Selecting which social platforms to spread your paid social budget around is a decision which marketers should not take lightly. The multitude of factors affecting social media usage varies greatly across industry, audience demographic and product type. But as Guy Levine, CEO and Co-Founder of Return explains, Facebook’s array of tools and insightful audience analysis can offer a solution for all marketers, regardless of the market they’re trying to reach. Ahead of his presentation at the Figaro Digital Marketing Conference on 6 December, we caught up with Levine to find out the key considerations that define Facebook as a clear leader among the social giants, and how you can leverage your data to gain the best possible results from paid social.
Defining An Audience
One crucial understanding for Return is remembering that behind the metrics of a successful campaign are satisfied human customers. “One visitor showing up in Google Analytics isn’t just a visitor, they’re a person with wants, needs and challenges,” explains Levine. “Part of what makes Facebook so unique and powerful is that it allows us to understand people; who and where they are, what they like, how they interact. This gives us the power to hit the right person, at the right time, and with the right message.”
So once a brand has selected Facebook as the platform for its campaigns, what are the factors contributing to the foundation of a paid social strategy? Levine explains that there are three key requirements to get the most success out of this platform. The first step is defining an audience; then defining that audience’s behaviour, and then leveraging the CRM data that a company has to further inform its own understanding of the customer’s needs. “If we are going to be brave enough to market to people not clicks, we’ve got to produce content that actually resonates with the audience, rather than just hoping they search for our keywords.” Marketers should be doing the legwork to meet their audiences halfway, providing engaging and relevant content when they are the most receptive to it. By leveraging the insights already pulled from their data, brands can understand how to reach these consumers, and the volume of content required at each stage. “We’ve got to understand the different audiences and different targeting options for them. We shouldn’t be overly familiar with new audiences, and we don’t want to burn out old audiences,” continues Levine.
Clicks Don’t Buy
The combination of pre-existing customer data with Facebook’s granular demographic tools gives marketers a great deal of understanding of their customer’s motivations and needs. After all, as Levine reiterates: “Clicks don’t buy: people buy.” Identifying the motivations behind the customer/brand interaction can offer marketers a great understanding of how communication can be used to target customers with different motivations and buying habits. Another way Return has done this is through the introduction of IBM Watson’s natural language services, to analyse and profile user personality types as “adventurous” or “cautious”. “Caution-driven personality types respond well to content like third-party proof and testimonials. Adventure-driven personality types are more drawn to new looks and visuals. We’re trying to use the tools we have available with some data mining, in order to make this learn phase as efficient and intuitive as possible.”
Video Wins Again
The content sitting behind a successful paid social strategy needs to be able to capture that hard-earned impression and provide the consumer with an experience that they will appreciate and connect with. And there is a clear winner when it comes to social media content. “We’re seeing that video has a really uplifting effect on the results on that platform,” says Levine, noting similarities in the ways video usage has been adopted across platforms. “I see parallels between YouTube and Facebook. YouTube is a place where the consumer can easily spend hours of their time, and Facebook is heading in that direction.” With this in mind, Return has emulated the five-second ad format popular on YouTube, on Facebook. This focus on short-form content is also beneficial in that it allows marketers to spread a campaign flexibly across a number of different audience demographics and touchpoints. “Ad fatigue happens much faster on social platforms than anywhere else,” says Levine. “Previously marketers have produced a £1k-per-minute video and played it for six months to get their money’s worth. Now it’s a question of reinventing and repurposing that video content, creating 15 different pieces, and monitoring them to understand how they are being consumed.”
A Dish Best Served… Not Overserved
Whether marketers are using video, or other kinds of content within their paid social campaigns, it’s vital that they use the insights from their data to understand where and how the content is most effective. A core part of this is to avoid overserving adverts, and making sure that the highest-quality leads receive the highest quality content. “We need to understand what kind of content needs to be used at what point in the funnel,” explains Levine. “In the prospecting phase, you can get away with using content with a bit more repetition. When you’re at the purchase stage, and someone’s already consumed a lot of content, you’ve got to serve them something new. But the bottom of the funnel is closely aligned to generating a lead or making a sale, so it’s much more palatable to invest there.” Levine hopes this can help marketers to pinpoint the most valuable touchpoints to invest in, and make sure that the content has a much higher reach and ROI.
Levine is keen to remind marketers that with smart budgeting, they can produce content that can connect consumer to brand, no matter what stage they are at in the customer journey. “At the top of the funnel, you might have a big video budget, but you don’t know if it’s going to make a sale.” In order to reduce the associated risks, Return leans on evergreen content in those early prospective phases, allowing for bigger spend on those likely customers who have already connected with the brand message. When the consumer is able to have their curiosity and queries satisfied in their own time and on their own terms, brands can be satisfied that they are maintaining a digital presence that favours the human needs behind a campaign, not just the clicks.
To hear more from Guy, don’t miss his presentation at the Figaro Digital Marketing Conference on 6 December. He’ll be joined by a veritable host of other industry experts, dissecting the intricacies of digital marketing’s latest trends. It promises to be a day full of exciting insight to inform your business strategy for 2018, so don’t miss out! Find out more about our eclectic line-up of speakers, read the agenda, and get your ticket here.