Expert: Why social marketers are pressing pause

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Kristina: What is driving more businesses to press pause on social media campaigns?
Kerel Cooper, SVP Global Marketing, LiveIntent: Like anything, there are multiple factors at play. Businesses are concerned with the irresponsible speech on social media, but they are also increasingly frustrated that the walled gardens treat data like a roach motel: It goes in but doesn’t come back out. 
As the consumer lives across devices, channels, and platforms, brands are increasingly expecting to be able to market to those audiences wherever they are present and paying attention. Incumbent in that ambition is that data flows to brands, not away from them. The walled gardens keep that data for their own machinations and don’t give it back to brands.
For smart marketers, this pause in social media spend is an opportunity to test out other logged-in, measurable audiences and inventory that lets data flow to brands, not away from them. 
Kristina: Is this pause across the board or platform-specific?
Kerel: While attention has been focused on certain brands withholding spend from Facebook, LiveIntent has actually seen an increase in spend and engagement from brands during this period. Some Publishers have seen significant increases in revenue, particularly in the Shopping, Home & Garden, and Business vertical. 
The quarantine period has led to emerging campaigns and spend from brands who have seen success in the email channel like: Pets, Home and Garden, and Food and Drink. People are stuck at home, and this means new opportunities for challenger brands, who sense they can now go after incremental audiences outside of the major social media platforms. 

Kristina: For businesses who are pressing pause, what strategies will they need to engage consumers?
Kerel: Brands should treat this period as a chance to experiment. Brands love Facebook for their massive, engaged, and measurable logged-in audiences. Engaged and logged-in audiences, however, exist far beyond Facebook. Ads within email, for example, reach an audience that is incremental, logged-in and served only when the email is opened, making that audience just as engaged. It’s a great way to supplement the leads and marketing that brands were pursuing on social media. 
Further, email is the key to identity and marketing to people for a world where the third-party cookie will have a deprecated role. By engaging in a channel that provides the fulcrum for the new era of Identity, brands are having their cake while eating it, too. They are able to perform logged-in, measurable marketing while bolstering their future and controlling their destiny by building the asset that will help them thrive in a new era.

Kristina: What does this mean for the social networks – what tactics should they take to ‘win back’ more advertisers?
Kerel: Like any good business who serves its constituents, the social networks need to listen to their customer’s demands. If customers are asking for more efforts made to deliver a platform that conforms to the values they espouse, then the social networks should devote real resources towards delivering that experience. 

Similarly, platforms need to heed the call of the brands and publishers who make those platforms profitable. Brands, of course, value the logged-in, measurable and incremental audiences that the walled gardens have, but they want to be able to use those insights to treat their best customers and readers like the loyal customers they are wherever they engage with them, not like strangers. Getting back data that can be used to support a robust Identity framework works towards that goal.

The era of the end of third-party cookies is quickly approaching, and the brands and publishers who succeed in the new era will have to be part of gated communities, not walled gardens. Those who thrive will be able to use a bridge to connect their first-party data to the ecosystem, and vice versa. The walled gardens must fundamentally reconsider their position if they are to appease this ask.



Kristina Knight-1
Kristina Knight, Journalist , BA
Content Writer & Editor
Kristina Knight is a freelance writer with more than 15 years of experience writing on varied topics. Kristina’s focus for the past 10 years has been the small business, online marketing, and banking sectors, however, she keeps things interesting by writing about her experiences as an adoptive mom, parenting, and education issues. Kristina’s work has appeared with, NBC News,, DisasterNewsNetwork, and many more publications.