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Digital Marketing

Which social media platforms, should you be advertising on?

Social media marketing is a vital part of any marketing mix, providing the opportunity to reach potential customers and brand advocates easier than ever before. However, when you start using your own budget to increase reach or conversion, advertising can feel like a minefield.

The first and most important part of any social media marketing campaign is knowing and understanding your audience. Even if you feel like you understand what they like, it’s not as easy to understand where they spend their time, where they’re the most engaged, and which platforms to use for achieving your marketing goals. This blog will break down each social media platform’s audiences, purposes, and the ideal messaging for converting social media users into purchasers.

Facebook – Target

What better place to start than with the big dog? Facebook is the biggest name in the game when it comes to paid social strategy, and with its ownership of Instagram it’s now twice as important (but we’ll come to that later).

The biggest benefit of Facebook’s Ads Manager is its unique targeting functions. Being able to pinpoint a unique persona through interest, behaviour, and demographic targeting makes it a cut above the rest when finding your perfect cold audiences.

In addition, Facebook’s lookalike audiences can be a vital step in finding similar audiences that are most likely to become customers.

Facebook is chock-full of mature audiences with disposable income and an average daily usage of 38 minutes. This is why the platform can be so profitable when integrated into your marketing mix.

Facebook provides creative versatility when it comes to options for placements, platforms, formats, etc, all of which can be tested for each of your audiences so that you can find the perfect creative and messaging.

Instagram – Compel

Since 2015, Instagram advertising has been a key part of digital marketing strategies, and as a visual platform it can be the optimal place to show off your branding, eye-catching products, or your awesome content.

The fact that Instagram and Facebook advertising are both run from the same channel can provide lots of opportunities for testing platforms, audiences, and placements, as well as further utilising Facebook’s targeting resources.

Instagram’s audience is typically more female-led with 57% of the user base being women. This can be the perfect platform for promoting female-specific products or services, or implementing more creative-driven messaging. With the current rise of UGC, this could— and often should— include your existing customers’ snaps, building social proof and making your ads feel less like ads. Producing compelling content that wow’s your audience will be the make or break on Insta.

At Digital Cake, we’ve seen a significant rise in engagement on Instagram Stories when optimised correctly. This placement is often forgotten when building Facebook and Instagram ads, but creating native, compelling content that’s designed for Stories will be sure to gain high levels of traffic to your product pages.

When landing on your perfect messaging for Stories, many marketers forget that the accompanying post copy that would normally be included in feeds won’t be seen! Make sure to include it in the creative, ideally through a video format, so that no matter where someone sees your ad, they get all the information they need to take the action you’re hoping for. Creating videos that work without sound is often the best way to get your message across through Stories, leading your audiences further along their customer journey from ad click to purchase.

Pinterest – Inspire

Some may think that Pinterest is all about aesthetics (they’re not totally wrong), but it’s also the perfect platform for spotting new trends. Researching emerging trends and integrating them into your personas and marketing campaigns can be vital to prospecting new audiences and building brand awareness.

Pinterest’s audience demographics are important, but understanding their intentions is even more vital. The platform’s main purpose is to provide inspiration. If your content is geared towards inspiring audiences to express themselves (with your product or otherwise), it’ll perform extremely well. Knowing how to integrate your content onto this platform will help build your brand awareness and attract traffic.

The platform allows you to target using up to 150 keywords, the more relevant the better! This can really help with getting your ads in front of the right users, who are actually looking for content just like yours. Instead of Facebook and Instagram, where your ads interrupt their user-journey, Pinterest ads are designed to serve users with what they’re looking for, so you don’t get in the way, but instead, get clicks.

It’s all about the pins! You may have heard of rich pins, but if not, here’s the lowdown.

Rich pins synchronise information from your website to your Pinterest ads and organic posts. If you run an ecommerce business, Product Pins are probably what you’re after. These include pricing, availability, and more details, ensuring your customer knows exactly what they’re looking at. Having this information on Pinterest means your clicks will be super-high quality, as there’s no information that they don’t already know by the time they get to your landing page. No one likes to be scared off by a price tag they didn’t see coming…

Whether it’s for new projects, life upgrades, or holiday plans – the main thing to remember when creating content for Pinterest is that it needs to inspire!

TikTok – Entertain

TikTok ads are unique in the paid social sphere, as their set-up is slightly different. TikTok ads are there to entertain the users! With the platform’s content geared around challenges, reactions, interactions, and engagement, your paid social strategy needs to align with this.

The platform’s algorithm is designed for accumulating and creating viral content that sticks, and brands can utilise this cyclical design to build on current trends and be part of the global conversation.

Tiktok ads are broken up into 5 categories:

  • Brand takeover
  • Branded AR content
  • In-feed video
  • Hashtag challenge
  • Sponsored influencer content

Each one is unique, and when creating content for each it needs to feel native to the placement. The simplest strategy to boost engagement is through hashtag challenges. This is a great way to increase brand awareness, gather UGC, and get people talking about you. Your campaign hashtag can then be integrated into your TikTok page, encouraging participation and further engagement.

However, although hashtags can be powerful, on Tiktok it is sound that pushes trends. Each video is linked to a song or sound-bite that can be searched to find users’ personalised spin on it. Using this to create funny or entertaining videos can be a perfect way to find new audiences.

