Let's be real: Social advertising is paying to interrupt people. The wrong impression can leave a permanent bad taste, but the right one can make sales take off.
You're probably wondering: How do you find the right balance? You can't not advertise, but you also don't want your brand known for tacky product placements.
As it turns out, the best type of ads blend right into the native experience of each social channel. They're natural extensions of each platform's core content formats, instead of jarring disruptions. Crucially, they're not annoying.
You're joining the party, not crashing it.
Here's your roadmap to creating social ads that… don't really look like ads.
Give less traditional networks a second look
More than half (51.4%) of the 18,100 marketers we surveyed for our Social Trends 2022 Report said they planned to increase their social advertising spends. And the largest increases in spend relative to last year are going to TikTok, Pinterest, and Snapchat.
What's driving the shift? For one, marketers are finding these less traditional channels more effective than ever before. In particular, Snapchat's perceived effectiveness soared from 1% to 13%. That's 1200% growth year-over-year. TikTok also saw a massive 700% increase in perceived effectiveness.
But most importantly, consumers appear to be more receptive to ads on these networks. Consumers rank TikTok ads as more inspiring and more fun than ads on other social channels, according to a recent study by Kantar. And Pinterest reports their costs per conversion are 2.3x more efficient than other social channels.
People come to TikTok, Pinterest, and Snapchat to decompress and be entertained. These networks also aren't as saturated with brands as Facebook or Instagram (yet). More importantly, they encourage advertisers to make content that fits naturally into the feed, instead of cramming in jarring product placements.
In other words: "don't make ads, make TikToks." If you can't tell it's an ad at first glance, you're doing it right.
Know your chosen channels like the back of your hand
The less traditional socal channels have their own social norms, most of them unspoken. If you want to create ads that blend in, you'll need to learn these norms inside out.
Don't worry—learning them is fun. Just pull out your phone and spend some time scrolling. Hell, take the whole afternoon off (you have permission to blame us). Experiencing these networks as a regular person, not a marketer, is key to understanding what content will resonate on each one.
You'll learn what sticks out as awkward, and what sorts of brand content blend right in. Every little nuance and saying you pick up will be worth its weight in gold later on.
Experiment with organic posts—and promote peoples' faves
Organic social content is your sandbox, where you can swing for the fences for free—and discover what people connect to.
Try posting a messy behind-the-scenes video, instead of a pristine product shot. Take viewers inside your creative process or workplace. Poke fun at yourself and your industry. Say no to gatekeeping and let some industry knowledge out of the bag.
When a particular tone of voice or content format clicks with them, double down. Make more posts like it and promote your best performing posts to capitalize on that momentum.
Fine-tune your approach with A/B tests
Once you've got some social ads running, start playing around with A/B testing to learn what works best. When it comes to copy, try A/B testing your word choice and tone-of-voice. See what happens when you make your caption copy looser, funnier, and more informal.
You should also play around with CTAs. "Quick—get 50% off" might perform better than "explore our sale," but you can't know until you try.
Beyond copy, you can (and should!) also do A/B tests with visuals. Try making your background colors more vibrant, adding more or fewer design elements, or using a GIF instead of a still image.
Soon, you'll have your finger on the pulse of what works—and what doesn't. You'll be creating social ads that blend in like regular posts, and unlocking brand-new audiences for your business. No big deal or anything.
Ready to create social ads people actually like? Dive into our Social Advertising Made Easy Guide and leave your competition in the dust.