5 Reasons Why Your Marketing Plan Should Be Social-First

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It’s no secret that social is at the crux of most successful marketing strategies. The social platforms become bigger advertising players each year, driving success for brands both on their own and in support of other channels. By next year, US social advertising will have more than doubled in size over the previous five years, growing 3x faster than overall US ad spending. Social platforms will drive 16% of all US ad spending (and 27% of all digital ad spending) in 2020, up from 9% in 2016.

In today’s world, paid social is no longer optional; it’s a critical part of every successful brand’s digital marketing mix. Read on for 5 reasons why paid social is so powerful, and see how it can have an impact on your future marketing plans.

Social Adds Value to Other Advertising Platforms

We recently wrote about why TV and social advertising should work together. By including social and advertising across both channels, social adds incremental reach to TV performance. We were able to tap into new audiences, and also saw real business goals – like massive lift in ad recall, top-of-mind awareness, and favorability – come to life.

When comparing social to search, it was found that Facebook ads were responsible for 19% more organic search-referred site visits and 10% more paid search-referred site visits than when people didn’t see Facebook ads. While search relies on input and captures those who are already aware of a brand, social drives the consideration and new customer acquisition that result in search inputs. Social offers fully immersive, native platforms where people choose to spend their time, offering a range of opportunities for advertisers to reach their customers.

It’s not enough to focus on just TV or Google or programmatic advertising anymore. Social platforms are fully immersive, organic, and people choose to spend their time on them. They allow advertisers to garner learnings about their customers, offering experiences and opportunities that no other channels can.

An Opportunity to Test and Measure Across the Funnel

Social platforms can be used to not only reach receptive audiences, but serve as a space for incremental customer acquisition. Brands can use these channels to test and determine precisely what type of people they’re converting, who their customer truly is, and what exact stage of the funnel they’re currently in.

Social platforms provide more engaging, premium formats and granular targeting touchpoints at every stage of the customer’s journey. With robust targeting and the ability to test and measure, social offers detailed findings not available on many other channels. It’s easy to iterate and test, with measurable insights and optimization opportunities available in real time.

Ad Formats and Targeting Capabilities Are Unique to Social

Social platforms offer unique ad formats and audience targeting that can’t be found anywhere else in digital advertising. This is true for activations across any stage of the funnel.

Brands looking to drive more general awareness, for example, might choose to use full-screen, immersive vertical videos that appeal to mobile users. Brands looking to drive more consideration or lower-funnel tactics might choose to use more hyper-targeted ad formats, such as the dynamic product ads, and serve to more hyper-targeted audiences, such as top percentage website visitors. We worked with a global retailer to test dynamic product ads for lower-funnel activations, creating individual Facebook product feeds by country. This allowed the brand to customize creative, cross-sell, and up-sell. As a result, we saw a 5x increase in return on ad spend and a 40% reduction in CPM.

See More: The Best Ad Types for Every Stage of the Funnel

The Opportunity Cost of Skipping Paid Social

Brands that don’t advertise on social not only miss out on many opportunities, but they also make room for competitors to capture and convert massive social audiences.

Take it from the traditional mattress, eyewear, and travel brands who left room for Casper, Warby Parker, and Away to step in and disrupt their industries with social-first advertising strategies. The unparalleled reach and growth opportunities on social don’t compare to any other media platform, and any brand looking to make any impact should be thinking social-first.

See More: Direct-to-Consumer Lessons for Established Brands

Driving Performance and Exposure Across Platforms

Social channels offer more than just a place to throw an ad in front of people with the hope that something sticks. Social is more refined, more targeted, more testable, more robust, more technically advanced, and more unique than any other channel. 92% of marketers say that social has generated more exposure for their business, and 71% use it to gain marketplace intelligence that benefits their other marketing efforts. The capabilities offered on social are far wider and much more beneficial than many other advertising methods.

Adding paid social to your digital marketing strategy is crucial if you want to increase reach, awareness, favorability, volume, new customers, or return on ad spend. Ultimately, paid social is most valuable because it enables new and existing customers to be nurtured across all stages of the funnel, on multiple platforms, in unique, tactical ways. It’s the most natural advertising platform and a way to reach the right users, at the right time, exactly where they’re already spending time. Social, in short, helps drive highly efficient online and offline success.

See More: B2B Brands on Social | A Guide to Full-Funnel Strategy