Tips for getting your social media ads noticed in 2021

Are your ads getting noticed as much as you’d like? Are you looking for ways to grab your audience’s attention? Successful social media ads entice consumers to watch, listen to or click on the message.

So what are the things you should focus on in your social media advertising, in order to get the most out of your investment?

Script It for Broadcast

Podcasting is a great opportunity to reach a new, attentive and engaged audience.

Whether your ad is scripted like a radio spot or read aloud by the podcast host, it will come across as more authentic than any sponsored Facebook post ever could. The audience knows it’s an ad because it sounds like an ad, and that’s okay.

Don’t underestimate the time and resources this kind of advertising requires, though. You’ll need to either have a trusted podcaster do it for you or be extremely creative with how you deliver your messaging.

Use Video or GIFs

Video has been hot for a few years now, but a lot has changed recently. For example, Facebook has autoplay on video and supports animated GIFs, and Instagram allows all brands to run video ads, where it once did not.

Great content combined with motion is an irresistible combination that gives you the opportunity to engage with consumers on a deeper level. Video marketing can be tricky though, so you need to keep a few things in mind.

First, although many videos on social media feature autoplay, your message shouldn’t rely on audio. Most users of these platforms pop open their app to pass the time in public places. Its highly likely that they won’t have the sound turned on on their phones.

Don’t assume your audience is listening, but do assume they’re watching. Most video ads today incorporate native subtitles, and the best ads use them in creative, visually engaging ways. Utilize this text motion to pull the user in and emphasize words visually, since they cannot hear the emphasis audibly.

Instagram’s latest venture is Reels, a TikTok competitor that is an excellent place for video ads

Second, if you’re thinking about diving into Instagram video ads, know that they’re limited to 60 seconds, with story ads limited to 15 seconds. Familiarize yourself with the recommended video specs for ads on facebook, which apply to Instagram as well. Skip any opening graphics or stills and get right to the story. Also, Instagram was built on an audience that appreciates beautiful and inspiring visuals, so think beyond basic storytelling and consider using a mix of still imagery and video.

Incorporate Humor

Many brands have found success by taking social media advertising and turning it into a parody of itself. Incorporating humor into your ads is an effective way to connect with your audience and entice them to click through to your form or other content. Humor is one of the best emotions to tap into if you want your content to generate engagement, so lighten up and make your audience laugh.

Just know that using humor and sarcasm doesn’t necessarily work for every brand. Your ad content and campaign need to reflect your brand voice and resonate well with your target audience. Done well, it works. If you miss the mark, it can be a social media disaster.

Provide Content Downloads

Instead of simply advertising to consumers, what if you provided useful content? This isn’t a new concept, it’s essential to content marketing, but it’s something you want to embrace.

Develop useful content and promote it with social media ads.
Whether you’re in B2C or B2B, you have something to offer. Content marketers might get thousands of downloads of ebooks on topics ranging from purchasing wholesale hot tub parts to picking the right preschool.

If you need help figuring out where to start, look at your company’s blog and social stats. Which blog posts are the most popular? Which social content gets the most engagement? Build on that. And if you’re still stuck, look at your competitors. What kind of content are they offering? Do that, but do it better.

Once you have your content, consider spending marketing dollars on getting it published on other sites like Reddit, using a traffic tool or promoting it on social media using custom and targeted audiences.

Make yourself worthy of attention

It is becoming harder every year to compete with customers’ attention spans. Apps like Tik Tok and Instagram throw them quick, consumable content that encourages moving on fast. If something doesn’t hook the user in the first 5 seconds, there is an endless trove of content they can turn to instead.

On top of this, people are developing blindness to branded content on social media. It has become so normal to see every 3 posts appear as an ad, that users know when to tune out.

No matter how native your content is, they aren’t likely to want to click on an ad. The trick is to create ads that are valuable enough for consumers to willingly click on them. This means getting out of your comfort zone and seeking new methods.

