Influx Digital

Paid Social Media Ads On Facebook & Instagram – An Essential Guide

For today’s brands, the vast world of social media is no longer just about conversation and content; with the powerful advertising possibilities it offers, it is now one of the most important channels for customer acquisition, remarketing and engaging existing fans/customers to support retention programs.

For today’s brands, the vast world of social media is no longer just about conversation and content; with the powerful advertising possibilities it offers, it is now one of the most important channels for customer acquisition, remarketing and engaging existing fans/customers to support retention programs.

A brief look at the latest statistics will quickly demonstrate the importance of social media for companies and their brands.With over third of the World’s population active on Social Media and user numbers set to hit almost 3 billion by 2020, social commerce is fast becoming one of the strongest channels for retailers, currently worth over $30 billion worldwide and growing daily. In addition, over 40% of consumers now use social media to influence their purchasing decisions.

However, in such a crowded and continually growing space, making your voice heard and getting your brand in front of the people who matter has never been harder. One tried and tested way to ensure that the right audience is exposed to your brand is with paid social ads.


Why choose paid social media ads?

No matter how clever and powerful the creative, standard content has an incredibly limited shelf-life and no guarantee of being seen, with many great posts vanishing under the constant torrent of new posts. There are, after all, over 5 billion new posts per day on Facebook alone.

Paid social ads, in contrast, are a cost effective solution that allows you to ensure that specific, relevant audiences are targeted for set periods of time. With advanced options for audience targeting, paid social ads allow you to reach highly segmented audience groups with common demographics to ensure that your brand is seen by the right people at the right time.

Whatever your budget and campaign objectives – reach, engagement or conversions, our paid social ads experts can help you to succeed by harnessing the power of the channels that are best for your brand.


Channel Overview


The world’s most popular and heavily used social media channel. Currently it boasts an impressive 18% market share and an incredible 1.87 billion active users. A great channel for every kind of media which offers great flexibility for every type of advertising content.


With 317 billion users, the micro-blogging platform continues to see massive popularity and supports text, image and video content.


Boasting an estimated 4% penetration, image sharing platform Instagram is a great platform for reaching audiences based on their interests with graphical content and currently experiences superior engagement compared to similar platforms. Owned by Facebook, the platform gives advertisers access to the same powerful audience targeting tools as Facebook using the same ad management console.


Although at 300 billion users the immensely popular disappearing image and video platform comes in behind Twitter, it is estimated to have the highest level of consumption after Facebook, holding second place in terms of time spent on the platform.


Video sharing platform Youtube continues to enjoy massive popularity with over 1.5 logged in viewers visiting the site every month and consuming an average of over 1 hour of video per day – on mobile devices alone!


Benefits of Facebook and Instagram paid social ads

Although every channel has its advantages, Facebook and Instagram are probably the most valuable channels for most brands because of the range of content supported and, more importantly, the incredible audience profiling they offer.

Before looking more closely at the various options available, it is important to understand that Facebook owns Instagram, meaning that the two channels share a common ads management platform that can be used to develop ad campaigns solely for Facebook or Instagram, or campaigns that are used across both. Generally speaking, creating platform specific ad campaigns are recommended due to differences in both the way content is presented and – more importantly – how users behave.

With these facts duly noted, let’s look at just what the advertising platform has to offer in terms of audience selection.



The Facebook/Instagram ad management platform currently offers some of the most advanced demographics options available. Key targeting options include:

  • Age
  • Month/year/date of birth
  • Gender
  • Orientation
  • Relationship Status
  • Education Level, Field, Establishments Attended, Years Attended
  • Workplace
  • Job Title, Field, Employer
  • Net Income (currently only available in the USA)
  • Household Composition (Families, housemates)


In addition to the base categories within this list, it is also possible to select an audience comprising of people who are friends with people meeting any of the criteria selected. For example, if you have a T-Shirt printing business selling special T-shirts for people born in a given month, then a campaign might be best targeted at friends of people born in the given month, as they are the most likely people to buy the item as a gift.

In addition to the personal information included in the list above, you can also specify by a plethora of personal interests including things like books, magazines, films, TV series, websites, Facebook Pages, sports, celebrities. Want to get your brand in front of the nation’s Star Wars fans? No problem.

Another incredibly powerful demographic option is devices owned. Marketing an app for a specific device? Simply select an audience who already own the device!

To make your targeting even more specific, it is also possible to set any of the demographic options as negative criteria to eliminate audiences based on interest. A developer of IOS apps may, for example, choose to exclude users of Android or Windows devices.

There is also an advanced option in which you can narrow your audience by specifying multiple demographic criteria which must all be fulfilled.

With such a vast range of combinations available and constant development of new options, it is impossible to put a final figure on the total – but needless to say, the more you know your target audience, the more specific your targeting can be, ensuring that you maximise the effectiveness of your ad budget by only putting your brand in front of people who are a qualified match.



Not necessary if the language of your target audience matches the main language for your ad location, but relevant if you wanted to target, for example, a minority language group within a specified location.


Allows you to refine your audience based on:

  • Page: Select or exclude people who like your Facebook page, or include friends of people who like your page
  • App: include or exclude users who have used your app
  • Events: include or exclude people who have responded to your event
  • Advanced Connections: Allows a further range of connections to be selected such as people who like a third party page.


Allows you to include or exclude:

  • People who live in a location
  • People who have recently been to a location
  • People who are travelling in a location


With such an incredible scope for audience selection, there is no doubt that paid social media advertising on Facebook and Instagram is one of the most cost effective methods of promoting your brand online and offers substantial opportunities for ROI with the right content.

Ready to unleash the power of Paid Social Media Advertising? Call now on 0161 468 2612 or click here to contact us online.

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