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BizReport : Social Marketing : February 19, 2018

How to update your social marketing creative processes

Social media is now a dominant part of every successful brand's ad mix. We talked to Adaptly president Sean O'Neal to see what marketers need to do to maximize their results.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: Can you give us a fast snapshot of social media as it relates to marketers?

Sean O'Neal, President, Adaptly: Like the rest of the internet, digital and social media is constantly changing. New platforms and apps come and go, but there are currently 5 or so predominant platforms where 80-90% of mobile consumption is happening: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and Pinterest. Each has a unique voice and canvas best designed for their particular consumer experience, which creates a wealth of opportunity for advertisers. However it also leads to fragmentation, as each platform has distinct ad formats, measurement standards, and targeting options. These "walled gardens" are all independent, and advertisers choose partners like Adaptly to address that fragmentation so campaigns can be streamlined and cohesive. This creates a better experience for advertisers and consumers, as ads align with platforms' native, optimized experiences.

Kristina: Does this complicate the creative process or does "one size fit all?"

Sean: For marketers, social platforms have become so nuanced and advanced that they require a high level of specialized expertise and often custom tech solutions to achieve real business results. This produces a significant challenge for advertisers, who more and more are seeking specialized partners to maximize their paid social efforts, and in particular dedicated social media managed service partners rather than the traditional agency model. Increasingly, marketers who have relied on Adaptly to simply run and optimize their social ad campaigns, now ask us to help them with the right creative approach.

Some 75% of impact, measured by brand and ad recall, is determined by creative quality. This shows how much the creative process really matters. Advertisers need to evolve their creative processes. We can't take a single piece of marketing content, especially one that wasn't particularly designed for a specific environment, and repurpose it onto these powerful distribution channels expecting it to be successful. Advertisers have to think not only about how we develop and design creative that is platform-specific, but also how do we use the incredible trove of data from inside each platform to rapidly learn and iterate on creative in real time.

Many advertisers face a clear obstacle in the pursuit of creative flexibility: cost. When working with traditional agencies, brands are often charged a significant premium, even when simply adapting an overarching concept from one social platform to another. As a result, many brands opt to simply rehash TV ads and print creative for paid social purposes - an approach that has been proven insufficient in the battle to win over discerning social users. Our team is thinking a lot about how to scale creative iterations for our clients much more cost effectively.

Kristina: How have the social platforms evolved personalized ad creative?

Sean: Personalization is at the heart of social media, with 3 out of 4 people more likely to buy from a brand that recognizes them by name or knows their purchase history. Advertisers have to stop thinking about creative as "one Super Bowl ad for everyone in the country" and start thinking about how they can create a unique Super Bowl ad for every person with a screen. Optimizing at an individual level shouldn't just take consumers' likes and interests into account, but also look at their purchase behavior: how they buy products, at what frequency, etc. This is an opportunity that's possible because the large social platforms offer addressable media - the option to tailor custom marketing messages to a unique consumer or household based on their demographics.

Kristina: Give us a look over the horizon.

Sean: Some of the biggest challenges with social advertising have stemmed from the disconnection between the creative development process and the media buying and optimization process, which are often executed in silos. Our prediction for 2018 is that a closer relationship will emerge between these processes and that advertisers will start to discover creative opportunities that didn't previously exist. Through a combination of technology and services, these two capabilities will begin to merge into more of an end-to-end process, which leverages data and feedback from the media campaign to inform creative decisions. A closed loop of insights will prompt creative directors to rethink best practices for each of the social platforms, driving a new wave of innovation across multiple media channels.

Tags: Adaptive, social marketing, social marketing strategy, social marketing trends

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