PPA Blog


Social Media Advertising: Why It’s Exploding (In a Good Way)

By Mattie Little

Mar 21, 2016 11:31:24 PM

Social Media Advertising: Why It’s Exploding (In a Good Way)

Display advertising and paid search ads have their place, but social media advertising is quickly becoming a front-runner in the online advertising game.

Social media is continuously evolving and in a relatively short period of time social media advertising has exploded with revenue estimating $8.4 billion dollars. With the decline of banner advertising and paid search, depending on identifiable keywords being nonexistent or costing an arm and a leg to bid on, modern businesses are leaning more toward capturing customers through interest based marketing. This type of marketing helps businesses find new customers based on information that users have already provided, making social networks a good option for advertisers.

Whether people like it or not, social networks gather large amounts of user information which allow advertisers to target an audience in a wider variety that other online platforms can’t provide. These types of advanced targeting options stretch beyond general demographic and geographical data. Deep interest, behavioral and connection-based targeting is the future for advertisers. With that in mind, let’s take a look into the options available to increase your ad’s relevance.

Behavioral targeting

Behavioral targeting allows advertisers to reach users based on purchase behaviors or intents. Behavior categories include buyer profiles, clothing, food and drink, health and beauty and many more. Within each subcategory, businesses can drill down into types of behaviors; for example, choosing buyer profiles which will then allow you to target DIYers, foodies, etc.

Facebook will allow advertisers to see how many user profiles are available for targeting in each subcategory, based on their aggregated, multi-sourced offline transaction-based data.

Interest targeting

Interest targeting can include things people share on their timelines, apps they have downloaded and actively use, ads they click, pages they like and other activities on and off of Facebook and Instagram. Interest targeting is also related to keyword targeting, so some platforms will allow you to enter multiple interests.

For example, if you’re a yoga studio in L.A., you may select interests that are more broad, like “Wellness,” as well as very specific interests related to yoga, like “hot yoga.”

Custom targeting

Custom targeting allows advertisers to reach audiences by uploading a list of email addresses, phone numbers, user IDs, or usernames. In Facebook language this is called “Custom Audiences,” while on Twitter it’s known as “Tailored Audiences.” If you have a known group of people you’d like to target, you can simply upload them and target directly (provided that the social network can match data you’re uploading with real profiles.)

Lookalike targeting

Lookalike targeting allows advertisers to reach new people who are similar to an audience you care about. This type of targeting helps businesses extend their custom audiences to reach new, similar users. For those businesses looking to acquire new customers through social media advertising, lookalike targeting can be a great acquisition tool.

Importance of tracking

For justifying spend and requesting a budget, tracking the performance of your social media advertising campaign is important. Social media ads that drive the user to take a measurable action, like buying your product or registering for an event, advertisers to actually report on how effective the ad was in driving those conversions.

Conversion tracking requires that you add a snippet of code to the page on your website where the conversion will take place, so it does require a bit of technical ability, but you’ll then be able to attribute any conversions on that page to the ads you’re running.

Conversion tracking helps your business be smarter about your ad spend and strategy. If your ad is receiving a lot of clicks (which you are paying for) but no conversions, it’s a wasted investment. This information will allow you to better optimize your ad copy and targeting.


Mattie Little

Mattie Little

Former Digital Strategist at PPA


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