Sometimes I look around at all the metrics that are available in social media and I think to myself, “How did we manage to get this many data points so quickly? Was it only just a few years ago that Comments, Likes and Shares were the most important metrics?”
How did we get here?
Back in 2004, Facebook launched as TheFacebook, and in 2005, the very first advertisers begin paying Facebook for advertisers. Little did we all know as marketers, agency analysts and community managers how pivotal this moment would become only a few years later. In 2007, Facebook for the mobile browser launched and poking was all the rage. When 2008 and 2009 came around, Facebook Pages were launched and language and geo-targeting ad options were first offered by Facebook. Page owners could them set up and manage their own ads, which opened the door for tons of marketers to come aboard.
Fun fact: Many people don’t know this, but in 2006, Microsoft was the exclusive provider of banner ads and sponsored linked on Facebook!
In 2010, the Facebook mobile app was launched and the Like button for external websites was released. In 2011, Sponsored stories for desktop was introduced, and those that have “Liked” a brand on Facebook begin seeing organic posts from those brands appear in their view. In 2012, mobile ads show up in the Newsfeed and The Social Graph is introduced. Today, sometimes you’ll see people complain that Facebook is creepy because they will talk with their friends about going on a trip and then a few hours later that day see ads for flights to an exotic locale that they were just discussing. Social Graph changed everything in how we can target ads, and in 2012, Facebook also introduced Facebook Exchange. This allowed brands to retarget to consumers using cookies—this is the first real-time bidding capability on Facebook.
In 2013, we really start to see Facebook coming up with strong and innovative ways to help marketers find additional audiences. They introduced lookalike audiences and the Custom Audience functionality that allowed marketers to target those with profiles similar to consumers that were already known targets or customers of their brands. Dark Posts were also introduced and Ad Targeting to specific interests became available. Facebook’s Social Graph has already gathered so much valuable data about who we are, what we talk about, and what we are planning in our lives, that by the time Facebook turns 10 in 2014, Auto-Targeting capabilities really started to become more and more refined to the “creepy” level.
Ad sets, premium video ads, carousel ads and cross-device reporting were launched in 2014, and posts that don’t have paid media behing them really start to fall out of the Newsfeed. Facebook starts tightening the belt on all this free advertising they’ve been allowing brands to aim towards consumers. It’s time to pay to play! And in 2015, Facebook has an incredible 25 million advertisers on the platform. Topic data becomes available to help spark creative ideas for ads and targeted campaigns in 2015, and the Instagram ads platform is opened for any marketer. Dynamic product ads, pixel technology and lift measurement also become a part of the Facebook playbook.
Some of the coolest technology that Facebook has introduced for the marketer came out in 2016: Canvas, the ability to link in-store traffic and sales directly to Facebook campaigns, messenger bots are launched, and automated captions begin appearing on videos ads as Facebook continues to try to improve their video measurement metrics.
So from 2008 to 2017, we’ve gone from a time of Driving Page Likes to Driving Sales and Closes for businesses with e-commerce and for brands that are sold to consumers offline, as well. It’s pretty amazing to think about how much has changed and how much more data is available to us as marketers—all in just under 10 years.
It’s Really Easy to Get Lost
With all of these data points flying at agencies and marketers, the room for human error has increased significantly. Even the world’s top brands have struggled to get measurement right, and so it’s important to take a step back and really evaluate how your own brand is performing. What are your processes? Do you have the right mix of people who understand the value of optimizing ad campaigns in real time? And, just as important, do you have the right technology mix to address all of that data in a way that has been well-defined for the brand?
How are Many Big Brands Dealing with this?
No matter what type of brand you work for, how you approach defining the metrics that will be important to your business will follow a similar path. All brands should be looking at how they can best optimize campaign performance by adjusting their creative, adjusting their audience targeting, considering where their ads are best placed, and budgeting accordingly. It’s interesting to watch brands go through this portion of their digital transformation. If you’re working for a really large brand that has a presence across many different offices and sectors of business, it sometimes takes extra effort to get a new process and the right people in to place that works. Once you lay some of this ground work, then you can get your people using technology to their advantage to save time and affect the bottom line.
The brands that are the most successful at transforming their social ad data into higher sales have reinvented their processes, chosen powerful technology to help them, and then made sure they have the right people with the right skills in place to excute against those processes. This is how they’re getting all of that data to work together in real time.
That’s why we’ve built Sysomos Paid Analytics.
Sysomos Paid Analytics is the central technology partner of many brands who are refining their best practices into a better bottom line. Brands are:
1. Setting their campaign hypothesis and then using Sysomos Paid Analytics to test this hypothesis in real time.
2. Getting a holistic view of their campaign’s performance.
3. Benchmarking across their markets for all KPI’s in real-time.
4. Normalizing their currency and ad spend across markets and brands.
5. Performing real-time measurement of top ads and audiences.
6. Refining best practices while their campaigns are still running.
What sets Sysomos Paid Analytics apart from simply using native platforms to measure or relying on reports from agencies?
1. Integration of paid and owned data
2. Normalized currencies and metrics
3. Aggregation of data across Business Manager accounts
4. Access to metrics that are not easily available in Business Manager
5. Real-time and the ability to dig deeply on the fly to investigate quickly
Whether you’re a creative marketer that wants consumers to engage and digest your ads to drive the customer to purchase products offline or you’re a performance marketer who wants to drive click through to close via digital methods, Sysomos Paid Analytics should be an integral part of your strategy in meeting these goals.
Taking your reporting process down from multiple agencies, 3 weeks and 4 reports and transforming it into one platform that provides you with dashboards meant to help you achieve the goal of better advertising in real-time—this is the key to turning social ads insights into higher returns for the business.