Co-Founder & CEO at HawkSEM, helping brands “crush it” through ROI-focused, results-driven digital marketing programs for over 12 years.
It was Lil Wayne who once said, “Real Gs move in silence like lasagna.” Similarly, effective social media ads fit seamlessly (if not silently) into people’s social media feeds just like organic posts do. Not exactly a 1-to-1 comparison, but you get the idea.
More than ever, social media platforms are where people are gathering to connect, shop and glean inspiration. Brands have taken notice, as have digital marketing agencies like mine. We’ve helped clients do everything from creating TikTok ads to building social e-commerce campaigns.
Here are just a few of the latest and greatest social media ad types. If leveraged strategically and thoughtfully, they can bring about impressive results.
TikTok Ads With Interactive Add-Ons
With a whopping 1 billion monthly active users reported, even if your product or service isn’t geared to Gen Z, there’s still a good chance that a chunk of your target audience is on TikTok.
The app launched TikTok For Business back in Summer 2020 to “serve as the home for all its current and future marketing solutions for brands,” as reported by TechCrunch. More recently, it’s rolled out interactive add-ons for ads. These add-ons include pop-ups, stickers and other gestures that aim to help companies better engage and interact with users.
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The best piece of advice I have when it comes to TikTok ads is to not think about the content as an ad. Rather, consider what organic content (either that your company creates or what does well on the app in general) might resonate with your audience versus simply trying to sell to them.
Instagram Shop Ads
In May 2020, Instagram and Meta (née Facebook) launched Shops, a type of virtual e-commerce storefront, to help more businesses move operations online amid the pandemic.
Then, in August 2021, the Instagram Shop tab introduced ad options to offer a more seamless in-app experience, where users could discover and shop from brands all in one place. Instagram Shop ads can feature product tags where users can view more info about a product and buy it instantly without toggling away from the app. These ads appear both in-feed and on the popular “Explore” page.
To make your ads blend in as well as possible on Instagram, consider images that are well-lit, feature models that fall in line with your target demo, and include real-life environments rather than a black or white backdrop.
Pinterest Video Ads
With its highly engaged audience of devoted users and visual-centric design, Pinterest’s ad options offer visibility to customers who are often searching for inspiration and ready to make a purchase.
With that in mind, it’s easy to see why Pinterest ads are worth a closer look. The platform currently offers five ad format types: static, video, shopping, carousel and collections.
Videos not only continue to rise in popularity in the world of digital marketing, but these ad types stand out in particular on the Pinterest feed. The video’s motion catches viewers’ attention so your creative and messaging copy can do the work of engaging the viewer so they’ll want to learn more.
Three New Twitter Ad Formats
In spring 2022, Twitter began testing three new ad formats: interactive text, collection and product explorer. Even if your brand doesn’t have access to the new types just yet, all users should be able to see these ad formats in their feeds.
Interactive text ads feature font styles that are larger and bolder, with up to three words highlighted. (The highlighted words are clickable and lead to specific landing pages.) Collection ads feature a static main or “hero” image with five smaller images underneath that users can scroll through. These thumbnail images are clickable and can also lead to landing page URLs.
Lastly, product explorer ads offer a three-dimensional look at a certain product. Viewers can move the image to see the product from different angles, then click the CTA button to purchase it on the brand’s website.
LinkedIn Sponsored Content Ads
If you spend any time on LinkedIn, you know it’s a hub for industry-based conversations. While other social media apps wheel and deal in visuals, LinkedIn is more about content. Because of that, we’ve found a variety of companies that leverage sponsored content and see positive returns from an engaged audience.
LinkedIn also offers sponsored messaging, lead gen forms, and text and dynamic ads. But sponsored content has its own subsets: single image, video, carousel and event ad options.
With sponsored content, native ads will appear seamlessly on a user’s main feed on desktop and mobile. These ads can help build awareness, drive leads, nurture potential customers and more.
Social media is a direct line to almost all target demographics, regardless of your field or industry. Not only that, but paid social ads are often on the more affordable side when it comes to digital advertising.
By having a mapped-out campaign, clear goals and a creative strategy, you can experiment with various social media ad types and analyze the results to see which ones resonate most with your intended audience.
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Author: Sam Yadegar, Forbes Councils Member