How to Choose Between LinkedIn,
Twitter, and Facebook for Paid Advertising

Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook steal much of the spotlight when it comes to social media advertising options. And for a good reason. They’re household names that have become ubiquitous elements of daily life for millions of people—including your target audience.

So how can use leverage the fact that many—if not all—of your audience has one or more of these platforms on their devices and computer screens? The best way is to strategize how to use one or more by focusing on their strengths and then setting up a plan. Here’s a breakdown of what LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook have to offer marketers and business owners so you can choose which one—or which combination of channels—is best for your business.

Twitter Ads

Twitter’s advertising solution provides you with the ability to tweak your campaigns and who they’re delivered to with relatively few limitations. For example, you can specify demographics, such as:

  • Location
  • Gender
  • Language
  • Age

You can also have your ad featured on the screens of users with specific devices and mobile carriers.

In addition, you have the option of putting your ad content in front of people who are newer mobile users. These targeting features give you the flexibility you need to narrow down your audience significantly, but you can do more, as well.

Use Audience-specific Features to Boost Campaign Success

Twitter Ads also gives you the flexibility to pinpoint specific audiences according to their interests and what’s happening in the world and Twitter-sphere. In this way, you can focus on what people may be thinking and feeling instead of merely on their basic demographic data.

For instance, you can target:

  • Conversations. With this feature, you can ensure your ad appears in front of people who are discussing specific topics, such as local or international news events, fashion advice, technological developments, recipes, and much more.
  • Events. Is there a big basketball game happening down the street from your establishment? You can target people having conversations about events like these, timing your ads so they pop up as they’re driving up to or leaving the event.
  • People who have already engaged with your content. Twitter calls this “Tweet engager targeting,” and it involves sending ad content or other messages to those who’ve already engaged with something you’ve sent out.
  • Keywords. The keywords you choose can work much like keywords you enter into Google, except you get to target people interested in your keyword instead of sites that have it. This can be a powerful way to narrow down your audience.
  • People interested in specific movies and TV shows. Perhaps your target audience tends to prefer HDTV shows, Lifetime, or Star Wars. Twitter makes it easy to focus on whichever movie and TV fan base you want.
  • Interests and specific kinds of followers. Twitter also gives you the option of putting your ad content in front of people with particular interests, as well as not just your followers but those who are similar to someone else’s followers. For instance, if you think your products will hit home with folks that follow Jennifer Lopez, you can identify similar follower groups and make sure your ad content appears on their screens.

How Much Does it Cost to Advertise on Twitter?

You can set your budget as low as you’d like for your Twitter ad campaign. Once you set your budget and design your ad, it gets entered into an auctioning system. Twitter uses two factors to decide whether to show your ad or that of another business to your target audience:

  • How much you pay. The more you pay, the higher your chances of getting your ad on the screens of your target audience.
  • The quality of your ad. For Twitter to prioritize your ad, it has to align with the interests of your audience, they should be retweeting and engaging with your ad, and your tweets should be fresh and up-to-date.

These factors combine to give you an ad score, which equals your quality score times your bid amount.

While it may take some time to learn the ropes, by experimenting with different ad content and bid amounts, the simplicity of Twitter’s system can make it easy to find a sweet spot. To capitalize on any connections you make with customers, be sure you provide them with an easy way to get in touch with you, such as directly through Twitter, email, or via vanity phone numbers.


Facebook offers a broad portfolio of options, making it straightforward for a variety of different business sizes and styles. For instance, you can choose to take advantage of:

  • The ability to create ads and boost posts from your business’s Facebook page
  • Design and manage ads from within Meta Ads Manager
  • Create ads using Instagram and incorporate them into the Instagram shopping experience
  • Make ads from within the Ads Manager app

Because you have such a variety of choices when it comes to how to create and manage your ads, some may prefer Facebook over both Twitter and LinkedIn.

