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Which Social Media Ads Work Best?

While many companies are becoming familiar with Facebook ads, not every business understands the value of Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, or Twitter ads. We’ve put together this quick tutorial to share our experiences on how each platform performed for our clients this year.


Facebook has more users than most other social media platforms, and they’ve taught its users to like and click on ads. For most of our clients, Facebook is a reliable and cost-effective way to create awareness and drive web traffic.

Here are some tips to help you make the most of your Facebook ad campaigns.

  • Videos almost always outperform stills on Facebook.

  • Authentic and less polished images continue to outperform stock images or professional photography (people like “real” images on Facebook)

  • Facebook also has easy-to-use tools that allow you to create slideshows that play as videos – use them and see if they increase your ad’s performance

  • Don’t put text on your videos or images, or Facebook will slow down the distribution of your ad, almost always negatively impacting performance. If you have something to say in words, put it into the text portion of your ad.

  • Tell your consumers EXACTLY what you want them to do. “Click here to buy now.” “Read more here.” “Tell us what you think by commenting on this ad.”

  • Carefully monitor your ad’s comments on Facebook – people can be nasty.

  • The Ads Manager tool allows for much more precise targeting, positioning, and analysis, so bite the bullet and take the time to become proficient in Facebook's Ad Manager feature. If you’re still “boosting” ads, you’re missing out.

  • Get more Facebook ad tips by clicking here.


Instagram is owned by Facebook, so you’d think their ads perform in similar ways, but they don’t. Instagram ads don’t usually perform as well as Facebook ads, even when you send them to the exact same audience. More and more marketers are hiring influencers on Instagram to create and promote their content. We suggest you redirect those funds, invest money in building your own Instagram audience, and become an influencer. Comments on Instagram tend to be much more favorable than on Facebook (where people can get ugly.)

Here are some tips to help you make the most of your Instagram ad campaigns.

  • Use gorgeous, square images. Adding attractive design elements never hurts, either. People on Instagram respond to attractive images.

  • People on Instagram are not trained to click on links, so if you want them to click, spell it out in the text and tell them what they will find when they click on that link.

  • Instagrammers like hashtags, but ads aren’t searchable, so don’t bother.

  • Keep in mind that Instagram is good for awareness and engagement but not a great forum for buying or driving traffic to your website.

  • Get more Instagram ad tips by clicking here.


LinkedIn has transformed in the past few years. While it used to be just for job hunters, now it’s also appealing to all types of senior and middle managers. LinkedIn has also added mobile ad placement to its ad suit, so you can target your ads to LinkedIn users even when they are not on the platform. LinkedIn also offers unparalleled access to users by professional title, place of employment, industry, and even educational degree.

Here are some tips to help you make the most of your LinkedIn ad campaigns.

  • LinkedIn users are turned off by stock business images. Opt for unexpected, visually compelling, or otherwise eye-catching images.

  • If you’re targeting by industry, use industry-specific images. If you’re targeting doctors, show doctors. If you want to reach window manufacturers, show windows.

  • If you don’t have a business-centric message, don’t bother with LinkedIn.

  • Messages to administrative assistants, HR, Office Managers, and CEOs/Presidents do especially well on LinkedIn.

  • Don’t expect high click-through numbers, but you can expect highly qualified clicks.

  • While most social media formats allow you to upload your database to create custom audiences, if your database is comprised mostly of work emails, Pinterest and Facebook will have a hard time matching these emails to their users. Because people often include their business emails in their LinkedIn profiles, LinkedIn can often match a much higher percentage of your business database, meaning you can send more ads to new business or customer databases.

  • Get more LinkedIn ad tips by clicking here.


We’re big fans of Pinterest. This format has developed strong followings in certain categories, including (but not limited to) home, DIY, crafts, books, fashion, travel, health and fitness, parenting, photography, mommy blogging, and design. A good campaign on Pinterest can give you astronomically high impressions and good click-through rates. They also offer Shop the Look Pins, Recipe Pins, Product Pins, and other features that make this a good format for many businesses.

Here are some tips to help you make the most of your Pinterest ad campaigns.

  • Looks count. Think about how your image will look in the Pinterest format, and pay attention to design and context when creating Pinterest images.

  • Include your logo. Pinterest reports that ads with logos in the image outperform images without logos.

  • Include searchable hashtags. Unlike other formats, Pinterest ads start with a post. In effect, every ad is a promoted pin. That means that your Pin may live on as a post long after your ad spend is completed. Your ad can be saved or shared by users. Your Pinterest ad may continue to perform for weeks, even months, after your campaign is completed, so including searchable hashtags makes sense.

  • Be specific about the action you want Pinterest users to take. “Click here to buy now.” “Get all our tips by clicking here.”

  • Get more Pinterest ad tips by clicking here.


YouTube videos are a great way to share tutorials or DIY videos. It’s also one of the largest social media networks, so your potential reach is almost limitless. That’s why it’s important to become proficient at using audience targeting tools to get the best results.

Here are some tips to help you make the most of your YouTube ad campaigns.

  • There are many advertising options to choose from. Become familiar with all of them and decide which you want to use before you create your video. Each option may require a different video approach for optimal results.

  • Tutorials and DIY videos don’t need to be gorgeous films if they are clear, accurate, and useful. In this video category, utility beats video quality.

  • Video quality counts for awareness and brand enhancement. Storytelling and novelty are critical. Some of the biggest names in advertising are sharing their multi-million-dollar videos here, so low-quality ad videos or boring corporate messages don’t usually get big numbers.

  • YouTube comments can be vulgar and abusive, so if you want to protect a brand (or a client) from abuse, this might not be the place for you. On the other hand, regular YouTube video watchers know that most comments are crass nonsense and rarely take them to heart.

  • Get more tips for YouTube ads by clicking here.


Twitter’s marketing strength lies in news, tech, personalities, and politics. Twitter can be a good way to promote a celebrity or politician, promote news and information resources, and launch your latest innovation. But when it comes to other categories, Twitter ads tend to be lackluster (and that’s putting it kindly.)

Here are some tips to help you make the most of your Twitter ad campaigns.

  • Keep images clear, simple, and compelling. They must grab the attention of very fast-moving users.

  • Avoid words on your images or videos. Keep it simple.

  • Videos do better than images. Short loops of videos or Boomerangs sometimes do better than longer videos.

  • Speak in headlines. Keep descriptions short and make your desired action clear. “Breaking News: Tornados in Alabama. Read more here” is compelling and will drive more clicks than longer descriptions with more details.

  • Twitter ads are an effective way to attract more followers. If increasing your Twitter audience is important, Twitter ads may accelerate the process.

  • Click here to get more Twitter ad tips.

Want to talk more about which social media platform is right for your needs? Contact us today, and we’ll schedule a free consultation to discuss your needs. Rest assured that contacting us will NOT result in mass emails, aggressive follow-up, or other types of business stalking.

Check out some of our other blogs about social media, including

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