Although we’re only one month into 2017, several advertising opportunities are either being tested or have already rolled out across various social media channels. These exciting changes will affect the ways in which advertisers reach their audience, convey messaging, and allocate digital media funds. It will, therefore, be important to have these key updates on your radar when building upcoming social media strategies.
Snapchat’s Deep-Linking and Auto-Fill
If your main objective is to capture leads or drive online sales, then watch out for Snapchat’s two newest features: auto-fill and deep-linking.
According to AdWeek, Snapchat is currently testing auto-fill capabilities with select brands to simplify form completions. Through auto-fill a user’s information (e.g. name, email, phone number) is automatically populated into a form. This data comes directly from information provided by the user when they initially signed up for the app. This is similar to Facebook and Instagram’s current auto-fill feature, where personal information is pulled from a user’s social settings. With the constant noise and our short attention spans, auto-fill helps the lead-capture process becomes more seamless and hassle-free.
Another upcoming Snapchat feature that is being tested is deep-linking. With deep-linking users swipe up to view a product or service, then tap a link to be driven to a specific place within another app (e.g. a product page) to complete an action. The user needs to have that other app downloaded on their phone; otherwise, they are directed to a page where the app can be downloaded. Consider how beneficial this feature will be for music streaming services that lead users to a playlist, or eCommerce advertisers that direct users to a products page.
Instagram Stories Ads & Facebook Stories
Now that Instagram’s Stories have reached 150 million daily users, it’s no surprise that advertising is being integrated with this feature. Brands will be able to advertise between the 24-hour stories in the next few months. Approximately 30 select brands such as Nike, Netflix and Airbnb are already testing these full-screen skippable ads. The Instagram Stories ads will be sold on a cost-per-thousand impression model, and ad formats will include both photos and video clips. This new format will allow advertisers to convey their message in a more compelling and interactive way, while competing with Snapchat’s similar format.
Soon after the Instagram Stories update, it was announced that Facebook is testing their own version of the Stories feature. The Facebook Stories feature is currently live in Ireland and will be released to the rest of the world in the next few months. It will be interesting to see if the Instagram and Facebook stories will be streamlined, by allowing users to post simultaneously on both channels with one click. There is also no doubt that Facebook will start capitalizing on Stories by providing similar advertising opportunities.
Facebook Mid-Roll Videos
There are claims by Recode that Facebook will soon be introducing mid-roll video ads to compete with YouTube and increase their video advertising revenue. Publishers would be able to have video ads appearing within their content, after users have watched their content for at least 20 seconds. The publisher’s video content would need to be at least 90 seconds in length and the video ads would have to be 15 seconds in length (no 30-second ad formats for mid-roll). Having this requirement helps ensure that videos are being watched by an audience that is actively engaged in the content they are consuming, and more likely to be alert once the ad appears. The shorter video length will also minimize the ad’s level of intrusion.
Publishers will need to take these ads into consideration when creating content, in order to reduce drop-offs. For example, having teasers within the first 20 seconds of their content and details closer to the end of the video could encourage users to continue viewing their video after the ad has ended. It is also unclear on whether advertisers will have some type of control on where their ads run. Will keyword or topic targeting be available to allow advertisers to better align their messaging with publishers?
Facebook Automated Rules
Advertisers on Facebook at times have trouble juggling various campaigns in terms of spend, frequency, and performance. To help make our lives a bit easier, Facebook has introduced automated rules. AdWords users are already familiar with this feature for paid search and display campaigns, but it’s exciting that Facebook has finally decided to provide a similar service. When selecting a campaign, ad set, or ad, an option appears to create a rule. Here advertisers can create email notifications, or have Facebook automatically adjust bids and budgets based on specific conditions. For example, if your budget hits a certain level, you can set a rule to pause a campaign. Similarly, if your frequency is over a specific limit, you can send yourself an email notification to take a look and adjust your targeting settings.
Pinterest Ad Groups
Using ad groups or ad sets on channels such as AdWords and Facebook provides advertisers with more control in terms of their targeting, campaign timing and how they allocate their budgets. Ad sets in Facebook enable targeting and budget allocations to be separated for more granular optimizations. Messaging becomes more relevant, with specific ads running for each ad set. Pinterest will be following this same structure, by having the ability to create separate ad groups with unique promoted pins running for each. This is a huge step that will entice advertisers to test Pinterest against other social channels in their media plans.
- Brands should watch out for auto-fill and deep-linking features on Snapchat, especially for objectives focused on lead captures or online revenue. Both new features will help better streamline Snapchat conversions.
- Ads on Instagram Stories will soon be available to all advertisers and will compete with Snapchat ads. With the Facebook’s Stories feature also launching in the near future, brands will need to develop a strategy to cater their messaging to different audiences to effectively advertise on the various Stories channels.
- Mid-roll video ads on Facebook will offer an opportunity to expand reach for video campaigns and connect with an audience that is already engaged with content.
- Facebook’s new automated rules help advertisers monitor performance and automatically make appropriate bid or budget adjustments. This will be beneficial to advertisers launching new campaigns and running multiple campaigns under one account.
- Pinterest ad groups will provide more control for targeting, budget allocations and messaging. Now that the campaign structure is similar to competitors, Pinterest can be tested for performance on a more granular level. Lifestyle, retail, food and beverage, and tourism brands should consider running ads on this social channel, as Pinterest has come a long way in terms of advertising capabilities.