The new era of social marketing and media is coming.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spoke at the F8 Developers Conference and told attendees that the future is private.
This is a huge statement coming from someone who has, over the last year and a half, faced a lot of criticism and has been under the spotlight for his company’s use of data and information.
Facebook is shifting its focus from a platform where people share information to a much more private form of messaging platform.
Social media marketers are facing some serious issues, because the landscape is changing, and marketers must adapt if they are going to keep pace with the way the platform is moving.
Change is coming, not just to Facebook, but to the social marketing landscape overall.
Bidding strategies need to be more automated, and social commerce has reached a new level.
A level where brands and influencers are working more closely together and users can purchase things online from within the platforms themselves.
It’s a new world.
Here are some of the ideas listed by social marketing experts on why the new era of social media marketing is coming.
1. The digital living room is here
Zuckerberg wants to see Facebook become less of a ‘social feed’ and instead drive users towards private channels which they use as a digital living room.
Digital marketers, however, have a different opinion of what is important.
The attitude that consumers have is different today, and advertisers can no longer launch a half-baked creative and still see massive returns.
Today, the market is just too saturated for that. In such a flooded market, we cannot afford to cut corners.
Robust paid strategies and top quality creative content are essential for the success of any business, large or small.
2. Moving social marketing beyond Facebook
Today, there is so much more competition for inventory, and social media is flattening.
So it is harder for advertisers to see the outcomes that they used to be able to generate.
Social media usage is not growing, it is starting to flatten or even slow down.
- According to Edison Research, the use of Facebook has fallen from 67 percent to just 61 percent over the last two years.
- Meanwhile, according to the Internet Trends Report by Mary Meeker, social media usage overall is up by just one percent, compared to 6 percent between 2016 and 2017
- Marketer estimates that the average amount of time spent on Facebook will fall (although just by one minute) in 2020
What does this mean for the average marketer?
Well, there’s no massive need to change your strategy in the short term.
But over the long term, it is important to find and connect with audiences on other channels, because Facebook may not remain the most popular channel for much longer.
Instagram and YouTube are both seeing an increase in usage on a day to day basis.
And Snapchat is also seeing an increase in its reach in terms of teenagers and young adults in the United States. Although adoption among those who are older is limited.
LinkedIn has started to focus on growing its ad platform. And significantly reworked its Campaign Manager tool earlier this year.
It now offers an objective-based workflow that allows advertisers to manage high-volume campaigns.
Quora is looking to boost its ad revenue and has introduced keyword targeting that is similar to that on search platforms. As well as Auction insights, retargeting options, and other tools for brands on the platform.
3. Messaging as a new social marketing medium
As messaging becomes more and more prominent, marketers will need to pay attention to the advertising opportunities on platforms such as WhatsApp, Snapchat and Messenger.
Brands had been focused on building mobile apps to allow them to communicate with their customers directly.
But consumers have little reason to download those apps when they are already invested in other tools.
Facebook has been investing heavily in allowing advertisers to communicate with users via integration between WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger.
The apps remain stand-alone but are built on a unified infrastructure that will allow users to send and receive messages across the separate platforms.
This is a huge time saver for someone who wants to allow their users to reach them on whatever platform they prefer to use.
4. The growth of social purchasing
Social commerce is something that is a major rising star.
Social platforms have started to integrate e-commerce features, aiming to keep consumers within their apps for the whole of the customer journey, from the initial product discovery to the end purchase.
Discovering and purchasing are not the only things that can happen online in a social media platform.
Advertisers need to also distinguish their brands and offer unique (not always purchase-related) customer experiences using their social channels.
Facebook’s foray into on-platform sales has so far been limited to just the Marketplace, but Instagram is starting to make strides with its new Checkout feature, offering in-app purchasing systems.
The initial rollout was just for a limited number of brands and was expanded later to influencers, but it is expected to get broader.
5. Social marketing optimization with machine learning
Machine learning is one area that is seeing a lot of growth, especially with Story Ads on Facebook.
This year, Facebook announced that it was going to transition some advertisers to a campaign budget optimization process that removed the ability of marketers to control budgets on a fine ad- set level.
Existing campaigns will be moved to the automated system as of September, with budgets being managed across all campaigns.
At the moment, however, this system has not been well received, with some digital marketers noting that the optimization gives the spend to the lowest-cost per purchase, rather than to the best Return on Ad Spend.
There’s a long way to go before the platform’s management is reliable for all advertisers.
6. Promoting long term growth
The ad platform modifications may not offer the best ROI at the moment.
So brand owners need to take a much more comprehensive view of how the market, avoiding one-off campaigns and looking at a much longer-term view.
For brands to thrive in the world of social advertising and take a big-picture view, producing cross-channel, high-quality content that will attract the attention of users and keep them coming back to the brands feed on their chosen platform in the long term, as well as becoming loyal customers and independent brand advocates.
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Grace Lee has been practicing in the field of digital marketing for several years now. She has already brought numerous sites in search engines’ first pages in search results. In her spare time, she loves listening to podcasts about Google algorithm updates and other matters related to SEO.