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Content marketing is buyer-centric. It’s measurable, compounding, and scalable. In fact, it typically performs more reliably than other tactics, which makes it one of the best foundations to build marketing success. Creating unique, consistent, and valuable B2B content is simply the best way to connect with your audience. In this article, we’ll explore what B2B content marketing is, why it’s important, how to build a strategy, and how you can use it to grow your business. 

What is B2B content marketing?

Business-to-business (B2B) content marketing is the practice of producing and distributing content methodically to increase brand awareness, improve traffic, generate leads, and boost sales. It’s the process of using content to grow your audience, strengthen brand affinity, and ultimately improve your bottom line. Traditional forms of B2B content marketing include blogs, podcasts, email newsletters, and infographics. 

Why do B2B companies need content marketing?

Builds brand awareness

Content marketing directly influences your organic traffic. When traffic is flowing, you’re building awareness for your brand. Done right, content marketing can help 

  • Improve customer retention rates 
  • Boost organic ranking of your site 
  • Help you create brand partnerships, and 
  • Attract more followers on social media. 
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Creates better engagement rates 

Simply focusing on content creation isn’t enough to create an effective B2B strategy. Marketers must also take notice of leading metrics like engagement rates, clicks, and bounce rate. When content is tailored to suit their interests, audiences will continue to consume it. If content is geared towards a buyer’s tendencies and intent, it will also improve overall engagement as well as conversion rates. 

Affordable, cost-effective, and supports long-term growth

A good SEO strategy coupled with high-quality content produces long-lasting results that compound over time. Once content is generated, it has great potential to drive organic traffic to your site—without you having to compete for top spot ads. 

Although upfront costs for content marketing may initially seem high, it is considered to be more cost-effective than other traditional forms of marketing, paid advertising, and video marketing. 

Additionally, the content you create can be frequently updated and repurposed, costing you a fraction of the price it took to make it. In the long term, the more you use your content, the cheaper it will become. 

High ROI

According to Statista, 30% of marketers believe content has the highest ROI of any channel. Marketers commonly try to amalgamate content’s strategic and financial value into a single metric: campaign ROI, or the success of a single campaign. When measuring the value of your content, be sure you stay focused on the challenge you are trying to solve. Content assets can be employed in numerous ways and can simultaneously be used across multiple platforms. It can also be used for video purposes, on your website, as a transcript for a blog, and so on. 

Perceived level of ROI generated by selected digital marketing
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How to build a successful B2B content strategy

Every B2B content marketing strategy is unique. However, to create a successful roadmap, you need goals and understanding of your company's long-term objectives. Don’t let the idea of a content strategy be too daunting. It’s actually not very complicated and once you understand what it takes to plan one, you can start creating content that can drive success in your business.

Understand your audience

When you know your audience well, you’ll find it a lot easier to create the right content for them. Even if you have a large audience, explore your Google Analytics data on a granular level. By doing so, you can learn a great deal about your site’s visitors such as gender, age, location, and what topics interest them the most. Once you have more insight into your audience, you can expand content into new relevant subject areas. 

Map the customer journey

When you have a good understanding of your audience, review the customer journey. This can be complex, as they probably went through multiple touchpoints. However, it will help you discover which kinds of content are most effective at leading prospects down the sales funnel. When you have a good idea of where a prospect is in the customer journey, you can adjust your content to keep them interested.

Set yourself apart from competitors

Determine who your biggest competitors are and what kind of content they’re producing. To distinguish your company, aim to deliver content in engaging ways that your competitors can’t.  Present content that highlights the unique value of your business and services. If they have specific content that is performing well, you can implement similar strategies. Unique and approachable messaging will give you a better chance of attracting ideal customers. 

Measure leads and micro-metrics

Data can provide a lot of information, allowing you to measure what’s working and what’s not. To advance your B2B content, you must take analytics seriously. Some metrics that are worth measuring include: 

  • Current statistics such as total views, conversions, and shares of posts
  • Benchmarks and trends
  • High-performing content

Once you understand how your content is performing, you can adjust your strategy accordingly. If there is specific content that gets better than average conversion rates, promote it via sponsored content or paid social ads. 

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Common mistakes content marketers make 

Content marketing pitfalls can often be prevented with careful planning. With the market so crowded, there’s little room for error and missed opportunities. Marketers need to focus on getting it right as they are limited by a finite number of potential customers. Common mistakes include:

Not taking advantage of user-generated content 

When user-generated material goes ignored, marketers miss out on a major opportunity to build a solid foundation of trust with consumers. To ensure content reaches their audience with a greater impact, marketers can include reviews and testimonials where appropriate, and even outsource content creation to users. This saves time and resources.  

Not having a content approval process 

A review and editing process is vital to ensure high-quality content that is relevant and engaging. It is also wise for marketers to create a content review and approval checklist. Alternatively, using a content management platform can help mainstream the process, making it easy to create, approve, and publish your content. 

Not promoting content enough

Promoting content is key to extending your reach to relevant audiences. Include new content in your emails and social media posts to drive more traffic to your content pieces and help nurture potential prospects. Keep in mind that producing content is only as effective as the efforts you make to advertise it. Native ads, display ads, and paid social are also great tactics for distributing articles or whitepapers as far reaching as possible. It no one reads the content then it doesn't matter how much you have or how good it is…which is why content creation is just as important as content promotion

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10 quick tips and tactics for effective content marketing

  1. Use personalized nurture journeys
  2. Engage employees in active audience building
  3. Create content for ALL search engines
  4. Make sure your case studies aren’t too formal or stuffy
  5. Use “smart” popups
  6. Maximize digital PR to extend promotions and reach
  7. Use content snippets to make product education more digestible
  8. Segment your retargeting audience
  9. Promote your high-converting blog posts
  10. Partner with brands and influencers in your industry

MarinOne can help you supercharge your content

As a B2B company, MarinOne is well versed in what it takes to reach the right audiences with the right messages. Through our cross-channel approach, your campaigns will persuade and convert like never before. 

Business to Business advertisers gain a competitive advantage by identifying and analyzing the right data and integrating insights from that data to help campaigns perform. With MarinOne, you can easily optimize your content and automate key workflows using first-party data.  

Get in touch with one of MarinOne’s experts today to see how we can help you with your marketing needs.

We all have a fundamental need to belong. In fact, this is not unique to humanity; some animals only survive or thrive in groups as well. The foundation of a community is built upon support from acquaintances or family, as well as shared interests or backgrounds. Churches, schools, clubs, neighborhoods are some of the primary ways people get a sense of community or togetherness. Brands can create a community using the same methodology: a group of people that are all passionate or interested in a central topic.

Why Should Community Marketing be Important to Brands?

Community marketing's primary objective is to help companies engage with members of their target audience through their products, creating an engaged and long-term audience of customers. A key component to true lifecycle marketing, creating an active brand community can keep the same customers coming back to your brand again and again. It is a pillar of brand loyalty

Community marketing leverages the power of social media or other online platforms to build meaningful relationships with consumers. Many consumers want to get the "brand perspective" on various topics they are interested in, and this can impact how the community members interact. Many companies underestimate the influence they may have to start meaningful conversations online. Fitness, beauty, and lifestyle brands often do this quite well as consumers of these products are addressing needs that are quite personal, like their appearance or health, and they crave a safe space to discuss those needs. Organizations doing community marketing well are hosting and owning that safe space for discussion.

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What Goes Into a Successful Community Marketing Plan?

There are a few crucial aspects to establishing a healthy community marketing strategy. One component of this involves creating messaging that focuses on everything your target consumers love doing. Look at the broader universe surrounding your product and the problems it solves. 

Savage X Fenty did this successfully when they set out to have a unique discussion around body positivity and inclusivity in the lingerie space. Their approach in setting up email lists, and Facebook groups, and community boards, all added to that sense of togetherness where many people of different backgrounds could connect on feeling "on the outside" with other lingerie companies marketing tactics. The result of this harmonious messaging resulted in incredible growth for the brand. Making your company mission about more than just a set of products brings customers or prospective customers together, getting them psyched about what they already have a genuine interest in.

Advantages of Initiating and Running a Brand Community 

If you still have doubts about using community marketing for your business, here are some benefits that might help you make up your mind.

  • Improved customer experience for your prospects. By constantly interacting with the community, you get first-hand information about customer satisfaction. In turn, you can use this info to upgrade your products to suit their needs.
  • Increased customer retention and brand growth. An effective program seeks to build loyalty in customers who buy from your brand severally. The goal of every business is to achieve loyal relationships with their customers.
  • Instead of monitoring your brand reputation like an eagle overlooking an expansive landscape, with community marketing you're more like a deer living within the environment, overhearing what is being said and interacting with the other creatures in your brand forest. Your company becomes an integral part of the conversation. The opportunity to answer questions, redirect customers, and have ownership over public opinion in this way, especially if there are any questions being thrown your way from a PR standpoint, is invaluable.
  • New members of the community easily become your customers. Although a larger following does not always translate to more significant sales, you get new customers from the brand awareness that comes through your existing customers interacting and enjoying the community. 
  • The business grows organically. Thriving communities have people willing to share their good experiences with the world. These advocates can result in tremendous growth, and this kind of engagement becomes a great funnel and natural segue into ambassador, influencer, or affiliate marketing strategies.
  • Customers can feel the product's authenticity. We all know that advertising can sometimes be a bit fabricated. Community branding brings out honesty and transparency, resulting in an authentic feel to your product and brand.
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Misconceptions Surrounding Community Marketing

Even with many benefits to businesses that use community marketing, the lack of clarity in some areas has led to misconceptions surrounding it. Let's look at a few that are the most common.

  1. An extensive community is always the best.
  2. Communities can only spring up naturally.
  3. A product can only have a single community branding.
  4. All the members should be customers.

Best Ways to Start and Run Community Marketing

If you are starting or want to better your strategy, brace yourself and put your best foot forward. You do not want your audience feeling too much pressure, coercion, or any form of spam. Here are some tips to get you started without coming across too "salesy."

  • Interact with the members of the community on general topics surrounding your industry. Start with an internal brainstorm session to have a full list of ideas that you can refer back to whenever in doubt. Remember too that you're facilitating conversations, not lecturing. No need to stand on a pulpit and declare things–ask questions and let the community bring their ideas to you. The community will tell you what they care about and want to discuss.
  • Exercise your expertise in the specific field. If you strike your followers as an expert, people will start coming at you with questions and seeking clarification. Seek more knowledge in the niche and focus on helping your audience build their expertise. Positioning multiple employees as thought leaders and including them in the engagement process also builds authority for your company and humanizes the interactions that take place.
  • Be reachable. Group participation alone is not enough. Show up regularly, respond to direct messages, and avoid ignoring reactions. After all, you want followers to see your brand as authentic and human.
  • Be consistent. If it has been a while since you created a community and no one has shown up yet, or you can only hear cricket noises, don't lose hope. Keep sharing, and in time, the audience will gain confidence in your products and their ability to contribute in a meaningful way.
  • Engage with the audience. This is the surefire way to quickly learn what your community values and what they appreciate, between plain posts and videos. If you can also do a poll, that would come in handy. Sometimes simply liking, commenting, or tagging community members is enough to make people feel they are important to the company.

Conclusion 

Community marketing contributes significantly to accelerated growth and a positive brand reputation. Incorporating this channel as a tactic can help keep company goals in line with the audience's wants. Identify the best platform for building your community based on where you believe your existing target market spends their time online.

