Social Media Advertising Platforms: Which to Use for What

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Analysis Paralysis

When it comes to using social media advertising to promote your business, we know that it is easy to get lost in the myriad of choices available to advertisers. For that reason, we have made this handy list breaking down some key things to know about a handful of different social media advertising platforms, as well as what types of business we recommend for advertising on each platform.

Meta (Facebook and Instagram)

Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram (as well as WhatsApp), is one of the most popular social media platforms for advertising due to its massive audience size potential of 2.11 billion people (yes, with a “b”). According to Hootsuite, 77% of internet users are active on at least one META platform. With such a large audience size, Meta’s advertising platform is great for Business-to-Consumer (B2C) advertising since you can easily reach people from all walks of life who have a variety of interests.

A combination of changing social climates and changes to privacy practices has led Meta to now routinely remove more and more targeting options (both demographic & interest-based) from advertisers to favor more “hands-free”, algorithmic targeting instead.

Much like other paid social platforms, Meta has many different campaign types to offer advertisers, including campaigns types for those businesses’ whose goals are sales, traffic, brand awareness, and/or lead generation.

Considering its massive potential reach, we suggest Facebook and InstagramMeta advertising for most advertisers in the B2C realm–especially those with an ecommerce or brand awareness focus.

Note: A negative side effect of Apple’s iOS 14 privacy updates that allow individuals to opt out of cross app tracking is that social media platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedInMeta have significantly less granularity when it comes to targeting. Meta in particular has been hit particularly hard by this, but has taken a handful of measures to regain the levels of tracking we once had.


While Facebook and Instagram areMeta is great for reaching people from all walks of life, LinkedIn has a much more specific userbase: business-minded people. Simply put, LinkedIn is an advertising platform built for business-to-business (B2B) advertising. If you are looking to run ads targeted at individuals who hold particular job titles or seniority levels (i.e. decision makers at businesses of various sizes and industries), LinkedIn is the place to do it.

A stark difference LinkedIn has to Meta in regards to its efficacy is that LinkedIn is absolutely not built for ecommerce. While they may offer sales-oriented conversion metrics in their ads manager back end, the sales conversion tracking capabilities are very limited and often not accurate. 

LinkedIn ads are also a great option for those trying to increase their LinkedIn page/profile’s followers or generally get more engagement on their LinkedIn posts.

We suggest LinkedIn advertising for B2B advertisers whose goals are to generate leads for their sales pipeline or for those trying to drive highly relevant traffic to their website. The audience targeting options on LinkedIn are fantastic if your target audience includes people who work in particular industries, specific companies, and/or individuals who hold particular job titles or levels of seniorityies.


If you’ve ever run ads on Pinterest and spoken with one of their assigned account managers, you are likely familiar with the phrase “Pinners are planners”. This mantra is the key to the types of people you are likely to reach on the platform, as people who spend time on Pinterest are very frequently planning events, meals, new tattoos, future hairstyles, etc. 

A fantastic feature that Pinterest offers to its advertisers is their Pinterest Trends tool, which allows advertisers to see what words or phrases (“trends”) have recently experienced high search volumes. This helps inform advertising decisions, as these trends are indicative of what type of content Pinners are actively seeking out.

There are various campaign objectives available on Pinterest, including brand awareness, video view, consideration (most comparable to a traffic campaign), and conversions (sales-oriented).

Another thing to note about Pinterest is that its user base is made up of mostly women, with women accounting for over 60% of their users globally. With that said, the male user population on Pinterest is steadily growing and experienced a 40% increase year over year from 2019 to 2020.

Generally speaking, Pinterest is a great platform for B2C advertisers whose messaging can be tailored to target people who are planning in some capacity. For example, exercising more is a common New Year’s resolution; therefore, an athletic gear company could utilize Pinterest ads by running ads promoting their exercise equipment starting a month or two before New Years.

Bonus Tip: If your target audience is primarily women, we suggest selecting the “Unspecified” option in addition to the “Female” option. This is due to the fact that Pinterest did not allow users to specify their gender until the platform had been around for a while, so many women who were early adoptersusers of the platform are classified as unspecified.


TikTok, the newest player when it comes to popular social media platforms, is generally considered to be used by mostly younger people but that isn’t necessarily the case. While 25% of their current U.S. user base is between the ages of 10 and 19, the platform is seeing significant growth in higher age groups. The age range of 30-49 makes up approximately 42% of TikTok’s U.S. user base. Much like Pinterest, TikTok has a female majority of users on their platform with 57% of users being women as of January 2022; with that said, TikTok does not have a reputation of being used mostly by women like Pinterest does.

TikTok campaign types are broken up into three main categories: Awareness, Consideration, and Conversions. The Awareness objective is used to maximize impressions, in other words get the most eyes on your content as possible. The Consideration objective can be used to drive traffic, video views, lead generation, or community interaction (engagement). The Conversions objective is used to optimize for website conversions (Purchases, Add to Carts, Newsletter sign-ups, etc.) and also for App Promotion.

As far as ad creative goes, TikTok is in a lane of its own. The type of content that wins on the platform is content that feels organic and not forced. In other words, the ads that succeed on TikTok are videos that don’t feel like ads and seamlessly fit into the steam of a user’s For You page. If you’re looking for inspiration, TikTok offers advertisers a look into current high performing ads via their Top Ads tool. Seeing as the organic/paid content is completely different than on most other platforms, TikTok ads should only be considered if your business is willing and able to create the right kind of videos (i.e. create TikToks) and/or partner with influencers and agencies to make your ad creative. 

We recommend TikTok advertising for B2C advertisers who are looking to reach a highly engaged audience of primarily younger people. While many companies have found success generating sales from TikTok ads, its short-form video format makes it a great platform for generating brand awareness as well.

If you’d like help running your own paid social ads, reach out to us! We have the expertise to help you reach your goals.