Can’t-Miss Best Practices for Running Ads in 2023 and Beyond

Does your current marketing strategy include social media? How about paid advertising?

If you haven’t started to use ads to market your business or if your advertising strategy could use a tune-up, there’s never been a better time to make that happen than right now.

With just shy of 5 billion worldwide users, social media is a phenomenal place to begin or step up your advertising efforts.  

In fact, predictions indicate that over $130 billion in ad spending will take place on the mobile side of social media platforms by the end of 2027. 

And if you’re wondering how these numbers compare to the paid search world on search engines like Google, bear in mind that in 2023, social media just surpassed paid search as a channel for paid advertising.

According to AdWeek, the path to increasing ROI without needlessly increasing ad spending begins with strategy. As they explain, “By layering high-quality, insightful audience profiles onto an online media buy, brands have the opportunity to reduce costs while increasing reach.” The benefit is evidenced by the data. With this approach, highly customized audience profiles yield a reduced cost per lead of anywhere between 11 and 89%, depending on the platform.

Here at Revelation Creative, we couldn’t agree more. So, this month we’re sharing the best practices for Meta, YouTube, Pinterest, and TikTok ads so you can align those approaches with your goals. And we’re right here in your corner if you want a marketing strategy that fits them both like a glove.

Let’s get to it…

Specific Ads Best Practices: YouTube

You may already know that YouTube is owned by Google. 

But did you know that those who use video ads after their search and display campaigns saw a marked increase in their conversion volume?

So, what does that mean for businesses?

Well, it means that YouTube ads are worth investigating if you’re looking to step up your marketing game.

And when it comes to making the most of YouTube ads, the platform suggests the following:

Using marketing strategy basics with a storyline boost: Creating an eye-catching, attention-keeping hook is only part of the equation for YouTube ads. An immersive story or experience is what keeps eyes on your ads and prevents them from being skipped, muted, or ignored.

Capturing interest with multimedia elements: Unlike some ads where you can rely on visuals or ad copy alone, YouTube, by its nature, requires that you give your ad audience an audio-visual experience that makes them want to take action. Otherwise, that ad spending may feel fruitless in the end. 

Branding your content: Creating affinity and trust isn’t just a battle-tested marketing approach, it’s key to helping your audience recognize your company and enjoy your ad presence on the platform. While users may skip someone else’s ads, if they know you deliver an aesthetically pleasing or engaging ad experience, you might become a familiar advertiser that they really enjoy watching.

Don’t forget to encourage action: This is advertising, so don’t be shy about encouraging your audience to take some sort of action. This is how you’ll measure your ad success or progress after all. 

Consider Mobile: Just about 70% of views on YouTube are completed on a mobile device. So, while your audience may be on a desktop, it’s important to consider mobile in your marketing and advertising efforts.

You can create a variety of different types of ads including:

Bumper Ads: Like to keep things short and sweet? Consider bumper ads. These 6-second spots play before the person’s chosen video and they cannot be skipped!

In-Feed Video Ads: These are the ads site visitors see on their search results pages and their Google homepage. And this makes your ad show up front and center!

Skippable and Non-Skipable In-Stream Ads: Chances are these are the ads you typically think of when you imagine advertising on YouTube. The marketing benefit here? You only pay when a user watches till the end, watches at least 30 seconds of your ad, or takes the desired action specified in the ad.

Overlay or Banner Ads: These are the ads you’ve probably seen at the bottom of a video and are often used in conjunction with one of the aforementioned video ad types. It keeps things simple and is less likely to feel invasive to your audience. 

YouTube Ad Specifications

If you’re wondering how to get started with the nitty-gritty details for your Youtube marketing ads, you’re in luck: As a Google property, there is a wealth of technical detail regarding YouTube’s specific ad formatting requirements. You can check out those YouTube ad specifications here.

Ad Objectives

When you have your YouTube ads strategy ready to go, it’s time to explore the potential ad objectives you can pursue.

When it comes to YouTube Ads, you can choose to focus on: 

Driving awareness: Building brand recognition and catching the eyes of potential customers on the platform. 

Increasing consideration: Fostering your audience’s trust in your business and helping them to choose you. 

Inspiring action: From subscriptions and downloads, to email signups and purchases, driving conversions is a great way to focus your ad strategy.

Ad Audience Targeting

Advertisers on YouTube can target audiences based on demographics like household income, age range, and gender.

YouTube also allows for audience segmentation based on interests, more detailed demographics (like marital status and education status, and even home ownership), and user behavior. 

