In 2018, Cyber Monday sales hit $7.9 billion, making it the largest online shopping day of all time in the U.S., according to Adobe Analytics. By contrast, last year’s Black Friday in-store sales were down 1.7 percent. These numbers are evidence that a strong online presence is crucial for both e-commerce brands and brick-and-mortar stores. How can retailers level the playing field and better reach customers at a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising? Social media.
Make it Personal
Social media provides retailers with personalization and retargeting opportunities that traditional advertising lacks. Facebook’s dynamic product ads, for example, allow retailers to retarget consumers who viewed products on a site, displaying the exact products that were viewed in a carousel ad with a personalized message.
Retargeting ads with personalized content on social media ensures that ad spend is efficient and not being wasted on people who are unlikely to make a purchase. To identify “warmer shoppers,” retailers should spend their prospecting budget on creating brand awareness and driving targeted traffic into the store. Then, dynamic personalized messages on social media can be used to drive consumers back to convert.
Meet Customers Where They Already Are
Social media provides many placement opportunities, so retailers must serve ads at the most impactful placements. Video creative on a Facebook feed or an Instagram story tends to have the highest impact for prospecting and early awareness advertising, as these placements fit seamlessly into the user’s experience. After a strong social audience has been established, retailers can shift to the aforementioned dynamic retargeting strategies.
Capture Consumers on Mobile and Desktop
Consumers are increasingly making purchases on mobile devices. Adobe Analytics reported that smartphone sales hit an all-time high this Cyber Monday, with more than $2 billion in revenue. Social media companies are constantly adding features to make their platforms more shopper friendly, such as Instagram adding post links and Pinterest rolling out buyable pins.
Despite mobile’s growing importance in the purchase process, desktop ad placements are still valuable for conversions, as many consumers prefer to make larger purchases on these devices. Retailers should use video content and traffic campaigns to attract new audiences on mobile, then segment out retargeting campaigns by device. This will allow brands to allocate more dollars to the placements yielding the highest return on ad spend (ROAS).
Lower CPM and Greater Insights
Traditional advertising channels — print, TV and radio — can be very expensive and lack the personal touch that social media provides. Also, traditional advertising methods provide minimal data reporting, making it trickier to understand the effectiveness of the ad spend.
CPM, or cost per thousand (impressions), is a metric that allows retailers to understand the value of different advertising channels. For retailers aiming to be as cost effective as possible, CPM can show how powerful of a tool social media can be for brands. The average CPM for TV can range from $10-$25, and print’s CPM typically ranges from $15-$18. For comparison, the CPM for social media channels with advanced retargeting offerings hovers around $2-$5.
With personalization features, strategic placement opportunities, and the ability to capture both mobile and desktop shoppers, retailers can use social media to reach a captive audience in a cost-effective manner. While traditional advertising methods still have value for retailers, the days of it dominating a company’s ad budget are numbered. Social media’s unique offerings make it any brand’s greatest tool for generating sales.
Jacqueline Ball is the lead creative director and digital strategist at Sozoe Creative, a full-service digital marketing agency.