The 7 Most Effective Social Media Advertising Platforms in 2022

March 7, 2022

The Bolt Team

Ready to leverage social media advertising for your ecommerce business? You aren’t alone.

Globally, 30% of ecommerce companies sell their products on social media. And another 12% of ecommerce companies in North America and Europe say they plan to sell their products and services through social media.

Before you get started, you must determine the best social media advertising platforms and develop a media buying method that works for your business. But first, let’s cover the basics.

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What is social media advertising?

Social media advertising is a digital advertising strategy that gets your products in front of your ideal customers on the social media platforms where they’re most active. As a result, investments in social media advertising worldwide are exploding.

Social media advertising:

  • Connects you with people who need your product or service
  • Provides a variety of platforms and creative, engaging formats
  • Drives traffic to your site or intended landing page
  • Allows you to create specific target audiences
  • Presents insights into your shoppers’ buying habits and behaviors
  • Generates a high return on investment (ROI)
  • Drives sales

Your brand’s social media pages already contain organic social content that attracts engagement from customers and prospects. Ads act as a complement to your organic posts, promoting your company and products to people who match your ideal customer profile.

Since Facebook’s first ad deal promoting Chase credit cards in 2006, social media has outpaced traditional and other digital channels to become the top choice for most marketers. 

In January 2022, 4.62 billion people were active on social media — that’s more than 50% of the world’s population. And using its precise targeting capabilities, you can connect with people based on any number of parameters, including geolocation, demographics, interests, and traits.

That’s why social media is the number one channel marketers leverage for digital advertising.

Two companies successfully using social media advertising

So, what platforms are ecommerce companies using? And how much of a following are they developing? Let’s look at two stellar examples of large brands selling social media.

Forever 21

With 14.4 million followers on Instagram alone, Forever 21 is a brand to watch. Visual content shows off their products, making social media their best ad channel.

Forever 21 leans into user-generated content to promote its clothing. In 2017, Forever 21—alongside H&M—was the most successful social media brand in the fast-fashion industry.

This video is an excellent example of the posts Forever 21 shares on Instagram:

But Instagram isn’t their only focus. Forever 21 is also on (as of January 2022):

  • Facebook with 15.7 million likes
  • Twitter with 1.9 million followers
  • YouTube with 68.6 thousand subscribers
  • Pinterest with 604 thousand followers

This social media exposure pays off. Forever21 earned $510.4 million in gross sales in 2020.

Benefit Cosmetics

Benefit Cosmetics is another exemplary brand on social media. They have an ecommerce store on Pinterest with a complete line of products. Their Pinterest page has over 87 thousand followers and garners 996 thousand monthly views.

Benefit Cosmetics is known for the quality of relationships they develop with their community. They adhere to a marketing strategy that delivers audience-specific and market-specific content experiences. As a result, their community is fiercely loyal to them. Their marketing strategy consists of a three-pronged approach to content creation:

  • Global content, which creates a cohesive brand image
  • Local content, which gives relevant messaging to local markets
  • Influencer content, which attracts new fans to the Benefit Cosmetics community 

And it works. After partnering with influencers on Instagram and TikTok, Benefit Cosmetics earned 2.3 million organic impressions.

Where is Benefit Cosmetics showing up on social media?

  • Facebook: 6.2 million likes
  • Instagram: 9.9 million followers
  • Twitter: 1 million followers in the US
  • YouTube: 201 thousand subscribers
  • Pinterest: 86.9 thousand followers
  • TikTok: 329.1 thousand followers

Together, these social media platforms drove $633 million in revenue in 2020 for Benefit Cosmetics.

The seven most effective social media sites for advertising

So which platforms are you on currently? Or which platform are you exploring? It’s important to remember that there isn’t one perfect social media platform. The key is determining which platforms your customers are most active on and building a community that engages them and builds loyalty. 

1. Facebook

Facebook is the most popular social network worldwide, with almost three billion daily active users.

It has powerful targeting and ad optimization tools, which help you build an actual buyer’s journey within the platform. Specific targeting also creates high conversion rates—9.2%, according to Wordstream. And it delivers the best ROI of the social media platforms surveyed in HubSpot’s 2021 State of Marketing report.

2. Instagram

Instagram has more than 500 million active users each day, and 70% of them use the app to discover new products. According to an Instagram survey, 44% of users shop in the app weekly.

According to Hubspot’s 2022 Marketing Industry Trends Survey, Instagram is the most-used social media platform ahead of YouTube and Facebook. In addition, it places second for ROI, behind Facebook, in Hubspot’s 2021 State of Marketing report.