Once you’ve got the basics, it might be worth looking into influencer content and brand takeovers, both of which can have a huge impact on sales. Here at DC, we’ve seen purchases of a particular product sky-rocket from one Tiktok video.

There’s so much opportunity here, but remember your strategy must be all about creating entertaining content that goes beyond your brand or products. However, TikTok’s tongue-in-cheek vibe may not suit your brand, and if it doesn’t, don’t force it! TikTok audiences will see straight through inauthentic messaging.

Snapchat – Engage

If you want to reach 75% of Millennials and Gen Z, then Snapchat is the platform for you. The majority of Snapchat users are unique in their social media behaviour in that they are loyal to their platform. 90% of Snapchat users don’t use another platform, and if that isn’t a reason to try this platform then you won’t find one!

That exclusivity is unique to Snapchat, and should therefore inform your decision when deciding whether to target here. If your content and brand are designed for young audiences that engage with fun content or like to make videos, then it’s a no-brainer.

The only downfall is that Snap ads can be on the more expensive side. On-demand geofilter ads start at $5 which is reasonable, but when you look into sponsored AR content it can go up to the thousands. The best way for smaller ecommerce brands to use this platform is to start small and keep it simple.

Choosing the right placement, campaign objective, and audiences will feel all too similar to other platforms (unless you’re opting for Sponsored Lenses), but your creative will have to do the talking (or shouting) here as the attention span of these users may be slightly shorter than on other platforms — although Snaps can be up to 60 second, they are used to short-form content that says it all very quickly.

Make sure you’re grabbing their attention, because once you have it you’ll see your engagement go through the roof!

Twitter – Be subtle

Unlike some of the other platforms, Twitter believes that less is more. Subtly is the game on this platform, encouraging the soft sell. Twitter is great for brand awareness, and although it may not produce a huge click-through rate through ads, 41% of users purchase products 30 days after viewing a Twitter ad.

Twitter’s ad guidelines are becoming ever stricter due to political propaganda and social media’s part to play in that (mainly in the US). Therefore, making sure your content is right for the platform will keep them happy, and a happy platform means a happy brand.

Ensuring your ad is a scroll-stopper with fun video content, funny copy, or satire will set your ads above the rest and keep your brand in the users’ mind.

Aside from paid advertising, Twitter is great for brand-user interaction and using it in this way is the number one priority before considering advertising here. If users click onto your account from your ads, you want them to follow you! So, give them a reason to. Even if it’s just company updates, product highlights, and brand-focused memes, Twitter is great for garnering an audience that is like-minded and nurturing them will help encourage conversions.

Be subtle, but impactful.

LinkedIn – Stay professional

Finally, the platform that most business owners will have, but won’t know can be an awesome marketing tool — LinkedIn!

LinkedIn can be seen as Facebook’s boring half-brother, but even though updating your page and finding connections can sometimes feel like work rather than play, this platform is great for finding the right people.

LinkedIn has 630 million users, most of which will be decision-makers. For B2B marketing, as well as e-commerce businesses, advertising on this platform can be instrumental when done correctly.

LinkedIn’s Campaign Manager will have all the familiar tools you are used to, with a myriad of ad formats to test and optimise, however the key to marketing on this platform is your messaging.

The platform is designed for professional Networking, and ensuring your messaging comes across correctly will be vital in gaining the leads you are after. Making sure that your advertising is informative and sharp will accomplish the perfect positioning for your LinkedIn marketing.

Let’s wrap up… You’ve got ads to launch.

The social media landscape can be extremely daunting, but hopefully this quick breakdown helps you to make decisions of where your marketing mix should be placed. Your audience, brand sentiment, product, messaging, and content should all come into play when making these decisions. Even if your brand doesn’t feel quite ready to advertise on all these different platforms, that’s okay — you can adapt your marketing strategies, budgets, and goals as you see fit, bringing in new platforms and audiences when it feels right for you.

With each corner of the internet designed for its own purpose, making sure you’re wearing the right hat (or using the right app!) for the job will make all the different successful social media marketing campaigns.

The most important thing to remember is that authenticity is vital in the content you create. Create what feels right for you and your audience, because trying to change your brand for each and every platform will never be worth it if you’re not seeing the results you back it up. Find the platforms that feel like coming home and find the people who feel the same way.

Headshot of Sam Bacon

Sam Bacon

Performance Marketing Executive

It has been a fantastic experience working with Cake, they supported and guided us through a complete rethink of our e-commerce operation. We’ve been learning a great deal through the development phase and the team have been incredibly patient of our many many questions. We’re really pleased with our new site and I would recommend Cake wholeheartedly.

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Chris Thomas


Chris Thomas

CEO & Founder

Chris has been at the forefront of eCommerce and a pioneer of online retailing since the early 00s. A 5-time Drapers Award winner, Chris has extensive experience in developing fashion brands online.

Chris founded Cake in 2016. Based in Birmingham, with offices nationwide, Cake specialises in helping fashion brands understand their market online and then helps to develop appropriate strategical direction to achieve their plan, all backed by his 20 years of operating in the retail market.