Social media has become ingrained in the daily routines of people all around the world. According to Business Insider, people around the globe spend nearly an hour every day on Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger and spend an additional 30 minutes on Snapchat. It's never been more clear that social media is a valuable channel to engage with potential customers.
These crowded spaces lead to increased competition among brands as they fight for audiences’ attention. So how do you cut through the noise and ensure you’re getting the most out of your social ads?
The Social Advertising Era
A wide variety of companies — from small businesses to major brands like Disney — are leveraging these platforms to spread their message, engage with customers, and strengthen brand reputation.
For example, according to TrackMaven’s Fortune 500 Instagram Report: 2016 Edition, Starbucks has the second-most followers and highest engagement ratio on Instagram among Fortune 500 companies. Starbucks succeeds on the platform by connecting its product to the ordinary aspects of its customers’ lives, making it relatable and thus likable. Meanwhile, Nike has over 50 million Instagram followers and regularly fuels its growing audience with high-quality content. Instragram, with its exclusively visual format and highly engaged user base, is now attracting more interest from agencies than Twitter.
And with Facebook and Instagram joining forces, it's easier than ever to run campaigns across both channels.
Whether it’s Facebook and Instagram or Twitter and LinkedIn, social advertising has become a requisite component of a well-rounded marketing strategy. For Twitter and LinkedIn, ads should echo whatever is successful with native posts. But for Facebook and Instagram, new formats let marketers get creative. Furniture retailer West Elm, for example, incorporates Instragam photos posted by its customers into its ads, engaging its community while highlighting products.
Video ads on Facebook have proven to have a positive effect on conversion rates and return on ad spend (ROAS), according to Marketing Land, and smart marketers are already testing their effectiveness. The same is true for Instagram, which also offers video ad products. Disney, for example, recently launched a video ad campaign on Instagram to promote its movie Alice: Through the Looking Glass.
Trying out these new formats is just step one in a winning social advertising strategy. Step two is optimization.
Optimize Through Rigorous Experimentation
It might be hard to believe due to the constant attention digital ad spending receives, but social media ads only represent about 14% of digital ad spending. The good news is that most brands are still in the early stages of this arena, so if you’re just getting started there’s still time to get the wheels moving before you get left behind in the years to come. After all, social media ad spending is expected to exceed $35 billion by 2017.
You may be ahead of the pack when it comes to social ads, but if you're not running rigorous experiments, you aren't fully taking advantage. Some marketers run A/B tests on their social ads, sporadically. But unfortunately, that isn't enough either. Optimizing social ads through continuous creative experimentation is an important component that many marketers skip. The full potential of creative can only be unlocked through continuous experimentation that regularly pits creatives against each other to find the most effective ad.
With so much potential for engagement, the stakes couldn’t be higher. Don’t miss your opportunity to attract and retain customers through an optimized social advertising strategy.