It seems like every time you turn around, there’s a new social media platform or a new way people find the answers to their questions. The way people spend their time online has become an incredibly crowded landscape. For a business looking to connect with its customers, deciding which is the best platform to advertise on can be an overwhelming prospect.
But it doesn’t have to be!
In this article, you’ll learn some valuable insights that will make it easier to figure out what platform to use based on your goals. Because at the end of the day, you advertise to accomplish specific goals. Right?
So let’s get to it.
Advertising generally has two big categories: organic, or what you don’t have to pay for, and paid, which you do. There’s more than one way to cook an egg, so both categories are capable of bringing your business success.
However, the number of companies putting together strategies to capture the organic space is constantly growing. Therefore, getting that top spot on the search engine results page of Google or going viral on social media keeps getting harder.
It’s still achievable, and an SEO Freelancer and consultant can set you on the right path if organic marketing is your preferred choice. By incorporating some paid advertising strategies, you diversify your approach. This increases the probability that your efforts will help you achieve your business goals.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that paid advertising is or isn’t something you can include in your marketing plan for your business because of one simple factor: budget. But your budget shouldn’t be something that limits you.
One of the benefits of paid advertising is that it allows you to tailor your ads to your specific audience. That means that what you have to say is even more likely to resonate. Focusing on the preferences of your audience when you are choosing the best platform to advertise on will make your budget a non-issue.
When it comes time to decide, there are three key factors to consider: your audience, the business goals you are trying to achieve, and the device your audience uses.
Through persistent use, each person develops habits and finds how they enjoy spending their time online. Some people may be more prone to sticking with Google and avoiding social media altogether. While others pick and choose the platforms they like the best, or even try to use as many as possible.
So the key is to understand your customer and make the most informed decision about the best platform to advertise that matches their habits. Keeping in mind the demographics and psychographics of your buyer persona, here are some things for you to consider about your target audience:
- How they search for the answers to their questions
- The platforms they spend their time on to browse
- The platforms on which they engage with content
- How they make decisions and actions through the platforms they use
- The device they use
Based on your customer’s characteristics, they will be more likely to opt for one platform over another:
If your customer is around 18 years old, it’s safe to say that TikTok would be an appropriate channel to connect with them. But if your customer is a mom closer to their 50’s or 60’s, Facebook is a much safer bet.
It’s all about determining where they spend their time and the kind of content they identify with on those platforms to make the best use of your advertising dollars.
And remember, you can use the organic content you produce as a way to guide you with your paid advertising. Take notice of the types of posts and on which platforms get you the most engagement (or whatever your goal is, i.e. followers, traffic to your site, etc.). Then apply the same criteria to your paid posts. You don’t have to consider organic and paid advertising efforts as completely separate entities. If something works for your organic efforts, it’s probable that the logic you’ve applied can help you with your paid advertising efforts.
#2: Know your business objectives
At any given time, a business will be looking to hit different benchmarks. The short and long-term goals you have, and their objectives, will determine the actions you take to achieve them.
One of those actions is deciding which is the best platform to advertise. Depending on the business objectives you have set, one platform over another may help you reach your targets.
Some business objectives paid advertising can help you attain:
- Build brand awareness
- Increase engagement with your customers
- Drive traffic to your website
- Find new leads
- Get subscribers to a newsletter, channel, service, etc.
- Purchase your product/service
- And many more!
Even though you have your objectives, don’t lose sight of your user throughout the process. You’re not helping them if you adopt a self-promotion strategy. It’s crucial to provide value to your customers even with your paid advertising.
And be mindful of how you talk about your brand.
- Do it just the right amount (i.e. not in every post).
- Make sure you portray your brand’s personality and what makes you different.
- Don’t be afraid to use some sense of humor as long as you’re consistent in your messaging and your brand values come across clearly.
- Engage with your customers! Don’t just wait for them to interact with you.
