Instagram is testing a new user interface that could impact your brand’s content marketing strategy
Once seen as a quirky short-form video platform where GenZers share dances, pranks and tricks, TikTok has evolved into a must-buy for advertisers who want to reach a wide audience.
Instagram announced that all users in the US can now insert product tags as part of their organic posts. Here’s what this means for Brands.
This year, change has been a constant in the social media world. In addition to media measurement changes, increasing privacy concerns, pandemic shopping fluctuations, platforms are leaning into their product capabilities. These changes, spurred by iOS 14.5 – such as decreased audience sizes, reduced targeting capabilities, and increased platform costs – have ushered in 2022 as a major transition period for social.
While there have been stock fluctuations, new modeled data, and much adversity for social platforms (especially Meta), there have also been improvements in the eCommerce world. And, social’s role is now recognized as not just a view-through channel, but as an important part of the user journey that is instrumental to product success.
Covid-19 expedited the online shopping experience and created digital touchpoints that bridge the gap between online and in-store shopping. Thirty-three percent of sales are made through e-commerce this year, whereas this metric was twenty-three percent pre-pandemic.
Social media is a channel that showcases customer experience, feedback & engagement. The unsolicited communication of messages on social platforms and at-mentions (i.e.: Twitter) are great ways to get learnings/insights from customers and because it is self-reported, it increases the authenticity of the data. By keeping open communication/transparency, social provides an avenue to obtain direct product feedback for improvements to eCommerce features. Consumers will create their own path to purchase, and social provides guidelines regardless of where they are in the process (discovery, or ready to buy immediately.) Therefore, it’s important to create experiences that lead to brand recall; experiences like sharing recipes/coupons for a restaurant brand to drive users to dine (WARC guide)
Social Listening tools like Sprout Social or Hootsuite can help you search for keywords, monitor trends, and develop content capable of impacting messaging and ultimately guiding product success; an example of this has been the impact of users’ feedback on corporate sustainability and ultimately consumer responsibility. 4.62 billion of the world’s population is on social and the incremental reach/impact with this platform is unparalleled. One out of every two consumers look for deals specifically on social, making this a great channel to tout promotions and special products and offers.
With data depreciation, first-party data, lookalike modeling & customer personalization are the keys for customer success in a cluttered landscape. You need to define your key audience, use contextual marketing insights, and use the top performing segments for retention, re-engagement and brand loyalty. Be sure to store this data in a compliant way and check you are targeting the correct user on the right platform.
Online channels are now the primary driver for social eCommerce, with over 60% of customers saying they find browsing online easier than being in store. The ease of use of social media lends itself as a great discovery channel. “Online window shopping is also higher,” with sixty-one percent browsing online and only thirty-four percent in store. Correlate store locator data with Snapchat/Meta, but make sure the online experience continues to be king.
While there is no one-shop answer and users will still probably want to buy a significant number of mattresses/televisions in-store, brands can create digital touchpoints that lend to effective shopper journeys, as well as incorporate assets that are engaging, snackable, and drive performance.
Social is growing
In 2020, the average person spent three hours a day on social, vs. 90 minutes in 2012.
Messaging has grown forty percent since 2020, and mobile is key at over 4 hours of activity on average per day.
There is unparalleled time spent on these apps, and you want to make sure your products are being shown and you are fully monetizing on this growth of online activity and subsequent shopping behaviors. Social is not just a place for discovery/awareness: fifty-one percent of users said content they find on social media sites does lead to them to buy a product, adding social to the mid-funnel success, consideration phase.
More than 80 million people made purchases via social in 2020, and the projection is set to be 101.1 million by 2023.
Even industries like travel, which have faced major struggles from the pandemic, have increased their usage of eCommerce investments and tools. This is partly due to demand, but also consumer willingness to employ new tactics like virtual shopping and live streaming, the latter of which has attracted the likes of retail brands like Burberry and Louis Vuitton.
There is less and less separation between in-store and online experiences; the two need to continue to merge and syndicate. In fact, specifically for higher priced, luxury brands like Burberry, customers are coming back eight times to research products, so you want to make sure there is a personalized, robust customer experience, that takes individuals through the funnel while listening to customer needs/expectations.
