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Social Media Predictions for 2023

By Social Media

As 2022 comes to a close, we are keeping an eye on the emerging trends and tools and tactics that will matter in 2023.

Facebook Leverages AI To Keep People Interested.

As Facebook continues to lose users to TikTok, the platform is using AI to send more content from Pages and people’s content through Feeds.

Mark Zuckerberg explained in a recent interview with The Verge that:

“What’s basically going to happen is that, over the next year or two, we’ll start showing more recommended content in the Feed. And we’ll know that we’re doing a good job because the content in the beginning is going to displace some other content, and either displacing that content is going to lead to negative feedback from people, and lead to people connecting with each other less in all the metrics that we focus on, or it will actually lead to people connecting more and being more satisfied with the product.”

Zuckerberg’s view is that 40% of the content in your main Facebook feed will come from Pages you don’t follow.

For brands, that could also mean expanded opportunity, as Facebook’s algorithms will look to show your best-performing posts to even more people, even those outside of your current audience.

Facebook Is Moving Away From Promoting External Links

Facebook is placing a lower priority on content that promotes external links because they want more people to spend more time on the platform.

While this will cause some frustration for brands seeking to drive views to their websites, we recommend brands focus on content that generates more engagement on Facebook, likes memes and audience questions. This could help marketers that might then boost brand awareness and increase their following.

Continued Push for Avatar integration on Facebook

Despite a lack of user interest and an unimpressed industry, Meta is still trying to get users excited about the metaverse. So, you can expect to see more digital avatars popping up on the app.

Meta Avatar store

Although, we are far from reaching critical mass in the VR-enabled metaverse, there are expanded opportunities in sponsored items for avatars, themed costumes, and some new ways to connect and engage within the digital space.

Expect Meta to start pushing avatars as a key way to connect and engage, from video chats to posts, to status updates, and onto the metaverse itself.

More AI-recommended Instagram Content – and More Reels

Just like Facebook, Instagram is likewise hoping AI content recommendations will maximize user engagement as the platform struggles to keep up with TikTok.

Meanwhile Reels remains Instagram’s its fastest-growing content format, so you can expect to see more random updates, and more Reels, in more places in the app.

Like Facebook, it’s not clear yet that this will work for IG. But they’re going to push it either way.

We also expect Instagram will revisit its full-screen feed test, maybe with selected users who engage with Reels/Stories more often.

More Brand Engagement with Creators

We expect Instagram to add-in new forms of content creation in 2023, including AR and 3D posts, further integrate NFT art, and other new content forms that can be showcased in the app.

By providing more ways for creators to create directly on Instagram, Meta hopes to guide them to the metaverse. So you can expect to see new creation tools, like GIFs generated from Live Photos on IG, and also, the integration of 3D creation tools from its Spark AR platform directly into Instagram itself.

Spark

AR and More Interactive Ads

Other platforms are already experimenting with this, and as Meta seeks to guide users into the next stage, we expect to see more more 3D models for the metaverse space, including new AR ad formats cwith enhanced scanning tools and ingestion processes to help more brands lean into this next-level shift.

Twitter Will Continue to Experiment to Regain Market Share

Elon Musk has laid out various vague plans as he tries to right the seemingly sinking ship. From subscriptions to today’s news that he will no longer remove misinformation about COVID-19, we could see anything from Twitter transforming to a pay-to-play platform to a return to robust analytics. (Twitter removed a lot of analytics features back in 2020, and never replaced them.

If Musk were to improve Twitter Analytics offering, and presented that as a service, that would likely be something for which many businesses would be willing to pay.

Pinterest Will Continue to Grow and Gain Greater Influence

Pinterest has been on a more steady upward trajectory now.

We expect this trend to continue with greater international expansion. Pinterest is doing well in its key markets, but it still has a lot of growing to do in other regions.

Pinterest Q3 2022

As you can see in these charts, Pinterest’s income from North American users literally towers over what it makes in other regions. Pin ads are still not available in all markets, and while Pinterest is still growing, it needs to work on building its ad opportunities to maximize its potential in this respect.

Improved Search and Discovery on Pinterest

Discovery is the backbone of Pinterest’s operation and we expect to see new improvements in highlighting the most relevant products via improved search tools and processes.

