The Moving Target of Social Media: Finding the Right Audience for Your Brand

As of 2018, there were 3.2 billion people on the planet using social media — a 13% increase from 2017. And on average, they’re spending 2+ hours every day on their preferred platform.

As technologies develop, and platforms continue to innovate, it’s affecting the way brands connect and engage with their customers through the social media landscape. The million-dollar question remains: What are the best platforms to invest your resources for proven results?

Social media platforms are essential tools for modern marketers — but most brands can’t (or shouldn’t) be everywhere at once. As more and more consumers are turning to social media to engage with their favorite brands, it’s critical to be strategic in where you build a presence. Be sure to consider your type of product, your customer segments, your specific goals and your advertising budget. To remain competitive in your industry, stay on top of what’s working and cut ties with the stragglers that are driving up your customer acquisition costs.


Today’s social landscape: The good, the bad & the ugly

According to Adobe’s 2018 State of Digital Advertising report, 50% of Generation Z and 42% of Millennials think social media is the most relevant channel for ads. Here’s a quick scan of key players as you (or your social media agency) map out your 2Q ad spend.


Facebook: Rebuilding its rep after a year of scandals  

Who’s logged in? From the Facebook-Cambridge Analytical data mess to the infamous New York Times investigation, 2018 was a rough one for the disgraced platform. But with 2.2 billion monthly active users, Facebook remains the world’s social media powerhouse. Eighty-eight percent of online users ages 18-29, and 84% of users ages 30-49, have an active FB account.

Why invest? A whopping 93% of marketers use Facebook advertising regularly. By the end of 2017, Facebook’s six million advertisers increased their spending 49 percent — coming in at just below $40 billion. Though Partner Categories may be no more, you can still get creative with offline data for advanced targeting.

Want results? Fifty-two percent of American consumers report that in the last three months, they’ve seen a Facebook ad for a product they’re interested in, and nearly 48% of social media users say Facebook was the last platform on which they made a purchase. Still questioning its value?


LinkedIn: The B2B place to be

Who’s logged in? Looking to reach an educated audience with a professional mindset? LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with about 562 million users — including 50% of Americans with a college degree.

Why invest? Ninety-four percent of B2B marketers use LinkedIn to distribute content, leveraging the platform’s ability to target based on job title, industry, professional interests, specialized skills and more. B2C marketers are also using the platform to boost their content marketing efforts to engage prospects, share important news and inspire discussions.

Want results? According to a study by HubSpot, LinkedIn generated the highest visitor-to-lead conversion rate at 2.74% — that’s nearly 4x higher than Twitter (.69%) and Facebook (.77%), which means potential leads through LinkedIn are more qualified and willing to buy.


Pinterest: A “pinning” strategy is a winning strategy

Who’s logged in? Thirty percent of all social media users are on Pinterest — shoppers, savers and planners who are ready to spend. Forty percent of Pinners have a household income of $100K+. While 81% are female, more than half of new signups are male. And if your brand is geared toward the millennial generation, half of them use Pinterest at least once a month.

Why invest? Pinterest’s ad formats are based on a campaign’s specific objectives, whether it’s to increase traffic or build awareness through video views. They can be tailored right down to your budget, ad placement, keywords and more. A paid ad — known as a Promoted Pin — extends your reach, so more people see your content across the platform. And half of Pinterest users have made a purchase after seeing a Promoted Pin in their feed.

Want results? According to Pinterest, for every $100 a brand spends on Pinterest, they earn $60 more in profit than from other channels.


Twitter: More bang for your advertising buck

Who’s logged in? As of 2018, Twitter had over 336 million active users making it the fifth most popular social network among U.S. adults, with 40% ranging from 18-29 years of age. Interestingly, 32% of U.S. teens use Twitter, but only 3% report that they use it most often.

Why invest? Twitter’s ad engagements have increased 69% over the last year with a 28% decrease in cost per ad engagement.

