Always On - Maximising Direct Response Social Activity
A step-by-step guide to creating the most effective ‘always on’ campaign through paid social for advertisers, including insights on the best platforms to use from Facebook to Instagram; targeting, ad formats and key pointers to drive the customer right down the ‘conversion funnel’.
The main purpose of most direct response paid social activity is to seamlessly drive users down the consumer funnel to conversion, making the journey as smooth and engaging as possible.
Due to its native look and feel, platforms like Facebook and Instagram lend themselves particularly well to this form of “always-on” campaign, where the aim is to guide the prospect right through to sale/conversion.
While consumers usually don’t take a straight path to purchase there is often a linear structure to their behaviour (awareness, consideration, purchase and loyalty); nevertheless, the journey through these phases will vary by vertical, product and target demographic. In most cases, social advertisers are wise to build out strategies that attract the attention of audiences, engage them, and eventually lead them all the way to conversion, using a variety of ads and messages to facilitate the journey.
At the upper end of the funnel, where the prospecting starts, advertisers should cast their net wide in order to achieve the best economies of scale. Prospecting tactics drive traffic but also help the advertiser understand what messaging resonates most strongly.
Ad formats like Carousels are ideal at this stage as they allow advertisers to showcase a variety of products or stories, which tends to engage customers and therefore drive traffic. For advertisers that don’t have a plethora of products (or indeed the time or budget) to produce multiple frames, Link ads can be a valid alternative.
This is most easily attained using the platforms’ core audiences, including demographics, behavioural and interest targeting, or by using the brand’s CRM data to build out Lookalikes based on existing customer. Both of these tactics allow advertisers to add relevance to the targeting process while not hampering overall audience size. The traffic and clicks at this stage in the process will also provide useful data and insight that can help optimising the campaign going forward.
As consumers start moving their way down towards the consideration stage of the funnel, brands are wise to fine tune their strategies accordingly. The insights gathered from earlier in the process, combined with first-party data and intent signals from site, mean that advertisers can create content that is hyper targeted to consumers who have already demonstrated some level of intent in the prospecting phase.
In terms of formats, Dynamic Product Ads are suitable at this stage – however, brands will often notice that this type of activity can be labour intensive to setup. Website Custom Audiences are valid alternatives as they too are effective for this stage of the process but with the downside that ads cannot be updated in real time from the site/data feed.
Towards the bottom end of the funnel, advertisers will see the greatest efficiencies but at a lower scale (which is why the previous stages are imperative in driving volume). At this crucial phase of the customer journey, where conversion can be just a click away, it is more important than ever to utilise learnings from previous stages to maximise campaign results.
On-site data signals, such as a product category or frequently visited pages, as well as on-site actions, including “added to basket” and “not converted”, are good indicators of shopper intent. For example, abandoned cart retargeting on Facebook works by targeting customers who have reached a brand’s checkout page but for whatever reason failed to check out.
At this late stage of the funnel, advertisers should also be careful not to ignore their loyal customers, creating custom audiences of high-value shoppers or repeat purchasers, and then reward these users with price promotions or offers
By adopting a process similar to the above and continually testing and optimising throughout the campaign, advertisers can maximise the results of direct response paid social activity. This may not be a generic one-size-fits-all recommendation (not all brands, consumers or verticals are built the same) but overall, brands gain far greater results from a full-funnel approach rather than focusing on individual stages.
About the Author:
Sam Redding, Client Strategy Director, UK - Adaptly
Sam Redding heads up the UK’s Client Strategy operation and is responsible for agency and brand advertiser accounts across FMCG, Entertainment and Financial Services. Prior to joining Adaptly, Sam worked at agencies building his in-depth knowledge of both paid social and search advertising strategies.