Because Instagram is visual, it’s an intelligent platform for ecommerce advertising. Retailers can show off their products with beautiful images, videos, and user-generated content.

3. Twitter 

Twitter reaches more than 211 million active users daily. And ads are well-received on this platform.

Twitter boasts that they are the top platform for discovery because their users are “influential, plugged-in, and are in a discovery mindset.” In addition, Twitter reports that their users: 

  • Spend 26% more time viewing ads on Twitter than on other leading platforms
  • Are 53% more likely to be the first to buy new products

In terms of ROI, Hubspot’s report places Twitter at fifth place, behind most other social media platforms.

4. TikTok 

TikTok has over one billion monthly active users and shows no signs of slowing down. While it’s perceived as a platform for Gen Z, it’s gaining popularity across all age groups. TikTok users access the app eight times and spend 52 minutes on it each day.

Paid advertising may be more expensive on TikTok than on other platforms, but getting the right video and images of your products could take an ad viral. And with its large user base, this could skyrocket your brand. 

TikTok expert Neal Schaffer recommends breaking into advertising on the platform by asking an influencer to use your product or service because it feels less like an ad and more like a recommendation from a friend.

Did you know Bolt has tools for influencers that turn every digital surface into a point of purchase? You can give shoppers an amazing one-click checkout experience everywhere influencers are on social media.

5. YouTube

YouTube has over two billion active users, and it’s estimated that there will be 210 million viewers in the US alone in 2022. 

Eighteen percent of people who use YouTube follow companies and brands. It’s also the second largest search engine on the internet. Optimize your videos for search, and your target audience will easily find your content on this platform.

Regarding ROI, Hubspot places YouTube in fourth place—behind Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, respectively.

6. Pinterest

Over 1.4 billion people use Pinterest, making it the fourth most popular social media site in the US.

Pinterest is a big part of Millennials’ buying journey. Influencer Marketing Hub reports that 86% of users utilize Pinterest to plan big and small moments in their lives. And in addition, 63% of people use it to discover new products to buy.

Pinterest reports that Pinners spend 80% more each month than people on other platforms and have a 40% bigger basket size. Evaluating its users’ shopping intent, Pinterest far outperforms other social media sites, as you can see in this graph by eMarketer.

7. LinkedIn

LinkedIn has 750 million members, including over 65 million decision-makers and 57 million businesses. It has a robust demographic database that can help you precisely target your ads. 

In addition, it’s the top-rated platform for business-to-business (B2B) lead generation, and marketers see conversion rates twice as high as on other sites.

LinkedIn is ranked third in ROI by Hubspot.

How to manage your social media advertising campaign

We’ve covered the top seven social media advertising platforms. Now let’s review three ways to manage your social media ad campaigns.

1. Run your campaigns manually

Manual ad management is an option if your budget is small. To get started, choose your platform and set up your campaign. 

This approach allows you to stay on top of your analytics, test results, and other data. One hundred percent of your budget goes to advertising and testing instead of management tools or agency fees.

The downside is that this method takes a lot of time and commitment. You’ll need someone, if not you, to constantly monitor your accounts and interact with likes, comments, and questions. 

2. Use automated software to run your campaigns

Automated software is best for those with a tight budget who don’t have the time to invest in a manual system.

There are many third-party tools to manage your campaigns. Some allow you to create your ad creative. Others help with campaign automation and drive results.

But it’s important to remember that these tools don’t guarantee success. Use the apps to save time creating and managing your ad campaigns. You’ll also need to track the data. Let the data guide your strategy. 

3. Hire someone or an agency to run your ad campaigns

Hiring an ad manager is the most expensive option. But if you have the budget and are eager to make more sales, it can help you achieve higher profits in less time.

An advertising professional will have the experience and knowledge to drive good results. 

But you need to make sure you’re hiring a skilled media buyer. It’s a good idea to get a referral from colleagues who are happy with their agency or service provider. 

Then do your research. Ask for samples of their works and results from other campaigns they’ve managed.

How Bolt supports your social media advertising efforts

Social media advertising is one of the most efficient and effective ways to reach your target audience and turn them into customers. 

Bolt can help you maximize your social media advertising efforts in a variety of ways. For example, Bolt One-Click Checkout lets you take advantage of the traffic your social media campaigns are driving to your site by making purchasing a seamless experience.

In addition, Bolt makes it easy to turn social media feeds into one-click checkout surfaces. This not only simplifies checkout but drastically reduces cart abandonment.

Don’t delay getting started. With so many people actively using social media every day, there’s no better way to give your products the exposure they need.

Bolt One-Click Checkout

Start treating millions of shoppers like returning customers and make their checkout easier than ever.

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