Paid Social Media Ads: What They Are & Why Your Video Game Needs Them

by Game Marketing Genie, on 11-Mar-2020 14:35:23

The world is introduced to new social media platforms frequently, and the number of people that use at least one is expected to hit almost 4.41 billion by 2025, according to data from Statista. Your target audience likely exists somewhere on gaming social media, and you should be trying to reach them there. 

While you can advertise organically - using the strength of your content and the loyalty of your players to bring in new leads - sometimes this isn’t enough to get the reach you desire.

Paying to distribute ads on social media might seem like a risky investment; however, don’t fall into the trap of relying solely on organic reach. The return you get from paid social ads will be unlike any of your other marketing methods, so let’s dive into what they are and how they can make your game shine.

What are paid social media ads?

Paid social media advertising is a marketing strategy that relies on payment to prioritize the placements of your ads across various social media platforms. 

You may have seen posts like these in your feeds. These types of posts are usually tagged and come from brands that you don’t follow, appearing as “promoted,” “sponsored,” “featured,” or something similar. 

Why do these appear to you? Because you’re part of the audience a brand has tried to target their business to. 

One of the significant benefits of paid social media ads is that they’ll only reach the people you indicate are part of your target audience. Depending on the platform, you can select from a range of variables (including age, gender, location, and interests) to ensure that you get the most value for money by focusing on people who might be interested in your brand.

Let’s look at some of the most common platforms you can use.

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Data from Statista shows that some 2.9 billion people visit Facebook each month, and this gives you an incredible opportunity to market to them.

All of your Facebook ad campaigns will run through the Facebook Ads Manager tool. Here, you can choose your campaign objective from three categories: awareness, consideration, and conversion. Which you choose depends on your business goals.

Awareness: generate interest in and knowledge about your product or service.

Consideration: get people who are interested in your game to start thinking and looking for information about it.

Conversions: encourage people that are interested in your game to choose you.

From there, you’re able to define your audience demographics, add your daily or lifetime budget, create ads, choose their placements (including News Feed and columned ads) along the Facebook network, and finally place your campaign order.

As the biggest social media platform, this is the best place to start in paid social marketing.


Instagram is an incredibly powerful ad platform, especially if you’re involved in any major topics people post there. Fashion, food, beauty, health, gaming—the list goes on! It is one of the best and most accessible gamer social media platforms.

As Instagram falls into the Meta family, you can run your ad campaign using the Facebook Ad Manager. However, you can also run them through the app itself and a few other options, including Instagram Partners.

Instagram uses the same demographic data as Facebook to reach specific audiences. You can place your ad within the image and video feeds, Instagram Stories, carousels, and more.

However, you’ll need to ensure that your content meets Instagram’s requirements to optimize it for better output.


Twitter offers its own unique set of advertising opportunities. Sure, you can create ads which are featured in the feed, but you can also promote your account, tweets and even create featured trends.

  • Promoted Accounts rank your account above others in users’ suggested followers lists. You will show up to users that fit your targeted demographics, have searched for something related to your keywords or are looking at similar accounts.
  • Promoted Tweets get you exposure by featuring tweets that you have chosen. These will appear expanded on your profile, within the search results for certain keywords and on the users’ feeds themselves.
  • Promoted Trends are hashtags or topics that appear closer to the top of the Trends list shown on the Twitter homepage. Like any other topic or hashtag, users are able to include them within their own tweets. 
  • Trend Takeovers appear in the top slots of the “Trends for you” section and also in the “What’s Happening” module on Twitter. When a user clicks a Promoted Trend, they’ll see your brand's Tweet at the top, followed by Tweets directly from others surrounding the trend. This and Promoted Trends are on the more expensive end of the scale (think hundreds of thousands), and are best for big corporations.

Like all other platforms, the type of campaign you choose to create depends on your business goals. Choose from awareness, engagement, video view, follower or lead generation campaigns. What you spend will depend on the campaign type that you choose. 

Once you determine your demographic, you’ll have the option to promote your account, tweets or both. Lastly, you’ll need to add a payment method and then you can get started on your campaign!

Social media apps on smartphone

Why should you be using paid social media ads?

It’s simple - paid social media ads work. For example, data from Statista shows that in 2021 Facebook generated just over 117 billion USD in global revenue - with a majority of this coming from advertising.

