The average user has an account on eight social media platforms and can spend hours perusing them on any given day.  With the social landscape further diversifying every year in terms of platform and creative options, marketers find themselves at a crossroads. On one hand, acknowledging that Creative is the most important element of their advertising campaigns. On the other hand, they are forced to recognize that the cost of having creativity optimized for each of the placements has increased substantially. 

While in the ideal world, with unlimited creative budgets, there would be a separately produced ad unit adhering to each of the platforms’ best practices, the reality is rarely that simple.  Digital marketers need to prioritize which of the best practices can make or break the success of their initiatives and identify the mistakes that can torpedo their campaign performance and give false indicators in the evaluation of the success or failure of a particular campaign or platform. Here we identify the top three pitfalls marketers fall into

  1. Repurposing TV Ad Units: There is often the temptation to take a TV ad unit and repurpose the unit for Facebook or YouTube. While these ad units will not visibly distract the user, the format assumes that they have much more time with the users than it does. Cutting down on the length and complexity of an ad unit can make or break success with brand lift increasing by up to 30% on ad units shorter than 15%. To put that into dollars, for a $10,000 campaign, it would take $3,000 more to gain the same lift in an audience without optimized creative units. What that translates to is a team with a budget of $2,000 could optimize that creative to a social-friendly format and save the brand $1,000 while achieving the same lift results.
  2. Assuming Users Consume Content The Same Way on Feed-Based Platforms: Social platforms often borrow ideas of how to best build their feeds from each other. It is easy to imagine, for example, that a user engages with and treats creative similarly on Facebook compared to Twitter. But that view does not take into account that while only 61% of people on Instagram and 55% of people on Facebook read ad copy, 90% do so on Twitter. Depending on the platform mix, it may be more beneficial to generate more iterations of copy to test if your audience is more engaged on Twitter. In contrast to an audience more engaged on Facebook & Instagram, where additional product images would likely net incremental results. The investment in Creative must be as dynamically appropriated as the investment in digital media.
  3. Disjointed Brand Voice: It may be tempting to give full autonomy to your paid media team to write their copy variations to speed up the optimization process. However, it is essential that the brand voice comes from a single unit and that variations go through a rigid approval process. Slight variations in tone and word choice may seem like relatively minor changes. Over time, it can alienate existing customers and present an unfamiliar voice to new users, making it difficult for them to identify with the brand. This phenomenon we’ve coined ‘accidental rebranding’ is one that can significantly reduce engagement across the social media landscape and have damaging implications for the longevity and perception of the brand’s image.

These are the top three pitfalls that we’ve identified that brands often fall into when building a social media presence. Even those top three, however, are only a fraction of the potential errors that can make or break a brand’s progress toward its goal. In times of economic downturns, it is essential to take a scalpel to marketing departments and figure out the key areas to focus on to make the most of increasingly limited budgets while retaining results. Strategizing to make these three mistakes is a starting point in that process.

— Khari Motayne, Digital Media Supervisor at Direct Agents

If you have any questions – or would like to learn more, please reach out to [email protected].