Top 5 tips to improve your social buys

02/20 By Paul Astbury

There are now over three billion social media users in the world – that’s 40% of the world’s population. According to recent research by Ofcom, we spend nearly 24 hours online per week, check our mobile phones every 12 minutes and allegedly spend 2 hours 49 minutes on our phones every single day. Unsurprisingly, our smartphone usage has increased a massive 78% in the past ten years.

In accordance with these jaw dropping stats, the potential consumer touch points for advertisers today is huge. However, as social users spend less time per visit to a social platform compared to a traditional news site, brands have only a finite amount of time to engage with that user. But the number of times a user visits a social platform over a given day is in fact much greater, and unsurprisingly a greater share of advertiser budget is now flowing into the major social platforms.

Consequently, it is vital for advertisers and social media buyers to understand the measurement tactics available to them and employ best practices. Verification data and measurement therefore play a crucial role in addressing the needs of today’s buyers by providing greater insight into social spend.

We have used the significant learnings produced by our social media campaign measurement and verification solutions to develop essential insights that social buyers can apply to their campaigns. Here are our top tips to help you maximise the effectiveness of your social buys.

1. Clarity is key

Set clear campaign objectives from the outset and align your targeting parameters to these. For example, reach and frequency may be your primary campaign objectives, or perhaps you’re focusing on viewability. If these targeting parameters are not set accordingly from the start, you will struggle to measure how successful your campaign was based on your original intention, both whilst the campaign runs and once it’s finished.

In addition, remember that for any campaign, viewability performance and fraudulent activity must always be assessed – there is no value in highlighting successful reach and frequency if viewability levels are low or have not even been seen by a real human.

2. Creativity and consumption

As consumer attention span is usually seen to be shorter (although with greater frequency) when browsing social media, ads originally built for a traditional, horizontal TV screen will impact user experience and will lose viewer attention in a matter of seconds when not adapted to the vertical format of mobile devices. Ensure to design any visual specifically for social. Although this can be more costly and time-consuming to produce, we have consistently seen that mobile optimised creatives significantly outperform non-optimised creatives.

3. The three second rule

Due to the speed of content consumption on social, with users tending to scroll quickly through the plethora of content on offer, brands must grab users’ attention as quick as possible. At IAS, our data and viewability insights have shown that in order for brands to gain maximum impact and greater recall for their social campaigns, they must ensure their brand logo or messaging is delivered within the first two to three seconds of the creative. When developing creative, consider the speed at which your brand logo appears. The sooner, the better.

4. Dig into the data

Regular analysis of your third-party measurement data will ensure you get the most out of your partnership with the major social platforms. Assess any decreases in viewability, particularly if you are targeting the same audience over an extended period of time. Due to creative wear-out you may start to see a creative’s viewability levels drop. This can be helpful insight to bring to your creative agency and look to refresh creatives.

There are a range of automated tools within the social platforms that can help optimise creative mid-flight, but won’t necessarily make recommendations about how to spot patterns and human eyeballs, or provide data analysis for this, which is where verification data becomes essential.

5. Don’t forget average time in view

Finally, make sure to use measurement and verification data to analyse a campaign’s average and total time-in-view across the different environments offered across the social platforms. You may see that the average time-in-view for your ads is significantly higher in some environments than others. In this case, you have a greater opportunity to tell a longer story and can adapt your creative accordingly to more long form and lean back viewing. If, for example, you know that the average time-in-view on a certain environment is 12 seconds, you may want to ensure that the creative built is a maximum of 10 – 12 seconds in length in order to optimise and adapt to the user’s browsing behaviour.

To find out more about the solutions IAS offers for social media campaigns and the latest on our major social platform partnerships, check out our Social toolkit.