According to eMarketer, US digital ad spend will approach $60 billion by the end of this year, with retail and financial services leading the charge in mobile advertising. It’s clear we’ve come a long way from traditional tactics. Performance marketers have observed a shift in consumer time spent online, cutting budgets from print media and radio and increasing search and social media investments in an effort to be where their customers are. Even television advertising budgets are not immune to poaching from digital channels.

Popular networks like Facebook and Twitter have become go-to resources for reaching audiences on a very large scale – but the magic of social media advertising is the ability to get extremely granular with targeting and retargeting. Marketers are able to align campaigns with age, location, interests, gender, devices, Internet connectivity and more, ensuring that messaging is relevant and compelling.

Leads from Twitter advertisingAlong with this targeting power comes the ability to spur concrete, measurable consumer action – whether that’s a website visit for a home insurance quote, a mobile game app install, a new member registration or an online retail purchase. While raising brand awareness is still an important goal for digital advertisers, the biggest social networks have recently invested in testing and releasing direct response ad units that are tailor made to drive real revenue on mobile and desktop – and the results have been encouraging.

According to Kevin Weill, Twitter’s SVP of Product, “Direct response advertising has been a major growth engine for our ads business over the last several quarters.” Native units like Twitter’s Lead Generation Card and Facebook’s Mobile App Install ads allow performance marketers to leverage images, URLs, and call to action buttons efficiently. App developers can more easily monetize their mobile games, and ecommerce brands can more quickly achieve customer acquisition goals.

With all this focus on selecting the right customers to get in front of, creative details can fall by the wayside – but the effectiveness of direct response advertising depends on persuasive copy and attractive imagery. Personalizing ad campaigns with seasonal cues, a nod to local landmarks or weather, a trending topic-centric message or timely mention of a major event can all give advertisers the competitive edge when it comes to grabbing customer attention.

More: SocialMediaToday Juliana Casale