New businesses, especially in the online world, face significant struggles in getting noticed on large social media platforms.
It can be difficult to ensure that your content reaches your audience, let alone expand your brand reach to new ones.
The most popular digital ad channels have become saturated with advertisers trying to catch the eye of their audience. Sites like Google AdWords, Facebook and Instagram have the highest CPA (cost per acquisition) because of the high level of competition across the sites. Instead of investing a big chunk of your marketing budget into these ad platforms, consider diversifying your ad spend and improving the CPC (cost per click) by taking advantage of underutilized social channels such as TikTok, Snapchat and Pinterest.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the benefits of each of these platforms and how these three social media outlets can be used for effective e-commerce marketing.
Underpriced e-commerce marketing channels to consider in 2020
There are countless social media platforms currently in the market, used by consumers across all demographics. It’s like a kid in a candy store for marketers when trying to build an online presence for a company or brand.
The best strategy for diversifying your ad budget while experiencing the best ROAS (return on ad spend) is to look outside the usual costly players. By advertising through more niche-focused channels, there is less competition for your target audience’s eyeballs. This means lower ad costs and a greater opportunity to reach consumers through digital ads on platforms that your competition might not be using.
Let’s take a look at some of the less saturated platforms your business can leverage today to grow your audience and create greater brand awareness.
1. Reach a wide Gen Z audience on TikTok
TikTok has seen staggering growth since its birth back in 2017. If your target audience is between 16-24 years old at time of writing, this social media platform has immense potential for growing your business.
After only two years, the platform has gained over 500 million users – a feat that took YouTube five to six years to achieve. In October 2018, TikTok actually surpassed YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram in monthly downloads, reaching as high as 42.4 percent of downloads among the apps.
What is TikTok and where did it come from?
TikTok is a video-based platform that lets users post personalized, edited videos. Like Instagram and Snapchat, TikTok uses facial recognition technology that allows for filters. It’s highly engaging with its audience and has hundreds of trends including memes, cosplay, hashtag challenges (like the In The Box dance challenge) and much more.
TikTok began in 2012, but only experienced its high levels of growth and adoption after 2017, when it merged with Musical.ly. From then on, monthly downloads started soaring.
How to advertise on TikTok
It’s worth prioritizing TikTok as an advertising channel in your e-commerce marketing strategy because of the high level of engagement of its users. You can use it for organic marketing, or invest in TikTok’s advertising options.
By using hashtags, participating in challenges, creating fun content and encouraging users to generate their own content, you can build a community of users through your brand and stay top of mind.
You can also explore paid advertising campaigns. For example, consider creating branded lenses, similar to Snapchat filters, and offer them for a limited time. When TikTokers use one of your lenses, it’s basically like advertising for your brand.
Another option is to create a Hashtag Challenge and place a banner across TikTok’s Discover Page to encourage user interaction. There are plenty of more advertising options that you can mix into your social media tactics.
2. Explore an up-and-coming channel like Snapchat
Many e-commerce brands, especially DTC (direct-to-consumer) brands are considering ads on Snapchat as other channels, like Instagram, become more and more saturated.
The app allows users to send pictures, videos and messages that are made available to the receiver for only a short period of time before it becomes inaccessible. This temporary nature of the app was originally designed to encourage a more natural flow of interaction.
Snapchat by the numbers: why it’s worth considering
As of October 2019, the U.S. had the biggest Snapchat user base in the world, with an audience of almost 98 million users. France ranked in second place with an audience base close to 21 million users. The platform is projected to surpass 365 million global users in 2023.
If this sounds like your audience, Snapchat is a great platform for reaching potential customers. Check out reviews and see if Snap is the right platform for your needs by reading user reviews below.
Expert advice on how e-commerce brands can best leverage Snapchat
Consider this: Snapchat’s Story ad CPM rate is 8X cheaper than Instagram’s. One thing to remember about Snapchat is that the stories disappear in 24 hours, so the relatively low cost enables you to create a larger quantity of ads with a higher distribution rate. This makes the platform perfect for hosting contests and giveaways exclusive to the app or offering Snapchat-exclusive coupons, to give you a couple of ideas.
In addition to tactics encouraging users to make a purchase directly from the app, the platform is a great way for businesses to engage with target audiences in a deeper way.
For example, offer exclusive behind-the-scenes footage, showcase new products or give sneak peeks into the business. By sharing insider content, you can create a sense of community within your audience.
3. Share your brand's creativity and visual appeal with Pinterest ads
Pinterest has been around since 2010. It’s a social network that allows users to visually share and discover new interests by posting (known as ‘pinning’) images or videos to their own or others’ boards.
Users are able to create boards based on themes and browse what others have pinned. Pinterest is the fourth most popular social channel with a very dedicated user base yet, despite that, doesn’t attract ad dollars the same way Facebook and Instagram do.
Pinterest by the numbers: who is on Pinterest and how are they using it?
Pinterest mostly targets the millennial market, and in particular, women. Around 80% of American mothers use Pinterest, as there are great ideas for crafting, parenting, decorating and more. However, men have also started using Pinterest more actively. In 2019, approximately 40% of new signups were men.
Pinterest also has a growing boomer market with it now being the second most popular social media network behind Facebook. Boomers typically use Pinterest to look at home improvement projects and new products for the home.
TIP: Already use Pinterest for your brand? Leave a review to help others make the right e-commerce marketing decisions, too.
Tips for advertising on Pinterest
Using Pinterest for e-commerce marketing offers you multiple options. It’s very easy to start your own Pinterest Business page for free. Verification is important for building a repertoire with possible customers that use the site. Once verified, many businesses choose to use Rich Pins. Rich Pins is a feature that lets you link the price and stock details of a product from your site to the Pinterest pin.
You’ll also want to be mindful of how you organize your pins. To create a great user experience, make sure your pins are arranged in a way that makes sense to users as they scroll through your page looking for a specific item or to just browse. And since Pinterest is such a visual platform, ensure your pictures are well designed so they stand out and catch a potential customer’s eye.
For paid advertising, when structuring your Pinterest campaigns, focus on a theme and corresponding keywords for each campaign. For example, a food box subscription service might create campaigns such as Gluten-Free, Vegan, Keto, and Low Carb. Do research into which themes have the highest monthly search volume to prioritize campaign creation. Just remember that Pinterest users are focused on visuals so the content you use for your pin will carry more overall weight than the keywords themselves.
A final word
Following the digital marketing crowds and choosing the most popular advertising methods is not always the best option for an optimal e-commerce marketing strategy. A better approach is to understand where your target audience is consuming content and diversify your advertising channels. Advertising across the lesser-utilized platforms can save you money since the CPC is lower, or you can use the same amount of budget and potentially get a higher ROI.
Additionally, with less noise from competitors, there’s a greater chance that your ads will reach your target audience and resonate with them. Now that you have the knowledge on how to best use social media channels like TikTok, Snapchat and Pinterest for e-commerce marketing, you’ll be able to reach a wider audience and increase customer acquisition for 2020.
See just how important e-commerce marketing channels are for your company's needs with G2's list of e-commerce software stats.
Amanda is the Content Marketing Manager at
Clearbanc, a fintech company providing fast, affordable, and flexible capital for online brands. A lifelong learner and educator, she loves helping people by breaking complicated concepts down into digestible pieces. In her spare time, she fosters and volunteers with a local dog rescue.