Once your organic social media strategy is inline, MarinOne can assist in continuing to drive brand awareness, revenue growth, and holistic omnichannel analysis. Our tool provides an all-in-one place to see how all your campaigns are performing against each other, and how organic channels are assisting paid channels. Speak to our marketing team of experts today to learn more about cross-channel paid media management.

It’s no secret that the social advertising ecosystem (and the rest of the world) looks much different than it did just a few years ago. We know that many advertisers are searching for direction as they learn to navigate the constantly evolving landscape. 

Explaining the Ad Auction and Delivery System

Understanding how the Facebook ad auction works is the first step to adaptation. The ad auction formula consists of components that advertisers can leverage to increase their ad performance in the auction. The formula itself is a linear relationship between all components, making it easier to understand and predict how each variable will affect outcomes.

The Ad Auction

When advertisers create ads, they tell us who they want to show their ads to by defining a target audience. A person can fall into multiple target audiences. For example, one advertiser targets women who like skiing, while another advertiser targets all skiers who live in California. The same person (in this case, a female skier who lives in California) could fall into the target audience of both advertisers. When there's an opportunity to show someone an ad, the ads with a target audience that the person belongs to are eligible to compete in the auction.

To ensure that the winning ad maximizes value for both people and businesses, the winner of the auction is the ad with the highest total value. The total value is a combination of 3 major factors connected by the formula below:

  • Bid: The bid placed by an advertiser for that ad (in other words, what the advertiser is willing to pay to achieve their desired outcome).
  • Estimated action rates: An estimate of whether a particular person engages with or converts from a particular ad (in other words, the probability that showing an ad to a person leads to that desired outcome of the advertiser).
  • Ad quality: A measure of the quality of an ad as determined from many sources including feedback from people viewing or hiding the ad and and assessments of low-quality attributes in the ad, such as withholding information, sensationalized language and engagement bait.

Together, estimated action rates and ad quality measure ad relevance. Because these are components of the auction, an ad that’s more relevant to a person could win an auction against ads with higher bids.

The Ad Delivery System

Because the ad auction and ad delivery system behave like a supply-and-demand system, there are seasonal fluctuations and ecosystem changes that will affect the outcomes and costs of ad performance. There are two main causes of CPM fluctuations you may have experienced before:

  • Seasonal and Economic events:  The impact of seasonal and economic events on advertiser cost can be represented by supply and demand. Supply and demand typically have an inverse relationship, but multiple simultaneous forces on supply and demand can create different outcomes. Considering the impacts of seasonality and economic events in terms of supply and demand can help advertisers predict how this will translate into the ad auction. The examples provided by Meta below illustrate the expected impact of different macroeconomic variables and seasonality on the ad delivery system.

A positive economic event illustrates the typical inverse relationship between supply and demand. When supply (usership and user behavior) remains constant but we see advertisers competing for user attention by raising budgets, this leads to a flat level of impressions and thereby a higher cost per impression (impacting CPMs).

A relatable example of seasonality for advertisers is the holiday season. During this time, we see both supply and demand move as users are more actively searching for gifts to purchase, while advertisers are also spending more to capture this increased intent. In this example, purchases are likely to increase while CPAs remain constant.

A negative economic event in this example moves both the supply and demand curves. If users are spending more time on Facebook, the supply rises. But concerned advertisers also typically pull back spend during a negative economic event, pushing down demand. This resulted in increased impressions at a lower cost per impression, and subsequently lower CPM.

  • Effects on reporting due to user adoption of iOS tracking updates: With iOS 14.5+ adoption ramping up since July 2021, there has been an impact on advertising delivery and reporting, and performance fluctuations. While these effects have been widely felt, it’s important to recognize that these known reporting gaps do not mean our platform is not driving real business value for advertisers, or that your campaigns are not resulting in a purchase or major event. These changes just make it harder for us to measure the outcome. After extensive internal analysis, we’re able to publicly share that we now estimate - in aggregate - that we are currently underreporting iOS web conversions by approximately 8%, which is down from the 15% estimate we reported last September.

In part two of our collaboration, we’ll apply these concepts to strategies advertisers can use to structure for scale. Visit Meta for Business, for more information on the ad auction and delivery system. 

When it comes to creating snap ads, the little ghost has your back. Snapchat distributes quite a bit of information to help advertisers find success on their platform. In this post, we’re consolidating their tips along with the insights from veteran users to give you an all-in-one guide to Snapchat ad strategy and campaign optimization. Let’s get into it. 

How to create a Snapchat Ad strategy from scratch 

When you start out, you’ll set up your campaign similar to how you would with Facebook ads. It goes like this: campaign > ad set > ad. You can have multiple ad sets in one campaign and multiple ads in one ad set. 

The Snapchat ads manager doesn’t save your work halfway through. If you start creating an ad, make sure you have time to finish it. The last thing you want is to waste time creating ads that only the Snapchat ghost will end up seeing. 

Instant Create vs Advanced Create

Choose your campaign objective

With Instant Create, you can build a single ad in under 5 minutes. It’s a solid option for beginners. 

Instant Create advertising goal options

For more detailed targeting options, you’ll want to opt for Advanced Create. 

Choosing a campaign objective in Instant Create is as easy as clicking one of the 5 options in the screenshot above. With Advanced Create, the options are a bit more thorough. Here’s what that looks like:

When choosing your campaign objective, think about what you want your audience to do when they swipe up on your snap ad. Choose from the following options:

Awareness

  • Awareness
  • Promote Places

Consideration

  • App installs
  • Drive traffic to website
  • Drive traffic to app
  • Engagement 
  • Video views
  • Lead generation

Conversions

  • App conversion: Drive specific actions on your app.
  • Website conversions: Drive specific actions on your site.
  • Catalog sales: Drive sales on your chosen product catalog.

You can find out which ad types are available for each objective here.

Once your campaign objective is set, choose a start and end date (or just a start date, if you plan on running the campaign indefinitely) and set your daily and lifetime spend caps. Campaign spend caps must be at least $20.

On the next page, you’ll name your Ad Set then attach Snap Pixel and Snap App ID Tracking. Snap Pixel is a tool that helps you measure your campaign’s cross-device impact. This means you’ll be able to track the actions Snapchatters take on your site after seeing this ad. Snap App ID tracks actions snapchatters take in your mobile app after seeing your ad. Using this feature unlocks additional targeting benefits like Mobile App Custom Audiences, App Re-engagement Optimization Goals, or SKAdNetwork. 

Right under that is where you pick your ad set budget and schedule. The daily budget minimum is $5. Then you have the option to pick your placements. Snapchat recommends choosing automatic placement, but here’s what it looks like to customize:

Instant Create Audience Targeting

Select the appropriate demographics for your campaign. Here, you’ll specify your audience by gender, age, and language. Next, you pick the location(s) you want to target. 

Click “Show Advanced Targeting” to view the final two targeting sections: “Interests and Custom Audiences” and “Devices”. 

“Lifestyles” and “Visitors” are the two Snapchat Lifestyle Categories within the Interests and Custom Audiences section. According to Snapchat, these are “Audiences that have been built and packaged using Snapchat and Third-Party Data, allowing you to reach people based on their online and real-world interests and behaviors.” 

  • Lifestyle categories are created based on what the users are most interested in according to what media they consume.
  • Visitors are categories based on where the users go on their mobile devices.

There are a lot of options to choose from, so spend a good bit of time scrolling through and designing the audience that best fits your target customer base.

Last up is device targeting. You can pick between android and iOS, cellular or wifi, and specific device makes. This is only relevant in some situations, like if your app is only available for iOS. Otherwise, clicking “All” is your best bet. 

Advanced Create targeting options

In addition to demographics offered in Instant Create, you also get to choose a household income, education level, and marital/parental status.

The biggest difference between the two is the Interests and Custom Audiences section. With Advanced Create, you can pick from Predefined Audiences or create custom audiences from scratch. Predefined audiences are the Lifestyle and Visitor categories available in Instant Create.

Custom Audiences can be created using Snap Audience Match (CRM Lists), Snap Engagement Audience, and Lookalikes. You can choose to deselect the option to expand your audience automatically to optimize performance if you want, but it’s automatically selected based on Snapchat’s recommendations

When you click the “Create Audience” button, you’re taken to a page where you choose from one of 3 options: 

  • Custom Audience
  • Lookalike Audience: Choose a seed audience, a location, then a Lookalike type. 
  • Similarity: Matches your seed audience the best, but is smaller. 
  • Balance: Mid-sized audience that balances resemblance and reach.
  • Reach: Larger audience that prioritizes reach by broadening resemblance to the seed audience. 
  • Saved Audience: This option takes you to the Audience Insights page. Here, you can customize your audience and then save or export. You can also click through a visual representation of the audience you create. 

In addition to the operating system, device make, and connection type, Advanced Create also allows you to target specific mobile carriers. 

Here are some best practices to keep in mind: 

  • Keep your audience size under 20 million people per ad creative (be warned: a minimum audience size of 1,000 is required to run an ad). 
  • Create one ad set per unique audience. 
  • Use the Lookalike Audience feature to find new customers. 
  • A/B test ad sets with a specific audience by running multiple ads with unique creative assets.

Choose your budget and goal

Now’s the time to pick your daily budget, goal, and bid. 

Auto-bid will get you the lowest CPC if you’re new to Snap ads. If you plan to choose a bid amount, go with whatever you’re willing to pay to get the action you want.

With Advanced Create, you’ll adjust your per-ad budget in the Delivery section. The options change based on your goal, but here’s what it looks like if you choose “Swipe Up”:

While Snapchat recommends auto-bid, you can play around with Target Cost and Max Bid and see how they affect your results. When you click the Max Bid option, Snapchat will offer a recommended range to choose from. You don’t have to pick within this range, however. 

Choosing Max Bid also unlocks the Pacing feature, You can pick Standard to spread your CPA organically across your set dates or you can choose Accelerated to deliver your ads as quickly as possible (best for time-sensitive campaigns). 

How to create a Snapchat ad

The next page is where you create your content

  1. Choose your ad type/placement at the top of the screen. 
  2. Create an ad name, headline, and make your ad sharable. 
  3. Upload your Top Snap media (AKA your ad’s creative asset). Snapchat’s Instant Create has built-in templates for the Top Snap, but you can also create your own on a design platform like Canva.
  4. Select and customize your attachment (where you want your viewers to go). 
  5. Select your CTA. 
  6. Last but not least, add impression tags and swipe up tags for impression tracker verification.
  7. Click next to review your ad, pay, and publish.
Example of Instant Create’s built-in templates

You’ll also get access to additional features depending on where you send your viewers. For example, you might see the option to enable autofill for lead generation or smart prefetching to speed up mobile site load times. 

How to optimize your Snapchat Ads campaigns 

When it comes to optimizing your Snapchat Ads, it all comes down to trial and error. First check that your ad type aligns with your advertising goal:

  • For example, single image ads are great for conversions. 
  • Use filters and lenses for UGC marketing. These ads tend to inspire trust in your brand and are less intrusive than traditional ad formats. And when users in your chosen location use your filter or lens to send Snaps to friends in other locations, you get even more exposure. When creating a filter, opt for something artistic that doesn’t obscure the main part of the user’s Snap. That’ll encourage more Snapchatters to use your filter.
  • Lenses are also a powerful AR shopping tool. Create a lens that shows users how your product will look when they bring it home and put it to use. 
  • Story ads are good for snagging attention quickly.
  • Commercials are only available to selected advertisers, but they’re super effective as they can’t be skipped.
  • Collection ads are ideal for e-commerce stores looking to drive sales. To set yourself up for success here, choose the top-performing products on your site, optimize your photos, and add some enticing CTAs. 
  • We all know how effective video ads can be. Keep your Snapchat video ads short and hook viewers by calling out their pain points from the start. Use audio and captions to make your ads accessible. Lay out your solution to the viewers’ problem, then end with a strong CTA. 

