The Most Effective Content for Paid Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and Pinterest Ads

Fri Jan 05 2018
Terilyn Walker
Best Practices

What is hands down the best way to reach your targeted audience? Authentic content.

Using just four social media platforms—Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest—offers you a variety of ways to reach your targeted audience. The trick is knowing how to use each platform most effectively. Many brands make the mistake of using the content from one photo shoot on all of their social media channels. However, when it comes to paid advertisements on social media, there is no such thing as one size fits all.

The key to success on paid social media lies in the content. The trick to creating an engaging paid ad that drives conversions is to source content that feels natural on each individual platform. Unfortunately, stock photos just won’t cut it. Your content needs to be tailored to each different channel and medium. This is why many brands are turning to social media influencers to create diverse content for paid advertisements.

Influencer-generated content (IGC) is perfect for paid social, because:

  • It is authentic, relatable and relevant to the audience
  • It is inexpensive compared to the costs associated with traditional photo shoots
  • Working with influencers allows you source large amounts of diverse content
  • It allows advertising teams to makes changes to their advertising in quickly based on their targeted audience’s feedback
  • Studio-shot creative ads are time-intensive and a brand’s creative staff and traditional marketing methods can’t keep up with social media advertising

This guide explains what type of content works the best for paid ads on Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

Snapchat Ads

Snapchat gives brands a great opportunity to put content in front of an audience that is already engaged. However, because Snapchat ads are vertical full screen videos, the brand's existing advertising will not be optimized for this platform. Therefore, IGC is the perfect way to source the raw, fun, relatable video content that Snapchat users want to see.

Fast facts:

  • Snapchat has 166 million active users who open the app over 18 times per day, on average  
  • 71% of Snapchat users are less than 34 years old - omnicore
  • 35% of Snapchat users don’t use Facebook and 46% don’t use Instagram - App Annie
  • Snapchat users have over 2x more purchase intent when seeing a Snapchat ad than other social media ads - Emgi Group
  • Snap Ads’ engagement rate is five times higher than the average clickthrough rate of other social media ads - Emgi Group
  • Over 60% of Snap Ads are played with the sound turned on, compared to 15% of Facebook ads- Digiday
  • Users can swipe up to visit a website, read more, install an app, etc.

Content Best Practices

Snapchat users tend to be young consumers looking for fun content from their friends. Snapchat Ads are relatively new and are therefore a new experience for users. Brands should make authenticity a top priority in their Snapchat Ads. Snapchat Ads appear between a user’s friend’s stories. In order to keep an authentic feel in Snapchat Ads, it is even more important for marketers to use influencer-generated content so that ads are relatable and engaging to Snapchat users, who are used to seeing their friends use Snapchat lenses and Geofilters.

Furthermore, Snap Ads are shown full-screen, and therefore receive up to two times more visual attention than most other social media ads. Make your content colorful and dynamic!

  • Snapchat users are young, the tone of your ad should be fun, relaxed and authentic.
  • Know your audience! Content should be informal, engaging, and very relatable.
  • Partner with recognized influencers whose followers matches your target audience


  • 3-10 second full-screen vertical videos
  • Video size: 1080 x 1920

Facebook Ads

Facebook has the largest reach of all of the social media platforms and the most advanced audience targeting capabilities. Therefore, relevance in ad content and copy is key for a Facebook ad’s success. Furthermore, images are responsible for 75-90% of an ad’s performance on Facebook. It is important to work with a diverse group of influencers who can speak directly to your selected audiences.

Fast facts:

  • There are 2.07 billion monthly active users on Facebook - Statista

  • The largest percentage (31%) of users are age 35-54 - Jetscram

  • Images are responsible for 75-90% of an ad’s performance on Facebook. - Consumer Acquisition
  • Facebook ad videos are played with the sound off 85% of the time - Digiday
  • Influencer content on social media earns more than 8x the engagement rate of brand-directed content-Forrester
  • Facebook heavily punishes non-relevance

Content Best Practices

Facebook punishes non-relevance heavily so it is important to tailor your content to your target audience.  