7 Things Facebook Advertisers Should Know in 2021

2021 is bringing more changes to the social media advertising landscape than we’ve seen in a long time. Between redesigns, new apps, and a major shift around user data privacy, businesses have a lot to pay attention to over the coming year.

Here are some of the most pertinent changes and updates that affect advertisers on the largest social media platform.

User data privacy changes

Facebook has wrapped itself up in an ongoing conflict with Apple. As Apple emphasizes the importance of user’s data privacy, Facebook has growing concerns about how this limits advertisers’ ability to efficiently target people.

As Apple’s latest privacy-focused iPhone operating system rolls out to phones across the globe, Facebook is implementing changes to ads manager that prepare for limitations and delays on ad analytics and user data. The biggest thing Facebook is recommending advertisers do to prepare is create and prioritize 8 “events” that report how users interact with your website after clicking on your ad.

Read more about the ongoing tech giant battle in another one of our recent blogs.

Facebook’s Redesign

The redesign of Facebook was loved by many, and not-so-loved by many more. Regardless, it’s here to stay. The primary change to note is that the design places more emphasis on Groups and Events – the “two biggest reasons people visit Facebook every day.”

Business manager settings have also shifted around as a part of the redesign. If you find yourself unable to find certain features, there is a way to get back to the old interface for your business page.

Users can no longer opt out of Facebook’s redesigned interface.

To do this, rather than clicking on your page from a shortcut on the main Facebook “feed” page, start in the business manager homepage, business.facebook.com. From here, you can select any of your pages in the center of the screen. Clicking the “Go To Page” button will bring you to the page interface you’re likely much more familiar with.

One thing I’ve found is that it is much easier to search and sort through your page’s posts in this interface. The redesign has removed the “posts” tab entirely from pages.

This frustration with the redesign is alleviated somewhat by the “creator studio” feature, which shows valuable data on your posts and allows you to boost posts through your content library. But for those who are familiar with promoting their page though an older interface, there are still options for you.

More text is allowed on ads

Facebook once penalized ads with higher amounts of image text in auctions and delivery. As of September 7, 2020, this has seemingly been changed. All warnings and labels that previously told advertisers that overusing text would limit their ad’s reach have been removed. It’s hard to say if this means the policy changed, or if Facebook simply no longer warns advertisers about this.

Hashtags on Facebook

While most creators will steer clear from adding hashtags to Facebook posts, the platform is implementing recommended tag listings within the post composer. In September of 2020, the test had only expanded to a specific audience, as not all users see the new listings. It could be a good way to broaden your conversation. Statistically, they do seem to be taking flight, but implementing them may or may not be worth the added effort.

New “Collab” app

Facebook has begun rolling out its latest TikTok competitor. While the Facebook-owned Instagram already has “Reels” to compete with the short-form video content app, Collab will focus on collaborative music making.

Advertisers should be paying attention to Collab, Facebook’s latest answer to TikTok.

The standalone app recently came out of public beta testing and launched on the App store in December 2020. It is not fully clear yet how advertising will play into the service, and if the existing ads manager platform will adopt Collab ads.

With the meteoric success of TikTok, it’s worth paying attention to all competitors in 2021.

Image owner rights

According to the social media behemoth itself, about 3 billion people use Facebook’s platforms, including Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp. In other words, where Facebook goes, its other platforms like Instagram and WhatsApp are sure to follow.

Facebook announced in late 2020 that “certain partners” can claim ownership over their images, and then moderate their usage across Facebook’s platforms. As it stands, this implementation could affect re-posted content on Facebook and Instagram in various ways. The current options that an image owner has when it identifies unauthorized usage are:

– Let the image stay up
– Issue a take-down notice
– Or use a territorial block, making it invisible in copywritten countries

Facebook Business Suite

As Facebook continues to roll its main platform and Instagram together, as shown by the merging of messages on both apps, the company has introduced another platform for content creation and scheduling.

