The 8 Social Media Advertising Platforms and How to Rule Them

Apr 24, 2024
Apr 24, 2024
15 min
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Social media advertising

This blog explores the power of social media advertising. Learn how to dominate the top 8 platforms to boost your brand's ROI and reach.

Social media has become more than just a platform for sharing memes, looking at beautiful things, or stalking old flames. It’s a thriving marketplace where businesses can connect with potential customers, flaunt their products, and make money ​​🫰

But what exactly is social media advertising, and why should you care? Allow me to explain.

What is social media advertising?

Social media advertising involves paying to put up ads on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, targeting specific groups of people who might be interested in what you have to offer.

Why bother with social paid ads? Well, they let you reach a much larger audience than your current followers. Think of it as throwing a beach party and inviting everyone—not just your close pals. 

Social networks have got the full scoop on demographics and preferences. So, when you run an ad, you’re not just shouting into the void; you’re whispering to all the right people—the ones who could really resonate with your artisanal, hand-roasted, unicorn-infused coffee beans ☕🦄​​

Sounds good doesn’t it? Wait until you hear the stats…

As of this year, the global social media landscape boasts a staggering 5.17 billion users. What's even more intriguing is that on average, each individual engages with 6.7 distinct social networks every month. 

This statistic unveils a fascinating opportunity for advertisers—each user is potentially reachable across multiple channels.

If you’re wondering which social media network you should put the most weight on, this one’s for you: The most popular social media platform globally is Facebook, with over 3 billion monthly active users. YouTube is hot on its heels, coming in at about 2.5 billion monthly active users.

Number of active users on all social platforms
Image source: Statista

Instagram isn't one to be ignored either, boasting a whopping 2 billion active users. It's worth noting that Meta generally owns four of the largest social media platforms, so if you want your products out there, it's your best bet at covering digital ground.

Difference between social media advertising and social media marketing?

While social media advertising and social media marketing are related concepts, they have distinct differences. Not all marketing is advertising but all advertising is marketing. Catching my drift yet?

Put it this way, paid social media ads are all about getting your content or products seen on social networks. This includes creating sponsored ads, boosting posts, and other paid social marketing strategies. 

The main goal is to target a specific group of people and get them to do something, like purchase, sign up for a service, or visit your website.

Now, social media marketing is a bit broader. It covers both paid and unpaid social media advertising strategies. It's about creating and sharing content on social media to meet marketing and branding goals. 

This could mean creating engaging content, chatting with followers, and utilizing data analytics to pinpoint the most receptive audiences, along with assessing what content resonates and what doesn't.

So, which is better? You’re going to need both. Social media marketing is important because it helps you build a community and foster relationships with your current and potential customers. You can see it as more of a long game. Advertising through social media, on the other hand,  puts your products or services in front of people who are looking for what you’re offering right now.

What are the advantages of social media advertising?

Once you know how to advertise on social media, you’ll be able to benefit hugely from:

  • Laser-targeted reach: Social media ads hit the bullseye. Want to reach left-handed cat lovers in Seattle who also enjoy knitting? Done. It’s like having a secret decoder ring for your audience.
  • Higher conversion rates: You can set up retargeting social media ad campaigns to nurture warm leads and encourage them to re-engage with your products or services.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Many social media advertising models operate under a pay per click (PPC) or pay per view (PPV) structure. This means you're charged only when someone clicks on your ad or views your video ad. Consequently, you only incur costs when there's user interaction.
  • Brand awareness: If you want your brand to be top-of-mind like those viral dance challenges, social media is your best bet.
  • In-depth analytics: With social media advertising, you have access to a wealth of analytics. If you have a live analytics dashboard, you can instantly see how well your campaigns are performing. This allows you to optimize them immediately.

The most popular social media advertising platforms

1. Facebook

Facebook serves as a social networking platform where you can engage in various activities like commenting, sharing photos and videos, and posting links to other types of content found online.

With a staggering 3+ billion monthly active users, Facebook reigns supreme as the most widely used social media platform globally. From connecting with friends and family to news updates, Facebook is a digital hub for everything. 

The largest age demographic of Facebook users in the United States falls between the ages of 25 and 34. These people are in the prime of their lives, often juggling careers, relationships, and adventures. And guess what? Many have disposable income to spare, making Facebook the perfect battleground for achieving abundant conversions.

When it comes to Facebook ads costs: On average, across various industries, the cost per click (CPC) sits at $1.68. Now, if we're talking impressions, the average cost per mille (CPM) stands at $8.70, based on data gathered from ad accounts focusing on the U.S.

