Alice Rex is an Account Manager for OMD Create Melbourne, helping clients deliver on their business challenges with content led decisions.
The social landscape has changed dramatically over the last five years. So much so that Facebook now refers to itself as a tech company, rather than a social media company! Gone are the days of focusing on likes and shares, growing followers and generating buzz about your brand. Now, social media objectives align to business ones.
With this evolution has come a shift in the way we plan social and how it fits into overall media strategy. To effectively plan social, you need ask a few questions during the planning process:
Question 1. Is social right for this brief?
Nine times out of 10 the answer will be yes. Social media platforms offer a larger variety of ad formats and buy types, as well as significant scale. Facebook, Messenger and Instagram hold the bulk of these audiences, and with 16, 13 and 9 million Australian monthly unique users respectively, your target is likely to be there.
As the Facebook family of apps can support a plethora of media objectives, it will likely be able to support multiple parts of your brief. However, just because it can, doesn’t meant it should. To make your media dollars work harder, the next step is to evaluate the other channels in the mix which are supporting the same objective. For example, if awareness is your goal you might look to replace a video on social with an OTV buy. Or, if you want to drive direct sales from remarketing audiences, it might be more cost efficient to use this strategy on display rather than Facebook.
Question 2. If yes, which platforms should you choose?
Whilst social media consumption is going up Y.O.Y, time spent on each platform is decreasing as consumers split their time between platforms and devices. Ensuring you’re across which products are available is an important step in the brief response process. You should consider the right mix of channels for your brief and not to put all your eggs in the one (Facebook-shaped) basket.
One of the main reasons to look to other channels is if you have a more nuanced audience and user behaviour. There isn’t a sharing function on Messenger, so this is a great placement for a 1:1 message; there is a younger audience on Snapchat, and as 17% of them aren’t on Facebook, there is an opportunity for incremental reach; Pinterest users have longer average session times than Facebook or Instagram and are actively searching for content and inspiration, so this is often a great platform for planned purchases such as food or fashion.
Question 3. Which ad unit will best suit your objective?
Your ad unit should align to your objective. For awareness, consider high impact, vertical video. For inspiration and consideration objectives, choose formats users can interact with such as Canvas or collection ads. For direct sales, a simple message that clicks straight through to purchase is best.
Question 4. What kind of creative will make the most of the chosen ad unit?
Additionally, unlike traditional media planning, social creative should be bespoke to the platform, placement and audience behaviour. We can’t force users to watch ads on social, so as a general guiding principle, short and concise video messages work best. If the message you’re delivering requires more time to tell, consider longer form, non-skippable OTV video.
Question 5. Is your strategic thinking based on up to date knowledge of the social landscape?
This should be the first and last question you ask when planning. The social landscape is constantly evolving, as is consumer behaviour, so keeping your finger on the pulse is a vital part of planning. Facebook updates their algorithm regularly, which was first noted when video boomed. From this, our planning centred around an increased need for video assets, and now the exponential growth in Instagram Stories has lead to an increase demand for mobile first, vertical content. This means that tried and tested social strategies aren’t always going to get the same results. This can be the most challenging part of working in social media, but the constant learning fosters nimble and creative thinking and ensures we’re always able to provide innovative solutions to our clients.