Business Suite helps users to:

Save time – Post to Facebook and Instagram at the same time and manage posts in one place to stay connected to both communities.
Stay up to date – Get all your Facebook and Instagram messages, notifications, and alerts in one place so you can stay up to date and respond to all your customers more easily.
View business results – See what is working with Facebook and Instagram insights and learn what your customers are looking for.

While the message management tool is the same as Pages Managers, there is also a user-friendly analytics integration, making it easier to get an in-depth look at post performance.

As this tool is rolled out, keep in mind that Facebook intends to make Business Suite “the main interface for businesses of all sizes who use Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp.”

Breaking down Facebook and Apple’s fight over targeted advertising

There is a war raging between Facebook and Apple, two of the biggest controlling forces in the targeted advertising space. The conflict has been building for months, and it is now in full swing, with both users and businesses caught in the middle. 

The struggle is over Apple’s fight for user data privacy vs Facebook’s need to gather user data in order to help businesses deliver targeted ads. So let’s first break down the changes Apple has made that started this all.

Apple’s push for privacy

When the iPhone operating system iOS 14 released last fall, Apple doubled down on their continued efforts to ensure users that their personal data is protected on an iPhone. The company detailed an upcoming system that would force every available app to ask the user for permission to save their data. 

Users have always had some level of control over their privacy on iphones, which continued to be the most sold smartphone in 2020, but this update made a large splash. Now, users would be presented with a large notification upon first opening an app that tells them they can deny the app any ability to track them. Surely most users would make the choice to protect their data.

All apps are required to show users this message when first opened

This could have a strong, negative impact on businesses that rely on user data to help their social ads target the right audience. 

There was such a strong initial pushback against the requirement that Apple decided to delay the enforcement of this feature until 2021 after its announcement in September 2020. And now that the feature has arrived on app-makers’ doorsteps, Facebook is scrambling.

Facebook’s campaign against Apple

Facebook’s fight against this change began with a series of announcements to users across its main app and its business manager platform. 

The message read, “Apple has announced product and policy changes that may significantly impact the way you can run ads, measure performance, and engage customers.” It also linked to a blog update that laid out a more detailed response to Apple’s decision.

In a more reactionary section titled “Our Response”, Facebook said that they disagree with Apple’s approach, but they have no choice but to comply, or else Facebook will be blocked from the App Store. They claim that rejecting the policy and being blocked would “only further harm the businesses and users that rely on our services.”

Perhaps the most attention grabbing tactic Facebook has taken was placing multiple full-page ads in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and the Washington Post. The second ad, titled “Apple vs. the free internet,” the tech giant aligned itself with the needs of small businesses and free ad-supported websites in an effort to appeal to readers.

Apple CEO Tim Cook took to Twitter to defend the company’s decision, saying “We believe users should have the choice over the data that is being collected about them and how it’s used. Facebook can continue to track users across apps and websites as before, App Tracking Transparency in iOS 14 will just require that they ask for your permission first.

How this affects your business

It needs to be made clear that both businesses wrapped up in this conflict are invested only for the financial impact these features have. Facebook clearly cares how much money businesses are willing to spend on utilizing Facebook’s swath of user data for targeted ads. And Apple is leaning into privacy features because it has become a major selling point for their products in recent years. It is perhaps their largest marketing push in the last year.

So while Facebook claims this campaign is being done in support of small businesses, this is clearly an appeal to the humanity of users. They want negative word of mouth to start spreading against Apple, in hopes that the feature gets rolled back. 

But at the same time, nothing Facebook is claiming is false. This change does have the potential to decrease the reach and link clicks of businesses advertisements through the platform. 

So in the end, it falls on your business to decide how you want to market yourself while this fight ensues. If the bulk of your marketing is done through facebook ads, it might be worth investing in other ad platforms that aren’t as impacted by Apple’s privacy feature. Some businesses are focusing more on their Android phone applications, as the Google Play Store is not presenting users with the same privacy notifications.

What’s important here is that businesses don’t need to pick a side. These are two major tech companies fighting to keep their marketing effective. Don’t get caught in the middle, just stay informed and find ways to shift your marketing efforts while users make their choice for either privacy or personalization. It truly could go either way.

