How to Make the Most of Social Media Advertising

Shaun H. Ruff


Social media advertising is an effective and affordable way to generate traffic and build awareness for your project. Many businesses realize that and hence the competition is likely to get fierce.

With so many brands competing for your target customers’ attention, how to succeed?

Here’s what makes a good social media ad:

1. Stories Work

One big problem with social media advertising (especially when it comes to Facebook and Instagram) is that it is interrupting. People don’t come to those social media platforms to buy products or find answers to their questions. They come to catch up with friends and family. That’s why storytelling works so well on social media. People engage with ads telling a story they can relate to.

There’s no single recipe for what story to tell, but there are certainly best practices:

  • Your story should be authentic. Whether you are telling a story of your founder or your customer, it needs to be honest. You just can’t fake authenticity.
  • Your story should be emotional. Too many brands and influencers are telling a story no one really cares about. You need to create something that will be hard to remain indifferent to.
  • Your story shouldn’t be controversial. Controversy always triggers emotion but that’s not what you want to do for your overall brand image. I know there are brands that do nothing but controversy but unless you are ready to face a reputation crisis, you need to stay away from that.
  • Talk about a recent trend. Trending topics always attract attention, so you need to try and find angles that coincide with what’s currently hot in your country or globally.

2. Consistency is Key

They say that you need at least 8 touchpoints for a customer to remember your brand. A touchpoint means that your page was visited, your social media update was liked and your ad was seen or clicked – all by one and the same person.

Therefore adjusting your social media strategy to make the most of each touchpoint is a very good idea.

  • Use your social media visuals (images and videos) on your site to get people to feel comfortable when they land on your page after clicking a social media link
  • Re-target your social media ads to people who previously engaged with your brand (visited your site or liked your social media ad). This can be achieved by installing Facebook’s retargeting pixel as early as you can. The sooner you add the tracking pixel, the more data you will collect.
  • Use the same ad across many channels to build up recognizability.

Creatopy is an ad creation and management platform that can be a huge help here: It helps you create and edit your ads (images and videos), resize them to fit multiple channels and track their performance.


Additionally, you need to make sure that all the visual assets you publish adhere to your visual branding principles, i.e. your logo and color palette, and maybe also your tagline.

If you don’t have your visual branding defined yet, tools like Namify will help you pick a name and a matching logo that will inspire strong niche associations:


3. Building Visual Associations

The strongest benefit of using visual social media ads is their ability to be memorable. Human beings are highly visual: They remember objects much better than they do words and numbers. And the biggest power of visual marketing in building associations. Associative marketing means that your goal is to be effortlessly brought up in one’s mind when they discuss a relevant topic.

Thanks to this kind of power we immediately think about Adobe when we talk about downloadable documents and many of us think of “Gmail” when we discuss sending and receiving email messages, or “Youtube” when online videos are brought up in a conversation.

Those associations can differ from person to person. Some think “Facebook” is synonymous with a “social me
dia network”, and others hardly ever think of Facebook at all. Using your social media ads to build those strong niche associations takes time and money but it is doable if you start early and keep this as a high-level goal.

Google Images provides a perfect way to research the associations you want to create. Search for your chosen concept and see what types of visuals bring those up:

Google images

Another useful tool for investigating associations and topical relationships between topics is Text Optimizer which uses semantic analysis to find related concepts and entities you may want your brand to be associated with:



Creating an effective social media ad is a task that can never be done. There’s always something to learn from and improve on. You need well-defined goals (which are usually conversions unless you have high budgets to invest in brand awareness). But there are also high-level goals to keep in mind. These include brand recognizability and associative marketing which can be achieved over time.

Image: Depositphotos


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