How Social Media Data Can Guide You Through The Advertising Odyssey
Are you tapping into the treasure trove of social media data? Columnist John Donnelly III explains why social media insights can help you learn more about your audience and improve your overall campaign.
Advertising and marketing professionals are taught that agency work is based on instinct, but research matters, too. Whether they’re crafting pitches, doing media planning or proving return on investment (ROI), agency teams need to understand where to start and how to proceed.
However, research is time-consuming and requires agencies to spend countless hours trying to cull data and insights needed to prove a point. It’s a critical part of the job, and it’s impossible to move forward without investing time in understanding an audience, the media and the goals of a client.
Finding all of that information will determine the direction and eventual success of the agency’s campaign.
Today, instead of spending tireless hours of research, advertising and marketing professionals can identify the necessary data and insights needed to make strategic decisions on prominent social media networks. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and many others have become sounding boards for consumers.
Users share thoughts on products and services, their responses to advertising and marketing campaigns and the companies and brands they’re most satisfied or frustrated with. Each of these data points is relevant to agencies and their clients and can help teams build the right strategy — and watch it succeed over time.
Social Data Can Show You Where To Start
Appealing to consumers today takes something special. The fierce battle in e-commerce means brands have to fight a bit harder for the attention of their target audiences. Consumers have access to more products than before, so brands need to identify new ways to differentiate themselves more effectively.
Social data illuminate details about an audience that reveal more than just basic demographic information. One of the most basic elements of building a campaign is understanding who customers are and their aspirations.
Social media is the first direct channel that provides these insights, along with preferences for different products and services.
To start a campaign, agencies can gauge social discussion about their clients to assess the way their target market perceives them. The additional social activity of the audience reveals the interests and other characteristics of the audience to guide the direction of a campaign.
The non-competitive products they enjoy, the websites they read, the music they like — these are all pieces of information that give agencies direct insight into the people they need to reach. An audience’s affinities are as valuable for an agency as the reasons they’d likely be interested in a client’s products or services.
It goes back to the idea of understanding them as more than just consumers but as people with interests, challenges and goals. Social data can reveal those elements and help develop a more complete picture of customers’ lives and where and how a client’s brand can be relevant.
Social Data Can Help You Make Changes On The Fly
As campaigns evolve, social’s insight into a target audience shows agencies how consumers react in real-time. Consumers aren’t shy to share their feelings on social media, especially related to brands.
Both positive and negative sentiment will be there, of course, but the key is to understand who is discussing the brand. Identifying the audiences sharing both positive and negative sentiment helps agencies segment markets and identify the type of people who are likely to become customers and those who don’t enjoy the product — or at least the campaigns.
It’s also an opportunity to recognize additional audience segments to target. Just as in other channels, companies can segment consumers by relevant demographic traits.
Social media, more than anything, is about the data available to brands and what they do with it. The last decade has been defined by data and the ways brands leverage data to perform analytics and derive insights to make improvements.
It’s about identifying new ways to bring value to a company. Social media opens agencies to what has essentially become the world’s largest focus group.
Throughout a relationship with a client, social media data can help highlight new opportunities to improve each aspect of the campaign.
Social Data Can Help You See What’s Working And Why
Over time, every agency will have to provide direct proof that its strategy is having the desired effect. Companies want to know their investments are providing value.
No matter what the strategy is, advertising and marketing teams need to be able to point to real metrics and evidence of their success.
Short of polling every customer, it’s impossible to find out exactly what piece of content or message resulted in the sale. However, social data can provide direct insight into purchase intent as it correlates with campaign activity.
As consumers pay more attention to a social campaign, share content on their preferred platforms and engage with brands, they’re expressing purchase intent. Even beyond the direct correlation between social media data and purchase intent, any discussion of marketing content that correlates with increased sales is proof of ROI.
Frequently, companies can get tied up in basic volume metrics. An increase in sales is obviously a good thing, as is more website traffic or an uptick in fans or followers on a social network. However, sentiment and other less tangible concepts are also critical indicators of a campaign’s success.
Monitoring social discussion about a brand’s campaign, seeing more conversations about the campaign and noticing shifts toward positive trends are all examples of the ways social media data can prove the value of an advertising or marketing campaign.
Brands have more competition than ever before. Agencies working with these brands need to use every resource possible to develop campaigns that stand out, and they need to have a better understanding of a target audience. Getting a client’s products and services in front of the right people is part of what agency work is all about.
No matter the desired audience, social media data and insights need to be part of every campaign.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.