9 tips for optimizing your Snapchat Ad campaigns:

  1. A/B test (aka split test) your ads.
  2. Define strong KPIs.
  3. Keep up with your audience insights and optimize targeting accordingly. Pay key attention to the purchase intent metric.
  4. Familiarize yourself with Snapchat culture.
  5. Only advertise to locations where your product is available for purchase (that includes shipping options for e-commerce).
  6. Make your creative asset fun, snappy, and shareable. Shoot for 5 or 6 seconds.
  7. Create Snapchat ads that feel like native content. That means throwing out the polished, professional vibe and going for a more casual, conversational ad. 
  8. Launch a broad, data-gathering campaign; then study your Delivery Insights.
  9. Try out goal-based bidding. It’s a strategy where you optimize ads toward a specific action you want viewers to take. You set a cost-per-action requirement, and Snapchat will deliver impressions to efficiently achieve your desired outcome.

Want to make Snapchat an integrated part of your marketing strategy?

Marin Software's team of marketing consultants are standing by to get you started. Our tool makes cross-channel executive perspectives easy to see, and helps you make the best tactical marketing decisions possible…which is especially important when testing new channels. When you integrate the management and analysis of all your social and paid search platforms together, you'll save time and energy for everyone on the team. Our experts will make sure everything is tied together properly at the start so you can automate the systems that slow you down.

There's no reason to put all your social media advertising eggs in one basket when there’s a whole world of low competition and high ROI advertising opportunities out there. If you’re ready to branch out, consider giving Snapchat a chance. 

Snapchat demographic statistics

With a recent resurgence in popularity, the platform is experiencing a new fleet of users among teens and young adults. As of the second quarter of 2022, the app had 347 million daily active users worldwide, which is an 18% increase from the previous year.

Snapchat reaches 75% of Gen Z. If you’re trying to reach a younger demographic, Snap ads might just be your secret weapon. Many of today’s teens even use Snapchat over their phone’s native messaging platform for chatting with friends. While these users might also use social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok, the fact that many advertisers sleep on Snapchat means less competition for your ads. 

Take the airline-booking app Hopper, for example. A recent case study from Snapchat’s inspiration page revealed some pretty impressive stats:

  • Snapchatters were 37% more likely to watch a flight on Hopper vs users acquired from other social platforms. 
  • Snapchatters had a booking rate 4 times higher than users acquired on other platforms. 
  • The brand achieved a 50% decrease in cost per install (CPI) by using radius targeting on Snapchat.
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What sets Snap apart from other social media platforms

Now that we’ve piqued your interest, let's find out what Snapchat ads are all about. Snapchat started as an app used solely for sharing vanishing images. Soon after, they added the ability to send direct messages and send short videos. They led the pack when it came to the Stories concept, lenses, and geofilters. 

Nowadays, they’ve expanded to include a Discover Page filled with news, articles, and stories by featured creators. That Discover Page is your ticket to advertising success. It houses Stories at the top. Scroll down a bit to see the featured content.
Snapchat ads are similar to the ads you’re used to on popular advertising platforms like Facebook and Instagram. They appear between Stories, on the Discover Page, and in the form of branded lenses and geofilters.

Ad types available on Snapchat

Below are all the Snap ads formats you can use to reach your target audience:

Single image or video ad

This is Snapchat’s basic ad format. It displays a single image or video full screen and can be used for most any brand objective. Videos can be up to three minutes long, but the platform recommends keeping them between 3 and 5 seconds for the best results.

These ads take up the entire screen, meaning they don’t have to compete for the viewer’s attention with other content. They appear between content in the following sections: User Stories, Publishers, Creators, and Our Stories. 

Here are a few use cases:

  • You can attach your website to the ad so that the CTA swipe-up link lets users make a purchase without leaving the Snapchat app. 
  • Generate more app installs by attaching an “Install Now” swipe-up CTA to the bottom of the ad screen. This allows viewers to download your app without leaving Snapchat.
  • Long-form video is also an option. Snapchat will play a 10-second preview of your chosen video. The bottom CTA will have a swipe-up link directing users to watch the full video. 

On-Demand filters

Create an On-Demand geofilter for users visiting your location of choice. This is a good option for brand awareness campaigns. There are a few different types of geofilters:

  • Event geofilters: Become available at the time and location of your event.
  • Shared Spaces geofilters: Appear to users in communal areas like malls, airports, parks, etc. 
  • Chain geofilters: Available to your brick-and-mortar store customers.
  • National geofilters: Available to everyone in your chosen country.

Filters can be made smart to serve ads with real-time updates based on the user's location, name, time, etc. 

Lenses

Snapchat really paved the way for TikTok and Instagram filters. I mean, how could we forget the OG puppy ears? Snapchat’s lenses are its AR filters. 

Face lenses manipulate the user's facial features to make them appear different in some way or another. They can be used to transform users into a character relevant to your brand or as a way for users to try on your products without leaving the Snapchat app.

World lenses appear on the outward-facing camera (aka the back camera). They detect the user’s environment and allow users to interact with 3D objects overlaid on their world. These filters are also an effective method of showcasing products. 

Branded filters allow brands to advertise inside user interactions. Most of the other ad types offered by the platform live on the Stories/Discover Page. Branded filters show up when a user goes to send a Snap to a friend. 

Creating these filters is a great way to build brand awareness among users who might not have clicked your ad on the Discover Page.

Story ads

Snapchat story ads are a series of images or videos that appear in between user stories or in the Discover Feed. They can display a collection of between 1 and 20 images or videos. These are pretty effective considering many Snapchat users watch their entire Story feed multiple times a day.

You can also advertise an article via the article ad format. It will pop up in the Discover section amongst other featured Stories and Articles. 

Product catalog ads

Display a series of products with this shoppable ad format. These catalog ads can display as collection ads, single image/video ads, or story ads. They allow users to purchase without leaving the Snapchat app. 

Commercials

Commercial ads are non-skippable 6-second video ads. The actual video can last up to 3 minutes, but the ad is only non-skippable for the first 6 seconds. 

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Wrapping up

Now that you understand the basics of Snapchat ads, it's time to get to snapping. Snapchat's ads manager has a pretty nice suite of analytics where you can find what segments interact with your ads (including segments you didn't choose to include in your campaign). This is super helpful when it comes to improving your campaign relevance and reducing your advertising costs.

Paired with MarinOne's Snapchat integration, you can see all your advertising campaigns in one place, making it easier to identify budget by channel, successful products, and successful audiences that can be tested across various platforms. Speak to one of our marketing experts for a free consultation to get started with am omnichannel advertising strategy, featuring Snapchat.

Marin Software supports Snapchat ad optimization

Marin Software's repertoire of platform integrations continues to expand as we introduce a direct Snapchat integration into our suite of tools, available now to Marin users. 

Chris Lien, Marin's Chairman and CEO, said the following about this promising partnership: “‘Snapchat has an enormous reach with millennial and Gen Z shoppers who hold $4.4 trillion in global spending power. This gives brands an incredible opportunity to drive brand awareness and revenue with their future customers. We look forward to providing our customers an avenue to integrate our powerful reporting, advanced bidding, and campaign management tools to achieve the best performance on the Snapchat platform.”  

The combination of Snapchat audiences with MarinOne's bidding and automation will prove to be a winning duo for advertisers. Marin has been a leading provider of digital marketing software for performance-driven advertisers for nearly two decades, while Snapchat continuously innovates new and unique experiences for users.

Incorporating Snap more thoroughly into our software is a direct response to our clients's needs as well as market popularity of Snap continuously rising. With 18% YoY growth in users, Snapchat has proven that forging their own path in the social media landscape is a solid strategy. They continue to lead the charge globally in AR, avatar, and communication features for users.

With the assistance of machine learning and automated optimization, the MarinOne integration with Snapchat’s Marketing API gives advertisers the opportunity to analyze, monitor, and improve Snapchat campaign performance, while making one-to-one comparisons with other channels. Advanced analytics through MarinOne's grids provide flexible reporting, while AI bidding, budget pacing, and forecasting provide marketers with the insights they need to get the most ROI possible.

If you'd like to get started with a Snapchat strategy, speak to one of Marin's marketing consultants–we can get the MarinOne - Snapchat integration up and running for you in no time at all.

Getting Started with Amazon Live

Visibility is the key if you are aiming to succeed as a seller on Amazon. Keeping up with platform changes and new features is a great way to stay ahead of the competition and have more visibility on Amazon for your brand. One such feature your company ought to be utilizing is Amazon Live.

Since the inception of Amazon Live in 2016, it has slowly but surely grown in status and notoriety. What initially seemed cheesy to many brands has now become a highly profitable revenue platform. As Prime Day 2022 numbers have improved year over year, being able to engage users already shopping on Amazon offers up audiences who are more likely to convert right away. 

This is great news for individual influencers as well as major brands. Most of the users active on Amazon Live view shopping as being highly therapeutic or personal in some way. So with an ever-growing audience of highly-engaged active shoppers, the question arises ‘How can my brand use this too?” Here’s a playbook on how to get started.

What is Amazon Live?

Amazon Live is regarded as one of the most successful initiatives launched by Amazon in the form of a live streaming platform. Sellers can create videos and tutorials as a way to market new or unique products. Creators can host live streams on their Amazon Live to advertise their product to their customers and followers. The live streams come in a myriad of formats: from direct interactions between seller and shopper, to giving product demos, offering promo codes, and holding Q&A sessions, all amounting to the creator earning commission from sales produced by their streamable content. 

Amazon Live has been made customer and seller friendly, as both parties can access the platform on desktop as well on mobile. There is also growth potential from a global perspective for brands, as the website and mobile app versions of Amazon Live are available across many countries. 

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What are Amazon Live influencers?

Social media influencers have been an integral part of the entire concept behind Amazon Live. Amazon’s foray into live shopping with this QVC style shopping stream changed the influencer landscape at large as thousands of streamers have taken advantage of a new place to sell their products in an interactive way. 

The Amazon Live platform also offers the Amazon Influencer Program, where individuals with an existing social media following can re-direct that following to the influencers' favorite Amazon products. Using tagged codes and links, the influencer in turn receives a sales commission for those product purchases from Amazon. 

By developing a unique Amazon Storefront, influencers can choose and promote any product on the platform on this layout to generate a permanent income stream. Based on the type of product, total influencer sales, etc., the commission for influencers is set up in the range of 10% of all revenue. 

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Developing great Amazon Live content as an influencer

Amazon Live offers the influencers a chance to showcase a products' features in real time while answering questions and engaging with shoppers, much like Facebook Live and Youtube Live. Developing content for live streams is as personal as any other content an influencer may create. If you're a content creator looking to produce a unique streaming experience on Amazon Live, don't be afraid to wear your product, use it, and flaunt it the way you want…just as you would on any other social media platform. (So long as you're within Amazon's guidelines of course.)

