Amanda is a digital marketing professional, specializing in Paid Search and Paid Social. When not working, she is planning her next trip, trying out a new restaurant, or indulging in arts and crafts.

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Key Takeaways from Social Media Marketing World 2020

Every year, Vovia sends specialists to the best media conferences to keep up to date on the latest trends. Just a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity of attending the Social Media Marketing World 2020. This is an annual social conference held in San Diego. It brings together social media marketers, business owners and social media influencers from across the globe.

The event spanned across three days, including different workshops, sessions and discussions about the latest trends in the world of social media and the newest features and strategies for paid social advertising. 

From all the sessions I attended, two big themes stood out. Here are some of the key takeaways I learned from my experience at the conference, and how we’re using them here at Vovia.

Social Media Marketing World Sign at Conference

Video Consumption Will Continue to Grow Exponentially

Opening keynote speaker at the conference, Micheal Stelzner, the CEO and Founder of Social Media Examiner and Social Media Marketing World, called the “Streaming Wars” something to keep an eye on. Disney’s move into the direct-to-consumer streaming service with the launch of its Disney+ was aimed to directly compete withNetflix. This is an indication of how the industry is changing to adapt to the growing consumption of video. According to IAB Canada, online video now reaches 84% of Canadians 18+.

The incoming adoption of 5G networks for wireless devices will further accelerate this growth in video consumption across the world. Studies conducted, such as the American Time Use Survey, as well as, data from show that people are spending less time in leisure reading and more time watching TV. Within this, demand for The demand for documentary-style storytelling is at a high.

Growth in video consumption is paired with significant changes to other channels and formats marketers leverage. Legislations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2018, the California Consumer Privacy Act in 2020, and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act are changing how we will leverage third-party cookies to reach our audiences. Organic Social reach also continues to see a decline, with up to 65% of marketers seeing less reach. Finally, competition and costs for paid advertising, in general, are on the rise. These make marketing a lot more challenging today than ever before. Strategies that we relied on may have worked previously may no longer be effective. 

Given all these challenges, where, then, do the opportunities lie? Video advertising could be the answer.

The Consumer Technology Association (US) predicts that the streaming video consumer spending would jump by 29% in 2020 to $24 Billion in the US. The trend in Canada would also be very similar – we typically see Canadian trends follow suit to American ones within a couple of years.

What does this mean for marketers?

We need to learn to create videos/stories that are entertaining and educational and leverage them in our campaigns.

Videos have a number of advantages. Firstly, they help brands tell their story and drive engagement. This helps build trust and loyalty with the consumers. Secondly, great videos typically have higher engagements and longer sessions which in turn helps the algorithms amplify their reach. Finally, videos are great for moving people down the funnel (leverage video viewers for remarketing).

The great thing about many social platforms is that it already supports video, making platforms such as Instagram and Facebook Stories, Youtube, Snapchat and TikTok ideal for experimenting with the video content and tapping into the growing demand for videos. 

According to the 2020 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, Facebook and Youtube videos are the two most important video channels used by marketers, followed by Instagram Stories and Facebook Stories. Linked, Instagram Feed, IGTV, Twitter, TikTok, Pinterest and Snapchat are the lesser used ones.

For many of our clients we have started recommending testing videos if possible. While we understand that video production is more expensive than static ads, shooting one video could have a variety of purposes on different channels, including offline like broadcast TV. As well, with platforms such as Facebook and YouTube improving how we can optimize video campaigns, we can actually test video against static image ads for objectives such as CTR and even conversions. However, not all new features on these platforms are best for your campaigns, which brings me to my next big theme coming from the conference.

Use Automatic / Dynamic Features With Caution

As social media marketers, one of the things that is always constant for us is “change” – be it with the platforms and their features, our strategies, ad formats or creative types – you name it! This is what makes our lives exciting and challenging, all at the same time.  This is why another big theme at the conference was about testing and learning. Back in the day, ad testing was more challenging to isolate as you couldn’t directly tie marketing efforts to specific sales or business actions. Today, testing is not only possible through online tracking, but recommended. Constant testing, learning and adapting is what we need to do in order to keep up with the changes. 

One of the big topics was automatic Facebook features. One of the most frequently mentioned Facebook features was the automatic placements, an option that runs ads on all the placements across Facebook, Instagram and the Audience Networks (a collection of sites that Facebook has inventory on). This feature lets the system decide on the allocation of budget across the different placements to “get the best performance”.

Although Facebook suggests using the automatic placements as a best practice, the common consensus among experts who’ve tested it was that the system does not always do a great job at this. While some did see decent results, many of those who had done their own tests and analysis found that the system did not always prioritize the best performing placements. 

The expert’s recommendation, therefore, was to use it with discretion. While testing was encouraged, people have found the most effective and efficient use of their advertising dollars when they had manual control in selecting and testing the different placements.

What’s the best way to manually control your placements? The experts suggest splitting them out into separate ad sets or campaigns, depending on your campaign KPIs and the performance data you see. For example, at Vovia we have tested running video ads for a client across multiple placements. We started with automated placements with the objective of driving the best video completion rate (VCR). What we found was that although the VCR was very high on In-Stream placements, the platform was serving a lot more impressions on the “low” performing placements. This skewed down the overall VCR performance data. This led us to split the ad sets by placements to run videos only on In-stream and allow more impressions to serve on this higher-performing placement.

Similarly, for features such as the Campaign Budget Optimization and the Dynamic creatives, letting the system have total control did not always deliver the best results. The takeaway, therefore, was to always test, analyze the performance of the campaigns and let the data inform your decision. At Vovia, we are always taking time to test out innovative ideas and features, while keeping a close eye on and learning from the performance data. It’s in our DNA. 

If you are curious to know more about Paid Social advertising, video advertising, or anything else marketing-related, feel free to reach out. You can also sign up for our newsletter to stay in touch with the latest developments in the marketing world. We all know it can change in a heartbeat!