To make sure you’re doing that, it helps to develop a well-organized Editorial Calendar. Avoid posting aimlessly without considering what you’re trying to say. Make sure to produce high-quality content using the right focus keyword on the correct platform.
#3: Consider the device – mobile
Another opportunity for paid advertising is taking advantage of the different social media platforms that people frequent. Considering how these platforms work, people access them frequently from their mobile devices.
There’s the occasional person that may decide to connect to Facebook or Instagram from their desktop. However, a lot of our searches now start from a mobile device.
You can see that reflected in many of the ways Google operates. For example, the search engine first crawls all new web pages from a mobile perspective.
There’s a huge emphasis on mobile devices. From the new standard of Answer Engine Optimization (another effect of mobile search) to a simple increase in time spent on our mobile phones. To reflect the way search trends are evolving, content, including ads, must be created in a way that adapts to mobile.
With a smaller screen, images should be easy to digest with legible text in font, size, and color. And think about how your user will experience your ad when they see it in a vertical orientation. This way, your content isn’t distorted because of the device from which it’s viewed. Depending on the circumstances, people aren’t always actively looking for information. They go onto social media or do a quick search on Google or Bing because they are looking for excitement.
Because of this, it’s extremely common that people discover your brand on a mobile device but don’t wind up converting until they check back in on a desktop.
Therefore, this is another factor to keep in mind when deciding the best platform to advertise on.
The full-funnel strategy
Each of the business objectives we mentioned earlier represents a different stage of the journey your customers take. It starts the moment they find out about you until they decide to make a purchase, or whatever action represents a conversion for your business.
Depending on the customer and sometimes even the product, this journey can be somewhat complicated. But, for the most part, you can consider four broad stages in this path, known as the AIDA model:
The AIDA model was developed in 1898 by St. Elmo Lewis, a titan of industry and expert marketer. This model is one of the many funnels that exist to explain the routes customers take when making purchases.
Another popular way to consider this progression is a Top of Funnel, Middle of Funnel, Bottom of Funnel breakdown.
Top of Funnel (TOFU)
This is the identification stage triggered when the person becomes a cold lead. They may or may not have come in contact with your brand before. They aren’t eager to favor your brand over another to respond to their needs. At this stage, it’s necessary to offer key information about your brand and how you can solve their problems. Use storytelling and connect with the users on an emotional level.
Middle of Funnel (MOFU)
By this stage, the person has a better understanding of what they need to solve their problem. They have shown some interest in your brand and are, therefore, a more qualified lead. It’s still not 100% guaranteed that they will continue to the next stage. However, by showing more benefits and providing more information, you can convince them. Ensure at this stage that your content is captivating and increases their interest.
Bottom of Funnel (BOFU)
At this point, the person has done an in-depth investigation about their problem. They have researched different similar brands, and they are closing in on yours. To close the cycle and ensure that they go through the funnel, personalize your content when possible. Also, make it easy for them to act (clear CTA, etc.). You can also play on the ideas of scarcity or time being limited to create urgency.
With this concept as the format, the full-funnel strategy revolves around tailoring your messaging to the particular moment the user finds themself in this journey. But it doesn’t only affect your messaging. It also involves deciding which is the best platform to advertise your brand and your product.
Now let’s take a look at a comprehensive list of those platforms and which one you should use based on your audience and the full-funnel strategy.
There’s no shortage of the best platform to advertise to suit your needs. The following are some that have the potential to give you a great return on your investment.
(1) Google Ads: The king of advertising
In many ways, Google Ads is the king of the paid advertising sphere, controlling over 92.2% of the market share of online searches. Google Ads works around a bidding system for different keywords where factors like your Quality Score determine your ad rank. It also determines how much you will have to pay for your ad to show for that given keyword.
You have three networks on which your ads can appear.
- The search network: ads appear in the SERP above the organic results.
- The shopping network: ads appear above the organic results or on the right-hand side with some basic pricing information for the products.
