Digital Doubt: Gauging the Success of Advertising on Social Media

The Wall Street Journal recently published a piece voicing the concern of marketers and their clients who fear that the metrics determining the success and value of digital ads placed on social networking platforms are flimsy. Social media feels like the final frontier for advertising, and the opportunities for monetizing these platforms are apparent. However, I understand the hesitation of major companies to continue funneling millions of dollars into a format that may not yield the cut-and-dry results that one might expect from advertising on traditional channels. But as the consumer continues to transition online, it is unwise to assume that advertising on social platforms is futile. In the early stages of this transition, it is expected that results may be hard to pin down, but as advertisers continue to blaze the trail online, the benchmark of success will become more concrete. Besides, the “success” of a campaign on social media spans far beyond profit. Now, companies can build a brand entirely online, giving them a direct channel to the consumer. That alone is valuable.

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Top 5 Social Media Marketing Wins of 2016

2016 has been an eventful year for social media. This summer alone, users have had a number of updates to get adjusted to. Snapchat rolled out the Memories feature, Instagram unveiled their new timeline algorithm and introduced Stories, and just days ago, Twitter announced that their 140 character restriction would be a thing of the past. These updates have impacted social media marketing efforts for better or for worse. Here, we will take a look at some of the best trends and marketing efforts of 2016 (so far).

5. Live Streaming

In January, Facebook announced that the live video streaming feature, known as Facebook Live, would be available to all users. Since then, there have been an influx of brands hopping on the live bandwagon. The ability to engage real time with users and respond to questions and comments as they come is invaluable, and marketers are realizing that. Last year, Nestle Drumstick successfully introduced the #FirstDayofSummer Campaign to early adapters on streaming app Periscope. This year, Twitter began live streaming NFL games, and just announced they will stream the presidential debates. As this platform continues to develop, expect to see more streaming feeds integrated into the media we consume.

4. Unique Snapchat Content

Snapchat was once neglected due to its niche platform status. Now, with over 100 million users, it’s a force to be reckoned with. Some brands have adopted interruption marketing techniques, placing ads in between stories or within Snapchat Discover content. In order to gain followers, brands must produce cool, unique content that really shows off personality. Celebrities like Kylie Jenner have used their status and cult following on snapchat to announce the “secret” restocks of her coveted lip kits. Some brands have forayed into sponsored lenses to gain awareness. Take Taco Bell, for example, who launched a silly taco lens in May 2016.

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That campaign alone was a huge success, resulting in 224 million views in one day.

3. Integrated Shopping

With the introduction of one-click shopping buttons on Facebook and other platforms, the online shopping experience has become increasingly simple. Take Snapchat for instance, where brands have started adding a “swipe up” feature to their ads within Snapchat Discover, taking the user to a screen still located within the platform. It offers up a glimpse of the product, along with price and other details included in online shopping sites. Integrating the shopping experience brings the user one click closer to making a purchase.

2. User-Generated Content

Many brands have been rightfully adopting content created by their users. Reposting an image on instagram, retweeting a user who loves your product–all easy ways to gain organic content that makes a user feel special. Some brands have taken things a step further, integrating user-generated content in more unique ways. Due to the runaway success of Lay’s Do Us A Flavor campaign, the chip maker has continued to utilize the crowd-sourcing abilities of their users. The contest allows fans to create a winning flavor of chip that will be put into production by the company. This year, Lulu Lemon utilized the hashtag #thesweatlife to aggregate content posted by their users, creating one of their most successful ad campaigns yet.

1. Engaging Video

We’ve all likely watched a Tasty video (or twenty) on Facebook. The Buzzfeed-owned recipe videos have blown up over the last year and show no signs of slowing down. Now with over 30 million followers, Tasty represents a powerful tool for social media marketers: short, engaging, and shareable video content. Facebook dominates this area, and most of the video platforms like Tasty live on the social media site.Scroll down your timeline at any point in the day, and chances are you’ll be inundated with videos. Instagram is catching up, however, and with the newly extended video,  brands will be able capitalize on this watchable trend.