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How to Advertise on Social Media

Advertising is about getting your brand in front of as many people as possible in an efficient way. To do that, you need a platform with the most eyeballs on your message for as cheap as possible. Successful advertising requires testing, patience, and the right metrics, all combined leads to cross-c
Parker Dietz
March 10, 2021
April 11, 2024

Advertising is about getting your brand in front of as many people as possible in an efficient way. To do that, you need a platform with the most eyeballs on your message for as cheap as possible. Successful advertising requires testing, patience, and the right metrics, all combined leads to cross-channel content improvement.

Types of Social Media Ads

Before putting together a social media advertising strategy, it’s important to understand the types of ads that exist and what they do. Each platform has their quirks, so bear with us!


There are a few ways you can advertise on Facebook:

  • Photo Ads: A flashy photo accompanied by some well-written copy can work wonders. 

  • Video Ads: Nothing stops a scrolling thumb quite like a video!

  • Carousel Ads: Carousel ads allow up to ten photos and videos, which is great for explaining processes, showing different products, and more.
  • Collection Ads: Collection Ads allow interaction with your product all within Facebook and a link to the PDP.
  • Story Ads: Story ads play for users between other Stories, grabbing their attention.

<img src="" alt="fb1.png"> <img src="" alt="Screenshot at Feb 17 11-26-22.png"> <img src="" alt="Screenshot at Feb 17 11-27-06.png"> <img src="" alt="Screenshot at Feb 17 11-27-25.png"> <img src="" alt="Screenshot at Feb 17 11-27-51.png">


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Source: Facebook Ads


Instagram is owned by Facebook, so they run all the aforementioned ad types. The key to Instagram is to cater your content towards what the platform does best — visuals. With Instagram, your images and videos appear larger than on Facebook’s feed, so ensure the visual quality of your ad is high.


There are two ways to promote on Twitter:

  • Twitter Promote: Twitter will promote your Tweet via their algorithm to your target audience’s timelines. 
  • Twitter Ad Campaigns: A Twitter ad campaign starts with an audience and ends with a Tweet with compelling images or videos, and a firm call to action.


There are tons of ways you can advertise using Snapchat:

  • Snap ads: Snap ads are full-screen, vertical videos or images that pop up between content, and can include attachments such as links, app installs, filters, and more.
  • Story ads: The Discover feed is Snapchat’s cultural hub. Story ads get their own tile on this feed. This is a great place to tell your story in 3-20 snaps, ending with a call to action.
  • Filters and Lenses: Snapchat filters allow you to create graphic overlays that Snapchatters can use on their photos. Lenses let you put your brand in a user’s Snapchat using augmented reality.

Source: Snapchat for Business
<img src="" alt="Source: Snapchat for Business"> Source: Snapchat for Business


There are plenty of ways to use TikTok for marketing, and they’ve spent the past year focusing on making it a valuable platform for businesses. Check out the TikTok for Business page — it’s filled with educational content you can use to turn your brand into a powerhouse on the app.

Source: TikTok for Business
<img src="" alt="Source: TikTok for Business"> Source: TikTok for Business

Social Media Advertising Tips

To maximize social media advertising effectiveness, it’s all about testing.

Know Which Platforms Use A/B Testing

A/B testing involves creating two versions of a page, ad, or message, changing one variable, and running them both to see which performs better. This tests which variable resonates with your audience. Some platforms - like Facebook - allow you to do this without double the work.

Some variables you can change in A/B testing:

  • Caption length
  • Time of day when the message is posted
  • Question or statement
  • Content type

Here is how you put an A/B test together:

  1. Create two identical posts/messages.
  2. Determine which variable to change.
  3. Decide how long to test, where you want to post the ad, and other controlled variables.
  4. Execute the A/B test.
  5. Analyze the results and implement them in your strategy moving forward.

Test Social Ad Types

Different ad types can lead to different results, so it’s important to research how to attain the desired target. In social advertising, there are three metrics to be measured: impressions, engagements, and traffic. 


Impressions measure how many people see your advertisement. You can use impressions as a baseline for other metrics to see how effective your advertisement is in getting your desired action. 

The best type of content for impressions is eye-catching, visual material. Use engaging images, interesting videos, and visual content to get someone to stop their scroll.


Engagement measures your audience’s interaction with the ad. This can be a like, share, comment, or click. Engagement boosts an ad in most social media algorithms, so creating something that elicits a response is crucial.


Traffic measures how many people are visiting your website via your ad. When it comes to generating traffic, it’s all about the call to action. Whatever you’re asking the users to do, it has to be something enticing enough for them to leave the platform, so pick something strong!

Test Social Ad Copy

An ad’s media will catch a user’s attention, but the copy is what makes them take action. That’s why it’s important to test social ad copy. When you test different messages, you’ll get a glimpse of what is compelling your audience to take a desired action.

Here are the most effective ways to test your ad copy:

  • Change the title of your video
  • Change the thumbnail text or title screen of your video
  • Edit the caption of a post
  • Tweak the wording of the call-to-action button

Social Media Advertising Cost

There are many ways social advertising costs are calculated, the most common is click-based (or a pay-per-click (PPC) model). You can set a budget at the beginning of the month, and the social media platform will maximize your budget and show ads until your money runs out.

The best way to figure out what your costs would be is to run tests and try it out. The cost-per-click (CPC) varies based on the platform you’re using and the audience you’re trying to reach, so take some time to create a campaign and push it live.

Read more about increasing brand awareness here!

How Cohley Can Help

The best way to run a successful social media advertising campaign is to run as many ads and test as many things as possible. Our team specializes in helping businesses plan, develop and execute a social media strategy that will get you noticed on timelines and news feeds everywhere. Contact us today!

Parker Dietz
Head of Content
With a wealth of knowledge about competitors and pricing, Parker is all about exploring the best way to communicate Cohley's benefits. Outside of work, Parker enjoys poorly playing guitar at parties, watching every Adam Sandler movie ever made, and eating Arabic food.