Retail Boost Recap: What’s Trending in Social Media Advertising

The social media landscape is shifting and changing at a rapid pace.  Every day there are new opportunities for marketers to use social media to reach their audiences.  How do advertisers navigate this landscape and maintain a strong ROI?  Catalyst and Bing’s Retail Boost event united social media experts to weigh in on these important questions.  Moderated by Collin Colburn from Forrester Research, Catalyst’s very own Head of Paid Social, Kieley Taylor, and Snapchat’s Director of Retail Advertising, Marni Schapiro, took the stage to discuss current trends and creative struggles. In case you missed it, we’ve recapped the panel’s highlights below:

What are you seeing right now in the social space?

Taylor: Video is of course a hot thing right now. The production costs are high. But there is tremendous opportunity to test-in with proper measurement partners like Moat Analytics to see what works for your business. Additionally, Facebook just rolled out dynamic product ads for retail, which is a step forward when it comes to selling directly from social. Pinterest has already moved into that buy-directly-from-the-ad space.

Schapiro: A need from the consumer to take back their privacy. To make sure a video won’t follow them around for the rest of their lives. People just want to own their communication again. They want to communicate visually. We see a change in what people want from a social network.

Also, if you as a marketer aren’t thinking about everything you do as social, you’re missing out. You’re messing up. You want people to be talking about your brand.

What kind of creative or content struggles do you see from brands?

Schapiro: Not backing creative into platforms. Building creative for the platforms. Creating for the right environment. As long as you start your content development from a user insight, it will work in different formats. When a marketer starts with the user and not their own promotion, they’re going to win. A user cares about a story, not the celebrity partnership you have.

How do you align assets from different channels (e.g. TV and social) without strictly repurposing them?

Taylor: Visual cues are a great way to keep them connected. There’s a role for a 30-second or a 15-second spot somewhere, but it’s like clothing. If you’re a guy, you want your belt to match your shoes. They serve very different purposes, belts and shoes, but they work together. Similarly, it might not be the best idea to rip your 30-second TV commercial and post it on social. How can you edit it so that it is both seamless on the platform and fulfills a slightly different (but aligned) purpose?

We know from Catalyst clients and case studies that social media can fulfill any business purpose, depending on the particular brand, but generally speaking, where does it fall in the sales cycle?

Taylor: For many brands, you’ve got the beginning and end of the sales cycle covered. Branding on TV? Check. Hand raisers in search? Check. But the middle of the sales cycle is a massive gap. There is a huge opportunity to grow household penetration, for example, to get through the consideration chasm. If you’re only looking at the top or bottom of the funnel, you’re not looking at the actual path to purchase of your users.

What’s the next big thing for social?

Taylor: Artificial intelligence, scaling of conversations and utility. From a user perspective, emojis, branded keywords, and other lightweight things for expressing yourself will assist in personalizing social at scale.

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