Ads that engage users are shown more frequently while ads that disrupt users are punished heavily for non-performance. Additionally, Facebook can deliver targeted ads to each of its users and target them according to thousands of factors, from online behavior to beliefs and personal interests. To avoid skyrocketing ad costs, brands must refresh their Facebook ad content frequently— sometimes as often as every week.

  • Content should be highly relevant to each targeted audience
  • Use minimal branding to make content seem less like an advertisement
  • Partner with macro-influencers who are recognized by your target audience
  • Relatable and or eye-catching content receives more engagement (ie. bright colors, babies, pets)
  • People and events who are currently in the news receive more engagement.


  • Recommended image size: 1200 x 628 pixels
  • 10+ variations in each ad (images, headlines, body copy, CTAs)
  • Test 20-150 new images per month

Instagram Ads

Instagram may be the most visual social media platform. With more than 95 million images shared on Instagram each day, it is very important to have eye-catching content and compelling calls to action. Like Facebook, Instagram gives advertisers the ability to segment several targeted audiences.

Fast facts:

  • 800 million monthly users - Techcrunch
  • 90% of users are under 35 - Sciencedaily
  • 40 billion photos shared to date, 95 million per day - Hootsuite
  • Used by 31% of American women, 24% of American men - Hootsuite
  • 75% of Instagram users take action, such as visiting a website, after looking at an Instagram advertising post - Hootsuite
  • Used by nearly 50% of brands - eMarketer

Content Best Practices

Instagram is very visual, making it easy for brands to share content and for audiences to consume information. Instagram is all about aesthetics—make sure you are working with influencers who produce high quality content that will compel people to stop scrolling!

  • Polished, aesthetically pleasing content performs the best
  • Work with influencers who have high engagement levels from dedicated followers
  • Authentic content is key
  • Work with content creators who create high quality content


  • Carousel (multiple scrollable images or videos)
  • Single Image—a vertical image works better because it takes more space
  • Single video
  • Slideshow of several images and video

Pinterest Ads

In general, the Pinterest platform may be overlooked by advertisers. However, Pinterest users are most likely to make a purchase of all social media users. Additionally, Promoted Pins last forever. So your ads can be effective for years, making it even more important to create great content. According to Pinterest, advertisers receive an average of 20% more free clicks in the month after launching a Promoted Pin campaign. Pinterest is all about inspiration and information, so ensure that your ads are informative and eye-catching.

Fast facts:

  • Pinterest is the third-largest social network with over 175 million monthly active users-Adweek
  • 80% of users are women-Marketingland
  • 36% of the total user base are ages 18-29 and 70% of total users are between ages 18-49-Sproutsocial
  • 35% of the user base has an income of $75k+ making Pinterest user ssome of the most affluent as compared to other social networks-Sproutsocial
  • The average order value from Pinterest ads is $50, which is the highest of all major social media channels-Shopify
  • 93% of Pinterest users intend to make a purchase and 96% say they use Pinterest to gather product information for potential future purchases-Shopify

Content Best Practices:

Pinterest Ads look like regular organic Pins. Advertisers have the ability to select target demographics as well as ad keywords so the people who may find your product/service interesting will see your ad. Additionally, if someone likes your Pin, it will show up in their friends’ feeds, adding to the Pin’s exposure. Therefore, it is important that your ads to look organic to Pinterest’s look and feel, and for your ads to be very informative.

  • Content should be informational, beautiful  and interesting.
  • Make it easy for viewers to take action.
  • Work with influencers who are highly educated in their space whether that is cooking, DIY, fashion, home decor, etc.
  • Repurpose organic Pins from influencers


  • Use vertical, colorful and eye-catching visuals to compel users to click through.
  • An image’s ideal size is a vertical aspect ratio of 2:3 to around 1:3.5 with a minimum width of 600 pixels.
  • Videos and images should be supported with several calls to action that can bring users straight to your site or to download an app
  • Unlike other social media platforms, text on your images is encouraged. However, put the text at the top of your images


Are you interested in running paid ads? Comment below or contact us at [email protected] to chat with one of our experts!


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