Targeting Audiences on Facebook

Similar to Twitter, Facebook enables you to specify specific audiences to which you want to present your ads. Also, like Twitter, it’s easy to drill down and choose relatively niche audiences, which can make it easier to optimize the people who see your ad content.

But Facebook also gives you the option of targeting overlapping audiences. Here’s how it works:

  1. You select an audience, and let’s say that has 400,000 people in it.
  2. You select another audience that has 500,000 people in it.
  3. But when the two audiences are compared, Facebook tells you that 100,000 of them overlap or belong to both audiences.

You can choose up to five audiences to overlap, which gives you a lot of flexibility.

For example, suppose you have an e-commerce store that sells electronic components. You may want to choose your audiences like this:

  • People of every gender living in Boston, Massachusetts
  • Those with a college degree
  • Those working in computation and mathematics
  • People who have set their relationship status to single
  • People who are in a long-distance relationship

The long-distance relationship “filter” is a clincher because you have a cutting-edge computer camera that uses machine learning to recognize facial expressions and use the data to approximate people’s feelings.

Given these parameters, your target audience may be only around 10,000 people, maybe much less. And, for many business models, that’s a good thing because it may position you to have a greater impact due to having less competition, as well as craft your ad to meet the needs and desires of this small group of people.

For instance, you could include phrases that specifically appeal to people trying to connect with a loved one far away. You could even use a slightly outdated computer screen in your ad content that would only resonate with tech aficionados. Or you could throw in an older gaming system, like a Sega Genesis, in the background to grab the eyes of folks who love to geek out on classic games—i.e., some computer science folks.

The possibilities are endless. The key is to give it a try, test out different approaches, and gather data about which ones are most effective.

The Cost of Advertising on Facebook

Facebook has a similar auction-style pricing structure for its ads, providing more exposure to higher bidders. Generally speaking, you can expect to pay around $.94 for everyone that clicks on your Facebook ad, but that will vary from one campaign to another.


LinkedIn is different from both Facebook and Twitter in that it makes it a little easier to target very specific audiences, even minuscule ones, with your ads. One feature that makes LinkedIn more effective than Facebook and Twitter is the fact that the LinkedIn user base consists of professionals working for specific companies.

This gives birth to some valuable data points that you can use to your advantage.

Even though this can work well for both B2B and B2C campaigns, we’ll use B2B in the following example:

Suppose you have a consulting company and you’re looking for more business clients. Your ideal client is a business that has around 1,000 employees in the Miami area. Using LinkedIn, you can specify that your ad gets presented in front of the employees of Miami-based companies with around 1,000 people. Suppose 900 of those employees are on LinkedIn. The only reason they would click your ad would be if they had at least some interest in your consulting services.

So you create two ads with videos inside them and two with infographics that underscore the effectiveness of your consulting services. You will send these out using LinkedIn ads, and all 900 employees will have a chance to see and click on them.

By using four different ads, you multiply the chances of someone engaging with your content 4-fold. But also, if your ad content is interesting enough, there’s a good chance the person viewing it may forward it to someone else in the company, who could forward it to someone else as well.

At that point, you’d have multiple people within the company’s LinkedIn network vouching for the quality of your ad, which is a vote for your services.

Which One Is Best for You?

Here’s an easy way to determine which of these solutions you want to use:

  • If you don’t mind paying a little more for the ability to target a very particular group, you may want to go with LinkedIn.
  • If you want to diversify your reach to the fullest extent, connecting with a wide swath of people, Facebook may be your best option.
  • If you want to maximize the degree to which you can create and propagate ads based on current events and the ebbs and flows of the business world, Twitter may be your number one ad vehicle.

Of course, the best thing to do when in front of a buffet is to sample more than one option, so pile a little of all three—or maybe just two—onto your marketing plate. To make it easier for interested people to reach out to you, make sure you provide contact details in your social media profile. In this way, once your audience digs your ad, you’re only moments away from helping them move further down the marketing funnel.