Social Advertising: It’s the Conversation, Stupid

00:16 06 May in Digital Advertising, ROAS

I ran across this article in the WSJ today about Twitter’s ad problems, and it brings up the exact problem we’re been trying to solve:

Many companies have told us that, no matter what they try, the results from Social Media advertising have been poor. In an ironic twist, these same companies send us a giant requirements sheet full of old-school demographic-type information and tell us that’s how they want to target, and ask us if we can do better. I say “ironic” because we hear “our advertising doesn’t work”, but then, we hear they want us to try to fit into the old paradigm anyhow.

Let me save you all time. Here’s the truth about advertising on social: Throw out how you think about this from an advertising perspective. Social is simply different, from every perspective. Read on, I’m going to give you the secret.

The hump to thinking about this correctly is that, in the world of display advertising on Search, the numbers of ads run and click rate is so high simple statistics take over. In Social Media advertising, this isn’t going to work at all. That’s because Social Media is conversational, not topic-driven. Read my last sentence again for emphasis and I’ll repeat it. Social Media is conversational, not topical. Therefore, the best results are obtained using “conversational targeting™.”

This confuses people.

Here’s the typical response we hear:  “”People talk about topics” but the topics vary over time, and the nature of each conversation is totally different. People are not doing research, they talking for the sake of talking or they’re increasingly not doing research the old way, but instead, are asking their peers and connections for information. They then share that information conversationally.

It’s a conversation that’s happening, not a click. Twitter gets this; advertisers don’t.

Advertisers are used to running volume and getting a hit rate of under 1% on search or retargeting. Sure, that’s the best method when all you have to go on is where people click. In Social, however, it needs to be different.  With social, done right, you will run way fewer ads and get a much higher hit rate, say 12%, of which 5% then go on to purchase or take advantage of the offer — because they’re only aimed at people who are talking about something to do with what you’re offering. In other words, conversational targeting.

This is Sales 101. You have to listen to the customer to sell them something they want.  Advertisers are not listening to the conversation. They need to be.

Think about that for a second. What’s missing on Social Advertising platforms and why is it missing?

Advertisers want to advertise to “People talking about X”, but in the native platforms, like in Twitter, advertisers can only select from self-identified interests filters, like age, gender, and other demographics. Mblast allows you to effectively add another checkbox to that filter:  Advertisers can target those targets “talking about X.”

Note that time is really important here. It is critical to say, “People talking about X within an assigned timeframe,” because decisions are made quickly, especially with online commerce. It matters if someone tweets, “I’m off to buy my new car now—wish me luck!” versus “Someday I’m going to own a Tesla!”  Both indicate purchase intent, but are really different.

Is there a native platform that offers visibility into conversational targeting like we’re talking about? The answer is “No!” It’s a bit more sophisticated, actually, because you can’t just pick out terms, you have to understand context to do this correctly.

That’s why you don’t see this on a native platform. It’s hard. REALLY hard.  It’s not just a Twitter thing—Facebook can’t do that either.

It’s a whole business, which is why Mblast is focused just on mastering conversational targeting. We have been working for 5 years to actually break down what people are saying in context, so we can aim ads to people who are truly expressing interest in what you’re selling or the information you’re offering. We not only understand the terms, we understand the context. We understand it no matter where it’s expressed, and we allow you to tightly and specifically target people who are looking for what you have, during the timeframe they’re seeking it.

You can’t get that from any platform now, all you can get is targeting the old way. The way that everyone says doesn’t work. Instead, target people who are conversationally talking about your product or service, right now, and only these people.

Imagine what you can do with that?

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