Paying for Social Media Ads: Is It Worth It?

If you have a business profile on any of the social media platforms, you’ve most likely been asked if you’d like to buy advertisements. Though an intriguing proposition, many people gloss over this with some doubts.

Every new company is working under some kind of budget. To have to pay to get your name out there is asking a bit much and, potentially, seems futile. Especially when there are numerous other ways to market yourself without a cost.

A number of personal and professional studies have been conducted looking into the effectiveness of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and Instagram ads. Throughout this article, we’re going to look into these studies and determine whether or not they’re worth the price.


In a study conducted by the Content Marketing Institute, 3,714 marketers discussed their experience with promoting content through digital media. 76% of these marketers claimed used promotional ads on social media platforms. 61% of these found this means of marketing extremely effective.

This was particularly interesting as it gave us some insight into marketing strategies from Q4 2014 to Q4 2015. While offline advertisements amongst companies remained stagnant, there was a 20% to 30% jump in social media ads and promoted posts.

It’s important to note, the effectiveness of these ads was key to the social media platform being used and the company. For example, if you’re trying to promote an online marketing tool, you’ll have much more success using a platform where people are looking for this service; LinkedIn.

Whereas, if you’re trying to promote home goods products, you’re a lot more likely to find success buying advertisements on Facebook. By developing the right marketing strategy on the right platform, you’re much more likely to find success in paying for promotion.

However, it should also be noted, most of the B2C marketers surveyed found Facebook to be the most effective in bringing in consumers. YouTube came in a strong second.

Your overall results truly depend on the type of company you’re trying to get off the ground. If you’re entering a field that has a lot of competition, you may find less success promoting through social media.


The data gathered from the Content Marketing Institute also looked into B2B marketers opinions on social media advertising but placed this information in a separate report.

Most B2B marketers find search engine operations or paid search engine advertisements as the most effective means of getting their business out there. Still, that’s not to say they haven’t used social media promotional options.

Similarly to what the B2C marketers mention, the B2B marketers stress that you need to know where to advertise in order for social media promotion to be effective. Many opt for LinkedIn, Twitter, or YouTube - most likely because these websites are more business-friendly in comparison to platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest.

This is why it’s important to develop a well-researched marketing plan prior to following through with your marketing campaign. People who go on Facebook aren’t looking for the same thing people who go on LinkedIn for. For example, many people on LinkedIn are seeking to further their careers.

Still, it’s vital to note, if you’re developing a B2B marketing plan, you’ll probably want to seek out other avenues before diving into paid social media promotions. If you still decide to go through with these promotions, make sure your research is a priority.

The research necessary for your campaign should look into how people use these various platforms and how others have had success promoting themselves.


Advertising executives have looked into clients’ ROIs for the sake of offering the public a sense of how well different social media platforms perform in promoting advertisements.

We’re going to take a quick look into eMarketer’s report Social Advertising Effectiveness Scorecard: Industry Execs Grade the Leading Platforms. It’s important to note this study was broad in its findings. It didn’t look into what tactics each company used (i.e. social ads or promoted posts) in order to gather their conclusion.

The following scores are based on an A+ to F scale:













Take into consideration, these grades aren’t the most accurate when it comes to determining the best social media platforms to advertise on. While it’s safe to say many businesses have a lot of success on Facebook, Snapchat scores the lowest simply because many companies don’t use it.

Furthermore, each company is bound to develop a different marketing plan. In other words, the needs of one company won’t match another. For example, the Snapchat may be more profitable to a company trying to reach a younger audience. Whereas, Facebook is a safer bet for those trying to reach out to an older audience.


The landscape of digital advertising changed when people began making personal blogs about their favorite products. Many researchers claim that promoting a product through social media is highly effective. Whether it’s by developing a web page of your own or reaching out to a like minded influencer who always has a large following.

Izea, a creative online marketplace, teamed up with research firms Halverson Group and the Right Brain Consumer Consulting to develop an analysis of marketers who’ve used social sponsored posts. They found that people were MUCH more likely to respond to an influencer they looked up to in comparison to an advertisement on the side of their Facebook newsfeed.

This has been executive effectively even before times of the internet. When a company wanted to promote their products or services to a new audience, they’d pay a celebrity to appear in a television commercial. Nowadays, platforms like Periscope, Snapchat, Instagram, and YouTube are doing just the same.


Paying for social media advertisements and promotions is worth it, depending on what you’re trying to market. If you’re trying to reach consumers, it’s likely you’ll see results paying for this advantage over other businesses. If you’re trying to reach out to other businesses, we suggest diversifying your marketing efforts.