Keep in mind that shoppers want to see:

  • How the product works
  • What sets it apart from other similar products
  • Why you recommend it as their trusted influencer.

You can sign up for the Amazon Influencer Program in order to live stream products here. All you need to apply for the Amazon Influencer Program is your YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram account information. It takes 3-5 days to get the application approved and setup your account. 

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Partnering with Amazon Live influencers as a brand

Just like other forms of influencer marketing, there are several benefits to working with influencers on Amazon. For brand owners looking to use Amazon content creator relationships as part of your omnichannel marketing strategy, a few objectives you could set as part of an Amazon influencer program are:

  • Exposure to new audiences and brand awareness
  • Authentic, top of funnel content creation
  • Reputation boosts through influencer trust
  • Optimization of your Amazon product listings
  • Increased sales and conversion

When done correctly, influencer marketing has been shown to drive qualified traffic that will not only deliver an immediate return on investment but also provide momentum for Amazon listings. This helps increase Best Seller Rank, organic rank, and ad visibility.

Remember, in influencer marketing, authenticity is #1

Keep in mind that content creators prioritize their own brand identity and authentic voice above all else. So to have success, you must find the right partnerships that are a fit for the company and the influencer. 

In a recent interview with Amazon, popular influencer Trisha Hershberger described her early experiences as a content creator, and how she was met with resistance by the industry to be herself. Many brands only wanted to collaborate with her if she changed her appearance to what they considered the "typical" gamer look. 

“I was told, ‘you can't wear a dress on camera and talk about video games, no one's going to take you seriously, you have to wear a graphic T-shirt.' I was told often that I didn’t look like the gaming type,” she says. 

Hershberger shared that she was adamant about her point of view despite the pushback she had received. Her reward for this fortitude came in the form of seeing audiences respond positively to her individuality. Viewers are wanting to connect with creators who are being true to themselves and their interests. By sticking to her guns and presenting the image she wanted to portray, Hershberger managed to help shape a culture of communication and openness between herself and the brands she promotes. 

She believes the stalwart attitude she and other influencers have had has helped to create more diversity in online content at large. “With more diverse creators coming forward with different backgrounds and interests, there is something for everyone,” she says.

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Connecting Amazon Live and Amazon influencers to your omnichannel marketing strategy

Amazon Live has the potential to be another powerful asset in the digital marketers' toolkit, just like many other platforms, tools, or features that have come before it.  You've most likely already tackled Pinterest advertising, TikTok content, programmatic ads, and many other unknowns in the past…so don't be afraid to get bold here too. Amazon Live is simply another opportunity to dig deep and get creative, scaling your marketing initiatives to new heights. Some low hanging fruit for omnichannel applications we would suggest include:

  • Repurpose Amazon Live content on other social media channels
  • Extend your Amazon Live influencer collaborations to include promotion on their other content platforms
  • Use Amazon Live as an opportunity to test new product launches, or get passive market feedback on existing products
  • Create community and ongoing dialogue amongst the Amazon audience by driving them to other forums where your brand spends time

Managing Amazon Live budgets and campaigns with MarinOne

While some of the execution to an Amazon Live campaign may be distinctive to other campaigns your brand is running, what will be consistent is the need for clear audience tracking, insightful data analysis, and accurate attribution. Marin Software is prepared to help you do just that with our all-in-one paid media management platform. Our tool integrates directly with Amazon Ads so you can see how a multitude of campaign types are performing all at once, against one another. It's also one of the only tools available that offers true omnichannel budgeting across nearly 30 publisher platforms, so you'll know whether to put more or less engine spend toward Amazon, Facebook, TikTok, or anywhere else your ads are running. Let our team set up the infrastructure for your team to make the best advertising decisions possible. Get a consultation from one of our digital marketing experts today.

As a marketer, you know that paid ads and organic social media traffic are both valuable. But how much effort and resources should you put into each? In this article, we'll explore the pros and cons of each campaign type to help you make smart choices. We'll also offer tips on how to measure the success of your campaigns. Read on to learn more. 

What are paid ads, and what are they used for? 

Paid ads are one of the most popular online marketing strategies for people and businesses to get their message out and drive traffic through their sales funnels. 

There are many types of paid ads, but the most common are pay-per-click (PPC) ads. As the name implies, the advertiser pays each time someone clicks on their ad.

Paid ads can be a great way to get your brand in front of an audience that’s already interested in what you have to offer. Since you're only paying for results (clicks), it can be a very cost-effective way to market your business.

Benefits of Using Paid Ads

  • One of the biggest advantages of using paid ads is that they can quickly provide results. Unlike building followers through creating content and relying on SEO, which can take months to bring results, you can start seeing traffic from your paid ads almost immediately.
  • Customers like them and respond well to them: especially social ads that feel native to the social media feed. Facebook advertising has been growing by leaps and bounds over the last few years and has many options for detailed audience targeting.
  • In general, people like seeing ads that are targeted to their interests, and they're more likely to click on them.
  • You can track and measure results: When you're running a paid ad campaign, you can track how many people are seeing your ad, how many are clicking on it, and what they do after they click through to your website. This information is invaluable in helping you to fine-tune your marketing strategy and optimize your campaigns.
  • Paid ads can reach a large audience. For example, with Facebook Ads you can set your ad to appear to people in a certain geographic area.

Paid ads can generate a lot of traffic quickly and easily. Simply create the campaign, choose where you want it to show, and make it live.

Drawbacks of Using Paid Ads

  • One of the biggest drawbacks of using paid ads is that they can be costly, especially if you're in a competitive market. The cost-per-click (CPC) can be high. You might also need to spend a lot of money on your ad campaign before seeing results. For example, the more your ads are served to potential buyers, the more data Facebook is able to collect. More data leads to better targeting and higher conversion rates down the line, but conversion rates may not be great starting out. 
  • Campaigns need to be constantly monitored and adjusted to be effective. You need to keep an eye on your CPC and cost per action and ensure you're getting the results you want. If not, you may need to re-evaluate your strategy.
  • Some people find paid ads to be disruptive and annoying. Paid ads have the disadvantage of being seen as a form of spam, and some may be less likely to trust your brand as a result.

What is Organic Social Media Traffic?

Organic social media traffic, on the other hand, is driven by unpaid posts, stories, and blogs, etc. that appear on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Organic social media content can be a great way to increase brand awareness and build relationships with potential customers. It’s also less disruptive than paid ads.

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Benefits of Targeting Organic Social Media Traffic

  • The most obvious benefit of targeting organic traffic through social media is that it’s free. You don't have to pay for each click or impression as with paid ads.
  • Organic traffic is also more likely to convert than paid traffic. This is because people who find your business organically may be further along in the buyer’s journey; they're actively searching for information related to your business, product, or service.
  • Organic social media marketing campaigns are more sustainable in the long run than paid ads. Once you build a following, you'll continue to get organic traffic as long as you maintain the quality of your content. This is not the case with paid ads, which need to be continuously paid for.

Drawbacks of Relying on Organic Social Media Campaigns

  • Organic traffic can be slow to build: One of the biggest drawbacks of relying on organic social media content is that it takes time to create quality content and build a following, and you may not get much traffic until you do so.
  • To get the most out of organic social media content, you need to pair it with investing time and resources into search engine optimization (SEO). This includes keyword research, link building, and content marketing. The same principles that make your content valuable to search engines also make it valuable on social media, which in turn drives more traffic to your site and signals to search engines that your content is useful.

Organic Content vs Paid Ads: Which is Better for Your Business?

The answer depends on your business goals and objectives. If you're looking for a quick way to increase brand awareness or generate leads, paid ads may be the way to go. However, if you're interested in sustainable, long-term growth, organic ads are probably a better option. There’s a good chance that your business would benefit from both, but the relative resources you invest in each strategy can be assessed by looking at the pros and cons of each one.

Both options have their pros and cons:

  • Both require ongoing management and optimization: Otherwise, your return on investment could be negative.
  • Paid ads offer consistent and reliable returns: Since paid ads get more impressions from potential new buyers, they generally perform better than organic results.
  • Organic content is free (aside from the time it takes to create, post, and manage it). 
  • Paid ads can be disruptive: Ads can be intrusive and may put potential customers off your brand.

In the end, if you’re not sure where to start, try experimenting with both paid and organic social media campaigns to see what works best for you.

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How to Measure the Success or Failure of Each Type of Campaign

An analytics program is needed to determine whether specific content from your organic social media campaign is performing well and the ROI you’re getting compared to your paid ads. To work out the best formula for how to divide your resources, use a combination of ad spend and organic content and analyze the results. The best way to do this is using an ad management platform like MarinOne. With MarinOne, you can see all your campaigns in one place, including performance data for both organic social media content and paid ad campaigns. This makes it easy to track the success of your organic and paid ad campaigns and compare the two side-by-side.

5 Quick Tips for Implementing a Successful Campaign With Both Types of Advertisements

  1. Identify your goals before running a campaign. This will help you determine which type of ad is best suited to your needs.
  2. Define your target audience. This helps to ensure you're targeting relevant users and not wasting ad spend on a demographic uninterested in your product or service.
  3. Budget for both paid and organic campaigns. Don't put all your eggs in one basket—a mix of both can lead to the best results.
  4. Monitor your campaigns regularly and make changes as needed. What works today may not work tomorrow. So, it's important to stay on top of your campaigns and keep tweaking them for optimal performance
  5. Use MarinOne to simplify your efforts.

While paid ads can be very effective when done correctly, they do require investment, which might not be feasible, depending on your budget and the industry. To make paid ads work for you, be prepared to do A/B testing, reallocate funds if needed, and make sure to use retargeting strategies. Organic social media marketing is free, but it takes effort. You won't see results overnight, but investing in building a solid organic foundation can lead to great long-term exposure for your company.

Regardless of how much you put into each strategy, you’ll likely find that integrating both types of campaigns into your marketing strategy works the best. To fully take advantage of both types of campaigns, however, you’ll need a tool to automate and syncrhonize your efforts. This is where a platform like MarinOne comes in.

How MarinOne can help

With MarinOne’s automation tool, you can set up goals on your site using the programmable automation features in Google Analytics. You'll be able to track ad metrics, CLV, and conversions without having a full-time employee dedicated solely to analytics duties.

Analyze your organic traffic and paid ad data early and make changes according to your results, automatically boost popular organic posts, and build campaigns from your product feed. Since MarinOne works with Google Analytics, there’s no need for a separate tracking code or web property ID either.

Learn more about MarinOne’s ad automation tools today. Get in touch to speak with a team member to see how we can help you get the information and tools you need to increase the effectiveness of your paid ads and organic content.

Influencer marketing, which includes businesses collaborating with influencers, is a powerful strategy for brands to broaden their social media reach. It's growing in popularity– over three-quarters of US marketers will employ influencer marketing in 2022. Influencer marketing initiatives are not one-size-fits-all. Much depends on your specialty, goals, and the pool of influencers in your audience. With the right strategy and approach, influencers can help any business reach its marketing objectives.

What exactly is influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is a social media marketing strategy in which companies collaborate with influencers (also called content creators) to promote a product, service, or brand. The influencer creates and distributes material about the brand or product, and the business compensates them with cash, free items, or both. Typically, businesses will supply the influencer with whatever product they will be featuring on their platform. To guarantee the influencer will post about your product, you’ll have to pay according to their sponsorship rate sheet. Reach, traffic, engagement, and conversions are the most common influencer marketing KPIs.