Pinterest continues to make progress on this front, by adding in more personalized discovery tools, and you can expect to see Pinterest continue to refine and improve its processes to help maximize product discovery, in alignment with personal usage habits and preferences.

Also, expect to see Pinterest add in more product comparison options, to help users find the best deals in the app. Pinterest also needs more products, and as such, you can also expect to see the platform continue to improve its catalog ingestion tools, and help more merchants list their items as Buyable Pins.

Live-Stream Shopping

Pinterest is also testing the waters on live-stream shopping, and if that does become a bigger trend, you can expect the platform to make a much bigger push on integrating live shopping into the app.

We expect Live shopping to be more effective on Pinterest than other platforms at the moment simply because of the nature of content and the way users currently engage with products on the app.

LinkedIn Will Leverage Better Data, Video and Audio in 2023

LinkedIn already owns the largest database of professional and career insights ever created, and it’s slowly integrating new ways to use this to help people maximize their opportunities.

We expect this to continue in 2023, with more links to LinkedIn Learning so users can obtain the skills needed to land their dream jobs.

Like all social media platforms, LinkedIn has seen more people consuming more video content in the app, and we expect the platform to add in more video tools, expanding on its existing intro video and video chat features.

In fact, we more people are accustomed to virtual conferences and events now, we imagine LinkedIn will enhance its Event features with more Zoom-like features for in-platform video meetings and live streams.

Similarly, as podcasts continue to become the preferred content type for Millennials and GenZers, we expect to see LinkedIn embrace audio events – perhaps even by creating an in-platform podcast offering like BuzzSprout and others.

Either way, we expect to see audio rooms in groups, audio meet-ups among your connections better highlighted in the app, and more sections highlighting audio events.

TikTok Will Embrace Social Commerce

The current social unrest in China could result in TikTok being banned throughout the country. However, the success of the app around the rest of the world, along with the increasing need for Western brands to monetize their presence on the app, leads us to expect social commerce to grow on TikTok.

To-date, western users haven’t exactly warmed to live-stream shopping, at least not in the way that some Asian regions have, but TikTok is determined to make it work, as a means to both maximize revenue and provide another monetization opportunity for creators.

Because right now, creators can’t make as much money on TikTok as they can on YouTube, TikTok’s trying out various solutions on this front, but the platform has had the most success with live-stream commerce, so it’s safe to expect this to become a more prominent feature in 2023.

If you need assistance with your social media strategy in 2023, please contact us today. Our experts are here to help.

How to Maximize Your Content Reach on Facebook

By Social Media No Comments

Although Facebook continues to lose new users to platforms like TikTok, the social networking site does still boast an active user base. With roughly 2.93 billion monthly active users as of the second quarter of 2022, Facebook is the most used online social network worldwide.

Number of monthly active Facebook users worldwide as of 2nd quarter 2022 (in millions)

With this in mind, Meta published a new overview showing how marketers can maximize their reach on Facebook, and grow their fan base via News Feed distribution.

Facebook’s News Feed algorithm historically relied on these key elements when deciding who sees what content:

  • What content has been posted? What posts are available from friends, other creators and Pages that we can show?
  • Who might like this content? We consider a multitude of signals such as who posted the content, when it was posted, what was the topic and past user behavior, among others.
  • How likely are people to engage with the post? We try to predict how likely a given person is to engage with your post and find it meaningful. We make a variety of these predictions for each piece of content.
  • How interested will the audience be in this post? Based on all of the data we have gathered on the post, which pieces of content should get priority?

When considering Facebook engagement in 2022 specifically, Meta says that it now views Facebook engagement in two ways:

  • Connected Distribution – Your posts are seen by those who follow you on Facebook. This is your core audience on the platform.
  • Unconnected Distribution – Your posts are seen by those who don’t follow you, but may be interested in your content. This type of distribution can come through other users sharing and re-sharing your posts or from our recommendations in our “Suggested for You” sections.

Both of these types of engagement have existed in Facebook for years, but the latter element is getting more specific focus, as Meta looks to pump more AI-fueled content recommendations into your feed. In fact, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg flagged the company’s plan to double the amount of AI-recommended content in user feeds by the end of the year.

