In the new digital age, consumer behaviors have changed. People are spending less time on traditional media like television and print and more time on social networks. Roughly 3.5 billion people across the world use social media- nearly half of the world’s population.
As marketers, we all know that in order to succeed we need to capitalize on these opportunities. But with all the platforms and options available- and new ones emerging all the time- it is important to have a strategy in place to drive ROAS for your investment.
Setting Up for Success
The first step for a strong social advertising strategy starts with setting yourself up for success.
1. Define Your Primary KPI
What are you trying to achieve? Awareness? Engagements? Driving people to your e-commerce site? Your KPI impacts the platforms, placements and creative you should use
2. Know Your Audience
Are you trying to reach gen Z? Millennials? Women interested in yoga in California? Your audience will help determine the best platform and placements to leverage
3. Build Your Customer Journey
Your customers aren’t only on one social platform on a daily basis, so your brand shouldn’t be either. The key is to understand which touchpoints to hit and how to build cohesive cross-channel strategies that move your customer through your funnel. Your media and communication strategy should change with each channel
Selecting the Right Platforms
So now that you know what your goals are and who your audience is, how do you know the best platforms and placements to reach them? Below are key stats, strategies and advice to consider when it comes to the major social advertising platforms:
More than 2 billion users have an account and 1.55 billion access the platform every month- making Facebook properties a key platform to consider when building your advertising strategy.
These users spend an average of 40 minutes a day on the platform which gives you a ton of opportunity to reach them.
Placements like Stories allow you to drive your consumers directly to your product through swipe up in an organic way without them having to leave the social platform or experience.
You can set media buys to auto optimize between Instagram Story, Instagram In Feed, Facebook Story, Facebook In Feed and Audience Network based on performance and target audience. This means you can leverage the platform and placement that best reaches your audience with a click of a button.
Pinterest users are 47% more likely to be introduced to new brands than users on other social platforms.
What’s also unique about Pinterest is that when someone saves a Promoted Pin, other people see it in their feeds as well, which naturally encourages increased engagement and drives additional sales. And, although paid ad campaigns end, the Pins themselves last forever, so your ads will never stop appearing in front of users. Advertisers actually receive an average of 20% more clicks in the month after launching a Promoted Pin campaign.
38% of Twitter users are between the ages of 18 and 29, 26% users are 30-49 years old. 80% of Twitter users are considered affluent millennials.
34% of Twitter users are females and 66% are males.
93% of Twitter community members are open to brands getting involved, if done in the right way. This makes Twitter the perfect platform to let your brand have a unique voice and/or opinion.
Twitter is the preferred social network for news consumption. It’s also a great way to capitalize on real time moments and events- allowing your brand to become a relevant participant in the conversation.
Over 68% of Snapchat users are between 18 and 29, so it’s especially effective at targeting younger, untapped audiences.
Snapchat advertising includes real-time targeting that uses a variety of factors such as location, demographics, and behavior.
Snapchat has over 210 million users, 38% of whom can’t be found on Facebook or Instagram. This makes Snapchat ads a prime opportunity for businesses who want to branch out or feel their marketing efforts aren’t effective on other media sites.
With Snapchat’s introduction of Dynamic Product ads, advertisers now have the ability to dynamically retarget users based on their on-site behavior which increases relevance and drives up conversion rates.
TikTok is a hit with the younger generation. 60% of users are Generation Z. If your target audience is aged 16-24 years (41% of TikTok audience base), TikTok is somewhere you want to consider advertising.
This platform allows you to show your brand’s lighter side and produce content with a personal and creative flair- loosen up the reins and put your brand in your consumers’ hands.
Users on TikTok are creating authentic content that is raw and unfiltered, that has just as much chance of flopping as going viral. It’s the perfect opportunity for you to test the waters yourself with content that you’d never risk releasing on Facebook or Instagram, where the stakes are much higher.
TikTok advertising allows you to leverage user content and customer interaction, which is what the platform is best known for. It is the new way to go viral!
Understanding Creative Best Practices
Once you have chosen which platforms and placements you should focus on, it’s important to make sure your creative follows the best practices.
