Marketers have long recognised the disruptive force of social media and its impact on the purchase funnel. Today, the practice of aligning messages to the purchase funnel is easier said than done with evolving consumer behaviour and emerging platforms like Snapchat.

Social platforms are now driving the pace of innovation in media. Social video alone is expected to grow 140% this year, not least since Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Snapchat have all launched new ways for people to target and engage with video content. Sadie Daryan, senior social media manager at eBay believes that video must become more interactive. She predicts, “Video will continue to evolve and become more dynamic, personalised and shoppable.”

Faced with such rapid change, savvy digital marketers are focused on sharpening and honing their toolset. That’s why 2017 will be the year that marketers focus on moving beyond passive advertising and making more of social engagement throughout the funnel.

Snapchat captures attention from hard-to-reach audiences

One of the most anticipated launches for marketers has been Snap Ads, which are immersive full-screen vertical video placements. The Snap Ads API enables progammatic delivery and targeting capabilities including email matching, interest-based targeting, and lookalike audiences.

Brands who got a first-look at the Snap Ads API are achieving excellent results. As Ben Hovaness, Group Director, Head of Social and Resolution Media explains, “Apples-to-apples comparisons of CPMs — same demographic targeting parameters and spend volumes — indicate a consistent 10-15% discount imparted to Snap Ads between user stories purchased at auction relative to the same media purchased at rate card prices.”

Making social shoppable with Pinterest

Across the purchase funnel, social media is forcing marketers to broaden their campaign objectives and reimagine where social media fits within the spectrum of mass reach, as consumers refuse to follow the traditional and linear purchase funnel and are willing to purchase at different stages.

Pinterest, as a discovery platform for intent-focused consumers, is poised to take advantage of search traffic early on. Targeting capabilities through brand-related pins and ad types will enable the platform to drive shoppers through the funnel more rapidly. According to Pinterest, people who have interacted with a brand-related pin within the past 30 days are 2.2 times more likely to buy a product.

Janel Laravie, CEO at Chacka Marketing, said: “Pinterest is the social platform most closely aligned with search. With an average consideration cycle of 2 months on Pinterest, marketers must be aware of a longer consideration cycle but shopping ads are arriving and that will expedite the buying cycle."

Understanding multi-screen consumers

Consumers are multi-tasking and advertisers need to be in front of that user regardless of the screen. Social media is set to play an important part in multi-screen marketing due to its ability to connect people across channels.

Ebay’s Sadie Daryan points out, “it also opens the opportunity for robust retargeting of campaign messaging and sequencing of content type from the top of the funnel to the bottom.”

Kelly Davis, Director of Display Media at Booyah Advertising, adds “Facebook has put a focus on connecting online activity to offline sales. The investment in measurement solutions like the Offline API solution and Estimate Store Visits reporting will help close the loop between ad exposure, store visit, and ultimately a purchase no matter where that purchase occurs.”

Don’t forget about TV

Despite talk of falling TV budgets, multi-screening behaviour gives marketers the perfect opportunity to expand the reach of TV ads. Using social media as eBay’s Sadie Daryan describes, brands can make their TV ads ‘clickable’.

New platforms and ad types can be difficult to navigate initially and many marketers would rather wait until others have tested the water. However, this approach will put your brand at a disadvantage since the early stages are when most of the learning takes place. This means diving into new opportunities such as Snap Ads as early as possible – he or she who dares wins.


By Andy Nobbs, senior vice president of sales EMEA at 4C Insights

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