To read more from us about balancing targeted ads in the age of digital privacy, check out our recent blog.

10 Reasons to Start Planning Your 2021 Event Sponsorship

2021 is on the horizon and there is no better time than now to make sponsorship plans. COVID-19 has affected the event landscape in a major way. Events are changing, and so should the way sponsorships are planned and executed.

Every business in the market wants to create an image of success and authority. But it’s not very easy when you are competing with the large, already established, companies. Through event sponsorship you can leverage the power of credibility.

If you are thinking of stretching your marketing budget, here are 10 reasons why you should sponsor an event.

Brand Visibility

Sponsoring an event brings your business in the limelight. The event you sponsor puts your business in front of a global audience and gets you a lot of mention in the social media and press. The bigger the event, the bigger the reach.

And in an era of virtual and online-hosted events, reach is actually increasing. More people are open to the idea of attending an event from the comfort of their couch. You don’t have to rely on only reaching the people who enjoy public outings. Under COVID lockdown measures, both audiences are engaging in virtual events.

Lead Generation

With event sponsorship you reach a huge population at one place. You get to meet your target audience and approach them all under one roof. The event organizers also provide a list of attendees which you can use for email marketing.

Business Relationships

Event sponsorship is an opportunity to meet non-competitive companies from your industry and in your area. Sponsorship is a way to collaborate, rather than compete. You can learn more about other businesses that share your target audience and likely hold the same values, which could help plan future partnerships.

Increase Sales of Products

With event sponsorship you get to increase your sales. You can put your products in the hands of your target audience and let them experience it. You can also pass on some free samples which will lead to increase in sales. In the virtual space, you can give product or service demonstrations. You can even have an easy way for the viewers to click through and sign up to learn more, opt in to email messaging or just make a purchase!

Show Social Responsibility

Event sponsorship is a way to show that your business supports a cause or mission about which your customers are passionate about. It helps you to build an image in the society and connect with customers on an emotional front.

Enhance Content & Social Media Marketing

Sponsoring an event gives you a lot of content for ramping up your strategies. Events can put your brand name in every possible social media platform including the event’s official website boosting your reach on social media.

Improve Your Company’s Image

When your business sponsors a big event with a wide enough base, the public perception of your business is as big as the host of the event. People see you as big professional and reputable business.

Learn More About Your Target Audience

Event sponsorships are an opportunity to meet your target audience, though not always in person. Virtual events will continue to be popular even after we start returning to in-person gatherings. But both types of events allow you to interact with your audience.

As a sponsor, you can work with the event host to hold an interactive Q&A segment as a part of a virtual event. Get the audience engaged and learn what they’re interested in, and ideally tie it back to what your business does.

Sponsorships are Affordable

Radio, television and print ads continue to work well and even work together. However, these take a great deal of your time and could potentially be out of your budget. Event sponsorships save you the time and money of having to target an audience. Let the audience choose to come to you through the event.

Get a Strong ROI

All in all, event sponsorships get you a solid return on investment. You get to approach your target audience, increase your sales and you get a list of leads to follow up with afterwards.

Event sponsorship is a deal with a lot of benefits. So start planning how this could fit into your 2021 budget now, before sponsorship slots fill up. Events often live or die based on sponsors, so showing that you have interest and can help support live and local events can help everyone involved.

The Value of Repurposing Content

Reusing old content has become more valuable than ever in 2020. On top of that, there’s no better time to revitalize old posts than during the holidays. Between the stresses of dealing with COVID-19 as a business and planning time away from work, pulling content out of the vault can lift many burdens.

Depending on what your business produces to market itself, there will be different ways to repurpose it. But the core idea remains the same; take valuable content that has been buried under newer things, add a new spin on it, and push it back to the top of your feed.

Why reuse old content?

Before diving into your past catalog and simply re-posting everything you have, let’s dissect why this is important to do. Understanding the value of repurposed content will help you to decide which pieces to revitalize and how to do it.