- The display network: ads appear on sites belonging to the Google display network (sites owned by Google or third-party partnered sites).
And don’t forget you can use retargeting to present your brand based on a user’s previous activity engaging with your products.
Who doesn’t use Google, right? Depending on the country, there may be other search engines that are popular as well, but Google usually reigns supreme. Therefore, the traits of the audience, including why they use the platform are very diverse.
The good thing about Google is that it can help you with all the steps through the funnel. From the very top of the funnel, to the middle, and bottom, Google helps all the way. Just make sure you pick the right focus keywords to target, budget and the right bidding strategy. It can be somewhat tricky, so here at Digitadu you will find the help you need.
From Facebook Business Manager, you can target a very specific audience for your ads that show up either on the homepage or the newsfeed. It also has a bidding system, but the ad is evaluated as a whole instead of just the keywords as triggers (i.e. the Google Ads system).
There are many styles of ads including standard image or video ads, stories ads, carousel ads, messenger ads, etc. You know it’s an ad because the word “Sponsored” will appear above the post.
Although there is a certain cliché that Facebook is only for middle-aged moms, the most popular demographic on Facebook is men between 25-34 years old. But it’s widely popular amongst men and women spanning 18 to 44 years old. Users access the platform for many purposes, including entertainment and to become informed.
Facebook is a great place to work on your top of the funnel customers. It helps in building awareness about your brand and presenting your identity and personality. It’s also a good place to move towards the middle of the funnel, engaging with your customers and building a community.
Instagram is probably the best platform to advertise branded content. The rise of influencers has given them celebrity status with their audiences. These audiences trust the influencers and their opinions completely. Since IG is owned by Facebook, you can also target audiences with very specific characteristics.
The different types of ads include a standard photo or video ads, carousel ads, collection ads, stories ads, and ads within IGTV.
A substantial proportion of the people who use Instagram are in the 18 to 34 range, but its users also extend to members of Generation X (and even some Baby Boomers). Users access the platform for a variety of entertainment purposes.
Like Facebook, Instagram is a great place to build brand awareness at the top of the funnel. One plus is that it’s easy for the user to purchase directly from the app, so it also lends itself to the bottom of the funnel.
Just like with regular everyday tweets, you have a character limit. So, it’s important not to waste space and get straight to the point. You can create the campaign yourself, promoting an existent tweet or a new one. Existing users also have the option to use Twitter Promote, which uses an algorithm to automatically promote 10 tweets for you.
The lion’s share of Twitter users span 18 to 49 years old (yes, it’s a pretty big spread, but it’s distributed pretty evenly amongst this age group). There are people who use Twitter mostly to speak their minds about their opinions. But many users go to this platform to become informed.
Like many social media channels, Twitter is another one of the best platforms to advertise top of the funnel content. It’s a good way to build brand awareness, leaning on a strong sense of humor (which is necessary for Twitter) to promote your identity. You’re also able to foster interest and desire for middle of the funnel actions.
(5) LinkedIn: Advertising platform for professionals
The nature of LinkedIn makes it the best platform to advertise to target new business partners or prospects for a B2B company in a professional setting. You’re able to target specific audience types, including based on job title or the type of industry. The different ad types include sponsored content ads, text ads, and dynamic ads.
The majority of LinkedIn users are between 25 and 34 years old, but there are also some users in the 18-24 range and the 35-54 range. Users turn to the platform to network, get informed about their sector, and search for employment/new hires.
Even though LinkedIn is used to find a job and for networking purposes, which is unique to this social media channel, it’s similar to others as a tool for top and middle of the funnel content. People don’t tend to go to LinkedIn to shop. But if you’ve defined conversions as signing up for a newsletter or attending a virtual seminar, you may have some luck getting to the bottom of the funnel.
Video content continues to have a bigger impact on users as a general rule. So if you can translate an ad for your business to a video format, YouTube is one of the best platforms to advertise.
