Boost Brand Awareness with Facebook’s CBO!

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Over time, we’ve seen organic reach become non-existent on social. These days it really is a paid social ecosystem and if you know what you are doing and you are committed to testing and experimenting it can bear a lot of fruit. Not only do you want your product in front of new eyes, but you want your product in front of the right eyes.

Creating your own, solid branded content is important and while it doesn’t need to be your entire diet (we actually believe it should be about 50-60% of your content mix) it should be a significant portion of it. Once made, if you want that content to be seen you need to pay to make that happen. Then, when you boost content, you need to target the right audience for better results.

That’s why we’ve been utilizing Campaign Budget Optimization (CBO) within the Facebook Ad Platform. CBO takes your top audiences and puts dollars behind posts that perform the best organically. CBO creates higher reach, engagement, and even follows.

In order to utilize CBO to its fullest, boosted posts should be high quality and have engaging captions so your target audience is as responsive as possible. This is one of the many reasons we believe in investing in quality content as well as experimentation. You want to make sure the asset is powerful so that if it does get seen, it is memorable and then you also need to try out different tactics to see what resonates. It is very important to not just sit back and play it safe.

One of our clients, Driftwood Jeans, is a unique denim line with chic embroideries that has been seeing incredible results from CBO. For the past few months, we’ve been experimenting with this tactic on many of their posts. First, we created four audiences to be assigned to Driftwood’s top-performing organic posts. Facebook then pushes funds to whichever audience AND post perform best. Then, at the beginning of each month, we swap out those audiences and continue experimenting with new ones.

We created a specific audience, one of many that we have created for this client, (that we cannot share here) that has really stood out. Then, CBO paired it with one of our PFC (Product Front and Center) video posts.

This was an engaging video and had an interactive caption. Because the post was also targeted to the perfect audience, we saw 568 likes, 32 comments, and most importantly, 24,956 video views. For a nominal investment, this asset packed quite a punch!

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Organic reach is nearly zero and less relevant than ever before. It is so important to have someone on your side that is well versed in paid social and not just acquisition experts looking for the best possible ROAS. If you are in the social media game, then you need to be creating content at scale, experimenting with different types, styles, cadence, and captions and then putting funds behind guaranteed delivery of that content to a variety of audiences.  If you stay the course and use tools such as CBO, then sometimes things catch fire.

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Video Creative = Increased Reach and Awareness

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As we’ve seen throughout Instagram’s evolution, videos tend to get more engagement than photos. Why is this? When we’re mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, we expect to see a photo. We don’t take much time to look at a post unless it really catches our attention. That’s why when we see something deviant from the norm (in this case, an eye-catching video), we become interested.

Because of mindless scrolling on social platforms (Instagram especially), it’s more important than ever to create engaging creative to stand out from the clutter and generate awareness. When you combine the power of paid social, with the psychology and creativity of a great video, you put your business into a position to win.

At Sircle Media we believe in the power of innovation and being on the forefront of change. That’s why we sat down with one of our content leads, Zach McAdam, to learn more about his approach to creating effective, eye-catching video ads.

Zach says that because many CPG Brands advertise similar products, it’s important to be bold and try and differentiate from the rest. Because of this, Zach has been experimenting with comedy video ads for one of our clients, @TruthNutrition, a 100% natural, vegan fermented BCAA supplement.

He says that many brands like to show how their product is the solution to a problem, but don’t show the actual problem. In his recent Truth Nutrition video ad, he shows a person (attempting) to run on a treadmill but eventually failing, falling face first. He implies that the reason this occurred was that he forgot to take Truth Nutrition. Not only do ads such as these create interest, but they also add a layer of personality and humor. The icing on the cake – adding a call-to-action for the user to move beyond the ad. If you create a video ad where the consumer is curious about what happens next, they’re more likely to follow through on your call-to-action, thus improving your ROI.

When working with in-feed ads, Zach says that bright and/or uncommon colors are a great way to grab attention. Especially in the crowded CPG space, where there are so many products, you have to think outside of the box and go the extra mile to create interest. You can also do this by really showcasing a brand’s personality, which can draw prospects in a little emotionally to who you are and not just what you sell.

Sircle is also always keeping an eye on new areas to test, especially for those clients who are open both financially and conceptually to experimentation. One potential consideration for a brand like @TruthNutrition, which has a target audience of athletes, is Spotify. Here they can serve as a ‘digital billboard’ for those working out in the gym to one of their favorite playlists. While only 40% of Spotify’s users are premium members, 60% are still interrupted by ads while using the app.

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In a world where paid social is essential (meaning nothing is really that organic anymore) and video outperforms photography, it should be clear why video ads are so important for your business. It is mission-critical to invest in giving your brand the best chance to succeed both on current platforms (i.e. Instagram) and emerging ones (i.e. Spotify, TikTok, etc.).  The good news is, we can help!

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Social Media: Planning For The Now

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Lately, I have been having a lot of conversations with Founders and Marketing Directors about social media and I find that there are a lot of blanket statements being thrown around that are built on very soft foundations. It is so important to really understand the value or opportunity each social network can provide and then map that against your product or offering. You also need to take into account current usage and tools and trends on each, to make sure you are approaching it the right way, for right now. Sircle Media issues a general roadmap for our clients that is revisited each quarter, but each brand needs to take that a bit deeper for their own business.