Got an audience that visited your site but didn’t take action? With remarketing targeting you can reach these potentially primed audience members with ease.

And the platform also uses something called ‘Affinity’ audience targeting to help your company reach those who have special categorical interests or behaviors. These include things like food, beauty, wellness, finance, and the like.

Keyword targeting is a commonplace targeting approach and, just like its name implies, you can focus on the keywords that relate to your target audience, service, product, or desired topic. And since YouTube is a Google property, using Google Keyword Planner to nail your keywords is a no-brainer.

You can even target audiences based on their YouTube viewing habits and Google search history. In-market audience targeting means you can focus on audiences who are researching your product or service. How’s that for harnessing the power of Google?

Specific Ads Best Practices: Meta

Meta is an international player in the social media space and boasts a platform that welcomes millions of users each day. So, it’s a natural choice for those who want to use ads and online marketing to their advantage.

While you’ll find that many of Meta’s practices are similar to other ad platforms, they do have some protocols that are unique to the platform, and understanding how Meta expects ads to function on the site is vital to making the most of your ad spend.

Meta and other marketing professionals suggest that users:

Keep copy brief and clear: Audience members spend mere seconds on your ad, so keeping the text concise is key to attracting the attention of potential customers.

Make any videos vertical or square: Creating videos in a vertical orientation allows you to develop ads that cover most of a user’s phone screen.

Take advantage of unique ad formats: From using a progression of images in a carousel to introducing video or reels in your ads, dynamic marketing approaches stand to make a big impression on your audience.

Keep images and video sharp: High-resolution ad content is a best practice for any platform, but especially for Meta where you’re competing for the attention of a large audience.

Create your ads with mobile in mind: While some Meta users may be visiting from their desktop, the vast majority of your audience will be viewing an ad on their mobile device. So, create any marketing campaign ads with this in mind. 

Meta Ad Specifications

Ad specifications help you to tailor your ad content and visuals to the platform’s requirements. You can find Meta’s ad specifications here

Meta Ad Objectives

As with other platforms, Meta offers unique ad objectives to help you align your business marketing goals with the ad power of this global platform. These objectives include awareness, lead generation, traffic, and sales. 

Plus, if you have your own app you can also use Meta ads to engage in app promotions.

Meta Ad Audience Targeting

Meta Ad targeting is quite thorough and, once you understand the strategy that’s the right fit for your business and goals, using their targeting approaches can become easier.

The platform also offers a meter so you can discern if your chosen audience is too broad or not. There are key considerations including the size of the audience, location, gender, and age, which are typical of ad specialization and targeting on other platforms as well.

Meta also allows for interest targeting as well as custom audience creation. You can target those who have already evidenced curiosity about your business and those who share common interests with your current customers as well.

In fact, you can create website, app activity, engagement, and customer list-based custom audiences on Meta.

Specific Ads Best Practices: TikTok

While it’s not terribly new to the scene, TikTok is a newer player in the social media ads game. And this new(ish) platform has the capacity to reach over 850 million adults, which is nearly 20% of all internet users over the age of 18.

And those users? They’re spending over an hour each day on the platform, so let’s take a look at how we can use ads to reach this huge audience.

Put simply, users spend over an hour every single day on the app. With 689 million active users, you can do the math.

TikTok ads can take a variety of forms including:

Branded effects: From stickers to special effects and even branded filters, TikTok users love to add unique touches to their own videos. And with branded effects, you can be a part of that process, getting more eyes on your brand and products in the process and creating engagement and curiosity too. 

Full-Screen Videos: TikTok calls these TopView ads and they appear as Tiktok users scroll through their feeds.

Hashtag Challenge Ads: These ads live on the Discovery section of the app and encourage users to take on a new trend and use your branded hashtag to complete a challenge you design.

Sponsor-Influencer Content: This content can appear not only on your page but also on that of the influencer(s) you work with. This increases potential views in the process and shows both audiences your brand partnership.

TikTok Ad Formats

TikTok ads can be developed in a variety of formats, including the more traditional video ads, image ads, and carousels.

TikTok also offers the opportunity for you to utilize Spark ads to boost content that’s already on your account.

TikTok suggests several best practices including:

Using text overlays to encourage audience engagement and reading: This can enhance their experience of the content and lengthen their time on your ad, and with captions you can make your content more accessible to all.

Using the tried and true TikTok favorites like duets, trends, voiceovers, and green screens: These are what the platform calls “TikTok first”, as these ads are designed with the platform itself in mind. And it bears mentioning that over 74%  of users find this content engaging.