The first type of influencer marketing was celebrity endorsements. Social media content creators with highly engaged specialized audiences may now provide more value to marketers than superstars with large but generic followings. This is because social followers find social content producers relevant, trust their suggestions, and are committed to exhibiting their support.

How to plan an influencer marketing campaign

Here are the stages to launching a successful influencer program for your company.

Establish your objective

Like any effective marketing plan, the first step is to define your objectives. Defining your goals for influencer marketing can help you develop a practical approach throughout your campaign. It will also assist you in understanding the metrics you should follow to determine the effectiveness of your campaign.

Below are some good influencer marketing objectives to consider:

  • Boosting brand recognition
  • Increasing your fan base
  • Raising engagement and generating leads
  • Increasing your sales and conversions
  • Boosting brand loyalty
  • Link building for SEO
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Understand who you're attempting to reach

A successful influencer marketing strategy requires reaching the right people with the appropriate tools and influencers at the right time. Create audience personas to better understand who you're attempting to target with your campaign. Outline specifics regarding your target audience, such as:

  • Chronological age
  • Optimal spending habits or comfort level (if you want to drive sales with your campaign)
  • Their pursuits
  • Geographic location
  • Where they spend their time online.

You have to know your target audience to know which influencers they engage with. The influencer must be relevant to your target audience– otherwise, you’re throwing money down the drain. 

Recognize the guidelines

Before implementing an influencer marketing plan, you must first grasp the guidelines. The Federal Trade Commission establishes those rules in the United States. Transparency is key here. Influencers must also be aware of sponsored content requirements, and they frequently fail to do so. Or the influencer may make the revelation of their sponsorship delicate and partly buried. The restrictions for advertising vary widely by nation, so verify them. The sponsorship must be disclosed to the audience with clarity. Social media platforms like Instagram and YouTube are simplifying this by adding features that identify a sponsored post as such. 

Consider the three Rs of power

These three factors determine influence:

Relevance

The appropriate influencer for your campaign shares content about your industry and company, and their target audience must be similar to yours.

Reach 

Reach is the number of individuals who could see your material through the influencer's audience base.

Resonance

The influencer's potential degree of engagement with an audience that resonates with your brand is referred to as resonance.

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Influencers to be considered

The key to a successful collaboration with influencers is trust. Whoever you collaborate with must have your audience's confidence and respect. Without authentic content, your influencer marketing campaign is unlikely to achieve the desired marketing objectives.

The best approach to tell if a prospective influencer is trustworthy is to look at their engagement and the feedback they already receive from their followers in the form of comments, direct messages, likes, and shares. Socialblade is a great tool for doing a closer analysis of each influencer with which you are considering collaboration.

Conduct your research

Your study does not end with creating a shortlist. Before signing any contracts, there are a few more steps to solidify the success of your campaign. Determine how frequently your potential influencer uploads paid material. If they share a lot of sponsored posts, their engagement rate may be lower than what you would like. 5% engagement is generally considered healthy, so keep that in mind as a general rule of thumb. 

Keep the influencer's posting schedule in mind when considering the content you'll want the influencer to share. Any influencer strategic about their approach is very cautious about what promote and when. So if you ask them to share too many pieces of promotional content in a short period, the influencer will reject your offer (or their compensation expectations will increase dramatically).

Reach out privately 

Invading a potential influencer's DMs and asking for collaboration right off the bat may not be the best method to start a relationship. It can sometimes be perceived as too forward and even a bit tacky, so do your best to navigate the start of the connection with care and professionalism. Don't get me wrong: it may be effective to reach out cold, but there are other communication methods for planting seeds that lead to longer-lasting partnerships. Influencers accustomed to working with brands often list an email in their bio for this purpose. Start by engaging with the influencer’s content...Enter their direct messages after establishing an authentic interest in them as an individual and an interest in supporting their content.

Create great content in collaboration with your influencer

A social media influencer who has worked hard to build their brand would refuse any offer that jeopardizes their integrity. So it's better to offer some rules/guidelines on what you want but leave the actual content creation process to them. Content creators know what their audiences resonate with. They can also spot what will be an immediate turnoff. Best practices are to offer talking points and guidelines that the influencer can work into their native content however they see fit.

Analyze your outcomes

When you begin your influencer marketing campaign, the number of likes and comments on your branded content may overwhelm you, especially if your influencer has a significant following. These are vanity metrics that don't accomplish anything for your brand. You must calculate your actual return on investment (ROI) to determine the value of your campaign.

Even though users who engage with the sponsored content might not purchase right away, they are now aware of your brand and have started their journey to becoming a customer. Getting them to follow you or visit your website opens that door.

And even if they don't follow your account, your product will come to mind when a need arises. They can revisit the influencer's post to find the link and make a purchase. That's the power of influencer marketing-- an influencer's audience trusts their recommendations. If a follower needs something, they use the influencer's recommendations to make their purchasing decisions.

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After running a successful sponsorship, consider pulling the influencer's content and posting it to your own account as a paid ad. This maximizes the value and ROI of the partnership and allows you to reach segments of your target audience that are not already following the influencer, but that would still benefit from the influencer's content.

It's no secret that users on social media are scrolling through their feeds for much more extended periods. In 2022, social commerce sales in the United States are expected to reach $45.74 billion, with more than half of the nation's adults purchasing directly on the social media platform of their choice. 

With such robust behavior data, brands must have an omnipresent presence across social media platforms to take advantage of these trends. Recent studies indicate that the majority of significant brands plan on increasing their social commerce investments in 2022.

Get a quick look into emerging social commerce trends for 2022 and how they can help you grow your brand's sales, marketing, and profits. Continue reading and discover key trends that have shaped social business over the past few years and what you should do in 2022. 

What Is Social Commerce?

Social commerce is a part of e-commerce and refers to consumers' shopping experience on a social network. In other words, social commerce is selling products through social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.

Social buying is a growing trend within the US and is becoming more popular worldwide. It's estimated that social commerce will grow to $79.64 billion by 2025 in the US. Although that may be a very healthy number for the market overall, marketers still have a long way ahead of them if they want to succeed on the individual brand level.

Brands can utilize various techniques in this space to take advantage of impulse purchase decisions and consumer FOMO. The major players in social media like TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat have optimized the buying experience by reducing friction throughout the buyers' journey within the platform.

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Social Commerce Trends

One of the most inherent benefits of social media marketing is how quickly it can change and adapt to new consumer trends. Text-based updates have been replaced by more visual, transient content on social media platforms in the last two decades. Companies can draw on their strengths historically to determine how they approach social commerce now. Think of it as an opportunity to present the same brand messaging that has worked before in a new medium, like taking the headline of a billboard and turning it into a PPC ad. This transition from organic social media to social commerce ought to work much in the same way. 

For example, Instagram Shopping, Facebook Shops, and Pinterest Buyable Pins have all been updated in response to consumers’ want for quicker, easier purchase experiences. Snapchat is another platform taking steps to introduce social shopping trends to its 229 million users. Snapchat’s recent introduction of “lenses” allows users to read product descriptions, reviews, and specs.

Verbiage within the content (whether in video, audio, or written form) is often purchase-driven on social media now as well. Common phrases such as "swipe-up to purchase" or "click the link in the bio" make it easy for social media users to purchase the advertised items and services. Users have come to expect these captions or comments within brand messaging, as they reinforce the CTA (call to action) in another way and make the user’s most simple next step very clear.

A Shift in Marketing Strategies For Brands

Just like any other channel, the social shopping experience for each industry can vary quite a bit. Social commerce ads that promote athleisure clothing is very different from ads that promote electronics, for example. Take the time to do thorough competitive research for your social commerce strategy, just as you would for any other new medium.

With so much content available to consume, users are unlikely to engage with or pay attention to brand-generated content. Because of this, more brands are starting to understand the value of user-generated content, live stream shopping, chatbots and influencer marketing. This content is both user-friendly and approachable–the key being that UGC is humanizing your brand and building authenticity, much like a low-key testimonial. With such a shift in traditional content engagement, these organic opportunities should not be overlooked. They will play an important supporting role in your social commerce strategy.

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Social Commerce & the Importance of User Experience

E-commerce purchases are affected by the interaction a shopper has with the website. Merchants who run online stores have ultimate control and can often view direct actions when all purchases are taking place on site. Social commerce diversifies that shopping experience. The benefit of course is that this can increase the amount of revenue and number of sales overall, as a step is removed from the users’ conversion journey. The downside is that you may not have as much data or control as an advertiser that you would have on your own site or e-commerce shopping cart.

Keep in mind that the objective is digital convenience whenever looking at important decisions within the social commerce space. Brands that still use outdated business models with a long buyer journey and complicated purchase models will frustrate customers. The faster and more seamless the path is to checkout, the better your chance to capture more revenue. 

Another factor to consider is the fact that users' attention spans have fallen dramatically. This makes it even more critical for brands to optimize their user experience to gain more confidence and increase sales with as little work from the consumer as possible. Consider diversifying your purchase integrations to optimize this process fully. Plugins from tools like Shopify Pay, PayPal, Apple Pay, and more will yet again remove a step from users’ finishing their checkout.

Social Commerce Market Stats And Outlook

It's been fascinating watching how social trends have driven innovation in social networking beyond just communicating with friends or family. Over the last several years, legacy direct-to-consumer brands (DTC) have invested billions in paid social advertising to drive new revenue. Their success caused a flood of more unique, independent brands to follow suit…which made the competition for advertising slots that much more aggressive. This led to higher costs for advertisers and increased ad fatigue for social media users. Global advertising spend on social networks was 26% higher in the third quarter of 2021 than in 2020. In 2022, Insider Intelligence forecasts that US retail and social commerce sales will rise by 24.9% to $45.74 billion. Fashion categories, such as apparel and accessories remain the largest market for social commerce. However, other lifestyle brands wanting to market electronics or home decor are also doing incredibly well with social commerce campaigns. Brands that offer new and differentiated goods are best suited to social commerce. But if the patterned growth is any indication of the value still to come for advertisers…we recommend testing it out, regardless of what kind of DTC product you’re selling.

In Conclusion

Social commerce enables brands to develop frictionless shopping experiences and reach consumers in the most critical places. As social media continues to evolve in 2022 and beyond, brands will have more options to create social commerce experiences with potentially explosive growth. Brands with a proactive approach to moving to the next level should shift their marketing efforts and build trust with customers through social commerce implementation.

What makes Pinterest different from other social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., is that its primary use is not connecting with others. On the contrary, it is a search and discovery platform. People spend hours and hours looking at things they want to do, learn, or purchase. Most of the users on the platform are looking to purchase items of interest that will somehow help them achieve a goal or complete a project.

When it comes to marketing, Pinterest is an extremely underutilized platform. According to Hootsuite, there were almost 459 million users on Pinterest in 2021 per month. In 2020, almost 100 million users were added. This shows just how many people are using the application and the potential market. Read this “getting started” guide on how you can dive into the world of Pinterest advertising and bidding.

What are Pinterest Ads? 

The reason why Pinterest ads are so powerful is the fact that they are presented as normal pins. The only difference is that you will see a “Promoted by” tag on the pin that is an advertisement. These ads seamlessly mix in with normal pins and do not seem out of place like ads on other social media platforms. The ads are displayed on the home screen by an algorithm that tracks their historical activity on the platform, much like Instagram or TikTok. This means the ads target potential buyers and not just people at random. You can target different people based on the following criteria:

  • Location
  • Gender 
  • Age 
  • Interests 
  • Categories

Pinterest allows you to choose from 5 different ad formats. The format you pick will depend on your brand and needs. 

