facebook advertising

7 Different Types of Social Media Ads

Paid social media advertising is an incredibly powerful tool to have in your digital marketing strategy, but with so many different platforms and audiences on each, how do you choose the best one for your business’s needs? It can be overwhelming! Here’s a simplified breakdown of each social platform and the different types of ads they offer.

Jump to section:

  1. Facebook
  2. Instagram
  3. Twitter
  4. LinkedIn
  5. YouTube
  6. TikTok
  7. Pinterest

1. Facebook


Best for

Almost all businesses and industries.


With over 3 billion daily active users, Facebook is the largest social media platform in the world so it’s naturally the first place people look to when wanting to advertise in the social space. It’s popular among a wide variety of demographics, gender and age, making it a good choice for most businesses.

Types of Facebook ads

There are three main types of objectives to choose from: build brand awareness, consideration (send traffic to your website, generate leads, increase engagement), and conversion (encourage sales and purchases).

You are able to target an audience based on location, age, sex, lanaguges, interests and behaviours, and more.

Facebook offers a wide range of different ads, including:

  • Photo ads
  • Video ads
  • Carousel ads (up to 10 images/videos, all in one ad)
  • Slideshow ads (similar to a product catalogue)


How effective are Facebook Ads?

More than 1 in 3 listed Facebook ads as their best performer in terms of ROI, ahead of Google Paid Search and Instagram.

instagram advertising

2. Instagram


Best for

Brands with products that are visually appealing and brands that target millennials, Generation Z and Gen Xers.


Instagram ads can reach over 1.2 billion people. Similar to Facebook, Instagram ads appear throughout the app, including in users’ feeds, Stories, Explore, and more.

You can target your ideal viewer with custom targeting options, create lookalike audiences, define your audience’s behaviours and activities, interests and demographics.

Types of Instagram ads

Considering that Facebook owns Instagram, you have the same broad categories of objectives to choose from: awareness, consideration and conversion.

Photo and video ads

Looks like a regular Instagram post, except that it says “Sponsored” in the top right.

Carousel ads

Viewers can swipe to scroll through different images and/or videos.

Collection ads

Feature a cover image or video along with several product shots. Clicking on the ad directs the user to an Instant Experience.

How effective are Instagram Ads?

87% of people surveyed claim that they did things such as follow a brand, visit the brand’s website, or make an online purchase after seeing an Instagram ad.

twitter advertising

3. Twitter


Best for

Brands launching new products and brands targeting a mostly male audience (nearly two-thirds of Twitter’s advertising addressable audience is male).


Twitter is the go-to platform for breaking news and real-time conversations around entertainment, sport, technology, and pretty much every other topic of discussion.

With over 229 million daily active users, you can reach a very wide audience.

Types of Twitter ads

Twitter ads have three main objectives to choose from:

  • Awareness: increase the reach of your brand
  • Consideration: video views, app installs, website traffic, engagement, increase your followers
  • Conversion: Drive users to you website or app to take action


Quick promote

These are existing Tweets. You simply choose a promotable Tweet from your timeline and specify your target audience, and then the Twitter algorithm does the rest.

Twitter ads

Here, you can choose different objectives, and you are only billed for actions that align with your goal (e.g. per impression or per click).

How effective are Twitter Ads?

A study shows that average Twitter ads ROI is 40% higher than other channels. Video is particularly effective.

4. LinkedIn


Best for

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with over 645 million users, which makes it an ideal platform for service businesses and B2B product businesses to advertise on.


LinkedIn holds a large professional user base and offers targeting options based on qualifications, job title and seniority.

Types of LinkedIn ads

Sponsored content 

These ads are in the form of photos, videos or carousels, and are displayed in LinkedIn’s newsfeed on both desktop and mobile.

Sponsored InMail 

Similar to an email, but instead of going to their email inbox, your ad goes to their LinkedIn inbox. However, users only receive ad messages while they’re active on LinkedIn.

