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Advertising on platforms that have a lot of data about their users, like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc, means that you can target very specific kinds of people, very specific places and very specific parts of those platforms.

On Facebook you can choose to place ads in all kinds of places across the network, or just choose one or two of them, depending on where you believe your potential customers are. Or even how much you want to get out of your campaign.

You can choose to advertise in only Facebook, or only Instagram. You can choose to advertise just in feeds, or just in stories. This could be a good way of reaching different aged audiences as younger people tend to experience Instagram in the Stories only, but over 35s will tend to explore the feeds. And then there’s Messenger. Although right now you’d can’t only advertise in Messenger, you can place ads in there if you are advertising on at least the Facebook feed.

Another area that vastly expands your reach to certain audiences is Facebook’s Audience Network. That is a network of external apps and websites that take a feed of ads from Facebook in much the same way that Google’s Adsense network does.

On Google, advertising can be aimed towards text ads in search, graphical ads on their AdSense network of websites or even be geared towards those who are on mobiles only.

And this is where a little thinking about your potential customer comes in to play. Have you done the research to work out where your customer is. Are they a mobile user primarily, or stuck at a desk on a computer all day? Are they heavy searchers for products and services on Google search, or more likely to be swayed by seeing your products and branding popping up on various websites over a week?

The only way to really know what your target customer does is to test, test and test again.  While there is some info you can glean from your Facebook Insights and Google Analytics, the true test of what advertising is effective for you, comes from advertising on lots of places and seeing what works best.

On LinkedIn you have some interesting choices. You can advertise on the feed or the sidebar, like you can on Facebook, but you can also retarget visitors to your website and send a sponsored message to the inboxes of your target. But this is not something to do frivolously. A sponsored message in an inbox needs to be highly targeted to the point of being super accurate to what that person would want or need in their life or business. Sending spammy and generic messages to a tonne of inboxes on Linked is going to flag you as a spammer and you could be blocked from every doing it again. Worse still, annoying people isn’t a great way to get them to buy big ticket executive services or products. Employ a little psychology and lot of data before you spend the big money it’ll take to drop a message in to an inbox on Linkedin.

Confirm: While you can get very specific on where you want your ads to land on Facebook, Google, Instagram and LinkedIn, you really need to do a whole lot of homework first on who your customer is, what they do on these platforms, and whether what you’re selling is something they will ever have any interest in buying.

Always be relevant, thoughtful, willing to make mistakes and even more willing to make frequent changes of direction to find the right thing for your business and your future clients.