6 Social Media Misconceptions to Shake in 2017

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Despite the success stories from 2016, many advertisers are still wrapping their heads around social media as an effective channel for driving business objectives. Duke’s annual CMO survey found that on a scale of 1 to 7, marketers’ average social media capability is only 3.69, which points to a disconnect between the potential of paid social advertising and marketers’ understanding of the medium.

At Adaptly, we’ve heard our fair share of hair-raising questions and misconceptions about the social media marketing industry. Here are just six brands should shake this New Year:

1. “People don’t go on Facebook to buy things.” 

People aren’t watching TV or listening to the radio to buy things either – in that sense, social media is just like any other media channel. While Facebook may not be a primary destination for online shopping, that doesn’t mean that users are not inspired to make purchases after seeing content on the platform. Facebook research indicates that nearly half of in-store purchases are influenced by digital interactions, especially on mobile, where people spend 80% of social media time. Case in point: Adaptly client Frito-Lay drove a 5% sales lift for Lay’s potato chips when running ads across both Facebook and Instagram.

Ultimately, advertisers wouldn’t be buying Facebook ads if they didn’t deliver results: 68% of retailers report that Facebook ads increase sales. In the third quarter of 2016 alone Facebook made over $6.8 billion in advertising revenue, up 59% year-over-year from 2015, proving that not only are advertisers investing heavily in Facebook, but that their investments are increasing.

2. “Why should I run ads on Pinterest? I’m not targeting young moms.”

Young moms is only one example of people who use Pinterest. Men, millennials, and every demographic in between are all active on the platform. In fact, 40% of new Pinterest signups are men, and the audience has tripled in the past year. Pinterest reaches 50% of US millennials and a whopping 80 million people outside of the US.

Most importantly, all of these people are using Pinterest to be inspired, and 87% have made a purchase seeing a product they liked on the platform. People engage with Pinterest throughout the entire path to purchase, and those who have engaged with Promoted Pins spend seven times more money than people who haven’t, showing that no matter who your brand is trying to reach on Pinterest, purchase intent is certainly there.

3. “Our main goal is to drive fans.”

Fans and followers are an important asset, but there are so many other audiences on these platforms that are relevant to your business. For instance, users who have visited your site or engaged with your content, and customers. It doesn’t make sense to invest money in fan or follower acquisition, and then pay again to target them through your campaign. If acquiring fans is still your main goal then you’re not taking advantage of all these platforms have to offer. Brands now use social media advertising to drive real business objectives, like in-store sales and app downloads. What good is driving fans when you can drive customers instead?

4. “Snapchat is all the rage…for now.” 

Snapchat has over 150 million daily active users, and daily video views increased 350% in the span of one year, from 2 billion to 10 billion. With Snapchatters spending 25 to 30 minutes each day in the app, we’re confident that Snapchat is here to stay. Another sure sign of Snapchat’s longevity is its expansion to demographics beyond just millennials. In addition to reaching 41% of 18-34 year-olds, the app now boasts that half of new daily users are over the age of 25.

Since Snapchat launched an API, brands can buy Snap Ads through partners like Adaptly with significant cost-savings in order to engage the platform’s growing user base. Snap Ads are a powerful vertical video format that gives advertisers 100% screen share-of-voice and users the ability to swipe up to see longer-form content or a web view within the app.

And, with parent company Snap Inc.’s foray into physical products with Spectacles, the company is poised to revolutionize the camera in ways that consumers and brands will be sure to pay attention to.

5. “What’s a good benchmark of success?” 

While having a reference point to help contextualize campaigns can feel vital, every brand, campaign, target audience, and platform is different. The platforms have evolved from proxy metrics like click-through and engagement rates to include KPIs that more closely align with brand-specific end goals such as online sales and in-store foot traffic. We recommend gauging social efforts against your own past campaigns rather than general industry benchmarks, in addition to leveraging lift studies to calculate incremental lift from each channel.

  • Carousel ads to showcase multiple products
  • Link ads to drive users to websites
  • Lead ads to generate leads on mobile
  • Offer ads to drive offer redemptions

6. “Social doesn’t drive ROI.” 

Ad products and features on social media platforms have evolved massively. There are now several different types of sponsored posts that help advertisers focus on what they’re trying to achieve with campaigns:

There are also more sophisticated targeting capabilities that enable brands to not only reach users based on who they are (age, gender, location), but also to find customers via CRM data and target audiences based on offline purchase behavior. Data partners like Oracle Data Cloud, Acxiom, Epsilon, and Cardlytics allow advertisers to identify customers based on whether they have visited a site and taken action. With Facebook in particular, the Facebook tracking pixel allows for measuring online sales along with matching offline sales data and/or store visits. This innovation means that social campaigns can be linked directly back to sales and ROI. And ultimately, marketers can utilize lift studies to understand the incremental impact from each platform and determine the most appropriate attribution models.