As per Zuckerberg:

“Right now, about 15% of content in a person’s Facebook feed and a little more than that of their Instagram feed is recommended by our AI from people, groups, or accounts that you don’t follow. We expect these numbers to more than double by the end of next year.”

In other words, ‘Unconnected Distribution’ is set to become a much bigger factor in determining your Facebook post reach – which means marketers need to consider how Unconnected Distribution works in the broader process.

Meta provided some guidance on how to maximize Unconnected Distribution

Facebook 'Unconnected Reach'

How each of these elements factors into Facebook’s ‘Unconnected Distribution’ algorithms is not yet clear, but this does indicate that Facebook will promote as much original content as it can, while optimizing for engagement remains a key consideration.

If you need assistance leveraging Facebook or any other digital platform, please contact us today.

You can read Meta’s full overview for creator distribution here.

Meta’s Recurring Notifications Helps Brands Reach Customers Anywhere In Their Journey

By Insights & News, Social Media No Comments

Meta launched ‘Recurring Notifications’ on its Messenger Platform, which now enables businesses to send “proactive, automated messages, to people who have opted-in to receiving them.”

Recurring Notifications in Messenger

Marketers may now send sales notifications, updates, newsletters, and more with the frequency options ranging from daily to monthly, “so businesses can reach customers at any moment in their journey”.

This is a significant shift in Met’s previous Messaging policy which strictly limited the frequency with which a business could message users, even if they’ve opted-in.

As explained by Hootsuite:

“Businesses can only contact someone after receiving a message from them first. Once you’ve received a message, you have 24 hours to reply. After that, Facebook used to let businesses send one message. But as of March 4th, 2020, that option will be gone. Beyond that, the only remaining option is to send a Sponsored Message. These ads can only be sent to existing conversations.”

In fact, Meta’s Messenger Platform and IG Messaging API Policy Overview explains:

“Businesses will have up to 24 hours to respond to a user. Messages sent within the 24 hour window may contain promotional content.”

Brands can now use ‘One-time Notification’, which enables businesses to send one follow-up message after the 24-hour messaging window has ended. But Meta has been careful about allowing businesses to overuse its messaging API, to avoid spamming spamming.

It seems this is no longer a concern, and with users having to opt-in, it appears that is now enough for Meta to allow increased messaging to potential customers.

If you’d like assistance leverage Meta or any social media platform in your marketing campaigns, please contact us today. Our experts are here to help.

Why You Should Include Facebook’s Lead Generation Ads In Your Marketing Mix

By Uncategorized No Comments

What are Facebook lead ads?

Lead ads or lead generation ads on Facebook are customer information forms that are promoted throughout the platform. These forms collect customer information such as name, email address, postal codes and more. This information can then be used to further connect with the customer for lower funnel engagements or awareness of related events such as: contest registrations, newsletter subscriptions, email upsells, or future retargeting campaigns.


The Main Benefits of Lead Generation in Facebook:

Optimized for Ease of Opt-in
Lead ads are optimized for mobile users and are designed with pre-built forms that automatically populate with user data from the Facebook platform when the users opt in.

Brand Awareness and Encourages Lower Funnel Engagement

It warms upper funnel audiences and potentially converts prospects into high quality brand followers, while also creating opportunities for the brand to interact with the audience through emails, contests, etc.

Cost Efficient

Lead generation ads on average, are lower cost when compared to conversion focused ads. Thus, campaigns can be set up to focus on generating a large volume of leads for a relatively smaller budget, when compared to conversion ads.

Highly Targeted Segmentation

Facebook allows us to show lead ads to highly targeted audience segments in terms of interests, location, demographics, and more. This increases the quality of lead generation.

Strategy

Ideally users are incentivized somehow to provide their email, such as entry to a contest, etc. When you see Cost Per Lead increasing over time, you should switch the creative / offer to renew buying efficiencies.

We recommend using general ‘higher level’ targeting for lead ads and reserve current highly targeted segments for Conversion Ads. Conversion ads are designed to get people to take an action (such as purchase) on the website which is why it costs more per result. Although, lead ads are cheaper, the major trade-off when it comes to running lead generations ads instead of conversion ads is that you risk gaining leads that are higher up in the funnel. This means that although you may be generating a high volume of leads for a lower cost, a portion of those leads may be individuals who are not as interested to convert later down the funnel – we call these low-quality leads. However, there are methods you can employ to reduce this risk and increase the quality of leads.