According to Databox, the average Facebook CPM across industries in 2023 was $5.61

CPM by industry

And if you're curious about the average cost per action (CPA) on Facebook Ads across all industries, Wordstream reports it at $19.68.

Facebook ads cost-per-action Wordstream

2. X (Twitter)

X, formerly and colloquially known as Twitter, is a platform for users to share text messages, images, and videos as posts. 

While X enjoys popularity and recognition, its 600 million audience size doesn't match up to other social media behemoths like Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, and Instagram, each boasting over two billion monthly active users. Consequently, due to its smaller audience, your advertising reach is inherently limited compared to larger platforms.

It’s also crucial to recognize that X has a predominantly male user base, making up 60.9% of its users, while Facebook has a more evenly distributed demographic, with 56.8% males and 39.1% females. Facebook advertising gives you access to a more balanced demographic, allowing for broader targeting opportunities.

Statista - X demographics

X doesn’t charge advertisers based on impressions, but it does offer a similar metric known as cost per first action (CPA). CPA represents the cost an advertiser pays for a specific desired action, such as a click, app install, or website visit. 

For Promoted Posts, the price typically ranges from $0.50 to $2 per action. If you opt for Promoted Accounts, you can expect to spend between $2 and $4 for each follow. Meanwhile, Promoted Trends, the priciest option, comes with a hefty cost of $200,000 per day.

3. YouTube

YouTube is a video-sharing site that allows you to watch videos online. You can also create and upload your own videos to share with others. With nearly 2.5 billion active users, it ranks as the second-largest social media platform out there. So, it's one you don't want to overlook when planning your paid social media strategy.

Advertisers and business owners have 8 types of ad formats to choose from. In terms of video format ads, you can choose from Skippable Video Ads, which give viewers the option to skip after 5 seconds. 

Non-Skippable Video Ads, on the other hand, require viewers to watch before accessing the content. They typically fall within the range of 15 to 20 seconds. Then, there are Bumper Ads—they’re non-skippable 6-second ads that run before your video content. 

Lastly, Masthead Ads are like the VIP section of YouTube ads. You'll find them right at the top of the YouTube homepage. But here's the catch—they're exclusive. You can only secure your ad spot by booking through a Google sales rep.

So, what does it cost to advertise on the second-largest social network in the world? Typically, the CPM (cost per thousand impressions) for YouTube Ads falls within the range of $4 to $10. This means businesses can anticipate spending approximately $400 to $1000 if aiming for 100,000 impressions.

Below is a chart showing the comparison of CPV (cost per view) across various industries. In the home & garden industry, advertisers face the highest costs, averaging around $0.088.

Mega Digital Chart comparing the CPV across various industries

4. Instagram

Instagram is a social media platform centered around sharing photos and videos. Users can post content to their profiles, engage with others through likes and comments, and discover new content through hashtags. This visual-centric approach makes Instagram a prime platform for businesses to flaunt their products and services.

Last year, the Instagram CPM fluctuated between $6.94 and $10.06, with the average benchmark for feed ads reaching $8.50. Meanwhile, Stories ads boasted a slightly lower benchmark at $6.25 during the same period.

Instagram Average CPM

The cost per click on Instagram typically falls within the range of $0.40 to $0.70. This encompasses all interactions with an ad, including link clicks as well as likes, comments, and shares.

For ads that have a destination URL, the cost per click on Instagram typically falls within the range of $0.50 to $0.95. The cost per engagement sits between $0.01-0.05 and the cost per thousand impressions ranges between $2.50-$3.50.

5. LinkedIn

LinkedIn isn’t just a platform; it’s a power suit. It’s where professionals network, job hunt, and build business connections. But, how suitable is their 740 million-strong following for your business or services? 

It's important to keep in mind that when users interact on LinkedIn, they're usually in a professional mindset, focusing on their careers, industries, and professional development. Consequently, LinkedIn ads are especially effective for business-to-business (B2B) and professional services or products. 

LinkedIn users boast significantly greater purchasing power compared to the typical online audience, with over twice the average buying power. Additionally, it's worth noting that 60% of LinkedIn users are millennials (28 – 43), indicating a significant presence of the younger, upwardly mobile demographic.

Linkedin majority age group

So, if your target audience includes sectors such as financial services, postgraduate programs, workshops and seminars, professional training, and consultancy, leveraging LinkedIn can yield significant results.

