Lessons in Social Media from Q4

| Social Media

In 2018, as in years prior, we’ve continued to see changes in the social space that affect the way brands speak to their current and prospective customers. We’ve seen changes to the way brands can utilize data, the metrics they can use to monitor the success of their campaigns, and the ad formats they can use to message their customers.


For brands to continue to utilize social to its fullest potential, it’s critical for all of us to understand these changes, and how to use them to our advantage when planning and executing social campaigns.


Social Media Video Strategies

What does social’s video strategy evolution look like?

Mark Zuckerberg has famously said he expects Facebook to be comprised entirely of video in the next 2-3 years, and we’ve continued to see changes to the way advertisers can deliver video ads on social.  This is supported by a Facebook-estimated shift in thinking that video will be redefined to include anything with motion (animations, GIFs, etc).


What’s working, what’s not working?



  1. Use video to demonstrate what consumer need to do to access more information or the brand’s website.
  2. Keep branding at the forefront of videos to mimic influencer-created content.
  3. Leverage long-form video in social environments where users are consuming longer form content like Instagram TV (IGTV): Facebook is seeing 70% completion rates because users are actively engaged with the video and want to see all of the content (ads in IGTV are used similarly to in-stream ads where they play mid-roll and you must complete the ad to see the rest of the video).


Not Working:

  1. Be sure to meet users where they are—if they are engaging with social media, they’re probably not going give the same level of attention as they would to traditional TV, so re-using the same creative in social that was used for TV commercials doesn’t get good results.


Find your approach: Social Media has created new ways for users to consume video that differs greatly from what we expect from traditional pre-roll and television. Finding an approach that meets the behavior of users on social media is critical. Considering story synchronization across social will be largely supported by video, think about how your brand can leverage video to best connect your messages and convey your value to consumers. Digital creative experts like Undertone can help bring video content to life in the most engaging, effective ways.


Marketing to Gen Z and Millennials
How do you approach creative differently to speak to this audience? What tactics do you use that you may not leverage when speaking to older consumers?


Understanding Millennials and Gen Z’s social media habits is critical to building a lifelong connection with them as they mature and gain greater purchasing power.


Brands need to establish a dialogue with these generations of consumers by letting them participate in the marketing. Social media provides a great platform for these consumers to participate in the conversation.  


What’s proven to work? Gaming formats, playable ads, Instagram Stories formats


Having a well-rounded and optimized social media presence is essential for brands targeting millennials, with content that will guide them through the research phase and beyond proving particularly effective.


Influencers resonate with Gen Z; Gen Z tends to be more person-loyal than brand loyal, so influencers work. For example, rough, unpolished creative in Instagram Stories gets better metrics than a traditional, expensive produced TV spot because the influencer video feels organic and unlike the customer is being sold to.


Facebook Innovation

These past years have brought major, exciting changes from Facebook. The variety of ad types, (Carousel, Instant Experiences, Slideshow, Collection, etc.), advanced targeting to maximize relevance and ROI, and an emphasis on video have been a massive boon to digital advertisers and brands alike. These changes have provided new technology opportunities, but also new, important avenues for creativity.


How have recent Facebook innovations changed the way brands approach creative?


Stories: Growth in advertising via Instagram has been tremendous due in large part to Stories. More than 6 in 10 (63 percent) 16 to 34-year-olds on Instagram watch Stories daily in 2018. This means that Stories do not only enable brands to tell their story or a product story through a series of visuals and messages, but they are the ultimate point of connection to Gen Z and Millennials.


Instant Experience: Instant Experience (formerly known as Canvas) ads enable a great user experience while grabbing attention and encouraging CTA. These units transform an ad from a single video or image into a full screen, scrolling experience. They can be used to showcase high-quality assets or nurture prospects further along in the funnel. Instant Experience has shown to be an ideal way to tell a consistent, cohesive, and engaging story to customers.


What can we look forward to in 2019?


The importance of syncing your social will continue in 2019, and the possibility to make connections will be even stronger. The solutions from Facebook, Undertone, and MakeMeReach are underscored by the idea of serving the right experience to the right person at the right time through creative storytelling.


Facebook is working on developing more templates for their ad units, including different versions of Instant Experience that will map each brand KPI to allow for a single version for viewability, CTR, etc. This will aid brands in their leveraging of Instant Experience to tell a story and drive the results they are after.


Beyond this investment in Instant Experience, Facebook estimates even greater growth in Instagram Stories in 2019 and will also focus on meeting users where they are.


Additionally, Messenger and What’s App for Advertising are developing attribution tools to automate the process of running ads, tracking cross-device and platform performance and connect campaigns for more compelling results for brands and to achieve better experiences for consumers.


Take advantage: of Facebook and Instagram’s newest features to connect with your audience at the best moment and with the best creative.


Artificial Intelligence

AI is clearly playing an increasingly important role in the way brands activate on social media, powering things like reporting, audience creation, optimization and creative. How can brands leverage artificial intelligence to generate genuine connections?


What are brands looking forward to in terms of AI development?


In terms of reaching the right person at the right time, we need to be sending the right message to consumers while also balancing efficiencies in creative production. Being able to efficiently reuse assets (e.g., reusing images from creative but changing the copy) to send the best message possible is on the wishlist.


We can’t effectively connect our messages to tell a brand or product’s story in the best way without a great deal of reporting on performance to enhance optimization. Brands are eager to see a solution that allows them the ability to make changes to a campaign while retaining the measurement reporting (e.g. adjust the budget to the best performing creative but retain the performance of each creative up to the point of making the change).


Embrace AI: it enables us to find the right user at the right time in a way that we never have been able to do before. Not only this, AI turns social media ad buyers into superhumans, empowering them to perform more tasks than they ever have before.


Key Takeaways


  1. Follow what you know to be working through reporting and tracking—and then improve upon it with new technology and creative. The more technology available, the greater the number of avenues to produce creative that will truly resonate with the right person at the right time.


  1. Use AI for the best results and the best optimization for your budgets. AI opportunities can help decrease the workload needed to manage social ad campaigns and find the right user at the right time.


  1. Short form, yet impactful creative is a difficult balance to strike, but it’s critical to break through on the platform and speak to younger audiences. Instagram Stories, Instant, Experiences, and other impactful ad units enable creative insights and flexibility and stop the scroll.


  1. Celebrate and take advantage of the multitude of platforms available to you. Use this time to explore a range of creative formats to find what is most effective for your brand and message.


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