Ten million viewers for a video about the Mini: about a tenth of them wanted to know more about this BMW model, and 1500 even showed up at the dealer. These are the figures for a BMW social media campaign in Austria. They show that social media works. It’s not without reason that BMW has already shifted a fifth of its advertising budget to Facebook, Instagram & Co.
Don’t overstrain social media
Like the car manufacturer, more and more companies are integrating social media into their advertising planning, while communities and networks are responding to this development with improved ad formats. But the growth of Facebook is stagnating in the USA and Europe. Users are complaining not only about the lack of security of their data in the largest community, but increasingly about the growing flood of advertising as well. “Social media offers many possibilities for personal contact, but companies should not overstrain it; otherwise they will simply be clicked away and lose reach,” warns Max Anzile, Managing Director of the agency Socialmediapiraten in Munich. “Social media requires a strategy and good content.”
Inaccurate data on the success of good targeting
In fact, users ignore banners and display ads and rarely click on them. In the communities, however, marketers are reliably reaching younger consumers in particular. According to market research firm Yougov, 32 million people in Germany currently use Facebook. 30 percent of members under the age of 35 can imagine buying something on Instagram, Snapchat, or Facebook, or have already done so. The networks also offer marketers many opportunities to narrow down members according to demographics, regions or even personal criteria, and to address them with advertising.
While targeting on Facebook, Instagram & Co works very well, measurement of success remains inaccurate. All that is available is reach data and figures on how many users shared or commented on a post. Data on the groups of people reached or comparable campaigns are not disclosed by the communities. And external market research organizations do not (yet) collect such data.
Create your own social media goals
Social media specialists therefore recommend defining real turnover, sales, lead and other economic targets for campaigns and then measuring success by the number of contacts or sales actually generated. An approach that makes social media managers sweat: social media is considered the most personal channel to the consumer. According to widespread opinion, this should be reserved for special insights into the company or into products, i.e. for brand image and brand building, and should not be clogged up to promote sales.
Targeting, offer and creation have to fit
“Social media have proven to be an effective way to prepare sales and generate leads,” says Torsten Oppermann, Managing Director of the agency group MSM.digital, in response to these reservations. “However, targeting should be carefully thought through and the message or content should be relevant. Users have significantly higher demands on social media than on conventional media.” In his opinion, the problem is not the economic goals, but the choice of wrong customers and badly made content including photos, videos or posts: “Sales advertising”, Oppermann says, “is boring on social media if the offer does not fit the target group or reaches the wrong customer groups”
Although user numbers on Facebook are stagnating, Instagram and newer communities such as Snapchat and Whatsapp are currently experiencing very strong growth. However, users in all networks pay attention to the quality of the content. On Instagram, the quality and mood of the images and films is particularly relevant; and generally, younger target groups in particular want to gain inspiration for their hobby, life and work in the communities. They are looking for pictures and posts that entertain and amaze them. “It is not economic goals that destroy social media, but a boring implementation of the message,” observes “social media pirate” Anzile. “Companies still underestimate the effort involved in social media and merely serve the channels incidentally and without a strategy.”
Just posting pretty product pictures and a crisp slogan is not enough for advertising on social media. Users here are looking for suggestions and information, and therefore offers, which really benefit them. Therefore, advertising in the social media can be associated with hard economic goals to promote sales or increase turnover. Advertising in the communities, however, should not be a nuisance to users. Companies should carefully define and limit the target groups. And, above all, they should create content that attracts attention, amazes and satisfies.