We suggest a quarterly re-assessment for brands that reviews the current state of the union on their top platforms and takes into account the most pressing needs for that brand in the immediate future. For example, if a brand just landed their first big order with a major retailer, the most important thing for the company at that moment is likely supporting velocity so they can help ensure that (even more) important second order. If this is the case you might need to:

1- Run hyper-local and super targeted Ads to underwrite the relationship and potentially drive foot traffic.

2- DM local influencers on Instagram and try and get them to engage with you and perhaps even pay them to go to the store and hype the shelf space.

3- Create content that specifically highlights the relationship (your logo and their’s) and then boost that content or run them as Ads at fans of said retailer and your competitors.

When the company needs to triage and be narrowly focused on a top priority like this, you have to have a smart plan of attack in place to improve your chances of winning. You don’t want to be stuck in the mud, with edits and debates over general lifestyle photography when your most pressing need deserves more attention. You also don’t want to be single platform reliant, as I think many Brand Managers are with Instagram right now. You need to have a holistic plan of attack and not dismiss any platform or component of a platform without research and thinking.

You need to have a current game plan built upon what is in front of you and not be so romantic or so set in stone about what did or did not work before. Social platforms and how best to use them are constantly evolving and it is imperative you are evolving with it. Think about what you want to happen and then reverse engineer from there.

You don’t necessarily want a certain amount of Instagram followers. You want a retailer to shelve your product and you think that your Instagram count is a necessary step to get there. I will admit that for a long time it was, but nowadays you have more savvy buyers and some realize that your follower count is not the only measure of your influence. If you are smart about using FB/IG Ads and influencers the way you should in q1 2019, then you are actually accomplishing what your follower count used to imply. You are proving that you are able to support the retail relationship with awareness and attention that benefits you both.

That is playing the current social game the right way…right now!

 

 

 

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POV: Three types of paid social media

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If you pay attention to any content put out by Sircle Media, then you would know we are big fans of paid social (meaning paying social networks to market on their platforms).  We have historically broken that down to paid acquisition and content boosting and awareness. The truth is there are really three categories and the middle lane might just be the most important. I recently recorded a podcast episode that breaks them down and below I dive in a bit more.

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1- ROI/ROAS type marketing: Think driving top of funnel clicks and awarness and down funnel sales and conversions. This is true marketing via social platforms and very easily measurable and attributable. If you are looking to sell products online, this must be in the mix and will probably provide the best bang for your buck. Many brands will hire an acquisition firm or employee to run point here and they are typically measured based on their return on spend. Some brands need a return that is higher (i.e. 4X1 ROAS) and some can go 1X1 (or even lose money) depending on their product and LTV (lifetime value).

Regardless of a brand’s specific formula, whoever is running point will typically not want to get involved in the other key categories I break out below. Mainly because every dollar spent there directly impacts and compromises their ROI metrics. If only measured in that way, it makes sense but for the actual brand, it is a myopic and potentially dangerous stance. Yes, you want to sell and transact, but to have a transformational business you must also build a brand.  You will need to invest money in awareness for said brand, and it is likely not your acquisition team that will want to (or should) manage that spend,

2- Awareness and Branding: Think unpublished (dark) posts, video view campaigns, A/B testing different marketing messages and different niche target groups. Essentially using the Facebook Ads platform to market your wares and putting your key messages out at scale and/or in front of highly targeted audiences.

This takes some planning, testing and experimenting with theories.  Some of the metrics will seem counter-intuitive. i.e. you might actually aim for higher CPMs if that means you are hitting a more coveted and highly targeted audience, and you need to be ok with that. It is really about leveraging this insanely powerful advertising platform and thinking more about brand pushing at scale than ringing the register. It is more like TV than DR, but imagine if TV could truly segment and guarantee delivery and consumption to a bunch of different audiences for pennies on the dollar.  Sounds great right? Well that’s what it is…

3- Boosting of published content: Think about all the time you spend on carefully crafting your content (assets and copy), so you should now want to guarantee delivery of those posts to specific groups. This can be done by a layman, but still requires some expertise and a fundamental understanding of how Facebook and Instagram Ads work in general.

If you sweat brand look and feel (which most brands do) then you should take the time and invest the funds to make sure that content is actually seen. If you publish and just count on organic exposure, you won’t have much luck. A little bit of money goes a long way here and if you experiment some and get a feel for which audiences perform best it can be very powerful. It is also worth noting, that if you optimize for reach or engagement you will get drastically different results and both are important.  If you want to just reach a ton of people and have them see your product (awareness and consideration) then you optimize for reach, but if you want to get them to take action (trial and purchase) you want to optimize for engagement.

Paid social is a battlefield and you need to be attacking it on all three fronts. Each has tremendous value on its own and can often be run by different parties on your team. Ultimately, having all of them running together can really transform your brand from being good to great or unknown to relevant. If you fully understand the purpose each one serves, then the investment of funds and effort in each component of paid social will pay off!

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