Michelle George|Oct 23, 2014

On Oct. 19, Snapchat users who casually looked at their smartphones unknowingly set themselves up for a good Halloween scare. The newest “recent update”? A frightening preview for the new Universal Studios movie “Ouija.” Yes, advertisements have finally arrived, Snapchat fans. (And, according to Universal, it received millions of views.)

Similarly, Pinterest may soon be revamping its targeted advertising efforts as more companies look to capitalize on users’ interests. When a user re-pins a cozy fall sweater or pumpkin-spiced latte recipe, they are subconsciously indicating their preferences.

“There’s intent around a pin,” says Joanne Bradford, Pinterest’s head of partnerships.

With millennials flocking to more visual-based social platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest and Vine, companies must ask themselves how they can position their brand to fit within the ever-growing social scene.

According to Hubspot, 80 percent of marketers said their company’s social media presence increased traffic to their websites. Social media is clearly an integral part of a business’ growth, so companies need to be in-the-know about what platforms are best suited to their advertising efforts.

As a millennial interning at an integrated communications agency, I’m in a unique position to examine at how social ads work from both sides of the table. So, let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons of advertising on four of the major social networks:


Pros: For brands targeting the 18-24 demographic, Snapchat is a great choice. Brands that have successfully connected with consumers post creative visuals that showcase the product in a cool and unusual way that can be understood in 10 seconds or less.

Cons: Showcasing complex or layered offers for products or services can be difficult. Content, whether organic or paid, is fleeting by design.


Pros: For U.S. teens, Instagram is now more prestigious than Facebook and Twitter, a Business Insider Intelligence study reported. Brands with colorful, bold and creative visuals will benefit most.

Cons: Branding on Instagram can annoy users if the photos are too promotional. Remember, Instagram is not a catalogue.


Pros: Business Insider reports that 71 percent of Internet users are on Facebook. Additionally, of all Facebook users 68 percent have graduated from college and 69 percent make more than $75,000 per year. For sophisticated brands targeting educated and economically-stable buyers, Facebook is a great starting point.

Cons: Almost every company seems to have a Facebook page these days. According to Facebook, that number amounts to 30 million small businesses. Breaking through the noise of sponsored posts, banner ads and page suggestions can be quite difficult.


Pros: Twitter is all about moments; it’s where people rush to live tweet that amazing soccer goal or TV show plot twist. It also gives people direct access to brands big and small. For example, a Twitter study found that if a television cast engages in live-tweeting during their show, it increases user engagement by 228 percent. For brands that can (or want) to communicate efficiently and in the moment, Twitter is the way to go.

Cons: Twitter is becoming predominantly male, the study reports. This may be problematic for female-driven brands. Also, companies need to be careful because one insensitive tweet or an unanswered tweet from an angry customer could cause the next public relations crisis.

We’d love to know your thoughts on social media advertising in the comments below!


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