The expansion of paid social product offerings by social giants Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest has formed a honeyed cross-social goldmine for digital advertisers. Social plug-ins (the 'Like', 'Tweet' and 'Pin' buttons found next to sharable online content) have exposed the strong relationship between social and active purchase-intent: there is an open invitation for brands to connect with their users through social channels.
Once upon a time, online advertisers struggled to translate the return on social investment; however, it is now understood that this media is a leader in Direct Response advertising. We believe that the success of social campaigns rests in aligning the performance indicators directly with your business objective.
Delivering tailored content is crucial. Pinterest thrives on rich visuals, and on Twitter you will be leveraging smart copy. The best way to evaluate creative is to consider the competition, something which is particularly relevant for Facebook: the advertisement is not only competing with other ads, but is in direct competition with real personal stories in a Newsfeed.
You need to question how your brand can partake in that environment (emoticons may not seem as wildly inappropriate as you had initially thought!). On Pinterest and Twitter, in particular, where users follow accounts publishing broader topics of interest, users are more open to (or even eager for) brand interaction. A strategy for cross-social advertising should include one overarching business objective that aligns across all channels which is then translated into channel-specific content.
In order to set up cross-social campaigns to chime in harmony, advertisers will need to synchronise all channels to a common beat. An editorial calendar is helpful in documenting messaging for always-on activity as well as timelines for time-limited pushes. If you are planning on growing your campaigns at scale, it also makes sense to enforce a standardised naming convention for all campaigns from the start (for manual data analysis if necessary).
In terms of acquisition, it is advisable to go after the same target profiles across all social channels and then optimise according to performance. Splitting campaigns out according to gender and/or age will provide the most valuable demographic insights. There is also the option to target according to interests/topics – competitor targeting works particularly well here. Facebook and Twitter allow you to combine their native targeting options with your own inventory of CRM data – this is an opportunity to tailor content according to an audience which you already have insight and understanding into.
Cut the chaff
As you gather campaign insights, some channels and targets will naturally outperform others. Optimising cross-social campaigns effectively will involve switching off those campaigns which are yielding negative results and reassigning the budget to those which are performing the best. Ensure that you still retain a healthy volume of active campaigns to secure scale and long-term delivery if operating on an always-on basis.
Working with a cross-social platform that is able to track performance across multiple channels is the best way to measure success across campaigns. Advertisers should look to reconcile results across all channels so that they can be presented in a single report. It is likely that upper-funnel performance metrics (CPM, CPC) will vary cross-platform, and the measurement approach should be objective-based. Assess both the cost of conversion per channel and target, as well as the quality of that traffic. Some channels may operate at a slightly higher cost but bring in users of an overall higher lifetime value.
For example, last year we were tasked with reaching the right gamers on behalf of Proficient City in order to encourage English speaking countries to play its Facebook desktop game title – Wartune. The objectives were set and the company wanted to achieve a higher return on its ad spend than previous campaigns.
With a targeted approach, we ran a 'Desktop App ds' that featured characters from the game, snappy copy and strong calls to action which brought people directly to its Wartune game.
Besides targeting English speakers in Australia, Canada, the US and the UK, we also used Facebook's lookalike Audiences tool and its existing customer database to target people similar to existing Wartune players who had made in-game purchases. Conversion tracking pixels were also used to help measure the effectiveness of ads.
Through the partnership with Facebook we helped the company achieve a higher return on its ad spend than previous campaigns, and the use of lookalike audiences proved to be particularly successful with twice the return per dollar ad spend when used, 2.2 times higher revenue per install, three times higher payer conversion and 25% higher return on ad spend than on any other previous campaigns overall. Great results!
We have looked at cross-platform as a whole in this article, but it is important for marketers who start to cross pollinate between platform and networks to understand that having the correct technology in place is not enough simply on its own. It is of course a necessity but ultimately marketers must ensure their content fits the right channels for targeting cross-social. The creative must be of the highest quality but ultimately for a campaign to succeed, the message must bring value to the end user.
- Molly Price is a Direct Response specialist currently working in cross-social advertising for Glow Digital Media