Why It’s Advantageous To Run Ads On Smaller Social Platforms

Young woman using smart phone,Social media concept.

In 2021, digital marketing requires a competitive advantage given the state of the global economy, as well as the crowded marketplace. Such an edge can be acquired through lower customer acquisition costs, experimenting with social ads, viral content, mobile-facing campaigns and leveraging smaller social platforms.

Retail has paused due to lockdowns and most brands are pivoting towards e-commerce. However, direct-to-consumer (D2C) has also led to higher acquisition costs since more businesses are advertising on large platforms like Google, Facebook and Twitter.

Online retailers can limit acquisition costs by advertising on overlooked channels that still have large audiences.

Growth Of Direct-To-Consumer (D2C)


Work-from-home (WFH) has led brands to increase spending on digital advertising. According to eMarketer, digital ad spend will increase 13% this year and 33% by 2023.

But there are risks when only using mainstream channels because the younger crowd on both sides of the political spectrum are growing dissatisfied with Big Tech censorship. According to Shopify’s The Future of E-Commerce 2021 report, “Though people continue to use Facebook and other platforms in record numbers, the erosion of trust has serious implications for brands.”

“The new normal is a time when Davids can compete with Goliaths and gain market share by taking advantage of low-cost platforms like Shopify,” says Josh Sturgeon, Cofounder of EmberTribe, a marketing agency. The paid-traffic expert encourages direct-to-consumer businesses to avoid relying exclusively on big channels.

“Successful brands require a comprehensive, multi-channel approach. That means marketers should explore running ads in places like Snapchat, Pinterest and TikTok. Right alongside mature channels like Google search, YouTube and Facebook ads. Embracing a multi-channel approach goes beyond thinking about customer acquisition and extends to customer reactivation. Leveraging channels like email, SMS and Messenger increases the lifetime value of customers and allows brands to rapidly scale.”

Promoting On Lower-Cost Platforms

Certain verticals are positioned to lower acquisition costs as businesses swarm limited ad space. According to eMarketer, the biggest digital ad spenders are retail (21.9%), automotive (12.3%), financial services (12.1%), telecom (10.4%), and consumer packaged goods (8.6%).

Lower ad costs and improved performance provide a competitive advantage that can lead to better offers, deals and repeat purchases.

Examples of overlooked channels include Twitch, a live streaming platform for gamers, as well as video streaming site Hulu. The latter, which is an alternative to YouTube, has seen decreasing ad rates.

Other options include TikTok, Snapchat, and Reddit.

Reddit is a news aggregation site that has received plenty of press coverage due to the GameStop stock frenzy. Reddit has 48 million users, most of whom belong in the younger demographic. Aside from advertising, it’s also a place where catchy or humorous content can go viral if shared by popular users or news influencers.

If you’ve got a niche product that resonates with Generation-Y and Z, it’s worth a shot.

Bypassing Traditional Gatekeepers

Marketers obviously need to target certain channels based on business objectives, demographics, and industry. But thousands of impressions at lower cost can mean all the difference for a growing brand.

While Spotify gets plenty of media attention, Pandora (an overlooked music service) actually has 257 million users.

Quora, a question-and-answer website, has 300 million users and frequently tops search engine results when consumers ask all types of queries. Discord, a chat application, has more than 250 million users.

D2C is especially beneficial for small businesses during the pandemic. Startups can compete with the Big Boys by bypassing retail. Small businesses can also earn higher margins by shipping directly to customers, as well as gain a loyal following by embracing social responsibility and by accepting a wide variety of payment options.

Startups on a limited budget can see significant growth by finding smaller but effective social platforms to spend on ads.

I am a documentary filmmaker and the CEO of Studio 15, a socially responsible fashion brand. After leaving behind a 15-year career in the corporate fashion world, I