Platform Capabilities are Growing
Facebook and Instagram (Meta) developed Shops in 2020, bringing stores where users can make purchases to the platform. IG Shop Tags and posts were also developed, so users can have seamless clickable access to products based on the ads they see. There is already a beta with live shopping/influencers on the platform; with the rise of these features in Meta, we anticipate more AI/shopping capabilities as well as integrations with feeds/user behaviors through platforms like Shopify that are not as affected by cookie-based marketing. FB/IG Shops make purchasing an item seamless and the tie-in with influencer marketing is specifically large with Instagram. Even though Facebook has seen some dips in revenue/users, its shop capabilities are growing, and we do anticipate some virtual reality shopping features in the future.
A large part of influencer marketing success is through Meta, and this is set to grow to $15 billion this year. As platforms realize these results, they are expanding these features at an exponential rate. With social’s access to first and third-party data, as well as these new features at play, social helps guide the user purchase.
Pinterest integrates the same shopping feed as “Meta,” allowing you to retarget/remarket those that have added a product in the cart, viewed products or actively searched for relevant keywords. You can customize your collections within product groups, ensuring personalization in tandem with dynamic retargeting, and use a Shopify integration to import seamlessly, while implanting conversion API.
Twitter, like Meta, has dabbled in Live Shopping, and has tested e-commerce for organic tweets that drive tweets to a shop button with product, shop name price, and product details. This is also a great area for customers to @ your brand and share e-commerce feedback/information.
TikTok is impacted largely by the influencer market, as well as YouTube. Now, just like with Pinterest, there is a Shopify Integration, so users don’t have to exit the app to explore products. In addition to live stream integrations, TikTok shopping has been piloted, allowing for shopping tabs on the profile, like with Meta.
LinkedIn is a great platform for niche audiences, especially in verticals like education. The first-party data and self-identification for member groups helps reach a professional audience, which can be used for e-commerce. For instance, if you are selling software to teachers, you can schedule appointments with “lead generation” or “start conversations” forms. This is a great place to nurture those relationships.
As you can see, most of the platforms use similar features. For a good e-commerce strategy, it is important to have strong creative assets, with a particular preference for video/short form; measure audience impact on each channel; and focus on multi-media measurement through another partner. If you can see where social lands in the user journey, and for what purpose, the impact from social on e-commerce is unparalleled.
Influencer Marketing is Key
With privacy as a key focus, it is more important than ever to show engaging, authentic, and personalized content, especially for the awareness and consideration phases of the funnel.
While users are likely to ad block/opt-out of traditional ads, this is not the case for influencer content, making this impactful during cookie deprecation.
Additionally, there is more clout when it comes to influencers. Forty-nine percent of Consumers depend on Influencer recommendations, and forty percent have purchased after seeing influencer content. In fact, ninety-two percent of consumers trust influencers more than traditional ads/celebrity endorsements, showcasing the effectiveness of the strategy. With a wide range of micro vs. macro influencers, there is certainly an engaged market by content type available for the taking.
This form of paid media continues to grow, and we anticipate this becoming an important phase of the e-commerce journey for social, especially considering growth trajectory. Influencer marketing has expanded exponentially over the past two years. Worth just $1.7 billion in 2016, the industry is set to reach $13.8 billion this year.
With the willingness of platforms to invest in influencer capabilities, and some even investing in influencers themselves (TikTok Creator’s Fund), it’s more important than ever to properly vet influencers through brands like Influential that are equipped with special consumer insight tools.
Specifically, Influential uses IBM Technology that helps you learn the brand presence, interests and potential reach of consumers who are engaging with niche communities and interests (i.e.: beauty brands would work with beauty influencers vs. targeting a beauty interest in platform). This audience is key to success. It’s important for brands to find effective content and markets based on properly vetting content creators and using their community to drive brand interest and endorsements your users can trust.
Align your Team
Each brand and stakeholder must work with internal and external parties to ensure it is clear on KPIs and how to gauge success; and to ensure it keeps the consumer in mind while being privacy compliant. Make sure you are clear with your goals, and drive purchase intent on each platform.
