As each year comes to an end, many of us reflect on what we’ve accomplished, things we can improve upon, and what we haven’t been able to do yet that we may want to in the new year. This is especially true when it comes to the marketing and advertising work we do.
Here, we’re looking back at super successful Facebook and Instagram campaigns to see what worked and—probably more importantly—these six lessons we can learn from and use in our 2020 planning:
- Drive sales with engaging upper funnel videos
- Use relationship-based marketing
- Watch big brands to save time and money
- Gather intel with Instagram Story polls
- Use humor and target unusual demographics
- Score with simplicity
Let’s get started.
1. Drive sales with engaging upper funnel videos
We all want to drive conversions, but did you know that according to Motista, customers feel emotionally connected to a brand deliver 306% more lifetime value? Using video in advertising is one of the best ways to connect with potential customers because humans are naturally wired to respond emotionally to stories. That emotional response creates a connection to your brand and, when paired with the right targeting, fills your funnel with customers that are more likely to convert.
This year, we teamed up with Pamela Lund of That Pam Chick to assist her footwear client with Facebook and Instagram ad campaigns promoting their customer-based video series. These videos feature real customers sharing their personal stories. For example, family members who run a bakery together and spend long hours each day on their feet (comfortably in their shoes, of course) or a jewelry designer that discovered the brand because she needed shoes that wouldn’t hurt when she attended a gala with a broken foot. Each customer’s story is unique, but all of the videos showcase the spirit of the client’s community and how much people genuinely love with their shoes.
We used the unique aspects of each video, including where the featured customer lived and what type of career they had, to target the videos to people who would be most likely to connect to each story. We used video views as the campaign objective and built remarketing audiences to re-engage viewers with conversion optimized campaigns using ads that feature products from each video. With the launch of the video brand awareness strategy, this footwear client has seen a consistent increase in branded, organic, and direct traffic and sales in addition to improved results from retargeting.
This strategy has been so successful because the videos feature interesting people that potential customers easily connect with, allowing them to see themselves wearing their shoes, but don’t actually push for a sale. The videos create connection and build a relationship with people before trying to make a sale, increasing the down-funnel conversion rate.
2. Use relationship-based remarketing
We live for making connections between brands and consumers. While this somewhat steps outside of the paid social silo, we’ve found it to be an effective strategy for some of our clients, especially for Indow, a custom-made window insert company.
While their team has naturally built relationships with home product dealers, retail stores, television programs, and publications across the country, we’ve managed to further those efforts on the social media front. For example, the company has been featured on several episodes of “This Old House” on PBS. We were able to then take assets, create our own landing pages and posts, use videos, and test branded content to expand our reach and visibility, which we then used to remarket audiences that have not yet converted. We’ve also done this successfully with the online publication, “Old House Journal,” with Facebook branded ads and have seen a boost in engagement, traffic, and leads.
In addition, I personally enjoy following HARO, or Help A Reporter Out, and submitting to relevant queries for my own agency and sharing queries with clients and friends that might benefit from them as well. PR is a powerful tool that often goes under-used in the paid social realm. This has been very fruitful for clients like Indow as well as we’ve submitted a number of responses and have gotten published. Most recently, one HARO reporter we connected with reached back out for another story and wanted to get Indow into Martha Stewart’s magazine for an online piece. We then took that and used it in a Facebook campaign to help establish credibility and remind our remarketing audiences about us which helped drive more leads from her larger and more established audience.
3. Watch big brands to save time and money
Okay, this isn’t a lesson from a campaign—but enough about what we’ve done. What about what others have? I’m always keeping an eye out and actively seeking out to see what other brands are doing with their advertising campaigns. I do this because it’s interesting and inspiring—and I always encourage our clients to do so, as well.
You might not have the funds or the people Samsung does, but it’s still good to check.
For these campaigns, we can’t have an inside look at performance results or strategy for these campaigns, but they serve us as viewers in other ways as marketers. What about the ads do you like or dislike? What resonates? What entices you to act? Large brands tend to have more resources, budget, and time on the market, so save yourself some time and money and see what you can do within your own limits as you get started.
4. Gather intel with Instagram Stories polls
Wondering how you can make Instagram Story ads more engaging? Try adding a poll to the creative. Here are some excellent examples from Swarovski and the Country Music Awards (CMA) on how you can use them in your campaigns:
These are great examples of polls that encourage users to engage and provide insight into the kind of content your audience likes—letting you boost engagement and collect intel to boost that engagement even more.
5. Use humor and target unusual demographics
If it’s on brand for you, don’t be shy—crack some jokes or even run a test to target a new audience, like a demographic that may not resemble your usual customers. You may be surprised. Hush Puppies did exactly that with their ads on Facebook and Instagram.
I got a kick out of them every time I was served these ads because, historically speaking, I am several years (or decades) younger than the brand’s usual older customer base. That in itself got me to stop scrolling and see why I was being served this ad and to my pleasant surprise, it was witty and comical.
Hush Puppies got it right: Why should grandparents have all the fun and wear comfortable shoes? If you angle it properly, you could see great success in terms of targeting an audience that typically isn’t one you’d consider for a chance to reap the rewards of tapping a new customer base, improving engagement rates, and possibly increasing the bottom line.
6. Score with simplicity
Let’s take a peek at what Starbucks is up to on Facebook and apply these minimalistic components to your ads. The company keeps it simple but effective with some things we often find ourselves overcomplicating.
Test out less text. Add brief bullet points about a process your business has and the benefits it will provide a customer. Try adding emojis if it’s appropriate for your brand, as ads with them tend to be more eye catching and use video creatives to drive more views. Starbucks often uses Boomerang-style videos in these ads, too—anything with subtle movement naturally gets users to stop scrolling on their devices and see what it is. I can attest to that as we’ve seen it work well for our clients, too.
Finally, reflect and project
As we wrap this post, year, and decade, reflect on what worked well for your campaigns. What are some strategies, placements, and ad types that you want to work with in 2020? What worked for you this year may continue to work in the next, but continue testing as the platforms we work on are ever evolving. If you find yourself stuck, check out what other brands are doing and how you can expand your strategies into new directions!