In terms of advertising costs, expenses can fluctuate significantly based on factors such as demographic targeting, ad content, and viewer interaction. LinkedIn Ads shows that the cost per click can range from a modest $2 to a hefty $15. 

Similarly, the cost per thousand impressions can show a wide disparity, falling anywhere between $30 to over $200.

6. TikTok

TikTok is a social media platform known for its short-form videos. Users create and share engaging content, often featuring music, dance, challenges, and creative storytelling. It’s got over 1.5 billion users so it’s a platform you want to include in your digital marketing strategy.

When brands embrace TikTok’s unpolished, genuine approach, it resonates with users and fosters brand trust. The platform thrives on unfiltered, playful content. 

Brands can shed their corporate suits and showcase their more human sides. Whether it’s quirky challenges, behind-the-scenes glimpses, or user-generated content, TikTok encourages brands to let loose and have fun.

Below, you can observe that TikTok is predominantly embraced by Gen Z. Therefore, if your brand aims to engage with a younger audience, TikTok and Snapchat are the platforms to invest in.

Social media platforms demographics by age group
Image source: Emarketer

So, what’s it going to cost to advertise on TikTok? According to a study, the average TikTok CPM for video ads was $12.85, varying from $8.06 in the Business & Industrial sector to $26.51 in the Ecommerce industry.

TikTok CPM by industry

You can also gauge your average CPMs by comparing them with these popular ad formats: In-feed ads typically range from $6.00 to $10.00, TopFeed ads from $10.00 to $15.00, and TopView ads from $15.00 to $20.00.

According to JungleTopp, the CPC value stands at $0.19. Notably, several companies have achieved even lower CPC values, including a skincare brand at $0.32 per click, an online jewelry store at $0.13 per click, and a beauty brand as low as £0.04 per click. 

With Tiktok’s impressive click-through rate, a compelling opportunity is presented for businesses to achieve high engagement and conversions at a fraction of the cost compared to other platforms.

7. Pinterest

This platform is about visual discovery. It is where inspiration lives. You can expect visual content—images, infographics, and DIY hacks. With 482 million monthly active users, it’s a goldmine for brands looking to showcase products through pins and promoted pins.

Businesses in fashion and retail, home decor and interior design, food and recipes, health and wellness, travel and adventure, and weddings and events can benefit hugely from this platform. 

Before incorporating Pinterest into your marketing strategy, take into account its significant gender skew. Globally, 79.5% of Pinterest users are female, with only 17.6% being male. Ensure that this aligns with your brand's target audience and goals.

Pinterest Global Advertising Audience

So, what are the costs involved in Pinterest ads? For those aiming to enhance brand awareness, anticipate spending between $2.00 to $5.00 per thousand impressions. Seeking to amplify online engagement will range from $0.10 to $1.50 per engagement, similar to driving web traffic. Conversion-based campaigns typically range from $6.00 to $10.00 per action.

8. Snapchat

It is a one-to-one and group messaging app that allows users to send photos, videos, and text messages. Snapchat’s claim to fame? Disappearing photos and videos. Blink, and you might miss them. 

With about 750 million daily active users, it’s a playground for filters, lenses, and quirky ads. While Snapchat might not be suitable for every business, it offers unique advantages:

  • Connect with a younger demographic: If your target audience includes people under 35, Snapchat is a prime platform.
  • Highly engaging: With Snapchat users opening the app almost 40 times a day, as an advertiser or brand, your visibility potential is exceptionally high.
  • Playful branding: Snapchat’s casual and fun vibe encourages authenticity. It’s an opportunity for brands to humanize themselves thereby becoming more relatable.

In terms of advertising costs, Snapchat maintains an average CPM of hovers between $3.03-$8, which is lower than competitors like Facebook ($8.70) and Instagram ($8.50). The cost per swipe on average is also only $0.30-1.


Sponsored lenses offer users interactive 3D experiences, often through augmented reality filters, with package prices ranging from $450,000 to $700,000, depending on the chosen advertising days. 

On the other hand, Snap Ads are traditional 10-second video ads showcased between stories, typically costing around $50,000 per day.

How to create a social media advertising strategy

Whether you’re a seasoned marketer or just learning about social media ads, these steps will help you maximize your impact on social platforms.

1. Define your goals 

Before launching any social media campaign, it’s crucial to define clear objectives. What do you want to achieve? Are you aiming for brand awareness, lead generation, website traffic, or sales? Be specific and measurable. 

For instance:

  • Increase website traffic by 20% in the next quarter.
  • Generate 500 new leads per month through social channels.