  • Standard pins 
  • Carousel ads 
  • Video pin ads 
  • Shopping pins 
  • App install pins 

How to Set Up an Ad Campaign 

So, how can you stand out with your Pinterest ads? Setting up a new ad campaign requires following a few simple steps. 

Make a business account 

The first thing you need to do is to set up a business account on Pinterest. You can set it up by clicking your user profile icon which is present on the top corner of the page. 

Describe your brand or business 

The next step is to describe what your business or brand is. You will be given some options you can choose from. Is your business beauty, home, travel, etc.? Make sure to click the most appropriate business category as this will greatly affect how your ads are listed to users. 

Create a campaign 

Once done, go ahead and create your ad campaign. Simply click on “create” and then on “create campaign”. 

Choose your goals 

What is the aim of your business? Why are you promoting your brand on Pinterest? Even though it seems complicated, this step is easy. It’s best not to overthink it, and keep in mind you can always test multiple campaigns with different goal settings. You will need to choose from the three options given. These include awareness, consideration and conversion. Are you looking to create awareness about your brand/business only? Do you want video views or content engagement? Are you looking for increasing traffic to your website or Pinterest page? Or, do you want to promote your catalog or brand? Start with the goal you’d most like to achieve and test variants from there. 

Set your budget 

Choose whether you want to set a lifetime or daily budget. Go ahead and choose a start and ending date for your campaign. 

Bidding 

The Pinterest campaign manager has two options for setting bids.

Custom Bidding: Here you will enter your maximum CPC bid amount via the Ads Manager or Bulk Editor. While you may have more control over what you are bidding at the ad auction, keep in mind this is a manual process which could be time consuming if you need to adjust your bid amounts over the course of the campaign.   

Automatic Bidding: With this option, Pinterest will manage your bids for you, working to get the maximum clicks for the lowest possible cost to maximize the budget you have prescribed. There is a learning period when you begin automatic bidding as Pinterest’s algorithms work to find the best outcomes for your ads, but once Pinterest finds the sweet spot for your bids, automated bidding can help get you the most for every dollar spent, not to mention saving you loads of time.

Pinterest also partners with various third party solutions to give their advertisers more options for better results. By layering a bid optimization solution over Pinterest’s bidding tools, you can take your results even further. A few of the added benefits of using a tool like MarinOne include:

  • Advanced bidding algorithms that take in over 75 signals for the best responsiveness and accuracy.
  • Custom bid modifiers to adjust to external market signals that are relevant to your business.
  • Forecasting to help you find the right level of marketing investment and help predict expected conversions, revenue, and profit for your entire account or specific bid strategies. 
  • Budget allocation that assigns spend levels to your bid strategies by setting targets and campaign budgets based on your campaign goals. 
  • Budget pacing which tracks your spend over the course of the month, quarter, or custom spend period, and adjusts your bidding targets to keep you on track.
  • Performance insights and recommendations that scan your accounts for any and every opportunity to decrease costs and improve results. 

Tips for optimizing your Pinterest ads

Get specific in how the ad is positioned

To make the ad more specific and ensure it reaches individuals who can potentially turn into customers, you need to provide details within the creative. One effective approach is to select who you are going to target and put together a “how to” or “tutorial” that directly addresses that target demos’ particular needs or problems that your product solves. It’s a good idea to use multiple keywords within the written content to make your ad impactful for many different searches.

Ensure the Pinterest tag is installed properly and firing

The Pinterest tag allows you to track conversions and optimize your Pinterest campaign budget. With the right setup, you can report conversions from nine different types of actions on your website and view them in Pinterest Ads Manager. Proper installation of the Pinterest tag is essential to get the most out of it. The tag can be installed manually on the website or through Google Tag Manager. To check that the tag is firing and fuctioning, you can utilize the Pinterest Tag Helper.

Use impactful visuals to showcase your brand

Your brand is only as good as you portray it to be. So, choose colors, imagery and videos carefully. Showcase your work and expertise through the aesthetic presence of your brand on Pinterest. Many businesses, both large and small, use Pinterest ads to create awareness about themselves. Therefore, it is important to share real-life pictures of your brand/business in action.

Make the most of your Pinterest advertising

If you have a product that you want to share with the world, Pinterest is an excellent platform to do so. The biggest advantage you will have is that it is still highly unexplored and still a fairly untapped marketing platform today. Most advertisers and marketers are not using Pinterest to its full potential, meaning the available audience is not experiencing ad fatigue. The likelihood your vertical has thousands if not millions of users ready to engage with your brand, without excessive competition, is very good. By placing Pinterest Ads, you can gain that competitive advantage that others don’t have. 

In addition to the bid optimization tools mentioned above, MarinOne can also help you measure the results of your Pinterest Ads with advanced analytics that detail performance within and across Pinterest campaigns and also side-by-side with other search, social, and ecommerce publishers. Pull in your customer data from your web analytics and CRM tools for a more advanced view of conversions and LTV. And once you have all the data processed in MarinOne, you can push that out to Excel, Google Sheets, your data warehouse, or BI tool.

Now that you know what a gold mine Pinterest is for leads and conversions, reach out here to get started with MarinOne for Pinterest. 

Publisher skill certifications are a great resource for seasoned experts and novices alike. Even though seasoned professionals might balk at the prospect of sitting through a certification course, we’ve found that there’s always something to learn in the constantly evolving advertising landscape. 

If you’re looking to level up your skills but don’t know where to start, we’re covering a few popular publisher certifications and our experts’ experiences with them.

Meta Blueprint Certifications

Known by advertising OGs as Facebook Blueprint Certifications, these certifications have undergone an evolution over the years. Meta has continued to expand their certification offerings to include Associate and Professional level specialty certifications in a variety of Meta-related niches. Even experienced marketers will find the content of the study guides and exams challenging - Meta makes you work for that digital badge. While their courses are free, the exams will set you back anywhere from $99-150 apiece. Their exams are also proctored either in person or online, a throwback to high school exam season for many of us.

Customer Engagement Manager Lauren Neels recently took the Meta Media Buyer Certification:

“I recently completed Facebook’s Blueprint Media Buyer Certification. It was a valuable supplement to my experience as a working media buyer in the social space. The exam was a bit challenging (I recommend studying even if you have experience with media buying on Facebook), but it’s a great way to solidify your skills and set yourself apart in the industry. Since the blueprint exam is challenging, this is a certification that really means something to potential employers.”

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Apple Search Ads

The Apple Search Ads Certification is undeniably the best way to learn the basics of Apple Search Ads. You’ll learn best practices about all aspects of running Search Ads and Search Tab Ads. Apple also regularly updates their certification as their products evolve and notifies previously certified users, so you never have to worry about being behind the curve! This certification is also free to all, you just need to log in with your Apple ID to get started. 

Here’s what our Customer Engagement Manager Kassi Hall had to say about the certification:

For the Apple Search Ads certification, I think they had a good blend of information within their certification. With this in mind, I think that this certification would be helpful to both a  digital marketing newcomer and a more seasoned veteran who may already know multiple platforms. Additionally, I think that the certification showed that their ads platform is intuitive and straightforward to use. Overall, I feel as though it was time well spent to complete a fairly short certification, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking to get more familiar with Apple Search Ads or for anyone who is interested in testing out running some ads in this space.

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Snapchat 

Snapchat offers a robust library of courses and certifications for every skill level on the spectrum, aptly named Snap Focus. Their programs are very user friendly and some even offer hands-on exercises for those of us who learn best by doing. Unlike some other certifications out there, you don’t have to dedicate hours of time to completing a certification or course. Many are bite-sized for easy integration into your work day.

Sam Larson, our Social Product Manager at Marin, recently completed their Public Profiles for Business Certification:

“Most of Snapchat’s certifications are short enough to complete in a day or less, which makes them easy to fit into a busy work schedule. The concepts are presented in a way that’s easy to understand and put into practice. There are always new certifications and courses being released, so there’s always something new to learn for every skill level.”

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Marin Social

Our social certification covers our Marin Social platform in depth. You’ll learn everything from the basics of using our software to time saving tips and tricks. You can expect to find clear instruction and interactive exercises to make the most of your time. This certification is great for current users and new users since there is always something new to discover about Marin Social. 

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Social media has become an integral part of our everyday lives and an essential space for brand discovery. With over 500 million daily active users, Instagram has become increasingly important to marketers who want to reach large audiences. Whether you’re just tapping into the power of Instagram or looking to level up your current strategy, we have 5 Instagram hacks that can help you on your Instagram journey.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

A Meta-commissioned study found that 83% of their survey group use Instagram to discover new products or services, 81% use it to research products and services, and 80% use it to decide whether to purchase a product or service. 54% of people surveyed say they made a purchase either in the moment or after seeing a product or service on Instagram. In other words, your first impressions on Instagram matter.

The images or videos that you select should convey your message and align with your branding goals while keeping an organic feel to them. Instead of having a lot of text or large brand logos in your photos, think about your target demographic and the type of organic content they’d be most likely to respond to.

Whether you’re running ads on Instagram or not, you should also pay attention to image and video sizing for different types of posts and placements. There are a myriad of different types of posts and placements available when running paid social ads. When choosing an ad type, be sure to keep your business goals in mind. To understand more about the different ad types and how they can help you achieve your goals, check out Meta’s page for more information.  

Additionally, placements play a key role in achieving your goals. This is where you’ll be able to choose whether your ads will be seen on Facebook, Instagram, or both. You’ll also be able to say whether your ads will show up in feeds, stories, in-stream, search, messages, or in apps and sites. Keep in mind that each of these placement types may have different sizing and aspect ratio requirements for your creative. This is important as you want to make sure that as a brand you’re putting your best foot forward to your target audience.   

Boost your Best Content

If you’ve recently made an organic post that had great engagement, try applying a boost to it, which essentially turns that organic post into an Instagram ad. Boosting content is also a great way to make your organic content work harder without having to call on your creative team for special assets. 

If you’re already a post-boosting boss, Marin Social has a tool that can automate your post boosting workflow (aptly named Message Booster). You can use Message Booster to set rules for automatically boosting posts, so you don’t have to lift a finger to take full advantage of this Instagram hack.

ABT = Always Be Testing

The best social experts encourage consistent testing to integrate new ideas, improve on existing strategies, and get the most out of your advertising dollars. Some examples of things you could test on your account are auto placements, audiences, and ad types. If you haven’t run a test before, also think about how you’ll measure success in a quantifiable way. Some common examples of metrics used for this purpose are: Click Through Rate (CTR), Impressions, and Clicks.

Testing is a component of most of the hacks we shared in this article - we always recommend testing new ideas before making them a permanent part of your advertising strategy. To organize and prioritize your tests, try creating and following a testing roadmap. If you want to learn more about how to test ads for performance on Instagram, check out this free course from Meta Blueprint.

MarinOne Social also offers a time saving solution for split testing called Ad Studies. This tool lets you split test at the touch of a button and track the results using Marin Software’s advanced reporting suite.

Know your Audience (or Get to Know Them!)

There are a multitude of different audiences you can target on Instagram. When you decide to target an audience group, make sure you are keeping them in mind when it comes time to create your ads. A college student interested in a popular musician has different social media habits and interests than a retiree interested in recent events.

If you’re unsure of what your audience likes, start with some tests to determine what types of content and ads will work best. 

