Social network advertising

Social network advertising, also social media targeting, is a group of terms that are used to describe forms of online advertising that focus on social networking services. One of the major benefits of this type of advertising is that advertisers can take advantage of the users' demographic information and target their ads appropriately.

Social media targeting combines current targeting options (such as geotargeting, behavioral targeting, socio-psychographic targeting, etc.), to make detailed target group identification possible. With social media targeting, advertisements are distributed to users based on information gathered from target group profiles.

Social network advertising is not necessarily the same as social media targeting. Social media targeting is a method of optimizing social media advertising by using profile data to deliver advertisements directly to individual users. Social network advertising refers to the process of matching social network users to target groups that have been specified by the advertiser.


People who use social networking sites get their various information about themselves, including their age, gender, interests, and location stored on the servers of the social media companies. This stored information allows advertisers to create specific target groups and individualize their advertisements. The advantage for advertisers is that their ads can reach to a specific set of audience who are interested in the product or service. The advantage for users is that they can see ads that are relevant to their interest.


Facebook, the most popular social network, has developed a targeting technology which allows advertisements to reach a specific audience. This is within the Facebook product called Facebook Ads, which is available to users and businesses alike. While posting an ad through the Facebook Ad Manager, an advertiser is provided a set of characteristics that will define his target market. Facebook calls this audience targeting. These traits include geographical location, gender, age, work, relationship status, and interests such as music, among others.[1] Facebook claims that advertisers can even customize their target audience based on their behavior such as purchasing patterns, device usage, and other activities. This is why Facebook users see advertisements on their profile page that are relevant to their preferences and interests. This allows the ads to be less intrusive and more successful in delivering the appropriate content to the right audience. The advertisement algorithm is also capable of monitoring performance so that advertisers or Facebook marketers are able to modify their audience as well as the nature, budget, and duration of the ads based on its performance.


Instagram is a social media app that is created as an outlet to share photos with followers. While it is mainly used for friends and family and sometimes a broad following if you are an influencer, smaller companies use their platform to also advertise to the public as well as using influencers to promote certain products.[2] Social media programs, such as Instagram, uses digital engagement to allow companies to advertise different products.[3] The programs evaluate how a consumer engages with the content based on the amount of likes, amount of follows, and certain interests based on preference of the user. The program (Instagram) takes the information gathered about the consumer and creates an environment for the advertisement.[4] Since Instagram is mainly used by ages 18-24[5] and on average is used by each person around 72 minutes a day[6] the way advertisements are presented is key because if they are not effective they will be disregarded and the advertisement would not be effective.


Snapchat is a multimedia messaging app developed by Snap Inc., originally Snapchat Inc. One of the principal features of Snapchat is that pictures and messages are usually only available for a short time before they become inaccessible to their recipients. Facebook is the most popular social advertising platforms by far, but an increasing number of young people use Snapchat. Pew Research Center data show that 78% percent of young Americans (18-24 years old) use Snapchat (the number goes down to 54% in the 25 to 29 years old group).[7]


Within social communities users provide demographic information, interests, and images. This information is accessed by social media targeting software and enables advertisers to create display ads with characteristics that match those of social network users. The important component of social media targeting is the provision of the users' socio-demographic and interest information. By using this information, social media targeting makes it possible for users to see advertisements that might actually interest them. The availability of user data allows for detailed analysis and reporting, which is a big part of social media targeting and what makes it more effective than statistical projections alone.


About three-quarters of Internet users are members of at least one social network. 49% of U.S. adult women visit social media sites a few times a day, whereas only 34% of men visit them. The fastest-growing age group on Twitter is 55- to 64-year-old, up 79% since 2012. And the 45-54 age group is the fastest-growing on Facebook and Google+. Social media use is still more common among the 89% of Internet users aged 18–29, versus 43% of those who are 65 and older.[8]

Types of advertisingEdit

Popular social media sites, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, offer different ways to advertise brands. Facebook gives advertisers options such as promoted posts, sponsored stories, page post ads, Facebook object (like) ads, and external website (standard) ads. To advertise on Twitter there are promoter tweets, trends, and promoted accounts that show up on users newsfeed. For advertising on YouTube there are branded channels, promoted videos, an in video advertising.[9]

In July 2015, during their Q2 earnings call, Facebook revealed that it has achieved $2.9B in mobile revenue, amounting to over 76% of its overall quarterly revenue.[10] A large portion of this revenue was from app install ads, of which developers buy on a Cost per Install basis.

Another type of advertising is using a tool called "buy buttons". Some networks are already getting involved with "buy buttons', or being direct marketers for various products a business wishes to promote on their social media platform. Social networks like Facebook and Twitter are already involved with such partnerships, and this is still just the beginning. The "buy button" is the gateway to impulsive online shopping. These advertisements pop up in the news feed of social media interfaces and also give you the option to click a button and purchase the item right then and there. These account for just under 2% of online sales.[11] The "buy button", which can be traced back to the system being patented by Amazon in 1997[12], plays not only a circumstantial part in internet sales but internet life.

Even though the realm of social media advertising can be used for sales, it can be for more than just that. For example, social media played a significant role in the 2008 presidential race. Videos that involved both Obama and McCain were able to garner 1.45 billion views.[13] Some of those views and videos could have wavered one's voting decision. Social media advertising also plays a huge role in a brand's or company's reputation and reception. The way a company presents itself can determine its popularity and audience. This tactic is even proven in some studies to be played out on a global scale.[14]


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Choose your audience". Facebook Business. Retrieved 2018-05-27.
  2. ^ Rueb, Emily S. (2019-06-04). "Your Instagram Feed Is About to Have More Ads From Influencers". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-02-25.
  3. ^ Shaoolian, Gabriel. "Is Instagram Advertising The Right Social Media Platform For Your Brand?". Forbes. Retrieved 2020-02-25.
  4. ^ Voorveld, Hilde A. M.; Noort, Guda van; Muntinga, Daniël G.; Bronner, Fred (2018-01-02). "Engagement with Social Media and Social Media Advertising: The Differentiating Role of Platform Type". Journal of Advertising. 47 (1): 38–54. doi:10.1080/00913367.2017.1405754. ISSN 0091-3367.
  5. ^ "Instagram Demographics That Matter to Social Media Marketers in 2020". Hootsuite Social Media Management. 2020-02-04. Retrieved 2020-02-19.
  6. ^ Pasarow, Anabel. "I Spend Four Hours A Day On Instagram — Here's How That Makes Me Feel". Retrieved 2020-02-19.
  7. ^ Smith, Aaron (2018-03-01). "Social Media Use in 2018". Pew Research Center. Retrieved 2020-05-13.
  8. ^ Pick
  9. ^ Goyal 2013, p. 222.
  10. ^ Kokalitcheva, Kia. "Mobile is Facebook's cash cow". Fortune. Fortune. Retrieved 12 September 2015.
  11. ^ "Why the social media 'buy button' is still there, even though most never use it". Washington Post. Retrieved 2016-08-05.
  12. ^ Silverberg, Michael (2015-09-15). "The Buy Button Is the Most Important Icon on the Internet". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved 2019-03-25.
  13. ^ Wright, Elizabeth; Khanfar, Nile; Harrington, Catherine; Kizer, Lee (November 2010). "The Lasting Effect Of Social Media Trends On Advertising". Journal of Business & Economics Research. 8.
  14. ^ Okazaki, Shintaro; Taylor, Charles (2013). "Social media and international advertising: theoretical challenges and future directions". International Marketing Review. 30: 56–71 – via Emerald Insight.


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