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As an e-commerce seller, you’re most likely promoting your products in one way or another (or at least you should be if you want to increase your sales and profitability), whether it’s via social media, paid ad campaigns, search engine optimization campaigns, influencer marketing or email marketing. There are many ways to promote an online store on the internet.
When advertising online, you don’t want to promote your products; you also want to maximize your ROAS (Return on Advertising Spend). There are tactics to do this, but before you zoom into the finer details, you need to zoom out and decide which ad platform mix will help you optimize your store based on your product category and target audience.
What is social advertising?
Remember the days of disrupted television viewing? Commercial breaks, usually promoting irrelevant goods and services, pushing their way into our screens and minds; generic (yet, oftentimes catchy) jingles penetrating our sub-conscious; Mad Men-type ad agencies imprinting their impersonal messages into our brains.
And then along came the internet, social media, and finally, a way to give consumers what they want – personalized ads promoting products and services that actually interest them and meet their needs.
Social advertising is the process of targeting specific audiences with relevant, clickable ads through social media platforms, personal messaging apps, and other apps and websites.
Related: A Simple 3-Step Approach to Successful Social Media Advertising
Why social media advertising is important?
Thanks to the data-rich internet, businesses can use consumer demographic data, interests and search engine queries to advertise the right products and services to the right consumers, thereby increasing their chances of making a sale.
Not only are you promoting to people who are actually likely to desire your specific products, but you’re also inserting yourself directly into their social media feeds, where they’re already engaged.
Because social media advertising is so targeted, you can maximize your ROAS (Return on Advertising Spend).
Which are the most popular social advertising platforms for e-commerce sellers?
While Facebook is usually the social advertising platform that comes to mind first, there are a few more out there that can help e-commerce sellers effectively target their audience and generate favorable results.
The right social advertising platform really depends on your target audience and where they spend most of their time online.
For example, if you sell kid’s clothing, your primary audience is mothers, typically the primary purchase decision-maker in a household. Since 77.1% of Pinterest users are women, this platform would be one of the best social advertising options for your products.
According to data from BeProfit, 49% of e-commerce stores use Facebook Ad Manager (including both Facebook Ads and Instagram Ads) as a social advertising platform. But while Facebook and Instagram are the most popular social advertising platforms for e-commerce sellers, other growing platforms are worth investing in to drive traffic and sales.
These are the top five social advertising platforms for e-commerce sellers:
1. Facebook Ads
Facebook provides one of the most targeted ad platforms based on specific audience data such as location, demographics and interests.
There are multiple types of media an advertiser can use in Facebook Ads, including videos, images, image carousels and instant experiences.
Once an ad has been created, the next step is to set an ad budget and then bid for every click or thousand impressions that the ad will receive.
Facebook Ads is also an excellent option for retargeting campaigns, as it enables you to create ads and target segmented audiences based on where the customer left off in your sales funnel.
Related: This Facebook Ads Strategist Answers the 3 Commonly Asked Questions
2. Instagram Ads
While Instagram Ads technically falls within the scope of Facebook Ad Manager, it offers a separate, popular means to create targeted ads to a different audience than Facebook. An Instagram Ad is a paid-for post or story that appears to be an Instagram post but is identified by the ‘sponsored’ label. These ads show up in Instagram users’ feeds and are a powerful source of traffic, leads or conversions through the use of a call-to-action button.
One-third (33%) of Instagram users are between the ages of 25 and 34, and 29% are aged 18-24, so if your product is relevant to this age group, it could be worth your while to promote through this channel.
3. Pinterest Ads
Considering that 87% of Pinterest users have actually bought a product they discovered through Pinterest, it’s a viable source for active customers. Again, it depends on your product and whether it will appeal to the predominantly female user base. Based on the BeProfit study, 8% of e-commerce businesses use Pinterest ads to promote their products, predominantly print-on-demand stores, a fact that aligns with the app’s focus on personalization.
4. TikTok Ads
TikTok, a visual social platform through which users can create, edit and share 15-second videos, has over 500 million active users and is an excellent way to advertise in a visually engaging, targeted and viral manner. While other ad platforms have become flooded with advertisements, TikTok is still relatively unsaturated. If your products are the right fit, this could be a very lucrative promotional channel for your e-commerce business. Data reveals that 62% of TikTok active users in the US are younger than 30 years old, so this platform is best used by sellers of products that cater to that age group.
5. Snapchat Ads
Snapchat is another popular social app, with a 48% of its US user base comprised of 15-25 year-olds. There are a few ways to advertise on Snapchat to drive e-commerce traffic and sales, including full-screen mobile ads as well as interactive experiences prompting immediate action. For example, you could entice users to swipe up or tap on your ad to reveal a special coupon or new product.
Related: 3 Common Mistakes Companies Make With Their Social Ad Strategy
The future of social media
While you certainly don’t want to put all your eggs into one social advertising basket, you also don’t want to spread yourself and your advertising budget too thin. The optimal strategy is to pick a couple of the most relevant advertising platforms — based on where your target audience engages — and focus on getting your targeting, messaging and creatives right to optimize your ROAS, and increase your sales.