When creating a social media ad campaign, it's vital to define your goals and choose the types of advertising you'll use based on them. But with social media platforms innovating at a fast pace and launching new ad units every week, it might be challenging to identify the best types of advertising to reach your desired audience.

Choosing the right ad unit is a crucial step to get consumer's attention. Studies show we see an average of 5,000 marketing messages per day in North America.

Paid social plays a big part in this scenario with social media ad spending expected to grow an estimated $14 billion in 2018. To stand out, you need to get your campaign right.

To help you in this challenge, we’ve talked to our team of experts in social media advertising to identify the best approach to choosing the correct ad types for a campaign.

To make things simpler, we divided the types of ads into two major categories: static image ads and video ads.

We further broke down each specific ad format available on each of the social media platforms. Choose your goal below and read on to discover the best types of advertising to reach success on social media.

Choose your goal

Related: How much does social media advertising cost


The best types of advertising on social media for each goal

Awareness     Back to top

Best ad type: Video

Facebook-video

Image credit: Facebook ads guide

When looking to generate awareness for your brand, our media buyers have found that video creatives work the best. Video ads allow you to share the maximum amount of content within a short period.

It gives you the option to showcase multiple products being implemented, or tell a story and create an emotional tie to potential customers. Videos don’t always incentivize people to click, but they are an excellent option to get your name and brand in front of users to show what you’re about.

Types of video ads available

Facebook

  • Video ads
  • Video slideshow ads

Twitter

  • Player card

Instagram

  • Video ads
  • Stories ads

Snapchat

  • Stories ads

YouTube

  • Bumper ads
  • TrueView in-stream non-skippable ads
  • TrueView in-stream skippable ads

Pinterest

  • Promoted video pins

Related: How to combat mobile ad blockers with social media ads


Clicks     Back to top

Best ad type: Static image ads

Pinterest-promoted-pin

Image credit: Pinterest for business

The best advertisement option for driving clicks to your website is static image ads with strong calls to action (CTAs).

Showing a quick image of your brand or product will drive more people to your website. This is due to the fact that static images showcase how your brand or product fits in with your target audience’s lifestyle or improves their every day activities. It gives your audience the chance to visualize using your product or services.

Types of static image ads available

Facebook

  • Carousel ads
  • Canvas ads

Twitter

  • Summary cards & Summary cards with large photo
  • Website card

Instagram

  • Carousel ads
  • Photo ads
  • Canvas ads

Pinterest

  • Promoted pins

LinkedIn

  • Sponsored content
  • Dynamic ads
  • Jobs you might be interested in ads
  • Picture yourself ads
  • Display ads

Related: The ultimate guide to social media ad specs


Conversions     Back to top

Best ad type: Static image ads

facebook-carousel-ad

Image credit: Facebook ads guide

Static images ads are also the best format to boost conversions. It showcases your product to users and encourages them to convert directly from the ad through CTAs. Consumers are already used to easy online purchasing options, such as one-click checkouts in e-commerce websites. Static image ads can provide them with the same experience through social media.

Types of static image ads available

Facebook

  • Carousel ads
  • Canvas ads

Twitter

  • Summary cards & summary cards with large photo
  • Website card

Instagram

  • Carousel ads
  • Photo ads
  • Canvas ads

Pinterest

  • Promoted pins

LinkedIn

  • Sponsored content
  • Dynamic ads
  • Display ads

Related: Here’s how to determine your social media ads cost


App installs     Back to top

Best ad type: Video ads

YouTube-video-ad

Image credit: YouTube Advertising

A common theme among all of these campaign types is allowing users to visualize how your product or brand fits into their lives. The same goes for an app install campaign.

The best ad unit to generate successful app installs are video ads. They showcase app features and usability, which gives consumers an idea of how your app works. This ad format also drives high engagement and install intent.

Some platforms have specific app install ad formats separate from their video ad formats.

Types of video ads available

Facebook

  • Desktop and mobile app ads

Twitter

  • Video app card
  • App card

Instagram

  • Video ad

Snapchat

  • Stories ads

YouTube

  • Bumper ads
  • TrueView in-stream non-skippable ads
  • TrueView in-stream skippable ads

Pinterest

  • Promoted video pins

Related: With the conversation going mobile, here’s how to beat mobile ad blockers


Engagement     Back to top

Best ad type: video ads

Instagram-stories-ad

Image credit: Facebook ads guide

When it comes to increasing engagement, the best ad format is video. We’ve seen this trend become more popular as more and more marketers and advertisers are turning to video content across social platforms.

Videos give users a look into the personality of your brand or product and allow behind-the-scenes exclusives which can make your current or potential consumers feel more included or familiar with your brand.

Types of video ads available

Facebook

  • Video ads
  • Video slideshow ads
  • Desktop and mobile app ad

Twitter

  • Player card
  • Video app card

Instagram

  • Video ad
  • Stories ad

Snapchat

  • Stories ads
  • Lenses

YouTube

  • Bumper ads
  • TrueView in-stream non-skippable ads
  • TrueView in-stream skippable ads

Pinterest

  • Promoted video pins

Related: Check out how your creative should measure up with the ad unit you chose


To successful advertising campaigns

Now that you have an idea of which format to focus on to provide the best outcome for your ad campaign, it’s time to put those creatives to work.

Keep in mind that the specifications of each platform varies. Be sure to follow those guidelines for optimal results.

Taylor Schaller

Taylor Schaller

Taylor is the Social Media and Content Marketing Intern at Strike Social. A graduate from The University of Alabama, she is now an MBA candidate at Loyola University Chicago.