In 2020, there are more social advertising platforms to choose from than ever before. With the recent rise of TikTok and the increasing array of formats and features supported by platforms like Snapchat, LinkedIn and Pinterest, thinking beyond Facebook and Instagram can have a tangible impact on performance – regardless of your business objectives.
However, choosing the correct platform or mix of platforms for your brand can be challenging, as each will have its own merits and requirements. By following the five steps outlined below, you can choose relevant platforms that will help you to reach your target audience in the areas where they’re most engaged.
1. Establish clear KPIs
As with any digital campaign, it’s important to decide on targets and key performance indicators (KPIs) for your campaign before you begin to select your media mix. This will directly influence the types of platforms that you should consider, as some social platforms and formats naturally lend themselves better to awareness or direct response performance indicators (DR KPIs).
For example, if your goal is to drive cost-effective traffic to your website, you may want to consider using platforms like Snapchat or TikTok where cost-per-thousand (CPMs) are typically lower due to reduced advertiser competition for inventory. However, if your goal is to drive high quality B2B leads, LinkedIn is likely to be a better fit due to its granular job title and industry targeting capabilities.
Similarly, for retail businesses, it may be advantageous to select a platform with product feed capabilities, so that dynamic retargeting can be supported without the need for additional creative production.
2. Consider your audience
Each social media platform has a slightly different user base and many will have audience pools that cannot be reached elsewhere. For example, in most markets Snapchat and TikTok uses skew younger compared to other platforms, whilst elderly groups are typically only reachable via Facebook.
It is important to identify any market nuances when aligning platforms to your audiences as platform demographics do differ depending on regions. Whilst Snapchat users tend to be younger in the UK and US, there are markets where the typical age range of a Snapchat user may actually be older compared to the likes of Facebook and Instagram. Most platforms have audiences insights tools available for campaign planning so, make sure to use these to check demographics.
In addition, there are specific interest groups that are more prevalent on some platforms compared to others. Reddit is particularly useful in this context as the platform gives you the ability to target specific communities or ‘subreddits’ consisting of users who are highly engaged with a certain topic. Communities relating to gaming, humour, beauty or entertainment are popular on Reddit. Similarly, categories such as fashion, travel or home decor are popular on Pinterest so brands in these verticals should consider factoring this into their media plans.
3. Think about the user journey
For a full-funnel strategic approach, one platform may not be sufficient to deliver optimal results for your budget.
For example, if you see high-quality traffic coming through Twitter but lower CPMs on Snapchat, a combination of these two platforms targeting varied audiences would help you to find a balance between cost-effective reach and volume and high-quality site traffic in the lower funnel.
In addition, if you are targeting by profession there may be times during the week when your target audience is much less active on LinkedIn, choosing to spend their time on Instagram instead. In this case, scheduling activity across both of these platforms would reduce the likelihood of missing out on valuable traffic.
Pinterest is also unique in that it can occupy a user journey stage which is difficult to address elsewhere. Since Pinterest lends itself to research and planning, it may be beneficial to incorporate the platform into your media mix to reach users whilst they are in the early research phase prior to making a purchase.
4. Align your creative and messaging
Each platform will likely have slightly different creative best practice guidelines and user-generated content (UGC) features. Where possible, advertisers should try to align their creative and messaging to this to ensure that their ads are engaging and impactful.
Recently, TikTok launched their new ads manager functionality with the tagline ‘Don’t make ads, make TikToks.’ This encourages advertisers to design content with the platform’s visual language in mind, focusing on people with sound/music forming a key part of the ad experience.
Snapchat have been pushing a similar message for a number of years as the platform’s filter and lens options mean that users are accustomed to interactive or playable ads in addition to storytelling through short videos. Advertisers are advised to keep this in mind and to use features such as stickers or talking to the camera to make ad content look as native as possible.
5. Test and be flexible
The most reliable way to determine whether a platform could work for your business is to test it and obtain learnings. Even if the platform doesn’t work for your goals, there may be some insights around audiences or user behaviour that can be applied to your activity elsewhere.
By following these five steps, you can ensure that you’re choosing social media platforms that are best suited for your campaign objectives. To find out more about how Croud can support you on your social advertising strategy, get in touch.