Next Steps:

Existing conversion objective campaigns yield healthy results and are integral to the success of ongoing promotional ads, so plan to continue using conversion ads, but leverage lead gen campaigns simultaneously to test potential new markets.

The following strategy uses lead gen ads as a method to test target markets:

  1. Create the right image/video creative that is relevant to the market.
  2. Keep the form simple and ask only the questions required for future retargeting.
  3. Offer a gated incentive (e.g. a coupon) that can only be accessed when interested customers complete the form.
  4. Use collected first-party data to run future contests, events, email sequences, newsletters, etc. This also creates excitement and increases brand awareness in prospect audience. 5) Use a custom audience of those who have submitted their email address to exclude those people from seeing lead gen ads.

If you need assistance developing and executing the right Lead Generation strategy on Facebook or across any other digital platform, please contact us. Our team is here to help.

POV By Andrew Lee, Paid Social Analyst

Tis the eCommerce Season: Prepare Now for the 2022 Holidays

By eCommerce and Marketplaces, Social Commerce, Uncategorized No Comments

Holiday season and social climate:

The last few years have been atypical to say the least and eCommerce/shopping was greatly affected by the social climate. During the pandemic-driven hibernation in 2020, eCommerce was thriving because there was less opportunity for travel and subsequently more funds for purchases; particularly in demand for at-home use (candles, athleisure, office supplies) and digital education/fitness apps.

Starting in 2020, COVID was the catalyst for the change in consumer behavior. We began to see some relaxed restrictions with a slow return to offices, and more customer demand for Airbnb/staycation/travel experiences as well as general in-person activities with family/friends. Still, the landscape was not quite identical to pre-pandemic behaviors, and in tandem with this shift, modeled META data, the looming threat of cookie deprecation, shipping/demand issues and rising CPMS, there are additional layers of changes bringing a new transformative time in the industry.  

With all these social changes, platform nuances and industry transformations, how do we use the data we have to better inform our holiday strategy and prepare for 2022?

Evaluating 2021

To look ahead to this year, we need to evaluate 2021. The prior holiday season had the “strongest retail growth in more than 20 years” due to increasing customer spending. The expectation is for this metric to grow to 1.262 trillion in 2022, with 15.5% coming from e-commerce, while brick-and-mortar is expecting 1.026 trillion.

The 2021 Review

  • Fewer users shopped Cyber Monday/Black Friday overall and most shopped earlier to avoid inventory/supply chain issues and subsequent shipping delays.
  • Spending increased, particularly at brick-and-mortar retail stores, as there was a large appetite for in-person shopping/consumers were in a better place financially than the prior year. This included in-store shopping for apparel for in-person events/office usage.

Key stats (eMarketer 2022 Preview Report)

  • Retail spends grew 16% YoY to 1.221 trillion.
  • Mobile e-commerce accounted for 45.9% of sales, and 61% of digital visits and is projected to be almost 50% in 2022.
  • Brick & mortal sales increased 17.3% to 1.017 trillion.
  • Cyber Monday had the highest spending day online.
  • Black Friday inched up to .3% while Thanksgiving grew 2.3%.

What should you do with this data?