Text ads 

These small adverts are displayed at the top of a user’s screen above the newsfeed, and are only visible to desktop users. Despite their name (and unlike Google Text Ads), LinkedIn text ads can include a thumbnail image.

Dynamic ads

Dynamic ads are automatically personalised specifically for your prospects.

Lead generator forms 

A pre-filled form that enables you to collect quality leads.

How effective are LinkedIn ads?

According to research, brands see a 33% increase in purchase intent, and 2x high conversion rates on LinkedIn.

youtube advertising

5. YouTube


Best for

Brands wanting to ramp up video marketing strategy.


With over 2 billion monthly active users, YouTube has a diverse user base. You’re able to get extremely detailed when it comes to targeting the exact audience that you want to reach, including demographics, topics, similar audiences, life events and many more.

Types of YouTube ads

YouTube ads can help your business to collect leads, drive website traffic, increase product consideration, and build brand awareness. The main ad types are:

Skippable in-stream ads

These are the ads that play before, during or after other videos on YouTube. They also appear in other places in Google’s display network like apps or games. Users have the option to skip the ad after five seconds.

Non-skippable ads

These are short ads (maximum 15 seconds) that appear at the start, mid-point or end of a video with no option to be skipped.

Video discovery ads

A thumbnail image with a short amount of text that appears next to related YouTube videos, in the YouTube search results, or on the mobile homepage.

Other types of YouTube ads

  • Masthead ads
  • Outstream ads
  • Bumper ads


How effective are YouTube Ads?

70% of YouTube viewers have bought a product after seeing it in a YouTube ad.

tiktok advertising

6. TikTok


Best for

  • Brands that market to younger adults (35 and younger), especially women
  • Brands marketing to an international audience
  • Brands that are relatively affordable
  • In the beauty or fashion industry, or offer eco-friendly products
  • You’re open to working with content creators on the platform



TikTok is no longer just for teens; it’s defining pop culture, opening conversations and changing how we interact, engage and market. With over 1 billion active users, TiksTok ads can reach an estimated adult audience of 825 million people worldwide.

Types of TikTok ads

In-feed video ads

This is the only self-serve option for businesses on TikTok. This ad appears in a user’s “For You” feed (also known as the FYP). The ad is full-screen and after the ad shows for nine seconds, a card appears with your brand’s profile name and display name, along with text and a CTA button.

How effective are TikTok Ads?

32% of respondents in a study said that after watching a brand video, they researched a product or project they saw in the video. 13% reported they downloaded an app related to the video and 12% said they purchased a product in the video.

pinterest advertising

7. Pinterest


Best for

  • eCommerce retailers
  • Brands targeting women
  • Brands with visually appealing products, particularly in the food, weddings, DIY, home decor & design, beauty and fashion industries.



Pinterest is a highly visual platform, and is geared toward women with a 60% female user base. It has 431 million monthly active users, and watches close to one billion videos a day on Pinterest.

Types of Pinterest ads

Pinterest ads are called Promoted Pins. They look and behave just like regular pins, but the difference is that it has a small “Promoted” tag on the visual, and it is seen by a much wider audience. When a user pins your Promoted Pin, the promoted label disappears, earning you free organic exposure.

You can create Promoted Pins using images, video, or a carousel of up to five images.

While there is only one type of Pinterest ad (a Promoted Pin), you can choose one of six different goals, which are either pay per click or per impression:

  • Build brand awareness
  • Drive traffic to your website
  • Drive app installs
  • Drive traffic to specific products
  • Encourage specific actions on your website
  • Drive video impressions


How effective are Pinterest Ads?

85% of weekly Pinners have made a purchase based on Pins they see from brands.

young adults on social media

Get social

Ready to run a social media campaign for your business? Contact the SOMS Digital Agency team today! Whether your ad budget is R500 or R50 000, our team makes use of the best social media tools and techniques to ensure you get the best quality leads and return on investment.

Originally posted 2022-06-07 11:48:19.

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