Social Ads: The What, Why and How All Explained

Updated: May 21


Social ads — we’ve all seen them. Advertisements that appear to us on Facebook, at the top of a Google search or other web pages after we’ve been looking for something in particular. Ads like this are a really useful way of engaging with consumers and your target audience, and knowing the different types is vital for you to determine which suits your business best.

Programmatic advertising is the purchasing of ad space via a digital action which is held during the loading of a web page. It uses demographic, interest & behavioural signals to target users with relevant ads.

For example, if someone was shopping online for a car, or had recently visited a car showroom (providing mobile data was on), another advertiser might decide to target this user with a competing product advertisement. This ad will then be shown on any webpage this user visits, and can come in many formats including display, video & audio advertisements.

Pay-per-click ads (PPC) appear when a user has searched for a specific word or phrase. Google & Bing are the main suppliers of these ads, and they appear within the first few results of that search, highlighted with a bold ‘AD’ symbol. Once a user clicks on that ad, the advertiser is then billed. In newer formats, shopping and discovery ads have also been created using the PPC model to extend the ads reach and effectiveness.

Consumers today are increasingly more impatient, so making sure that a company is at the top of the search term is vital to ensuring that it remains profitable and can gain sales from its competitors.

Paid social advertising allows businesses to target users based on their current or previous social media engagements. This can be anything from liking a product to viewing a video, or showing an interest in a certain topic.

Unlike programmatic advertising & PPC ad formats, data from social platforms is hidden behind walled gardens, meaning that this kind of ad space has to be bought directly through Facebook, Instagram, or any other social media platform. Again, these ads come in multiple formats including different types of display & video.

If you think social media ads could benefit your business, get in touch with us.


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