Paid Social & Social Media Ads: The Must-Have Quick Guide (August 2018)


With Facebook’s algorithms now focusing on friends and family content first, marketers and content specialists, especially those in B2B marketing, are scrambling to find a way to pivot their strategies.


The only constant is change. And in the marketing dimension, changes happen quickly. That’s why this quick guide to paid social and social media advertising is tagged with the date, because these guidelines will look different in 2019, if not in a few months or even weeks.

Here are the basics you need to know if you’re diving in to paid social or need to refer to what the standards are today. 

The Golden Rule of Advertising (and Marketing)

Make sure there is a clear objective behind your efforts, especially everything you put money behind. Examples of objectives include:

  • Drive website traffic
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Gain leads
  • Make sales

Your ad should look different depending on what your goal is. Your objective will also be crucial to how your ad targets audience feeds.

Pick the Perfect Platform

Before you run an ad, consider how the platform already performs organically, if it’s the right fit for your audience, and if your media format is ideal.

  • Facebook should be reserved for event promotion, appealing to followers you’ve already cultivated through organic groups and content, and then using what you've learned from organic to inform your target audience and format niches. Audience is everything across the board, but even more so when building a Facebook campaign.
  • Visual content on Instagram is good for driving traffic to your website and increasing brand awareness.
  • Twitter is good for a product launch and is also a good platform for traffic and awareness.
  • Snapchat is best for B2C with younger audiences, and Pinterest can work for certain industries in product sales. 

Always Mix Paid with Organic

Bombarding users with ads will only result in an annoyed audience and an unhappy ending for the brand or agency. Instead of aiming for flashy, needy, and repetitive content, carefully create something that serves your audience content they will love and be naturally attracted to.

37% of social users claim that they use social media to find entertaining content. Maybe it's yours.

And why not make it an ad?

When they see something compelling, a whopping 76% of users have purchased from a brand's social media ad. Whoa.


Hang On...Start Small

When you’re first beginning an ad, keep the scope and bid small. That way you can monitor performance before you put cash behind a new initiative.

After testing the waters, bid mid-range until you know that you have a profitable Cost per Acquisition. 

Always Update Content

Don’t let your ads get stale. It’s nice to set-and-forget…but not optimal ad practice. Monitor performance, and continually adjust:

  • Ad copy
  • Creative
  • Landing pages 

Speaking of content, best ad specs vary per platform. For complete guides, we bow down to Sprout Social for their effort in providing up-to-date spec overviews. Here are commonly-used basics when you need to fit each platform’s different ad dimensions in a hurry:

Instagram Ad Specs



  • Max characters: 2,200
  • Recommended characters: 125

Landscape Images

  • 1200 x 628 pixels
  • Aspect ratio: 1.9:1

Square Image

  • 1080 x 1080 pixels
  • Aspect ration: 1:1

Image: Later

Vertical Images

  • 600 x 750 pixels minimum resolution, 1936 x 1936 pixels maximum resolution
  • Image Format: JPG or PNG
  • Image file max: 30MB 

Landscape Video

  • 600 x 315 (minimum resolution)
  • Aspect ratio 1:91:1

Square Video

  • 600 x 600 (minimum resolution)
  • Aspect ratio: 1:1

Vertical Video

  • 600 x 750 (minimum resolution)
  • Aspect ratio: 4:5

Video Format

  • MP4 and MOV are best
  • Max video size: 4GB
  • Max video length: 60 seconds
  • Video max frames: 30fps

Pro tip: Love Gifs? You have to convert Gifs to video format before posting them on Instagram! Otherwise they will just show as an awkward photo.

Facebook Ad Specs

Feed Ad

  • Text limit: 215 characters
  • Headline limit: 25 characters
  • Link description: 30 characters
  • Image dimensions: 1200 x 628 pixels (recommended)
  • Image formats: JPG and PNG

Feed Video Ad

  • Text: 125 characters
  • Recommended: 90 characters
  • Headline max: 25 characters
  • Link description max: 30 characters

LinkedIn Ad Specs


  • Headline: 25 characters
  • Description: 75 characters
  • Image: 50 x 50 pixels

Sponsored Content

  • Shared link introductory text: 150 characters (the ad headline and URL are automatically scraped, while image can be changed manually)
  • Ad headline: 70 characters

For more on LinkedIn ads, visit their dedicated website

You’re ready to send your social ads without spinning your wheels on where to start!

Feeling more overwhelmed than at ease? Well, there’s more to it than what a quick guide can cover.

We can just do it for you.

Get in touch if you’d like to access the social media dimension to grow your brand and business—we’re familiar with all the dimensions when it comes to marketing.



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