Partnering with TikTok creators: TikTok’s Creator Marketplace is designed to help you develop and foster these sorts of brand partnerships.

Creating cutting-edge, high-resolution, vertical content: This one is perhaps self-explanatory. However, it is important that your content on the platform stays stunning and fresh. So updating your visuals, audio, and overall strategy consistently will be a big deal here.

Tik Tok Ad Specifications

You can find TikTok’s ad specifications here. The platform is incredibly detailed and supportive for those hoping to advertise there. But if the process seems formidable, or you’d like to get your strategy aligned before diving in, reach out to our Revelation Creative Team here. 

Ad Objectives

TikTok has three main ad objectives.

  1. Awareness: This objective is all about reaching and showing up on the platform for a wide (but relevant) audience for your products or services.
  2. Consideration: The goals here include views, traffic, and engagement. This is great for those who are problem-aware or brand-aware and can also foster brand awareness.
  3. Conversion: Whether you want to increase sales, grow your email list, or generate more leads, the conversion objective is a great fit for your ads.

Ad Audience Targeting

TikTok offers a robust process for targeting ads. You can target ads in traditional ways like focusing on gender, age, location, hashtags, and language. Plus TikTok allows for targeting based on factors like U.S. household income, spending power, interests, and behaviors.

While this is an impressive approach to targeting ads, it also requires a thorough understanding of your target audience and a marketing strategy that’s just as effective.

Specific Ads Best Practices: Pinterest

Whether you’re an avid Pinterest user in your personal life or are considering the platform for the first time as a business owner, there’s plenty to love about the social media giant. 

Pinterest attracts a large swath of women to the platform, offers global reach, and is a platform that attracts those who are ready to buy. Plus, according to Business.Com, ads on Pinterest are known to produce an ROI that’s often double the ROI you’d expect on other social platforms.

You can run a number of different types of ads including standard pin ads, video ads, shopping ads, and traditional carousel ads. 

When selecting a pin to promote, you’ll want to lean on your analytics and discern which pin makes the most sense for your chosen goals and audience. From there the ad process becomes more strategic and far less overwhelming.

So, how can you get started or enhance your Pinterest ads strategy?

Let’s take a look…

The Pinterest platform suggests a number of best practices including

Encourage people to save (pin) your content: You can do this by adding calls to action that encourage things like follows or saves. And the more people follow through, the more likely you are to reach a larger audience.

Provide the details that matter: When you include a link, title, and description in addition to picking out a great thumbnail image, you’re giving context to your pins that can help attract your audience. 

Keep the content coming: Pinterest recommends publishing content routinely so you continue to foster your audience online. Don’t forget to provide descriptions and titles that attract your audience and help your pin appear in relevant search results on Pinterest.

Add visual appeal: In addition to selecting a vertical image, you’ll want to consider adding your logo and relevant text overlays to increase visual interest in your content. Videos should be short but engaging and, since Pinterest visitors often watch videos on the platform without the use of sound, don’t rely on it for your advertising.

Pinterest Ad Specifications

It’s always good practice to keep key platform-focused specifications in mind.

Wondering about Pinterest ad images or video specifications? 

You can find them here. And you can find more best practices straight from Pinterest here.

Pinterest Ad Objectives

Pinterest, like most ad platforms, will ask you for an objective.

Their options include:

  1. Awareness: A great way to introduce your business to people on the platform.
  2. Consideration: The option you’ll choose if you want to get more repins or clicks.
  3. Conversions: The path to increased web traffic including email sign-ups, lead magnet downloads, product purchases, and more.

Pinterest Ad Audience Targeting

Audience targeting with Pinterest is very straightforward.

Their options here include age, location, language, interests, and categories.

As with any social media platform that allows ads, Pinterest has some unique requirements when it comes to how best to advertise on the platform.

For example, while you can add a call to action in your description, Pinterest doesn’t allow CTAs in the image itself and will reject pins that don’t follow this protocol.

And while you can include up to 150 keywords related to a promoted pin, the platform doesn’t love the use of hashtags in ads, as they tend to appear spam-like. 

Finally, while you might want to send people from a pin to a landing page to get their email addresses, that’s not necessarily going to fly with Pinterest. Instead, you’ll want to send them to a useful piece of content that doesn’t require action to access. This might mean sending Pinterest visitors to a blog post where they can easily find your email sign-up or freebie without requiring them to sign up to access the post. 

Looking to Step up Your Ad Marketing Strategy?

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