Instagram advertising

Which Social Network is the Best Use of Your Advertising Dollars?

The first published ad appeared in the Boston Herald in 1704. It was a listing advertising a piece of property for sale.

Advertsing evolved from newspapers to phone books, to direct mail and to radio and television ads.  Along came the internet and the introduction of banner ads, spam e-mail, and pop-up ads.  

When Google took over, things calmed down a bit with the advent of adwords.  And more recently, much to our chagrin, advertising has become available on many of the social media platforms.  

In this article, I'm going to provide an overview of the ad opportunities on 6 of themajor platforms: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube and Instagram.


With over 300 million active users, Twitter is a great platform to consider when advertising.

Campaign objectives:

  • Increase engagement on tweets - likes, retweets, replies

  • website clicks or conversions

  • app installs or app engagements

  • video views

  • increase followers

lead generation

On Twitter, you can target based on location, gender, hashtags, interests and followers of other people (perhaps a competitor or an influencer).  The types of interests are not as specific as they might be. 

Cost of ads - $0.75 - $2.00 per click or new follower


Last year, in just the third quarter alone, Facebook mobile advertising brought in over 3.4 billion in revenue. Facebook advertising is huge.

Campaign Objectives:

   On Facebook:

  • grow page likes

  • get responses to a Facebook event

  • watch a video

  • install an app

  • claim an offer

  • lead generation (mobile placement only)

       Off Facebook:  

  • send people to your website

  • send people to your website (with some extra conversion measurements)

    Cost: $0.15 - $2.00 depending upon campaign


LinkedIn advertsing is more expensive but produces more qualified leads.


  • Create an ad

  • sponsored content - only available from company pages

You can target based on job title, niche groups, demographics and location.

Cost: $2.00 - $8.00 per click



Pinterest advertising is only available to those with a business account. It's easy to convert a personal account to a business account, so if you're interested in advertising, you may want to do that.

Campaign Objectives:  

  • impressions

  • engagement - likes, comments, repins

  • conversions - must add a snippet of code to your website

You are able to target by keywords and demographics.

Cost: $0.25 - $1.00 or more per click.

*Video advertising is coming soon.


You Tube

You Tube has over a billion monthly active users and is owned by Google so it's definitely a good option when considering advertsing.


  • in stream - plays before or during a video. Viewers can skip the video after 5 seconds. You pay only if 30 seconds of your video were watched.

  • in slate - viewers are offered a choice of ads to watch. If yours is selected, you're charged. These appear in videos that are longer than 10 minutes.

  • in search - theses videos show up at the top right corner of the screen with suggested videos. You pay when viewers watch.

  • in display - these videos are embedded content on other sites. You pay when the ad is watched. 

These ads are slightly more complex to set up. You can target by interest, demographics and keywords. 

Cost: $0.05 - $2.00



Instagram is the newest of thelarger platforms to offer advertising to the public and is managed through the Facebook Ads Manager.

They are displayed in the user's Instagram feed and are the only posts that have a clickable link within the post. 

Campaign options:

  • link to website or page

  • install or engage with an app

  • learn more

Targeting is similar to Facebook ad targeting.

You are able to advertise on Instagram without an Instagram account. You must have a Facebook page though.  If you don't have an account, you will be able to see the comments and likes, but you will not be able to interact with the people who leave those comments.

*Do NOT include Instagram as an option when setting up a Facebook ad. Instagram ads should be done separately. The image size is different and the cost per click will be more expensive when combined with a Facebook ad.


Which site is best to use?  Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is my target audience there?

  • Do I have a presence there?

  • Is the platform in my budget?

  • Do I have a strategy for lead generation via that platform?


Have you tried advertising on any of the social platforms?  What has been your experience?  If you have any tips, I'd love to hear them.  Comment below.

Image credit: