US spending on social networks is predicted to reach $43 billion in 2020, with ad impressions up 20% year-over-year. But with all this noise, making sure your campaigns are the ones drawing attention can be tough. This two-part series will cover how to create ads for the leading social media platforms - and today, we’ll be looking specifically at Facebook, Instagram and Reddit.
We also spoke to Michael Rutkowski, Chief Marketing Officer from Berlin-based mobile agency Integr8 to get their expert insights on creating standout ads, and what you need to bear in mind for each specific platform.
Creating effective ads on Facebook
With 2.45 billion monthly active users in 2020, Facebook remains the world’s most used social platform. It’s also important to note that 96% of Facebook users access the app via mobile. Marketers looking to set up Facebook ads should start by visiting Facebook for Business, which is where you can choose your objectives, select your audience and decide where to run your ads.
Types of in-app advertising formats on Facebook
While Facebook offers 17 different placements among its inventory, only 13 of those can be used for app install campaigns:
- Image ads and video ads allow their respective media type to appear in-feed.
- Video poll ads offer an interactive element for mobile users.
- Carousel ads and slideshow ads allow marketers to display a selection of media.
- Collection ads are a mobile-only format that shows a collection of five products- and users can purchase these items without leaving the app.
- Dynamic ads are targeted product ads, displaying ads to users who have previously shown interest in a product.
- Messenger ads are ads placed within Facebook Messenger, including a call-to-action option that connects users to your customer services.
- Previously known as Canvas, Instant Experience ads are visible in a user’s news feed and offer a full-screen experience with a fast loading time.
- Lead ads is another mobile-only format that lets users share their details with you, great for sign-ups and subscription services.
- Stories ads are full-screen ads displayed within a user’s Stories feed. Facebook Stories now also offers augmented reality Stories ads, which include filters and animations.
- Playable ads is a relatively new format that enables users to play a game within your ad. While originally exclusive to gaming companies, these are now available to all advertisers.
For Facebook, Michael advises that “the square format image (a 1:1 image ratio) placed in-feed has the highest reach, and therefore the best results. And while video creatives are great, you can still succeed using static images on Facebook.”
He also mentions Facebook’s recently released automated ads for app installs: “Similar to Google UAC, the advertiser now only needs to upload a few different text, image and video assets and the Facebook algorithm takes over the choice of placement and targeting. While still fairly new, app marketers should keep an eye on this new way to run app install campaigns in the Facebook network”.
How to create effective ads on Instagram
With a global audience of 500 daily active users, Instagram is a powerful way for marketers to reach consumers. Users are extremely active, too - the “Like” button is tapped 4.2 billion times per day and over 130 million users engage with shopping posts each month.
Michael reminds us that if you’re running ads on Facebook, these will also be shown on Instagram, as well as the Facebook Audience Network which consists of third party apps.
Six types of in-app advertising on Instagram
- Stories ads are placed within a user’s Stories feed. This ad format can include video or images and includes a “swipe up” link to your website.
- Photo ads allow advertisers to display an Instagram image in user’s feeds, labeled as a sponsored post.
- Video ads are sponsored videos within a user’s feed. Video ads can be up to 60 seconds long and play automatically.
- Carousel ads allow a series of images or videos that users can view by swiping right, allowing you to show a wider range of products.
- Collection ads appear on a user’s feed as a collage of images. This can include video, images or both to display your products.
- Ads within the “Explore” tab let marketers connect with users in a discovery mindset. As they are already on the Explore tab, it’s likely they are also more open to seeing ads from brands they may not have come across.
Michael suggests making the most of Instagram Stories, whose reach has increased significantly recently: “Thanks to the use of the full screen, users’ focus remains solely on the ad. Video ads work much better here than on Facebook, as it corresponds to the general nature of the platform.”
How to create effective ads on Reddit
Reddit’s platform offers forum-like communities for topics across all fields of interest, and now counts 26.4 million users in the US per month and a billion native video views within that time frame.
Impressively, a study by Reddit and Verto Analytics also showed that customer journeys on the platform generated purchase decisions nine times faster compared to other social media. With a huge range of “subreddit” forums that cover every topic under the sun, advertising on Reddit offers a sort of topic targeting - ensuring your ad is seen by users with a genuine interest in your product.
This makes it a good platform for advertising niche products. As Michael says, “The more niche a product, the more difficult it is to reach users on the big networks like Google. As an agency, we use Reddit primarily to advertise products where we know that certain communities on Reddit cover similar topics as the app in question does.”
Types of in-app advertising on Reddit
Advertisers can display ads using Reddit promoted posts. There are two options when selecting the type of ad you want to show:
- Link ads that direct the user directly to a specified URL, such as your company website or a specific product page.
- Text ads that direct the user to a Reddit post of your choice, which can be a better option if your primary goal is to increase brand exposure. Your Reddit post can also include external links.
Michael adds: “What matters on Reddit is understanding that the platform is community-focused. If you’re targeting specific communities, you need to tailor your creatives to fit that particular group of people. The platform tends to have a humorous slant, so if your product allows it — this is a good time not to take yourself too seriously.”