Considering this statistic, it’s clear that your ROI will be favorable if you invest in paid social. But you have to do it right.

As we mentioned earlier, you need to have a clear objective and an understanding of the kinds of people you want to target. Your ad copy also needs to be relevant, practical, and educational to show your audience that you can solve their problems and provide them with value. Once you’ve got this under control, you’ll be able to reap the benefits of this service. Let’s look at some of them below.

It’s cost-effective

Your price per click or impression ranks at about the same amount on social media as it does elsewhere, but your reach is drastically improved. Coming back to Facebook, we see that the average CPC (cost-per-click) runs at about 1.68 USD (source: Oberlo). This means that it will likely fit your budget and allow you to connect with niche audiences at a reasonable price.

You get amplified reach

It is predicted there will be almost 5.85 billion social media users by 2027 (source: Statista). Most, if not all, of your audience will exist on one platform or another. 

The reach you’ve got here is amplified, unlike anywhere else. Why? Because paid ads are guaranteed to rank within people’s feeds. Organic reach is declining as social media algorithms rank family and friends’ posts higher. Find out where your audience exists online, start directly targeting them, and eliminate audiences that won’t convert.

Your targeting is better

It’s the ability to focus solely on the players guaranteed to be interested in your game that is the most powerful. Forget your basic targeting metrics. Paid social gives you complete control over where your ad goes and who sees it. You will only reach the user demographics you’ve selected, which is helpful if you have already created buyer personas for your brand.

Choose from basic demographics like age, gender, and location, as well as include psychological factors such as interests, hobbies, and personalities. You can also retarget users who visited your website using pixels and attract leads from every area of your video game marketing funnel.

It presents valuable analytical data

Another handy feature of paid social media is the invaluable data available within the native analytics of the platforms themselves.

These analytics detail the performance of your campaigns and provide you with real-time data so you can track your progress towards your end goal. Use this data to find out which ads convert better, which attract more engagement, and how you can optimize them to reach your audience better.

This data can help you identify your true target audience and remove demographics that aren’t interacting with your ads to drive engagement and conversions.

Analytical data on screen

It increases your brand awareness

There’s nowhere else to get exposure like social media for gamers. If people start seeing your game more frequently, they’ll come to recognize you as an essential player in your field.

So how do you make your brand stand out? Create ads with content that is relevant, attractive, and memorable. This will establish you as a credible brand and encourage new conversions. After all, there is no point in having a game if people don’t know that you exist.

It brings value to your content

Your content is one of the most valuable resources that your game has. So why not promote it?

As a game dev, you're probably producing content but it may not be getting traction. So, what are you gonna do about it? One easy way is to use paid social to boost your posts to a broader audience. This'll bring in players that click through your site and create links that will help you rank higher on search engines.

Your paid social media campaigns should tie into your content marketing strategy to bring value to your work and your audience.

Read more about the importance of content here: Is Content Marketing Worth Your Time?

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It's as easy as that - you want more customers, you want to be a well-known brand, and you want to know how you can get started. Your answer? Paid social media ads.

Paid advertising for game devs

Organic marketing is great, but it won’t take you all the way to game marketing success! Don’t be afraid to invest in paid advertising, as it can help you generate the reach and engagement you need. Still not convinced? Check out The Complete Paid Marketing Guide for Video Games!

If you're still relying on organic reach alone, you're missing out on a range of opportunities that your competitors are snapping up. Paid social media advertising is one of the easiest - and most effective - ways to reach your audience. It provides vital information throughout your brand strategy and allows your game to become a well-known brand. After all, your audience and competitors exist on social media, so you should also.

But planning, creating, outputting, and optimizing your social media marketing strategy takes time and effort. The professionals here at Game Marketing Genie can help you find your target audience, create specialized ads, and convert them into loyal patrons. Our team is comprised of the best marketers, creatives, analysts, and strategists the industry has to offer. So, let us take the reins while you focus on what's important - your game.

Want to know more? Check out our social media marketing strategy page to find out how we can help you!

Topics:Social Media MarketingContent MarketingVideo Game MarketingDigital Marketing StrategyContent Marketing StrategySocial Media Marketing StrategyPaid Advertising

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