Customers are looking to brands for experiences, but each brand needs to do its own deep dive of success. Ensure you use best performing assets at different touchpoints (prospecting vs. remarketing) and across channels.
“A strategy for different verticals will require a bird’s eye view and remember to build the brand for long time retention,” Head of eCommerce at WaveMaker, Mudit Jaju, said. “Building strong bias before a consumer begins an online shopping journey improves a brand’s odds of being considered before purchase by fourteen percent,” he also stated.
Ensure you are personalizing your messaging, but continue to test, monitor, and optimize as this is a fast-paced, changing landscape. You want to make sure you stay relevant and noticed among the clutter.
If you’d like a consultation on how to make the social commerce landscape work for you, please contact us. We are here to help.
POV By Gellena Lukats, Acronym’s Director, Paid Social
When evaluating and measuring your Facebook campaigns that utilize Campaign Budget Optimization (CBO) and Lowest Cost Bidding Strategy, performance should be evaluated in terms of the sum of the whole, not the individual ad sets and ads.
As Meta explains, when individuals review a report like the one above, a common misconception is that Meta’s machine learning moves more budget to underperforming ad sets – a phenomenon dubbed “The Breakdown Effect.”
In reality, this is not the case: it only appears so because marketers aren’t exposed to the real-time costs of results in the auction (the machine learning system that takes place to determine which ad is shown to a person). For example, it may look odd that an ad set with a higher cost per conversion was given more budget (as above), but this was likely because the auction system determined that the cost per conversion of the other ad sets would increase if given more money.
Campaign Budget Optimization with Lowest Cost Bid Strategy enabled allows the system to dynamically shift budget to ad sets and ads that will result in the highest number of results for your campaign. This is the opposite of assigning specific ad set budgets, or giving specific budgets to specific audiences, in a single campaign.
“The Breakdown Effect” gets to the heart of how Meta’s auction system works, and can be a common point of confusion. It’s important for marketers to understand this concept so they can discern why reports may look a certain way, and so they aren’t tempted to turn off CBO by assigning specific budgets to specific entities in the same campaign to drive more budget to entities with lower costs. This will deliver fewer results and an overall higher cost per result for your campaign.
For brands with nimble budgets, it can be tempting to make every dollar count by designating dollars to specific ad groups based on previous performance costs. But doing so based on an evaluation of campaigns using CBO will deliver the opposite effect because individual ad sets & ads should not be viewed in isolation as performance costs of individual entities in a CBO campaign are not the best indicator of success. And, also because this limits the system’s ability to learn and move budget in a fluid manner based on real-time happenings in the auction. Flexibility in budgets and assets – what Meta calls “liquidity” – optimizes the system’s machine learning capabilities.
Remember, the more flexibility, the better as the cost per result of a specific entity in CBO campaign is not a good indicator of success. While reviewing overall campaign performance of a CBO campaign is ideal, the amount of budget assigned to different entities is a better indicator of success when trying to evaluate different ads and ad sets.
If you need assistance in how to structure and optimize budgets to the platform’s machine learning capabilities with CBO, please contact us.
It’s no secret that consumer trust in advertising has been steadily declining in recent years. But, it’s not all bad news for brands as reports indicate consumers still trust some channels over others. For example, Nielsen’s Trust in Advertising study found that brand sponsorships are among the most trusted advertising sources among global consumers, yet most marketers don’t readily consider newer ad formats like brand integrations, sponsorships and product placements in their media planning. This is where programmatic strategies can help brands connect with customers by leveraging the built-in trust of these partner integrations.
The report also highlights how important digital channels have become from a marketing perspective, evidenced by significant increases in planned spending across search and social media.
Digital marketing channels are attractive because they drive sales in the current quarter, not the next and deliver real-time conversion metrics. Marketers surveyed by Nielsen believe search and social media are the most effective for their businesses.
Meanwhile, The Edelman Trust Barometer has shown that both trust and reputation are correlated with actual and intent to purchase, but that trust is in many ways the more powerful factor. For example, 61% of people globally say that a good reputation may get them to try a product; but unless they come to trust the company behind the product, they will soon stop buying it regardless of its reputation.