Be the First to Leverage New Products and Features

New features and releases are great examples of items to add to your testing roadmap. Using a new feature could unlock new possibilities for your ad performance, help you better reach your current audience, and/or help you reach new audiences. If you’re newer to Instagram and are unsure of which features to test first, you can find some ideas here.

If you’re a current Marin customer, your Marin rep will keep you up to date on new features which are released and how we can help you test them. Our partnership with Meta helps keep us at the forefront of new features, so you’ll be one of the first to hear about new features from Instagram!

If you’re interested in learning more about using MarinOne Social for your Instagram ads, reach out to us here.

TikTok recently partnered with Shopify in an effort to help Shopify’s 1 million+ merchants sell to the TikTok audience.The partnership allows Shopify merchants to create and manage TikTok marketing campaigns without ever leaving the Shopify dashboard. Taking advantage of this new feature is easy. Just download the TikTok channel app found in the Shopify App Store then access the TikTok for Business Ads Manager right in Shopify. 

How to use TikTok for retail 

TikTok sells. Not only is it the fastest growing social media platform in existence, but it is also the easiest place to sell out a product. On average, TikTok users spend upwards of 850 minutes per month on the app. Considering there are more than 1 billion active monthly users on the platform, the potential for your content to be seen on the platform is massive. In quarter 2 of 2021, consumers spent more than $535 million via the TikTok app. 

Understand how TikTok works

TikTok isn’t like Instagram or Facebook. It’s designed for short form content. When users scroll through their For You Page (FYP), they are bombarded with rapid context changes. If you don’t grab their attention in the first few seconds of your video, they can (and will) scroll past with a simple twitch of the thumb. 

Advertising on TikTok successfully requires carefully crafted native content. Traditional ads won’t work here. Luckily, TikTok users are pretty easy to please. Catch their attention and show them your product or service works, and they’ll be flocking to your site in no time. 

Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Hack the algorithm: learning how the TikTok algorithm works can go a long way in the quest to create viral content that sells. TikTok starts by showing your content to a limited number of users. Who they push your video to next depends on how those users interact with your video. Your goal should be to get as much engagement as possible by those first users. 
  • Use native formatting: aim for your videos to be around 30 seconds in length, always use vertical orientation, and make sure your video takes up the entire screen (no black space). 
  • Hop on trends: using trending hashtags, sounds, and video concepts is the best way to market your products via native content while participating in bigger conversations and trends on the platform. If a user likes a particular sound, using that sound might be all it takes to grab their attention. 

Get to know your audience 

Understanding your target audience isn't enough. You have to understand how your target audience behaves on TikTok. As you post content and grow your account, keep tabs on the analytics. Take a look at what TikTok influencers your followers are fond of, when they are online, what trends they participate in, etc. The more you know about what TikTok content resonates with your audience, the better informed your TikTok advertising strategy will be. As TikTok is a hub for Gen Z, it’s important to prioritize authenticity when creating content. 

Take advantage of TikTok’s features 

TikTok wants you to find success on their platform. This is why they’ve implemented so many features that make selling products on TikTok easier. Here are a couple to consider: 

  • Live stream shopping events: recruit influencers to help you sell products in a live stream shopping event. 
  • Product tags: turn every post into a potential advertisement by adding product tags that link directly to your product listings. 

TikTok might be a newer landscape for most advertisers, but the platform has proven to be a goldmine for selling online— especially to a younger audience. With the help of the Shopify integration and the right advertising solutions, you can use TikTok for retail too.

It seems that the Facebook Reels revolution is here to stay as Meta recently announced the expansion of Reels on Facebook globally. This announcement introduced new opportunities for creators to make money with their Reels and with that (of course) new ad placements for brands to leverage.

Instagram Reels ad placements have been around since Q2 2021 as an opportunity for brands to leverage their vertically-crafted creatives to a wider audience. The expansion of Reels to Facebook indicates Meta’s continued path down the road of video-focused experiences. 

This move won’t come as a surprise to advertisers. We’ve seen TikTok reach new heights in usership and revenue, YouTube has recently introduced YouTube Shorts with massive success, and both offer opportunities for creators to be compensated for their time and content. Meta is reading the room and following suit.

How to Use Facebook Reels

New product means new ad placement opportunities. In their announcement, they outline two new ad types that come with this launch: Overlay Ads and Full Screen Immersive Ads. We reached out to Facebook for more detail to share and received the following:

  • Overlay Ads appear directly on top of Facebook Reels content – enabling people to connect with brands uninterrupted within a Reel, while also allowing creators to earn a portion of the ad revenue. To start, Overlay Ads will be available in two formats: banner ads and sticker ads.
  • Banner ads render at the bottom of Facebook Reels content in the form of a single static image ad that can appear after 1 second of the Facebook Reel elapsing.
  • Sticker ads are compressed single static image ads that can be opted into and placed anywhere by a creator or partner within their Facebook Reel content. Sticker ads can also appear after 1 second of the Facebook Reel elapsing.
  • Overlay Ads are now available to all advertisers in the US, Canada, Mexico and India, and we hopes to bring this to more countries in the coming months. And once available, advertisers will be able opt-in to Overlay Ads by selecting ‘Facebook overlay ads in Reels’ under ‘Reels Overlay’ in Ads Manager Placements or via Automatic Placements.
  • Full screen immersive ads are 9x16 video ads that appear in between Reels. As with organic Reels content on Facebook, ads may be up to 30 seconds and people can comment, like, view, save, share and skip them.
  • We began testing full-screen immersive ads in between Facebook Reels in October of last year, and currently we are testing in US, India, Mexico, and Canada with a small percent of advertisers. Over the coming months, we will further expand this test to more advertisers and then move from a test towards a phased roll-out to all advertisers globally.

Examples of the new banner ads and sticker ads

Optimize Facebook Video

If you’re using Marin Social and would like to test Reels, you can access the new Reels placements by either:

  • Using Automatic Placements in campaigns built with Marin Social (after opting in within Facebook Ads Manager)
  • Building campaigns in Facebook with Reel placements, then importing them into Marin Social

If you want to see how your Reels are performing as compared with other creative, Marin Social makes it easy with our Charts feature. Here advertisers can see their best or worst performing ads by a variety of metrics at the touch of a button. Even better, our charts can be shared externally with a simple link for easy reporting workflows. 

This is the first post in our three part series where we’ll dive into TikTok advertising and how you can leverage the platform to get in front of new audiences with unique and engaging content.

TikTok is a marketing gold mine. This hub for starting conversations and sharing ideas lends itself strongly to virality, creating the perfect storm for boosting a company’s brand awareness and revenue. 

Getting your products in front of the right TikTok audience creates a domino effect. The more users engage with, share, and respond to your post using Duet and Stitch, the more favor you garner from the TikTok algorithm. The platform might even expand your reach by featuring your video on the For You Page (FYP). 

Brands just delving into the realm of trendy dances, weird challenges, and life hacks galore can use TikTok ads to find their audience (and jumpstart their success). Ready to get started? Here is everything you need to know about TikTok ad formats, explained. 

In-feed ads

In-Feed ads are your go-to ad format. They place your videos right on your target audiences’ FYP. This format embeds your video onto the FYP as an ad, making it look native. Users can interact with your ad the same way they do with any other TikTok by liking, commenting, sharing, and reusing the sound for their own content. 

In-feed ads are a good pick for quite a few campaign objectives. You can use the clickable CTA button to send users to the destination of your choice, whether that be a landing page, your app, or your TikTok profile. For the best results, make your videos around 9-15 seconds long. Make use of popular effects, filters, and sounds, and keep up with the trends to ensure your videos will resonate with TikTok’s user base. 

Top-view ads

Top-View ads are more attention-grabbing than In-Feed ads. Your target audience will see these ads at the very top of their FYP. The videos can last up to 60 seconds and have less competition than In-Feed ads. 

The Top-View ad format guarantees high reach and impressions, making it a solid strategy for building brand awareness. For the best results, prioritize creating an engaging video. This will help users remember your brand, even after they’ve scrolled past your ad. 

Brand takeover

The Brand Takeover ad format displays your video full-screen as soon as a user opens the app. While similar to the previous format, due to the lack of direct competition surrounding your video, users cannot engage with Brand Takeovers. The upside is that they can’t be skipped. The best Brand Takeovers are short videos or images that display for 5 seconds or less. 

Branded hashtag challenge

The Branded Hashtag Challenge format inspires users to create their own content using your hashtag. This format has three placements: In-Feed videos that inspire users to join in on the challenge, featured banners found on the “Discover Page” that drive users to the Hashtag Challenge placement, and lastly, the Hashtag Challenge itself. This last placement acts as a landing page for the challenge. It pulls all the challenge’s video submissions into one centralized hub, making it easy for users to connect and engage with other participants. 

This format combines traditional digital advertising with TikTok’s user-generated content focus to create the ultimate ads for driving engagement and boosting brand awareness. 

Branded effects

The Branded Effects placement allows brands to create their own effects for their audience to use when creating content. 

This format is special for two reasons. First, it allows users to engage with your brand on a deeper level by using your effects to create content of their own. This content will have a home on their profile, acting as a constant reminder of their relationship with your brand. 

Second, users all over the world who have no idea what your brand is all about will have access to your effect. If your effect becomes trendy, your reach will expand beyond your target audience. Users who might not need your products now will still be loosely aware of what you have to offer and, chances are, your brand will be the first they think of when the need does arise. 

Wrapping up

Like the platform itself, TikTok’s ad formats are unique. When used in tandem, they can create an all-powerful ad strategy that boosts brand awareness, sparks engagement, and drives sales. You can check out more examples of each of TikTok’s ad formats here


Brands using MarinOne are now able to add the unique value of advertising on TikTok to their digital campaigns. The MarinOne integration with TikTok means advertisers have better insights and improved performance of their TikTok campaigns.

Ready to learn more about how MarinOne can expand your reach and drive growth on TikTok?

Click here for more info.

Deciding between Instagram Ads and Facebook Ads can be tricky when dealing with a tight budget. You could always split your ad spend between the two platforms, but you’ll get a better return on investment from allocating your full budget to the most effective platform for your business’s target audience. Not sure which platform that is? In this post, we’re covering how to choose a social media advertising platform, every step of the way.

Where is your audience

The audience is likely the biggest factor to consider when choosing a social media advertising platform. After all, advertising on a platform your target audience doesn’t frequent is like throwing dollars to the wind. 

Analyze your target demographic to find out which social media platforms they use most. Most brands have the best chance of finding their target audience on Facebook, as it's more than twice Instagram's size. Instagram users also tend to be younger, but that is changing. 

Another factor to consider— Facebook’s audience targeting is a bit more detailed than Instagram’s native targeting features. Since Facebook offers more audience refining tools, brands with hyper-specific target audiences might find more success with Facebook Ads. 

Which suits your content better

The platforms share the same available content formats for the most part. Options include:

  • Carousel: two or more images or videos 
  • Single media: one image or video
  • Boosting existing content

What’s noteworthy here is that Facebook captions can include clickable links, while Instagram captions cannot. On Instagram, you have to use the included call-to-action buttons. These get the job done, but you can only direct viewers to one link. 

Your content needs to align with your advertising goal, so it’s important to consider the purpose of your content on each platform. Facebook is suited for sharing information and interacting with loved ones, while Instagram is extremely visual (and leaning more into video with every passing algorithm update).

