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As consumer behavior shifts rapidly at this time, it’s important for social advertisers to adapt their creative strategy quickly not only to remain effective but also to avoid negative interactions with ads that normally might be fine but are unfitting right now.
It’s not just getting the shelter-at-home messaging right. There are going to be waves of change as the country begins to open up again and then adjusts to the new normal. Each of these periods will require well-thought-through ads so that they land just right with customers.
How do social marketers adjust their creative strategy right now and through these distinct waves of consumer behavior?
Social creative strategy for COVID #1 – Master the ad formats
Big social advertising programs have a lot going on. Sometimes, practitioners can focus too much on simply staying on top of the day-to-day tasks and the “consumer:brand connection” can get a little lost in the shuffle.
Knowing when and why your target audience reaches for a particular social platform is key right now to messaging them correctly. For example—in broad strokes—Facebook is generally where people broadcast their lives, Instagram is where they do that visually, Twitter is for real-time reactions, Pinterest is to discover and be inspired, and so forth.
Right now, how is your audience using Facebook or other social platforms? Put yourself in their shoes and you will be able to better figure out how to message to them correctly.
So, understanding first where each social platform fits into your customers’ lives is the first step. The ad formats are the building blocks of the conversation between brands and consumers, so getting them right requires you to understand at a very deep level:
- How ad formats engage consumers on each platform
- Where each ad format is best used to drive consumers down the funnel
- Best practices for your brand learned from running these ad formats before
Mastering the ad formats to message is important at any time of the year, but right now it’s even more critical to be sympathetic and empathetic with how you advertise.
Social creative strategy for COVID #2 – Test, learn, and optimize
In the recent blog post, Can “Test & Learn” Guide Marketers Through a Crisis? It’s the Only Thing That Will., Skai’s Jerome Crochat points out that veteran marketers can take a quick glance at their KPIs and can have a basic understanding on how their social programs are performing. But, as he points out:
“…right now, historical data won’t be really worth that much to anyone. There’s just nothing in our recent past that is like today’s environment. Directionally? Maybe. But true navigation to what is and isn’t working requires real insight.”
Test and Learn is a foundational part of data-driven marketing. Even during a normal year, historical campaign performance data is somewhat limited when it comes to guiding data-driven decision making. Practitioners should supplement historical data with marketing experiments in order to fill in the gaps by testing assumptions.
As Crochat explains, understanding how to best adapt messaging right now is only illuminated via a test and learn approach.
“Certainly messaging is a key area to be revisited in a big time of change. But what messages? Which ones are working? Which ones need to be pulled immediately because they are accidentally causing negative sentiment? These are the kinds of questions that marketers need answers to, and unfortunately, data from pre-Covid campaigns just won’t be very valid right now.”
Social creative strategy for COVID #3 – Use technology to aid storytelling
There are so many great tools for social advertisers to leverage to tell their story better.
Here are just a few examples from Skai Social that can help:
Skai’s Creative Manager serves as a media library hub where an entire marketing team can upload images and videos to be used in ads. There’s also integration with Dropbox and Box so that teams already using those folder-sharing services can simply sync the tools so that the media assets automatically show up in Skai.
Use overlays to squeeze the most out of the creative investment, overlays can be used to add new visual and text elements to existing ads. In Skai Creative Manager, overlays can even be added as a bulk operation in order to quickly repurpose a slew of imagery.
Sequencing. Skai clients can group visual assets into Albums which can then be organized into a message sequence by simply dragging and dropping the assets into the desired order. For marketers, there are two ways to leverage this feature: for performance optimization and for storytelling.
With Skai’s Creative Sentiment tag, you can see, at-a-glance, whether your social posts are receiving positive or negative feedback across social media in order to quickly pivot your strategy based on real-time insights.
Combatting ad fatigue is something that social advertisers have known for some time to be a best practice for the channel. Skai has a variety of ways for practitioners to stay on top of ad fatigue, including a Smart Tag that alerts you if fatigue might be happening.
Double downing on social creative strategy is future-proof
Post-COVID, artificial intelligence is set to transform the advertising industry.
When you look at how marketers are using AI today, it’s mainly focused on either analyzing big
data for patterns, human programmed automation or a combination of the two—data analysis and then automatically taking the prescribed action.
Human creativity is a unique quality that social advertisers require to craft effective storytelling. As intelligent machines take on more tasks, the creative side is where practitioners are going to be needed most.
Specifically, it’s not necessarily the building of the creative, but understanding what messages are needed, where they move the needle, and how to best push consumers down the funnel to take the desired action. That is something that computers can aid, but humans are certainly best to drive.
Watch the recent Skai webinars on this topic
Are you telling your story effectively?
Getting messaging right these days isn’t easy. Social is an important channel to drive demand these days but the last thing you want is to miss the mark.
Marketers use Skai Social to engage social customers while achieving branding and performance goals. Would you like to see some of the features mentioned in this post firsthand?