Want results? Hundreds of millions of tweets are sent each day, and advertisers must work to cut through the clutter. But with right following, brands find great success, as over 93% of users plan to purchase from businesses they follow.


Instagram: A picture is worth $7 billion in ad revenue

Who’s logged in? The truth is, only 11% of people around the world have an Instagram account. But that number is expected to surge as more teens and Millennials catch on. As a result, brands are flocking to the photo-sharing app.

Why invest? From July to November 2017, business profiles jumped from 15 to 25 million. The key Instagram’s success? Its close ties to Facebook’s ad buying platform. For Facebook marketers, it’s as easy as checking a box to get their ads to appear on both sites. As a result, Statista projected an Instagram ad revenue of $7 billion in 2018 — nearly a $5 billion jump from 2016.

For nonprofits, image-driven Instagram is essential for putting a face to your cause and strengthening engagement.  

Want results? The Facebook integration has been pivotal in helping Instagram grow its total number of advertisers. eMarketer estimates that 69% of marketers use Instagram, compared to 28% who use the similar photo-sharing app, Snapchat, so you might want to jump on while the momentum is growing.


Snapchat: The teen app of choice

Who’s logged in? On average, Snapchat has 191 million daily users spending over 30 minutes per day on the platform — mostly U.S. teenagers. Results from 2018’s Taking Stock with Teens survey found that Snapchat is the favorite platform for 45% of teens.

Why invest? For advertisers, this is a valuable demographic. In 2018, Snapchat took in just over $662 million in digital ad revenue.

Want results? While its ad revenue is less than the projected $1 billion, the platform shows no signs of slowing down as it strives to catch up with Instagram.


TikTok: The next YouTube?

Who’s logged in? Chinese mobile app TikTok is quickly catching on in the U.S. According to Apptopia, its U.S. monthly active user audience grew by 30 million in the three months since its merger with Chinese app ByteDance, and downloads were up 25% in the U.S. and 20% worldwide.

Why invest? TikTok doesn’t have paid advertising — yet. But the app is generating interest from brands that are using it for their own influencer marketing campaigns or to publish their own videos.

Want results? As of November 2018, TikTok was the second most-downloaded app in the Apple App Store and Google Play among social, communication, photo and video apps. Not bad for a newcomer.


Tracking your multichannel approach

Social media advertising revenue was forecast at $51.3 billion USD for 2018, and set to grow 10.5% annually. When you know where your customers are coming from and what advertising tactics are working, you can strategize to best allocate your spend and improve your ROI. That’s the value of tracking:

  • What works and what doesn’t? See what type of engagement you’re getting from your audience, and gain valuable insights, like the best time to post, the right frequency and the type of content that makes an impact.
  • What networks should you focus on? It’s great to be accessible across social media, but it might be in your best interest to focus on two networks rather than seven. Identify your high-value channels to better prioritize time and resources.
  • Which network is bringing in the most leads? Take what’s been working on the most successful network and apply it to another for improved results across the board.
  • Are you meeting your goals? When you track, you can set realistic goals to work toward —whether it’s increasing your sales on Pinterest or the number of likes on Facebook. Without tracking, it’s impossible to set goals, never mind reach them.

A multichannel strategy is critical to your campaign, and that starts with understanding what differentiates each platform and the benefits it can bring to your brand. Find out how the team at d3 can help devise a multichannel approach that gets you more reach — and greater results.


Related Questions

What’s an effective way to test Facebook ads?

At d3 Specialists, we love A/B split testing because it can help you quickly determine which version of your ad performs better by analyzing various elements, such as creative, audience, optimization event, placements and product sets. The results can help inform your future ad design and strategy. Facebook also offers guidelines when designing your A/B tests.

Can bringing offline data into Facebook benefit my advertising campaign?

Offline data allows you to add advanced targeting to your overall marketing strategy to improve your chance of success. For example, by importing your own offline customer data on Facebook, you can create a custom audience. This allows you to market to your offline prospects on Facebook and create lookalike audience of new prospects that fit your desired characteristics to expand your reach even further.