Since YouTube is owned by Google, you need a Google Ads account to run ads. There are skippable in-stream ads, non-skippable ads, video discovery ads, bumper ads, outstream ads, and masthead ads.
People tend not to pay attention to ads during YouTube videos, and will skip as manay as they can. So get the most important part of your ad in at the beginning when they still may be watching.
YouTube attracts a wide user base with people up to around 65 years old with a slightly higher concentration of females than males. It’s a great platform for entertainment as well as education.
If you’re able to create a compelling ad that piques a users’ interest, you have a good chance to be at the top of their minds. This comes in handy when they’re looking for a brand to solve their problems in the future. Therefore, it’s a great platform for targeting TOFU actions.
(7) Bing Advertising platform
Even though Google is the destination for a huge chunk of internet searches, Bing still gets a piece of the pie. For all laptops with the Windows 10 Operating System, Microsoft Edge is the default web browser, which uses Bing. So, there’s an opportunity to make some real impact.
The system for paid advertisements on Bing is similar to Google, functioning with auctions centering around keywords to show ads on a search and display (on sites like Yahoo and AOL) network.
The reach is undeniably smaller, but that leads to lower competition for powerful keywords with lower costs per click (CPC). And compared to Google Ads, you get a little more control over the language, location, and scheduling, which you set at the ad group level instead of the campaign level.
Bing users tend to be over 35, often between 55 and 64 years old. They also tend to have a higher income, which leads to higher spending online.
Like Google, Bing will allow you to carry out actions all the way through the funnel.
Visual content in a 2:3 ratio works the best on Pinterest since frequently people scroll through from their mobile devices. You are able to target audiences with specific characteristics, such as people who have visited your site or engaged with similar content.
The ads are called Promoted Pins and can include a single picture or video or up to 5 in a carousel.
Pinterest tends to be more popular with women between the ages of 18-29 and 35-49 years old. People use it to save ideas for things they’re planning, making it the ideal stepping stone for shopping, and therefore, one of the best platforms to advertise.
A user scrolling through Pinterest Pins is looking for inspiration. This could lead to creating brand awareness at the top of the funnel, creating desire and interest in the middle of the funnel, and even leading to action at the bottom of the funnel.
There are two levels for creating ads on Snapchat. There’s Instant Create, which lets you streamline ad creation for a more simple business objective, and Advanced Create, for more long-term objectives that have more moving parts involved.
The different ad types include snap ads, story ads, collection ads, filters, and lenses.
The majority of Snapchat users are under the age of 25, with a higher proportion of females. Users turn to the platform for mostly entertainment purposes, taking advantage of all the features like lenses and filters that the app has to offer.
The use of filters and lenses offers a unique opportunity to broaden the reach that your brand may have, increasing brand awareness. Make sure to capitalize on how popular these features are and create something that users are inspired to use in their posts.
(10) TikTok: Gen Z’s booming advertising platform
The only type of ad available is in-feed video, in which an image or video appears with some information about the brand.
In the grand scheme of things, TikTok is still a new social media channel. So, get in on the ground floor and take advantage of its booming popularity.
TikTok has exploded with Gen Z users but is also popular with older users. The shorter content format makes it easy to digest and an easy way to consume entertainment.
Like many other social media channels, TikTok is helpful for TOFU actions to broaden your reach and create brand awareness.
It’s impossible to say that there’s only one right way to go about paid advertising for your brand. The important thing is to be methodical about the way you choose the platform that makes the most sense based on where your audience spends your time and what you’re looking to achieve. And, of course, tailor the experience your user will have based on where they are in the buyers’ funnel.
No matter what channel you wind up deciding is the best platform for you to advertise, make sure you pay attention to what your users want to see and reflect it in your ads. Furthermore, engage with your customers. And try to learn from every campaign you launch to better optimize your future ads.
Meta-description: With so many choices it can seem impossible to know the best platform to advertise your business. Let Digitadu teach you tips to make it a lot easier.