Save time/money

The most obvious reason to go about this, is that you’ll save time and possibly money. Repurposing old content can often take a fraction of the time and effort it would take to create something new.

If you’re working with a third party such as an agency, you probably are conscious of both time and money. Your agency can help identify good content to reuse, based on how well it performed. The agency can then transform that at a faster pace and a cheaper cost than producing something original.

The process can even be automated. If you have timeless content, meaning it wouldn’t need any rewriting or additions, you can set up a system to automatically republish content. This is great for the holiday season once you start to take time off. This can be done through something as simple as using social media to post links to your content. Or on a deeper level, set up your website to push old, but relevant blogs to the top of the page.

Boost SEO

Your content can only truly boost the overall SEO of your website if people are visiting and spending time viewing your content. So don’t let your old content go to waste by hiding it in the past.

Giving people a fresh reason to visit your page will add to the existing SEO power that it built up originally. Whether you decide to update your existing content’s page, or copy the contents to create a new, fresh page, the SEO benefits will be great. You can attribute your new content back to the old post. More pages on your site means stronger search engine value. 

Reach new audiences

This boost in SEO is also one way that your repurposed content will attract new audiences. Perhaps your content didn’t’ achieve its full potential the first time. Giving it a second chance will do nothing but positive things for your brand’s reach. 

Times have changed dramatically in 2020. People are living their lives in ways we never saw coming, due to quarantines and social distancing. Chances are high that your business can play on these life changes in some way. Take a look back at your history of content marketing. You might just find something that is now relevant to a wider audience.

Just be sure not to overdo it by rehashing the same topics week after week. You don’t want people to see you as a brand with nothing new to say.

How should you reuse content?

Content marketing comes in many forms, and they cannot all be treated equally when it comes to repurposing. Once you’ve identified what’s worth reusing, you have to find the right approach to doing so.

Blogs

Blogs often rely on data to back up points, which builds up your brand’s expertise on a subject. One straight-forward approach to reusing old blogs is to update them with newer data. Add new links to externals sources, or even new backlinks to pages on your site that didn’t exist before. This all adds to SEO and brand image.

You don’t even have to keep the blog in written form to reuse it. Consider ways to turn your writing into podcasts or videos. Come up with new ways for audiences to digest your content. Not everyone engages with content in the same way.

Once you have a solid backlog of blog content, you can compile related blogs into a single collection. This can even take the form of a physically published book. 

The purpose of blogs in content marketing is mainly to build up the brand image by showing your expertise. Reminding people that they can engage with your content in different ways gives them more chances to see that you’re an expert.

Videos

Video content does not need to be reshot in order to be repurposed. Graphics, text, and animations can be added to transform your video.

Are you proud of a recent award or achievement your business achieved? Commercials or other video marketing pieces are a great place to insert graphics announcing your success.

If you have the time, recording new voice-over narration and adding new music is a great way to reuse videos. You won’t have to bother reshooting footage, and the content will still feel fresh. This is a great way to make new announcements for your business or share anything that has changed since the original video.

This is an important thing to remember even when shooting footage for entirely new videos. Always incorporate some level of timelessness. You can always cut things out, but try to get enough evergreen footage in your content that it can be trimmed and reused. 

Social Media

Social media is made for throwbacks. We’ve even dedicated a whole day of each week to it. Engage in the Throwback Thursday trend to reshare old posts with your followers. 

Hopefully, your follower count is always growing, so there should always be new eyes to share your content with. This can be done through stories, so you don’t have to clutter up your feed with duplicate content.

The cycle of reusing content can involve every channel. So if you’re refreshed an old blog for 2021, share that out on social media. You can do something as easy as taking the original image you used to post about the blog the first time, and add an “updated for 2021” text stamp on it. 

One important thing to remember when updating content that has been shared on social, is to make sure links still work. If you’ve gone back to edit an old blog, or have published a new version of a blog, make sure your posts link out to the new content. And always make sure no posts are linking to a page that no longer exists. Set up redirects to solve this issue.