  1. Ensure your holiday planning/creative is approved assets to be ready for an earlier time in market and to be seen among the clutter as many brands will be present earlier.
  2. Invest in video assets because these have higher costs, but they see great LTV/revenue and work well with static.
  3. 2022 will have a longer holiday cycle, with less spend during the typical post-Thanksgiving period. So, you’ll want to ensure you have a strong evergreen presence. You should release seasonal/holiday messaging earlier to align with consumer demand. No longer do you need to save funds for the holiday spending all in late Q4.
  4. Consider starting early and implementing flat spending if it aligns with your business. Last year there were Black Friday promotions as early as October, and in general, holiday discounting was only 9% in 2021, vs. 14% in 2020, so monitor competitors/trends to see if this continues into 2022.
  5. Because brick-and-mortar sales increased, you should consider setting up store locator ads and ways to track your in-store or online ads. “Click to collect” drove 1 in 4 online transactions, so, if possible, you will want to set this up, and run CTV ad campaign tests.
  6. Cyber Monday should still be priority and if you have an offer; be sure to showcase/be present as this is still an instrumental day.
  7. As there are significant mobile visits and share of revenue, you will need to ensure your ads and user experience is mobile friendly. Invest in app/shops, in preparation for this influx.
  8. To drive purchases and rise above the clutter, ensure each receives a specific user journey and relevant messaging for where they are in funnel (new user vs. returning) and start soft vs. heavy copy to drive user to convert.
  9. Invest in your CRM data and learn from it as well as promote to repeat customers from these list with special offers to drive loyalty and continued purchases. Consider establishing a program/reward for these users.
  10. Test influencer marketing, that way your product is top of mind and when they are ready to purchase, you aren’t as affected by audience modeling.
  11. Ensure you utilize the shop features and continuing to monitor new features (i.e.: FB/IG shop, and enabling checkout within platforms, dynamic ads for hyper targeting ads to users that have seen specific products etc.) of the platforms and ensure you have an integration with a tool like Shopify, so you’re accurately tracking performance.
  12. Consider using a listening tool, to continue to meet consumer expectations and change messaging/strategy based on feedback, with a tool like Sprout Social.

With eCommerce growth back to mid-teens, rising 15.5% to 235.86 billion, the channel is back to pre-pandemic levels. However, we still anticipate earlier holiday shopping to stick as demand will occur earlier in the holiday season, and these habits were established for several years now. Profitero’s Black hypothesized:

“October will be the permanent new kick-off for the holidays, because it feels normal now after two years and it gives retailers three months to make their number versus two. ”

That’s not to say you shouldn’t be in market during the big three (Cyber Monday, Black Friday, and Thanksgiving) but the strategy should start earlier while we monitor trends/industry changes.

Of course, it’s early and there are several factors to look out for, as we move toward the early holiday season, that will impact projections/spend.

  • Inflation/Labor Market Changes and General Economy health (i.e.: if gas prices go up, users will have less discretionary income).
  • If stores close, during Black Friday for social climate changes, this will impact spending.
  • If Prime Day (Apple) or large brands (Amazon, Walmart etc.) change their holiday calendar, it is likely to have a trickledown effect.
  • COVID/Social Landscape.

There is no one-stop solution. So, it’s important to speak with experts like us so you consider historical performance, creative and the audience targeting that out-performed. With previous insights/data and the above, you are set up for another successful holiday season.

POV by: Gellena Lukats, Director, Paid Social

Making the Social Commerce Landscape Work For You

By Insights & News, Social Commerce, Social Media No Comments

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.

Customer Experience

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.

The Journey

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

Why Budget Liquidity Matters When Utilizing CBO in Facebook Campaigns

By Insights & News, Paid Media, Social Media, Uncategorized No Comments

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.

Source: Meta for Business

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.

New Year, Same You With Better Efficiency In Your Media

By Paid Media, Social Media, Uncategorized No Comments

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.

GenZ’s Preferred Social Platforms and The Behaviors That Drive Them

By G-Commerce, Insights & News, Social Commerce, Social Media No Comments

eMarketer released a new report on Gen Z’s preferred social media platforms. The monthly usage breakdown is:

  • Snapchat (42.0 million)
  • TikTok (37.3 million)
  • Instagram (33.3 million)

eMarketer predicts these will remain the most popular among Gen Z over the next four years. However, they say TikTok will pass Instagram to claim the number one spot by the end of this year.

They also state that Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Reddit have relatively large followings among Gen Z and predict that the reach on those platforms will grow as the generation ages out of more teen-focused sites and apps.

Meanwhile, according to Pew Research, Gen Z’s use of devices continues to increase. According to their report,

Recent data revealed that 98% of them own a smartphone and that in the third quarter of last year, they averaged more than 4 hours a day on apps — and that figure doesn’t include gaming time.

So, how are these Gen Z’ers using these platforms?

Social commerce, especially, continues to dominate Gen Z behaviors as algorithms learn their preferences and suggest relevant products, while delivering a personalized shopping experience. In fact, the majority (97%) of Gen Z consumers say they now use social media as their top source of shopping inspiration; 65% say they use social media to find entertaining content; and 61% of them are specifically interested in watching more video content.

