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Advertising on social: three strategies to unlock 3.78 billion doors

by Staff GBAF Publications Ltd
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By Teodora Gavrilut, Chief Operations Officer, Creatopy

There are billions of reasons why brands should be advertising on social media. Or to be more specific, there are 3.78 billion reasons. That’s 920 million more reasons than there were in 2017. At the current rate these reasons are anticipated to grow by about 7.2% each year.

We are living in an era where over half of the world is on social media. Our lives are increasingly digital. And as we become more interwoven with our devices and interconnected with each other, we can see advertising spend naturally move towards this mass of eyeballs and attention.

Research from WARC has shown that global advertising spend is on course to achieve a 12.6% growth this year to reach $665bn as the world reopens and markets rebound from COVID-19. The report found that social media ad formats were among the strongest performers, recording growth of 18.3% to a total of $99.2bn in 2020.

The current forecasts show that this spend is set to rise by 13.1% in 2021 and a further 10.1% in 2022, by which time the market will be worth $123.5bn – around a fifth (17.2%) of all advertising spend worldwide.

Social media offers brands an unrivalled connection to consumers. But it is a highly competitive environment. To get the most out of it, you need to clearly understand who you want to reach, and how.

Choosing the right platform and format

How you leverage social media advertising should entirely depend on your objective. The first step is always to identify your audience, understand the demographic and profile of your customers, and use this insight to determine the right platform and content fit.

There is a clear opportunity for brands in the trillion-dollar e-commerce industry. Social media offers these businesses a route to both advertise products, integrate shopping elements and acquire customers.

Instagram and Pinterest are great for social shopping. On Pinterest, Shop the Look Pins allow brands to sell products without the user ever having to leave the platform, while the carousel ad format allows brands to upload up to 5 cards to a single pin, which means you can showcase your brand offering in a much more convenient way.

Facebook ads for ecommerce will bring you an impressive average conversion rate of 9.21%.  Equally Facebook video ads can help you keep people’s attention for longer. Videos are more engaging than static images, but they can also be incredibly useful to show more of your brand and the products you’re selling. With Facebook carousel ads, you can use up to ten images or video cards to showcase your products. It is similar to a product catalog, and because the consumer is swiping through cards to discover more, they will become more engaged with your ad.

Design Principles for social ads

Once you know who you want to reach and how – there are three key factors to consider when it comes to designing an ad on social.

Colour: Colours can dictate a visual’s hierarchy, set feelings, moods, and thoughts. Colours not only help capture attention, but also enable the viewer to grasp the whole message better. There is a balance to be made between using the colours which reflect your message in a specific post – and the colours that embody your brand as a whole.

Having a consistent brand colour scheme creates powerful associations between your brand and people’s perception of it. You can learn more about colour theory in more detail here.

Typography: If your social media design has text on it, try to arrange your elements so that the text will appear in an F pattern. People are more comfortable reading text that seems like that. This also helps your post get more attention because the text can be scanned really fast.

Hierarchy: By using visual hierarchy, you’re guiding your audience through the visual information from your post. Usually, this hierarchy is based on the Gestalt principles—humans perceive a visual as a whole, and only after they see the elements as individual parts. In a Facebook Carousel format, multiple different products from the same designer can be displayed. The law of similarity is applied by using the same background to all the products, connecting them.

Automation is the future of creative advertising

There is no aspect of our lives which will not be transformed by automation. According to the latest McKinsey report,  currently 71% of total work task-hours are currently completed by humans, compared to 29% that are done by machines. The study predicts that if current trends continue, in just four years the average will shift to 58% completed by humans and 42% by machines.

Advertising is feeling this change keenly. On social media, automated marketing allows brands to create posts weeks in advance and schedule them to publish at a specific date and time, removing the need for manual management of repetitive tasks. Research indicates that you can save 6+ hours a week using automation in social media marketing.

Creative automation is a process that uses technology that allows marketers to scale visual content production and reduce repetitive tasks, manual work, and bottlenecks, allowing for a much bigger space for creative ideas.

In practice, it can help companies and their teams make edits and auto-generate creative work, A/B test campaigns to understand which variety performs best in which format, all while speeding up the process. That way, you can focus on coming up with memorable campaigns that are on-brand and get noticed.

Design platforms are a great way for creatives to reduce the time they spend on design iterations manually while also making sure campaign designs stay consistent through size, format, text, and language without errors. This means that you can scale your work regardless of the size of your team and without requiring more resources, whether it’s hiring new people or increasing your budget.

The creative process can become unwieldy, taking up more than planned for costs as small changes take up time and multiple versions move around different teams. Automation is a great way to cut down those costs by providing a single source of truth where teams can store, manage, oversee their assets.

There are billions of reasons to advertise on social media. But there are also billions of ways for your content to get lost amidst the fast-paced churn. To get the most out of social, advertisers need to have a clear understanding of their audience and how they want to reach them. They need to think carefully and creatively to ensure they stand out. And they need to use automation to strip back the manual workload and deliver messaging consistently.

These three fundamental keys allow brands to open the 3.78 billion doors on social and spark relationships with audiences, wherever they may be.

Teodora Gavrilut, Chief Operations Officer, Creatopy