So, how can a brand improve its reputation and create the kinds of connections that convert?
According to Edelman, consumers most want Diversity, Authenticity, Transparency, Social Responsibility, Data Security, Valued Opinion and Purpose from brands.
Marketers can demonstrate these brand attributes through their message as well as the select channels and media outlets in which they place their programmatic ads. This can be amplified by additional content marketing through social media and search.
If you’d like assistance with your content strategy and how to best select the right channels in social, search and programmatic, give us a call. We are here to help.
Short-form video success is touted throughout most platforms as a best practice, especially for TikTok. In their next phase, however, the platform will allow 10-minute video uploads that could change how users engage with content and with each other, giving brands better analytics.
TikTok is known as the “king” of short-form video. However, shorter videos mean less monetization and analytics potential, a problem which ultimately brought about the demise of the once-popular Vine because you can’t insert pre or mid-roll ads into short content.
To avoid a similar fate, TikTok has been gradually expanding its video lengths. (Originally, TikTok’s time limit per clip was 15 seconds, then, they extended it to 60 seconds, then 3 minutes.)
TikTok users will soon be able to upload longer clips, which could impact how people consume content in the app. In some ways, this is seen as a risky bet for TikTok, which built its user base on the back of short, pithy memes and responses. The platform does, of course, have longer live-stream videos, which are displayed in the main feed. However, according to WIRED, nearly 50% of TikTok users said videos longer than a minute were stressful and a third of users watched videos online at double speed.
Meanwhile, Facebook expanded its Reels feature to all users to compete with TikTok, which has been steadily gaining market share. Facebook has also added “Reels drafts” and a new video clipping option designed to allow content creators to publish live or long-form videos to test different formats.
Like YouTube, Facebook is presenting its short-form option as a complementary channel to help creators build a strong following while maximizing their monetization potential through longer content.
Acronym will monitor these changes and will let you know if there is an impact on user behavior and interest, which could lead to a much broader set of content and advertising options.
If you’d like assistance leveraging TikTok, Meta, YouTube or any social media platform to drive better engagement and conversions, please let us know. We’re here to help.
LinkedIn announced its intention to acquire Oribi, which will showcase new analytics tools that deliver enhanced campaign attribution and enable simplified event tracking and response through key actionable insights to capitalize on performance trends.
As explained by LinkedIn:
“Understanding which channels and messages have the greatest impact on the decision to take a desired step, such as a buyer requesting a product demo or a job seeker applying to a job posting, is critical to the effectiveness of any marketing campaign. Through the integration of Oribi’s technology into our marketing solutions platform, our customers will benefit from enhanced campaign attribution to optimize the ROI of their advertising strategies.”
LinkedIn already offers a range of marketing and advertising solutions. However, users have pushed for targeted ad features and better attribution models within the professional networking platform. Solutions like Oribi, which competes with platforms like Google Analytics, could deliver those enhanced attribution metrics.
The new analytics tool will provide code-free data that makes LinkedIn a more robust platform as marketers can now see visitors’ actions on a brand’s website and group those actions into behaviors that can provide deeper analysis without the need for third-party cookies or in-app tracing. This will help LinkedIn align with emerging privacy trends and the deprecation of cookies.
Marketers can use targeting features via platforms like LinkedIn to engage with a precise audience base or even network with peers in a specific role, industry, or interest. In fact, Acronym recently won Sprout Social’s Agency Campaign of the Year for its use of LinkedIn (and Facebook) to drive qualified applications and leads to Wharton Executive Education’s online “Wharton Live Programs.” The integration of Oribi’s technology will allow marketers to better optimize their ROI and overall strategies as it will become easier to measure conversions from various campaigns.
If you’d like assistance leveraging LinkedIn for recruiting or to better connect with business customers, contact us today. We’re happy to help.
Sprout Social, the leading provider of cloud-based social media management software, awarded Acronym Agency Campaign of the Year, marking the second consecutive win for the performance marketing agency.
