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Focus on Key Moments for Social Advertising Success

As everyone now acknowledges, social media is an essential marketing channel. With the ability to reach billions, and to identify what’s important to them, social combines the benefits of targeting and scale.

Connecting the dots that makes the targeting effective is the business of data science and media technology platform 4C. I spoke with 4C’s CMO, Aaron Goldman, about his company’s latest State of Social report. [Editor’s Note: Aaron was a winner in this years 40Under40 awards.]

To assess social advertising growth in Q3 2017, 4C Insights analyzed a representative sample of over a thousand individual brands that amounted to over $250 million in media spend through 4C Social. The social media channels for ads included Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Snapchat. 

The 4C State of Social report‘s key takeaways include the following:

  • Facebook ad spend grew 27%
  • Q3 was monumental for Instagram, with ad spend up 55%
  • Instagram Stories continues to draw in brands, generating 220% Year-on-Year spend growth
  • Snapchat ad spend soared 73% in Q3 as new offline features (e.g. Snap  Map) brought added value to advertisers
  • Twitter ad spend grew 26% for the quarter, with the platform securing a place in media plans for live moment amplification

In response to my question about the larger percentages being due to starting from a point with fewer users, Goldman conceded that it does play a role in Instagram’s and Snapchat’s larger percentage growth than Facebook and Twitter’s. However, he also said that some of it connected to the general trend to use video on social media in general, and in ads in particular:

“We’re seeing a lot of ad spend being concentrated on video ads and video content in general. Snap is nearly 100% of video content, which is a direct correlation to how users are using and interacting with the platform. As a brand who is trying to use Snap or other social media channels to get in front of and engage with their audiences, they have to make sure their presence feels as organic as possible by mimicking the way users post and engage with content on each platform.”

A crucial driver of increasing social ad spending is more effective targeting. The ability to define and scale audiences through external data sources is what makes it possible now to fine tune ad targeting.

What role does 4C play in this? It helps brands be in the right place at the right time, said Goldman. Brands that tap into 4C can take advantage of  “real-time trigger signals,” Goldman explained, which help them achieve a lot more effective targeting. Consequently, new brands and agencies have been turning to 4C to manage their campaigns this year, said Goldman.

“Brands and marketers that we work with are seeing success by timing their ads based on TV or sporting event milestones – such as when a touchdown was made, even weather triggers.”

One company that took advantage of real-time weather changes to optimize its social ads is Ovo Energy. It wanted to reach customers who sought out new energy providers during colder weather while keeping its cost under control. Using 4C Social Sync’s weather triggers set by defined temperature dips and rain, they were able to deliver targeted Facebook ads. The ads’s messages referred to the weather in the targeted locations. These were the results: 

  • Compared with normal social campaigns, OVO was able to increase their conversion rate at a much cheaper rate with 4C Social Sync
  • 327% higher Conversion Rate than business as usual
  • 43% cheaper Cost-Per-Acquisition (new customer sign-ups)

Goldman accounts for the success of such trigger event marketing this way: “People spend so much time on social media, if you can narrow exposure down to key moments, that is the true test to an effective marketing strategy.”

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