Cross-channel social advertising’s role in the marketing portfolio is across the funnel. It can be used in conjunction with other channels at the top to drive awareness, in the middle to educate and drive interest, and at the bottom to convert social media users into customers. Because of this, it’s the ultimate assisting channel that can be paired successfully with every other channel. In this post, ad agency practitioners weigh in on this topic.
Today’s Social Agency Roundtable Question
With most Internet users also on social media, the cross-channel impact of social advertising is probably very strong, yet hard to truly track and quantify. What are your thoughts on cross-channel social advertising’s role in the marketing portfolio to drive business goals in tandem with other channels?
Sarah Russell (Director of Digital Media at Thruline Marketing)
As a performance marketing agency, it is important for our client partners to see both direct and indirect results from their paid social campaigns. Because of this, we set up specific, differentiated goals for direct response (DR) campaigns vs. campaigns designed to drive brand awareness. We manage our DR paid social campaigns to direct response goals first, and to cross channel impact secondarily. When running campaigns designed specifically for brand awareness, we measure the impact of these campaigns through brand lift studies, customer surveys, and attribution modeling. Across all of our paid social campaign strategies, effective cost per enrollments for our education clients is the overarching goal.
Jacki Masson (Supervisor, Social Marketplace @ Horizon Media)
The available detailed targeting, scalability, flexibility for optimizations that other channels might lack, and simply the amount of time spent by consumers continue to make paid social a strong channel for investment for most business goals. The walled gardens continue to make cross-channel measurement tough, but it also continues to improve. For example, Facebook’s partnership with Nielsen that allows TV/Facebook measurement has been around for a couple of years now, and as brand studies become more affordable to run for different platforms it’s getting easier to measure the incremental lift of campaigns on social.
Megan Marks (Director of Social @ Drum Agency)
Social impact is very hard to track without the correct tools and analytics in place, especially for traditional advertisers who rely on cookie-based systems that miss 37% of all conversions and do not account for the 91% of social users who solely view ads and do not click. In order to identify how social impacts cross channel conversion without spending a large budget on MTA, we regularly leverage our internal analytics team, Facebook Attribution, and added value cross channel conversion lift studies to provide a data-based analysis of how social drives consumers down the funnel.
Based on the results that we have seen social impacts the business goals in 3 main ways:
- Social channels, like Pinterest and Facebook, drive initial brand discovery months out from the time a consumer is ready to complete a transaction. This allows for initial brand recall, driving a shorter consideration phase for consumer, increasing non-brand search and providing initial recall for offline media tactics.
- When it comes to driving consideration within weeks of purchase, all major social networks play key roles in driving brand awareness that leads to increased brand search, direct site visits, and organic search
- A well run social program will outperform display retargeting due to the native feel of the ads within their platforms. Retargeting efforts on social typically deliver the 2nd or 3rd highest ROAS for our clients, through the consistency of messaging that we are able to deliver between sections of the consumer journey
Katy Lucey (Director, Paid Social @ Tinuiti)
While it can be hard to track, I believe there are ways to prove out the value of social using the information we do have access to through native platform and third-party tools. We like to do halo effect analyses and incrementality testing to monitor any direct effects on marketing channels, outside of solely focusing on conversion volume which doesn’t tell the whole story.
Spencer Helm (Search Director @ Reprise Digital)
Paid social media spend is table stakes at this point, and after affiliate and paid search, it should be the next dollar to spend in your portfolio. The current set of offerings from the major social platforms allows social to fit pretty much any box you need to be checked.
Something we utilize with our partners at Initiative is Accelerator, which is a proprietary MMM tool that allows our clients to see the impact of each media channel on their business results. Social consistently drives strong contribution to revenue growth.
John Ellison (Head of Buying @ Bully Pulpit Interactive)
It’s no secret that digital and social advertising has become more widely used and equally more complex in recent years. Social advertising differentiates itself in a major way from other forms of advertising in that it can serve a lot of media to a lot of people for not that much money (comparably). Additionally, social advertising can reach younger users that don’t read the news or watch network television as much as other age groups. Utilizing a wide array of channels ensures that all groups with a target audience can be reached effectively.
Ensuring that all media, but especially cross-channel social and digital, can be attributed back to a source is key when writing a multi-channel program, thus why sourcing is so important. Seeing where users come in and where they end up (i.e.; a user is acquired through a social ad, but ends up purchasing a product based on a print ad) is the best way to see how well the program works together, and which channels prove more successful than others.
In many respects, social is easier to track and quantify than other forms of non-digital media. We can source our ads and install a pixel to track users’ actions. If we are working on awareness campaigns, we can see how many users were reached on a social platform and how many times, on average, we served them with an ad. Whereas with many non-digital ads channels, it is hard to quantify how effective an ad’s delivery truly was
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