An effective data-driven social media advertising agency knows you have as little as 800 milliseconds to engage your audience. As advertising is undergoing one of the most significant shifts since media was invented.
Every year since founding Digital Stand, a Sydney HQ social media agency. I have produced an article on how to select a social media advertising agency. I do this for two reasons, one to track our consistency and evolution. And 2 to make sure we educate prospective clients.
In our fourth year as a social media advertising agency, understanding how to choose the right agency? And the basis for your decision is more critical than it has ever been.
For any brand to market their services, business, or product with success. You need to market to the right audience at the right time, on the right medium.
Providing you have managed to achieve the above? Your message needs to emotionally and intellectually engage your audience to take action.
Effective distribution + effective messaging + action = effective advertising.
Distribution and messaging should not be confused or grouped. Only when both are effective in their own right and combined in the right way will they result in action.
Today’s social media advertising agency understands that the consumer has shifted from traditional media. And from traditional advertising consumption.
At last count and continuing to increase, Facebook has an active monthly user base of 2.41 billion users. Instagram is now at 600 million monthly active users (edit - in 2019 Instagram now has over 1 billion monthly active users). LinkedIn is at 303 million, and in essence, your consumer's attention has moved to social.
Advertising effectively on social media requires an understanding of the algorithms and targeting. And knowing the right content (advertising) to create on each platform.
Every social media platform has its unique characteristics. The targeting capabilities are unlike any other form of media that has preceded us. Provided your agency understands how to execute the capabilities of the platforms.
The algorithms reward effective advertising, providing it is targeted to the right audience.
The second piece of the puzzle is emotionally and intellectually engaging your target market.
Emotional engagement should be the priority than intellectual, as explained from the below study.
"From the moment a visual image is first presented to an individual, the first 100 milliseconds of brain activity is occupied with visual processing the stimulus; processing then shifted to the emotional brain, and only after about 700-800 milliseconds did activity appear in the frontal lobes, signalling rational thought about the stimulus."
This is from a study conducted by David Rudrauf with Damasio” using magnetoencephalography an alternative to fMRI.
This is now how clear your advertising needs to be regardless of the medium.
If the messaging is confusing, and the format foreign to the platform, your chances of success are small. This is before you even worry about distribution to the “right platform and the right audience.”
The Decision you are making
When choosing a social media advertising agency this means you are choosing today's “advertising agency.”
They must understand the principles that govern social media success. But also be clearly aware of the innovation roadmap.
The sweeping changes across the social media platforms every year are nothing short of staggering. And you can only capitalise on these changes if you are aware of them.
A few examples would include:
E-commerce purchases through Instagram.
The ability to advertise on Facebook Messenger (which now has 900 million users).
The ability to target an audience that has been on your website for a set amount of time.
For brands who are either not informed by their agency because they do not understand social media. Or they are yet to move their marketing budget to social, the inherent capabilities of these platforms are often startling.
Coupled closely with innovation is a continuous strategy roadmap.
As an example Instagram reach at the moment is between 5-10% of your audience on organic posts. But what strategy does your brand have for when organic reach drops to 1% on Instagram? Just like it did on Facebook.
Or how could Facebook Messenger advertising change the way you communicate with clients, from a service and sales perspective?
As you can now answer your potential client's questions in real-time. Managing objections as they are consuming your advertising, or solving problems quickly and at scale.
A focused social media advertising agency understands the nuances of each platform, leveraging this to your advantage. And helping you leverage your business.
They also understand the best way to get you to invest more in their services is to prove they work. And this is where attribution comes into play.
Measurement of your spend versus return is a key differential in social media advertising. Providing a clear basis on which you can justify marketing budget allocation.
Social media advertising is not about guessing if the advertising worked, but rather knowing if it did or not.
Allowing you to understand advertising spend versus return.
The attribution capabilities within digital and social once set up correctly allow you to easily measure cost per lead or almost any other metric you want to measure.
This, of course, is not a comprehensive list of all the factors you should be considering when selecting a social media advertising agency.
However, it is certainly sufficient in understanding if indeed you are talking with a pure-play social media agency.
Because your brand's future is always linked to the choices you make.