The winning campaign was developed to drive qualified application and leads for Wharton Executive Education’s online “Wharton Live Online Programs” while courses were not available on campus.
“Congratulations to the Acronym team for winning the Sprout Social Campaign of the Year award” said Amy Hess, Senior Director of Marketing and Digital Strategy at Wharton Executive Education. “We’re grateful for the support, collaboration, and agile strategy you provided during a time of great change for our organization. We’re proud of the team and are happy to see your expertise celebrated in this way. “
Utilizing LinkedIn and Facebook, Acronym built custom audiences to target prospects who were interested in online learning programs. Acronym utilized lookalike targeting, based on converters, detailed interests surrounding online learning, and site visits and sign ups, as well as Remarketing based on leads, registrations, site visits, sign ups, site visitors, CRM and application abandoners.
Acronym’s social media teams focused on qualified applications and shifted budget to top performing school programs between Facebook and LinkedIn paid media efforts. The agency used awareness campaigns/traffic to garner leads that could then be remarketed students returning to campus.
“Our shift in marketing for Wharton was in tandem with the continuing pandemic landscape,” explained Gellena Lukats, Director, Paid Social for Acronym. “As Wharton moved courses online, we quickly pivoted our efforts to ensure the Wharton brand was still visible to target audiences while driving qualified applications and leads.”
The Wharton Live Online Program garnered 19% more leads and 8% more apps. Cost per leads were 11% more efficient, and cost per applications were 2% more efficient YoY, despite the changing pandemic landscape.
“I’m very proud of our social media team for this second consecutive win,” said David Rollo, CEO of Acronym. “This campaign is a great example of how Acronym was agile and flexible enough to quickly shift strategies that supported online courses for Wharton Executive Education. Our social media team was creative in their approach to audience targeting and the results speak for themselves.”
With January being dubbed the Q5, is this a good time to increase budgets/scale in social media?
We think so and here’s why and how to get the most ROI possible:
- LinkedIn is seeing a slight increase of ~8% for bids because most eCommerce products are not actively promoted on the platform, and there wasn’t much holiday competition in bids. This doesn’t mean it’s not a good time to launch, if January is an historically great month for your brand.
- Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest are currently optimized for more spend and more efficient ROAS, due to lack of holiday competition. So, now is a good time to take advantage of these efficiencies and increase your share of voice. The average CPMS are 15% more efficient on Snapchat and the opportunity for growth and efficient ad spend is seen throughout these channels.
- With iOS changes, CPMs higher YoY, increasingly dwindling audience sizes/modeled data on platform, and less concern for supply shortages, now is a great time to start the year strong with spend increases and focus on driving demand in the coming months.
- Make sure your copy and messaging is seasonally relevant and speaks to the New Year period of January. This type of resolution messaging is effective for health/fitness and education brands.
- You should consider optimizing the remarketing campaigns, from the prospecting you fueled in Q4, especially if your brand isn’t focused solely on gifting opportunities.
- We recommend you work holistically with all social media channels to integrate the strategies and learnings from the previous year.
- You should use this time to do some housework to ensure your shops/feeds, integration and tracking are up to date to begin the new year with the right attribution.
- Mobile ad spends increased 23% in 2021 and are on track to hit $350B this year. You should continue to create campaigns/ad formats as the behaviors/mobile usage adopted at the height of the pandemic are here to stay.
- Consider adding emerging platforms like TikTok to your social media strategy, as it is currently seeing more visits than even Google, and has the potential to increase audience size/performance. That said, more users still convert on Facebook and Instagram so you should continue to create content/creative based on each platform’s capabilities/KPIS.
- Invest in video with lower bids as the ad is less expensive in January than it was in Q4 and is more likely to convert with shoppable videos/images. Video content also create better engagement/audience tests which are instrumental with the iOS changes in market.
Overall, you should continue to engage in ad format/audience and creative/mobile-first practices. But, keep in mind if you spend now, the efficiencies you start today could grow your funnel for the campaigns to come.
If you’d like to explore the best ways to manage your spend and scale in social media, contact us today. We’re here to help.
POV by Gellena Lukats, Director, Paid Social.