchat

Its true. One size does not fit all in paid ads. If you are looking to get your product, brand or service in front of a more animated audience, the video juggernauts that are TikTok and Snapchat could be more beneficial. With a younger demographic ads you run here should be focused with them as your target market. A product, service or cause with quality video as it’s promotional tool can set you apart from your competition.


The community of TikTok is (as of 2021) the hippest trend around the internet for the younger community. The ability to make a video for your business that could potentially go viral requires some creativity and the known trends to get it in front of a wide audience and hopefully, even viral. TikTok breaks down campaigns into 3 categories. Site conversions, site traffic or app installs. Most businesses will use the first two options. From here, like Facebook and Instagram we’ll use the targeting options to get into the right audience then proceed with the right creative to get the message of your brand out there!


Unlike Tiktok, Snapchat is a fantastic way to get the message to your userbase on a charged, local audience. Sure, targeting for Tiktok targeting can be dialed in, but Snapchats ability to use geofencing can take your restaurant, storefront, event or ad campaign to the next level. Geofencing, unlike radial targeting an micro-target an area where you specifically want your ad placed like a storefront, event or restaurant, even a city. This could be a filter, story ad, static image or video or even a product service or collection of ads. Either way, the targeting can be extremely small and geofenced or radial and large like the other platforms.


LinkedIn is one of the unique social networks in that it’s largely for the professional markets. Most anyone working in a professional corporate, small business or digital business space knows this. But what kind of businesses advertise on LinkedIn? Is your business right for it? If you’re in any B2B market, then yes. If your business deals in MSB (money, services, business), then also yes. Like the other platforms the “awareness, consideration, conversions” are back again with the usual sub categories, then can be targeted down to location and industry. LinkedIn we can keep pretty simple due to the fact that its intentions are for the professional marketplace. If you have a business that falls into this category, LinkedIn may be the one for you.

Honrable Mentions


Yelp for all it’s worth is a necessary evil. While paying for advertisements may not suit your businesses needs (their premium functions are not forgiving on the cost front), having an active profile will. Like Google listings, users can add your business before you can. This can lead to reviews you may not know about, and leaving customers unheard can lead to larger problems for your brand. If you do need to advertise on Yelp, our experts can help you! Usually businesses operating in the hospitality space will be listed here, businesses primarily operating out of brick and mortar locations. As mentioned above, advertising on Yelp can be expensive, however, their premium features can be useful in putting your business in the higher ranks for out of towners looking for your service.


Tripadvisor like Yelp, focuses on service based brick and mortar businesses. These businesses are also largely in the hospitality industry. Like Yelp, Tripadvisor is also a platform where your business can be listed before you as an owner have an opportunity to list it yourself. If you fall into this category then it’s a necessary evil. While their advertising platform “Trip Advisor Media Manager” is one of the newer platforms, their focus on tourism and getting your brand out there based on user location, browsed destinations or recent travel planning activities on TripAdvisor. That being said, our pros are well versed in hospitality and tourism advertising and can get your business listed and ranked in no time.

Well that about does it.

This article covers our Social Media PPC services. Contact our social media professionals today via the form at the bottom of this page and lets get started!