Choose Your Ideal Social Media Channel

In my previous blog post I described why it does make sense to advertise on social media in general (find the article here).

If you decide to spend money advertising in social media you probably have the highest return on investment if you choose one (or several) of the main channels. These include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Snapchat.

In the following paragraphs I will characterise these channels and help you deciding where to spend your budget in order to reach your target audience.


Of all channels mentioned above, Facebook is the most mature one. It has the biggest user base with more than 2 billion user monthly. This makes it the most important social network, bigger than Youtube, Instagram and WhatsApp (source):

2018 04 facebook-users-snapchat-twitter-youtube-whatsapp-instagram-wechat-qq

It’s users span across the globe and with this network, you can almost reach anyone. It’s growth has not diminished over the past 5 years and the recent growth came mainly from asian countries.

Typical Facebook users are in the 35 – 64 age range and it’s not as widely used in the teenage population.

What’s most common as a model is to run an advertisement campaign on Facebook with a free lead magnet or a bundle offer. When clicked on, the ad leads to a landing page.

Examples of campaigns include:

  • ebooks
  • whitepapers
  • site wide discounts
  • product coupons
  • giveaways
  • limited time offers
  • free shipping

Facebook allows to target your ad very specifically. You can define your filter by choosing location, past activity, interests and other.

According to a study done by AdEspresso the average cost per click(CPC) of Facebook ads as of 2016 was USD 0.28  and the cost per 1’000 impressions (CPM) was USD 7.19.

How much your Facebook ad will cost you depends on how you set your budget. And what you will get for your Facebook ad depends on several factors, for example the audience you are targeting and the time of the year.

I will have to dig into further details of how to plan a facebook campaign in another post.


Instagram has a strong focus on optical impressions including pictures and videos. If this applies to your buying persona as well, then that’s the place to place your ads.

2018 04 Social Media Channels.png

It’s users are younger than the Facebook user ageing from 18 to 29 years. More women than men are using instagram in general.

The pricing structure of an Instagram ad campaign is similar to Facebook and around USD 5 per thousand impressions (CPM).

In general, Instagram is owned by Facebook and therefore it’s usage is very similar to Facebook. You can use Instagram to run all kinds of ads including:

  • Practical ideas and “How to” guides
  • Motivational posts
  • Photos of people your customers admire
  • Shoppable products
  • Pictures that were taken by your customers using your products

With the last bullet point it’s crucial that you ask your customers for permission first.

One more thing: take hashtags seriously on Insta. By adding them to your content it will be accessible by all users interested in the same topic. Choosing the right hashtag can increase the reach of your social media post to thousands of potential followers. It’s a great way to communicate with niches.


Twitter has revolutionized the way breaking news spread. It can be seen as a combination of a social network and a communications platform where 328 million users interact monthly.

In Twitter, users can send telegram-like short messages which are limited to 280 characters. So it’s all about brevity and getting to the point quickly, you could call it a micro-blogging service.

I found contradictory information concerning gender distribution and therefore assume it must be about evenly spread between men and women.

1’000 ad impressions on Twitter cost between USD 9 and USD 11 (CPM). Twitter ad costs have increased over the past 2 years with ads on Twitter gaining popularity. But the platform is still considered relatively underutilised for advertising.

The three main objectives to run a Twitter ad campaign are to increase followers, traffic or generate leads.


Pictures with descriptions can be posted on a virtual pin board. Other users can like, share or comment them. Pinterest is unique. Because it’s highly optical one could think that it’s similar like Instagram.

However, Pinterest works differently. This platform is mostly used to specifically search for a topic for inspiration. In that perspective, it’s a huge optical search engine. Therefore, it’s all about key words and hashtags.

More than 80% of Pinterest users are women and the platform has 175 million active users per month. Engagement of the mostly millennial users is generally high.

Users usually scan through pins fairly quickly. So if you decide to run an ad campaign on Pinterest you need to stand out in order to be successful. It’s all up to your creativity and creative attention grabbing!

LinkedIn advertising

Where Facebook is mainly used in the private and B2C (business to consumer) business, LinkedIn’s focus is more on professional contacts, problems and challenges. It’s therefore also most attractive for B2B (business to business) marketing.

It’s users are in the 30 – 64 age range bracket with about 227m active monthly users which are evenly split between women and men.

The average disposable income is the highest of the networks mentioned and you thus can find high quality leads here.

Average cost per click ranges from USD 2 – 7 and can go up to USD 11 – 12.

The industries which see the highest success rates with their ads include recruiters, secondary education and high end B2B products.

LinkedIn allows to precisely target your ad by company, company size, title, seniority, age and education.


Snapchat is an instant messaging app with 301 monthly active users. Compared to the other networks mentioned before, this number does not sound too impressive. However, Snap reaches a stunning 41% of all 18 – 34 year olds in the United States.

What makes Snapchat unique is that pictures and videos can only be seen for a short time before they become inaccessible. Apart from sending pictures and videos, users can play with stickers and augmented reality objects.

It was founded in 2011 and is therefore the youngest of all channels described here.

Advertising on Snap is very expensive with costs of USD 1’000 – 3’000 to run for a month. And for a good reason: ads on Snap are usually interactive videos with a 5x higher swipe up rate than the other platforms.

What platform are you planning to advertise on?

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