Gone are the Mad Men days where brands can create one beautiful video and use it everywhere. The key to success on social is building content that feels organic and authentic to that specific platform and placement. Below are some top-line best practices to keep in mind when developing your content strategy:
When creating video ads, the shorter the better. Put your most exciting frames first when you have your audience’s attention. For in-feed, stay under 15 seconds. For Stories, stay under 10 seconds. And make sure to include branding in the first 3 seconds!
Design for sound off, but delight with sound on! 40% of users do not have sound on when scrolling Instagram feed or stories. So use creative subtitles, text and visuals to get your brand message across even with sound off.
Utilize the entire screen space and get creative! Use bright, full screen vertical visuals or play with the space by splitting it up visually.
Use text and graphics, make use of contrasting colors and add visual surprises. You can experiment with transparency, overlays & transitions, and in app functions. For example, using polls and stickers within story ads make it a more interactive experience for your consumer!
Use high-quality, vertical images that will stand out in people's feeds. We recommend a 2:3 aspect ratio (ex: 1000 x 1500 pixels).
Put your product or service front and center and make your brand the focal point. Avoid using abstract images or lifestyle imagery that doesn’t showcase your brand.
Your Pins should help people understand why your product or idea is the right fit for them. Pick images that show context and bring your topic to life. Clearly show how someone might use your product, try your project, etc.
Don’t be afraid to add text overlay to tell a better story- Text overlay is the copy that goes on your Pin image. It makes your Pins stand out, adds context and enhances your message.
For Promoted Videos, 6-15 seconds works best. Do NOT rely on audio as many pinners are viewing with sound off. Make your text overlays and captions work for you to tell the story.
Brevity is key. Since people scroll through Twitter quickly, you need to grab their attention quickly. Don’t use all 280 characters. Use an image, video, or the copy in your tweet to highlight your unique brand value.
Stay focused on one key message you want to get across. Brands that convey a simple message in the first three seconds of an ad achieve 13% higher message breakthrough.
Ad recall is 60% higher for brands with consistent logo placement throughout their videos — such as in the upper or lower corner of the screen.
Many mobile Twitter users view ads without the sound on. Use clear visual branding, sharp visuals, motion, movement and creative captions to convey your message without sound
88% of consumers expect In-Stream Video Ads to be less than 15 seconds. Six seconds is the sweet spot, leading to the highest brand affinity for advertisers.
60% of Snap Ads are watched with audio on and sound is considered an integral part of the Snap experience. Make sure it’s integral to the ad–not just an ad-on to get people’s attention.
Snapchat Ads that result in the most clicks, engagement, and conversion cater to audiences younger than 30 years old. Incorporate Snapchat specific app features (e.g. AR filters) and maintain a native style, designed according to Snapchat’s overall vibe (e.g. Format for full screen and vertical, speaking directly to the camera, etc.)
Snapchat recommends 3-5 second video ads to drive action. Establish your brand message or offer around the 2-second mark to maximize awareness, with a voiceover CTA to encourage users to swipe up.
TikTok is a viral platform where engagement is key! Make sure your content includes a strong CTA like a native button to prompt viewers to perform an action.
Prioritize vertical video and keep the video length between 9 and 15 seconds. Start with an attention-grabbing visual to hook viewers to your ad.
TikTok requires audio settings to be turned on. Add background music clips and tracks to your advertisements, instead of subtitles.
TikTok typically obscures the outer margins of frames. So keep all the important elements of your advertisement centered. This should include your CTA and brand name.
For all platforms it’s important to remember to optimize your content for mobile! US mobile ad spend will increase to more than $120 billion on mobile investments in 2020, becoming nearly 80% of all digital spend!
Test, Learn and Optimize
Despite these best practices, the highest performing creative isn’t one size fits all. Different creative elements work better for different brands and different target audiences. That is why it is so important to test different creatives using an iterative process and available tools- like A/B testing or auto optimization of multiple creative options- and learn from them.
One of the most exciting things about running social media paid ads is the wealth of custom data available at your fingertips- just by observing campaign results. This gives you a direct line to your consumers and allows you to make data-driven performance based decisions when it comes to your creative and marketing strategy.
The bottom line is, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was the optimal social content strategy. Allow yourself to test and optimize- and let the data tell you what is driving success. You might even learn things about your brand and your consumer that you never expected.