Driving sales with Social. Can it be done outside Facebook?

Three years ago, social marketers would spend many of their working hours getting clients to consider Facebook as a channel that could drive sales. It would involve in-depth discussions of how machine learning through Facebook pixels and lookalike audiences drive performance and direct sales in the newsfeed. With Facebook’s increased investment into making ad formats, and bidding methods that can drive performance, this has become less common, as we onboard more and more clients on to DR Facebook strategies across many different verticals.

However, today the social landscape has become more and more complex with many different channels claiming to offer products that can deliver results. We are now in a renaissance of testing other channels’ ability to drive performance with similar trepidation from clients that we once faced with Facebook. With such a variety across where to place your digital ad spend, does it make sense to divert spend into Snapchat, Pinterest, and Twitter or should you just stick with good ol’ Facebook?

There is no doubt that these other channels cannot offer the same audience scale to Facebook. The channel has now hit 2 billion users worldwide, with 44 million in the UK, but it may not always be the place where an individual customer is most receptive to ads.

With Twitter, Snapchat, and Pinterest offering variations of lookalike audiences as well as objective (sales) based bidding, there is no reason why the channels should not be considered as a potential sales driver. So how do you check that your product is right for these other platforms?

First let take Twitter. Although there has been a lack of confidence in Twitter’s ad product, this is something that should be reconsidered. The platform has become more competitively priced with similar results to the likes of Facebook when the product and audience is right.

We have found that Twitter ads works best when you are contextually relevant to the conversation on the platform.

For example, if you are seeding out a political magazine subscription, and Donald Trump has another Twitter meltdown, there is a huge wealth of keyword searches which can be used to help drive contextually relevant ads.

Whenever Donald Trump hits the news there is a wealth of targeting data which can be used by news publications for targeting relevant ads based on their political persuasion.

The platform does, however, fall down when you are trying to ‘cold call’ people with a product post – With 448,800 tweets posted every minute, it’s quite hard for ads to cut through a very noisy newsfeed unless you are relevant to the users feed.

Snapchat has seen a slow uptake from advertisers due to the perception of a very young audience. There is however evidence to show that Snapchatters have an average household income 10% higher than their counter parts, and with 45 % of UK snapchat users being over 24 years of age, the channel shouldn’t be written off without testing. Snapchat’s hero DR product is Snap ads with a swipe up to action. This provides a 10 second full screen video with the option to swipe up to either a mobile optimized landing page, or a mobile app store. When you combine this functionality with pixel or SDK tracking, you are able to optimize campaigns in a very similar way to Facebook.

From initial tests at driving conversions, we have seen that the product works when you are creating a message similar to the content around it. For example, if you wanted to promote a launch trailer for a new video game, you could make sure your ad appears between other gaming content with a swipe up option to pre order your copy. By creating an experience which sits natively on the channel, we have seen results which have beaten Facebook.

As Snapchat plays on moment marketing, you need to make sure your product can be conveyed in the same fashion as the content is consumed. If you don’t, you’ll fall foul of your video being skipped before even 1 second has been viewed, resulting in very low conversion rates.

Pinterest catches users in a different mindset; traditionally search has been used to help find something specific, however Pinterest has entered the social space to help users carve out what your future purchase may be. This works exceptionally well when a product has a longer path to conversions, for example home improvement or baby planning.

Similar to paid search, we are able to use keyword targeting so we can home in on the intent drivers. When reviewing the success of Pinterest as a DR platform we should consider a longer attribution window than other channels. If you are able to inspire someone to spend £5,000 on a full kitchen suite and Pinterest was one of the first channels where they saw the range they wanted, then a 120-day attribution window is still relevant for a product with such a long decision making process.

In short, not every social channel can cater to every business sector, but if Facebook has worked for your brand in the past, there is a good likelihood that there is another channel which can provide a solid return on investment. Who knows, it may be the case that you can bring down your overall CPA’s if you try something a little different…

To find out how social can drive leads for your brand, contact Oliver Booker, our Paid Social Account Director at Mediabrands Society, on oliver.booker@mbww.com


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