Proof of the popularity of social commerce can be found in the fact that the hashtag #tiktokmademebuyit has of 2.3 billion views on TikTok, and #amazonfinds has more than 6.7 billion views. 

Pew also reported increases in the popularity of G-Commerce, something Acronym’s experts discussed earlier this year, as a way to keep Gen Z interacting with your brand through gamification and rewards that drive purchase.

To capitalize on these growing trends, we recommend brands deliver a seamless experience from discovery to checkout to move buyers through the funnel quickly, easily and securely.

If you need assistance leveraging social commerce or G-Commerce to better connect with Gen Z audiences, please contact us. We’d be happy to help.

Facebook’s Outage and How to Limit the Impact of Future Outages on Your Brand.

By Social Media No Comments

This Monday was a day of disruption for paid social experts trying to work amidst the most significant Facebook outage since 2008. Snapchat also had some outages, but by no means as widespread as the Facebook impact. Facebook, Instagram and its family of apps, including WhatsApp, Oculus, and Messenger, were completely down, with no access to the interface starting at noon EST.

As ads were not served during this time frame, advertisers were not billed. However, the outage went on until just after business hours on the East Coast (around 6 pm EST), giving those who primarily work in the Facebook/Instagram platform some food for thought, and platforms like Twitter a greater user presence and a couple of laughs.

Twitter’s Tweet during the Facebook outage.

Why did this happen?

According to Facebook, configuration changes in the company’s routers/data centers were ultimately responsible for interrupting service. We will continue to monitor for any updates, as there is some speculation there could be more than what the platform is sharing. However, Facebook has made a point to clarify that there was no evidence of compromised data during the blackout.

How to limit the impact of future outages on your brand:

  • Reliance on any one audience, platform, or suite of platforms under the same umbrella is a recipe for failure. Not only are you targeting just one user segment, but if platforms experience blackouts, bugs, or digital protests, you run the risk of going dark during critical marketing periods. Be sure to expand your digital portfolio beyond just Facebook and its suite of apps by incorporating competitive platforms like Pinterest, TikTok, LinkedIn, etc., into your media mix to ensure you connect with different age demographics, placements, and channels. This strategy should apply not only to your social media advertising but also to your entire digital landscape: the takeaway is to diversify your digital presence across different display, email, search, and content. Diversification should go beyond paid media and should also be true for your brand’s organic presence.
  • Make sure you also target audiences who aren’t just present on one platform. Consider using CRM data, relevant lookalikes audiences, and audience-based buying tools, such as LiveRamp and Salesforce segments. With third-and-first-party audiences at your disposal, you never have to rely solely on a single platform’s targeting for success.
  • Due to the blackout period, there will likely be an increase in competition and higher bids, resulting in accelerated delivery as the platform recovers and makes up for lost time. Review bids and budgets on Facebook/Instagram to ensure your goals are met. We also recommend you work with your SEO team to ensure your content is optimized and visible. This will save money on higher bids during blackouts.
  • Facebook, in general, has had a tumultuous year, including multiple attribution changes and increased reliance on modeled data spurred by iOS14.5; various rounds of poor press stemming from allegations of a disregard for hate speech, perpetuating poor body image, and prioritizing engagement over consumer health from a former Facebook employee.. While the platform does continue to face increased scrutiny, we don’t see Facebook and its suite of apps going away as major paid media players. That said, we wouldn’t want you to put all your eggs in one basket either, as we don’t think a customer/advertiser boycott or new regulations are out of the question.
  • Facebook is now requesting oversight board guidance, and we wouldn’t be surprised if the platform continues to flag more ads as violating special ad categories or other advertising rules. Undoubtedly, the platform will be working hard to be as compliant as possible to avoid what feels like a constant flood of questioning.
  • Facebook did see shares dip down 5% during the outage but was back up 1% the next day. With 3 billion users on the platform and a history of recovering from a colorful array of mishaps, we know the platform will continue to be a key stakeholder and the advertising dollars will continue to flow. What this has shown us, however, is that even Facebook isn’t invincible.

If you would like an audit of your own social media engagement, along with recommendations on how to better diversify your online presence, please contact us today!

POV by Gellena Lukats, Director, Paid Social Media and Mary Sutter, Director, Social Media.