2. Identify your target audience 

Understanding your audience is fundamental. Who are your ideal customers? Consider demographics (age, gender, location), interests, behaviors, and pain points. Create detailed buyer personas to guide your messaging. 

For example:

  • Persona A: Millennial professionals interested in sustainable fashion.
  • Persona B: Small business owners seeking affordable marketing solutions.

3. Choose the right platforms

Not all social platforms are equal. Select the ones that align with your audience and goals. Here’s a summary for you:

  • Facebook: Great for diverse audiences and B2C businesses.
  • Instagram: Ideal for visual content and reaching younger demographics.
  • LinkedIn: Perfect for B2B networking and professional services.
  • X (Twitter): Effective for real-time updates and engagement.
  • Pinterest: Excellent for lifestyle, DIY, and e-commerce brands.
  • YouTube: Perfect for video content, tutorials, and reaching a wide audience.
  • Snapchat: Ideal for connecting with younger audiences through short-lived content.
  • TikTok: Great for viral challenges, creative content, and reaching Gen Z audiences.

 4. Look at benchmarks and set your budget

Research industry benchmarks to understand typical performance metrics (click-through rates, conversion rates, etc.). Then, allocate a realistic budget. Start small and scale up as you see results. Remember to consider both ad spend and creative production costs for your campaigns.

 5. Use attention-grabbing creatives, designed for mobile

Firstly, mobile devices dominate social media usage. Ensure your visuals and copy are optimized for smaller screens. Some tips:

  • Compelling images and videos: Utilize high-quality ad design that resonate with your audience.
  • Short, snappy text: Get straight to the point with punchy copy; avoid lengthy paragraphs.
  • Clear call to action: Be bold; tell users what to do next (e.g., “Shop now,” “Learn more,” “Sign up”).
  • User-generated content allows you to have an authentic voice amidst the seas of overproduced ads.

Now, creating brand-new content from scratch can be costly and intimidating, but that is why solutions like Madgicx’s Creative Workflow have become a lifeline for businesses on a budget. 

With this all-in-one creative production solution, you can browse and save your favorite Meta ads for inspiration in Madgicx's Ad Library. Afterward, shoot a quick design brief along with your ad references via Sparkle

A designer will be on standby, ready to make your vision happen and ensure that it’s optimal for social media. They’ll have your designs ready in just 48 hours. 

Madgicx's Ad Library

Once done, they're automatically uploaded to Meta Ads Manager so you can launch your ads either from there or directly from within Madgicx. 

When you’re not creating ads, simply use Madgicx's Ad Library to spy on competitor ads and keep abreast with industry trends. Curious? Start for free ($0 trial) now!

6. A/B test multiple creative and audience variations

Experimentation is key. Run A/B tests to compare different ad versions. Test variations of headlines, images, CTAs, and audience segments. Every variable that makes up your Facebook ads can be A/B tested. Use the data to refine your approach. 

7. Measure your results and optimize your campaigns

Regularly analyze your campaign performance. Use marketing analytics tools to track metrics like ROI, ROAS, ad spend, revenue, and cost per purchase. Then, adjust your strategy based on the insights. The best way to keep your finger on the pulse of your live campaigns is opting for a real time dashboard like Madgicx’s One-Click Report.

One-Click Report Blended Metrics

It’s a cross-channel reporting solution that allows you to measure your results across Instagram, TikTok, GA4, TikTok, Shopify, Facebook and Google Ads.

While many analytics dashboards can be complex and overwhelming, One-Click Report stands out as a user-friendly solution. Its intuitive dashboard features pre-built reports, and for those seeking customization, it’s as simple as dragging and dropping your preferred metrics. 

Work with a team or with clients? No problem. Via a shareable link, they will be able to access the live dashboard and get the reporting in real time.

All this data and functionality can be yours, starting at just $29/month

8. Retarget

Don’t miss out on potential sales—retargeting ads are your golden ticket to conversions because they target people who have already shown interest in your products or services. These individuals are the easiest to win over. 

Implement retargeting campaigns to re-engage users who visited your website or interacted with your content. These ads remind them of the items or services they were browsing or had added to their cart and encourage them to take action.

And that’s a wrap!

I trust you've found inspiration in leveraging social media to promote your products and services. With billions of users worldwide active on these platforms, the potential for reaching, engaging your target audience, and driving conversions is virtually limitless 💰

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Apr 24, 2024
Apr 24, 2024
Annette Nyembe

Digital copywriter with a passion for sculpting words that resonate in a digital age.

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