With a year to go to the deadline for GDPR compliance, Q1 2017 saw a 61.5% increase in paid media spend across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Snapchat according to our analysis of a representative sample of the brands managed through 4C Social.
As of May 2018, online media will be cast into a world of double opt-ins where the ability of brands to reach consumers will require clear consent. Keeping people engaged and interested will hinge on brands remaining responsive to consumer needs, serving them the experience they want across every channel.
As paid spend through social continues to rise, where does this leave brands and the major platforms? In our State of Social Advertising report, Amanda Antosh, social media specialist at Havas states she’s seeing ads with “less high-design elements, making them look more user-generated.” Sean Cotton, president at Coegi adds, “When consumers feel like they’re seeing a brand’s true colours on social media, they become more invested”.
This points to a growing desire for more relevancy where timing, creative, messaging, and targeting will be critical in winning trust and the crucial opt-in from users. It’s time for brands to adapt not only to the changing rulebook but the broader changes in how brands engage a post-GDPR audience.
Embodying authenticity & urgency
In particular, the first quarter of 2017 was monumental for Snapchat. The company revealed its Snap Ads API Partners, held its IPO, and introduced search for Stories. There is clearly strong momentum for Snapchat in the market as Snap Ads spend shot up 593% QoQ among 4C’s current mix of Snap advertisers from CPG, entertainment, finserv, teleco and others.
As people consume more content created by their peers, they’re seeking brand content that has a similar vibe and aligns with their values. When it comes to earning their consent post-GDPR, Emma Morgan, paid social manager at global media agency MediaCom, said: “Personalisation is key. With the Data Protection Act, there is a real opportunity for brands to be clever with the level of up-selling and cross-selling they can do that is relevant to the users while controlling frequencies.”
Kyle Jackson, SVP group director, performance media at Mediavest | Spark added: “Snapchat’s features contribute to an environment where brands can be really creative, but the right creative is crucial. The company is also continuing to expand ad offerings that include live-streaming, 360-degree video ads, and shoppable ads. Brands should plan to create custom content for Snapchat that feels authentic and quickly connects with the user.”
Of course, producing content regularly can be a huge challenge for any brand, and not every brand is going to be able to do so. But this isn’t necessarily a sink or swim scenario. Brands should take advantage of the opportunity to dip their toes into the water with Snap Ads and Instagram Story Ads to understand how consumers respond.
Data is a brand’s best friend
When it comes to reaching audiences post-GPDR, nothing will be more important than data. This is where the precise and granular targeting capabilities of social platforms will mature.
The richness of the user data on social platforms teamed with an overarching opt-in to receive ads will help brands optimise their marketing ROI by targeting their communication to an engaged audience who is likely to interact regularly with messages or offers.
This culture of constant listening will be the deciding factor behind the success of Facebook and Instagram post-GDPR. As Deborah King, head of paid social at Essence explains: “We're in an interesting time for social advertising in 2017. At the moment, Facebook and Instagram hold a significant advantage in terms of the scale and targeting availability.”
Building social insights with the data from your best customers makes social advertising more powerful. For B2B marketers, LinkedIn offers a treasure trove to understanding what your audience really cares about to cater messages in that way. And for B2B and B2C, Twitter provides a tremendous opportunity to deliver ads timed to live events. Meanwhile, Pinterest is sharpening its visual search and enabling brands to act on moments of inspiration.
To keep your social campaigns performing well next year, take the time to explore all the data available. See if the insights about your audience and your competitors’ audiences match with elements you already know or if there’s an untapped new target audience. At the same time, look to embody authenticity in the content you create and consider the wider landscape of real-time events including sports and entertainment to take advantage of unique moments and partnerships. Implementing these strategies will ensure your social campaigns will maintain high performance in the GDPR era.
By Hannah Smith, agency sales director at 4C Insights
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