With that said, compelling visuals should go on Instagram, while copy-heavy ads should be reserved for Facebook. 

Your target goals

Your advertising goal should also impact your choice of platform. Facebook is best for getting website clicks or views/engagement for written content. Instagram is great for boosting brand awareness with visuals. 

Some advertisers claim that Instagram is best for brand awareness and that Facebook is best for lead generation and sales. Really, it depends on the industry and the audience. 

Instagram is capitalizing more on e-commerce these days through features like Instagram Shopping (where users can complete their purchase from start to finish without ever leaving the app). 

The best way to figure out which platform best suits your goals is to test and review the analytics. 

Your industry

If your industry doesn’t have a strong presence on a certain platform, advertising there might be less expensive. This is only a good option if your audience uses that platform. 

You might find that certain industries are better suited to one platform because their audience uses it more. Plus, some industries can easily create visual content, while others rely heavily on longer-form content. 

Facebook offers community building, like groups, that help advertisers create communities within their target audiences. This makes Facebook the better choice for brands that rely on building a community to make sales. Analytics and automation help drive performance 



Analytics and automation help drive performance

When it comes down to it, both advertising platforms yield high ROI and most businesses can find success with either. When identifying which is more effective for your business, MarinOne has the tools to help you analyze Facebook and Instagram performance side-by-side and even makes daily recommendations to grow revenue and decrease costs. Your data will reveal which platform, placements, and content types are most effective for your target audience. 

Message booster can automatically convert high performing organic content to paid ads on either Facebook or Instagram to help you leverage content that resonates well with your audience. And MarinOne’s flexible rules engine optimizes bids based on your criteria.

Click here for more on what MarinOne can do for your Facebook and Instagram campaigns.

The Rise of TikTok

If you’re not advertising on TikTok, you’re missing out on an audience of 1 billion monthly active users around the world who are highly engaged and passionate about the brands they interact with on the platform. In fact, according to a recent TikTok survey, 56% of users and 67% of creators feel closer to brands they see on TikTok, and 43% of users and 53% of creators try something or go somewhere new after seeing it at least once on the platform. TikTok is clearly influential with consumers.

While TikTok certainly appeals to a younger, “video-first” audience, 40% of adults in the US over age 30 report using TikTok, and TikTok has a variety of targeting options to help you reach the right customers. 

And with 4.7/5 stars in the App Store  and 4.5/5 stars in the Google Play Store, the platform is wildly popular with users. Not bad for an app that’s barely four years old.

“It Starts on TikTok”

Part of this early success is due in part to the cultural influence of the platform, catapulting little-known musicians to stardom, launching trend phenomenons, and giving users a sense of community and shared experience. 

TikTok has also transformed the way brands interact with audiences with engaging and interactive content. With TikTok, advertisers gain a full-funnel marketing experience from driving brand awareness at the top of the feed, to native in-feed engagement, and even the opportunity to jump in on branded hashtag challenges.

With the launch of Spark Ads last year, brands can even leverage user-generated content to promote their products by choosing from an extensive library of content uploaded by influential TikTok creators.

MarinOne + TikTok

Brands using MarinOne are now able to add the unique value of advertising on TikTok to their digital campaigns. The MarinOne integration with TikTok means advertisers have better insights and improved performance of their TikTok campaigns.

With our powerful analytics capabilities, you’ll be able to: 

  • Run flexible reports within and across TikTok campaigns
  • View TikTok campaigns side-by-side with other paid social channels as well as search, display, apps, and e-commerce
  • Customize the KPIs, data roll-up, and dimension tagging in your reports
  • Export the data to spreadsheets, cloud platforms, and BI tools
  • Sync your campaigns with offline and downstream conversions events 
  • Get automated alerts on changes in account performance

MarinOne’s advanced optimization suite uses machine learning to deliver:

All this adds up to improved performance of your TikTok campaigns together with your other digital programs. Ready to learn more about how MarinOne can expand your reach and drive growth on TikTok?

Click here for more info. 


Facebook (or Meta, depending on who you ask) is simplifying how campaign objects are set, and simplifying them in the process. 

ODAX is an acronym for “Outcome-Driven Ad Experiences”, signifying Facebook’s consolidation of campaign targeting options that is rolling out throughout 2022. Per Facebook, expected completion of the rollout is Q3 2022. 

Once Facebook automigrates affected campaigns, you won’t be able to create campaign types with the objectives that are not included in the consolidated list. Not to worry, the team at Marin has you covered! Read on to learn everything you need to know about Outcome-driven Ad Experiences (ODAX) and how to handle the migration.

What are the new ODAX Objectives?

Under ODAX, Facebook campaigns will migrate from the original 11 available objectives to 6 campaign objective types. We can see how these will be mapped below.


Facebook explains that this change is designed to better align campaign objectives with widely accepted marketing objectives, reduce confusion in campaign setup, and help advertisers discover on-site solutions to use in their campaigns. In short, this change will make campaign setup more accessible for advertisers of all experience levels. 

Facebook also teases cross-channel campaigns, stating that their mission is, in part:

“Once cross-channel conversion optimizations are available (e.g. website + app, website +shop), communicate the value of, and default advertisers into, these solutions make it easier for advertisers to adopt.”

How will ODAX affect Facebook campaigns?

The impact for advertisers will vary based on the campaign objectives in use. Facebook advises that advertisers using Messages, Video Views, and Conversions campaign objectives will be most affected by this change, at least partially because these campaign objective types will no longer exist under ODAX. Facebook provided the below chart with their announcement to show marketers how the new objectives will align with various goals and initiatives.


Advertisers running campaigns that will be affected by this change won’t need to take immediate action - Facebook assures advertisers that legacy campaigns will continue to run after implementation of ODAX. However, post-implementation there will be limitations to duplicating legacy campaigns and new campaigns will need to align with the new campaign objectives. After 100% rollout, Facebook plans to share an update about the eventual deprecation of legacy campaigns. 

Though immediate action is not required, affected advertisers should begin to consider a strategy for transitioning to this new objective mix. Advertisers should also plan to monitor the performance of both legacy and new campaigns throughout the ODAX transition.

Marin Software is proactively working with Facebook to ensure that advertisers using MarinOne will have a seamless transition to the new campaign objective mix.

Click here for more on how MarinOne can help you drive campaign performance and growth for Facebook and other social publishers. 


Looking for growth? Interested in a channel where you can generate leads, drive website traffic, and build brand awareness?

How about LinkedIn?

You can now manage LinkedIn Marketing Solutions campaigns from Marin Software’s flagship MarinOne platform. The MarinOne integration with LinkedIn’s Campaign Management and Reporting & ROI APIs gives advertisers better insights and improves the performance of their LinkedIn campaigns.

With nearly 800 million professionals and 4 out of 5 members driving business decisions based on information they find on the platform, LinkedIn is an important lead generation destination for B2B marketers and others with longer consideration cycles.

Our self-serve MarinOne platform unifies industry leading optimization tools with flexible reporting and bidding to help advertisers maximize the impact and reach of their LinkedIn marketing investment.

Blast Analytics, an innovative agency helping advertisers with LinkedIn ads has been using MarinOne to optimize their campaigns.

“Marin Software continues to innovate and improve its technology to drive better performance for our clients,” said Brian Lange, Senior Marketing Manager at Blast Analytics. “The MarinOne solution has saved us time reporting on our LinkedIn campaigns and also provided a significant performance uplift leveraging its bidding technology." (Click here for the full case study.)

MarinOne serves a hub that links marketing activity with true business impact from an advertiser’s CRM, allowing optimization to revenue, not just form fills.

“By connecting downstream customer data to our advanced automated bidding, MarinOne can significantly improve the performance of your campaigns,” said Chris Lien, Marin’s Chairman and CEO. “LinkedIn is an untapped opportunity for many advertisers and we are excited to help advertisers drive growth on this fast-growing channel.”

Advertisers can manage their LinkedIn campaigns alongside paid search, paid social and display campaigns to help generate additional demand. Marketers can align their efforts across channels to ensure they are working seamlessly across the customer journey.

Click here to learn more about support for the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions integration with MarinOne.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably heard about Facebook’s announcement that certain detailed targeting options will be sunset in early 2022.

Here’s a quick review of the news straight from Facebook:

“Starting January 19, 2022 we will remove Detailed Targeting options that relate to topics people may perceive as sensitive, such as options referencing causes, organizations, or public figures that relate to health, race or ethnicity, political affiliation, religion, or sexual orientation.

Examples include:

  • Health causes (e.g., ‘Lung cancer awareness’, ‘World Diabetes Day’, ‘Chemotherapy’)
  • Sexual orientation (e.g., ‘same-sex marriage’ and ‘LGBT culture’)
  • Religious practices and groups (e.g., ‘Catholic Church’ and ‘Jewish holidays’)
  • Political beliefs, social issues, causes, organizations, and figures ”

While some are supportive of this change, other marketers are concerned about the implications for companies that leverage this targeting in light of an already rapidly changing advertising landscape. Cause-based organizations, political parties, healthcare brands, and many others will need to change tack in how they communicate with their audiences.

In the same announcement, Facebook also teased that they’re working on additional Ad Controls to enable users to see fewer ads related to gambling, weight loss, and other unspecified categories. They also reminded marketers that users currently have the ability to see fewer ads related to politics, parenting, alcohol, and pets.

So why’d they do it?

This latest announcement comes on the heels of escalating public scrutiny, FTC antitrust suits, and steadily increasing concerns around consumer privacy. Not to mention a huge rebrand. Facebook, er, Meta has had a busy few years.

In the announcement, Facebook states that they “heard concerns from experts that targeting options like these could be used in ways that lead to negative experiences for people in underrepresented groups.”  While this move might pose a challenge for advertisers who use these detailed targeting options benevolently, Facebook’s move also removes the possibility that they will be misused.

Especially in a time of heightened scrutiny, it makes sense why Facebook would prioritize reducing the possibility of perceived negative experiences on the platform. Continuing to make Facebook an attractive option for social media users works in advertisers’ best interests as well.

What Advertisers Can Do (And How Marin Social Can Help)

Facebook’s announcement comes with several suggestions:

  • Leveraging Engagement Custom Audiences to capture relevant intent on Facebook-owned properties. Targeting users who currently like your page or users who watched one of your videos in the news feed are a few examples. Facebook also suggests using these audiences as a seed list to create a lookalike audience.
  • Remember the 2-Second Video Viewer audience that is no longer available on Facebook? Marin Social still offers this option so you can get even more out of your Engagement Custom Audiences.
  • Website Custom Audiences can still be used to target customers who interact with a company’s website (and can also be used as a seed list for a Lookalike Audience).
  • Want to take your custom audiences to the next level? Marin Social offers Enhanced Website Custom Audiences, which integrates rules to automatically segment your audiences based on parameters you build. Save time and find your most valuable audiences seamlessly!
  • Location targeting is suggested to help brick-and-mortar retailers reach customers around their locations.
  • Marin Social offers “Location Clusters”, which lets you group together your target locations in one fell swoop for easy use in campaigns. All of the marketers who spend hours quality checking location groups can breathe a sigh of relief.
  • Customer lists are a great way to connect with customers (if you have their permission to do so). Try segmenting your customer lists and customizing messaging to get the most out of using customer lists.

For marketers whose campaigns are impacted by Facebooks’ upcoming targeting changes, Marin Software’s social marketing experts are here to help you through the transition. Click here to schedule a demo with us and learn more about what Marin can do for you!

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