How to turbo-charge the effectiveness of your paid-social campaigns

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PROMOTED CONTENT: High-profile speakers from brands such as TikTok, Coty, Dell and Tails.com and gathered to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the industry at PMW’s Paid Social Media Seminar 

“Their acquisition costs doubled and their yield went down 50 per cent.” This stat, delivered by Robin Langford, editor of Performance Marketing World (PMW), had the audience sitting up and paying attention. 

Paid social, displaying ads on third-party social networks to targeted audiences, is probably the fastest growing area of performance marketing. Its combination of immediacy, personalisation and targeted impact makes the channel highly effective and lucrative.

That doesn’t mean that marketers using paid social can simply take success for granted, though. The environment for advertisers is getting tougher and more competitive all the time. Whether it’s the cost-of-living crisis, the ever more fierce competition for eyeballs or the introduction of technologies such as Apple’s app tracking transparency (ATT), paid-social marketers need to find new ways of working if they are to achieve the results their clients expect.

These issues and more were discussed at PMW’s Paid Social Media Seminar, at Events @ No 6 in London recently. Among the speakers were paid-social experts from brands such as Nielsen, Dell, Coty and TikTok. 

Influencers, sponsorship and the power of content

In one of the most hotly anticipated sessions of the day, Prema Chablani, chief marketing officer of Snag Tights, talked about her experiences with user-generated content (UGC). “We messaged people and said, ‘Hey, you look so great in our product. Would you mind if we used your picture in an ad?’ No one said, ‘No’.” She went on to talk about how this approach to some extent replaced traditional photoshoots, with UGC — gathered through social engagement — taking the place of professional shots in the brand’s advertising. 

A strategic path to growth

Stephen Carroll, TikTok’s head of growth in the UK and Ireland, addressed the conference on the subject of using paid-social to generate growth. His session covered the specifics of TikTok and how brands can use it to achieve their goals. “We encourage you to use music and voice effects to drive engagement on the platform,” he said, explaining that TikTok was a 100 per cent sound-on platform. “Get your message out early – 63 per cent of all auction ads with the highest click-through rate highlight their key message, their brand or their product in the first three seconds. And try and shoot so that the ad looks more like user-generated content than a million-dollar ad.”

Carroll’s colleague Michelle Kagel, TikTok’s product marketing manager for e-commerce solutions, led attendees through the best ways to choose metrics for TikTok campaigns. “TikTok offers advertisers the ability to run full-funnel campaigns,” explained Kagel. “From reach to video views, all the way to conversion and app installs, advertisers can target, optimise and bid on viewers across different levels of intent.” Kagel went on to explain how advertisers can use advanced features such as dynamic ads and ROAS bidding. 

The final speaker from TikTok was Faye Zhang, TikTok's vertical lead for gaming and technology brand partnerships. Zhang dealt with the topic of how creators can maximise engagement. The value created by micro-influencers of the kind who post content on TikTok, she explained, is forecast to grow from $20bn in 2021 to $104bn in 2023. Using brand storytelling on TikTok, in the form of TikTok’s Spark Ads created using UCG or brand organic content, deliver a conversion rate of up to 43 per cent and a conversion rate over 100 per cent higher than average. 

Zhang finished her talk by sharing with the audience her four golden rules for advertising success on TikTok. “Trust your creators. It’s very important to show the trust relationship between the brand and the creator. This communicates a mature respect for your audience. Secondly, expand the search. Leverage the data and tools to broaden your search and find your perfect creator. Mix and match your creators with different campaigns to reach your value-based community on TikTok. Finally, level up your campaign. Whatever your budget or ambition, there is always a TikTok service for you.”

Marketers Grace Fung, from Coty, Hayley Hall of InnovaDerma and Scott Guthrie of the Influencer Marketing Trade Body (IMTB) discussed the risks of influencer marketing and how to manage them. Among other things, they tackled how to align your brand’s values and those of the talent, how to deal with disclosure, how agencies can ensure compliance with regulations around influencer marketing — and more.

Also focussing on content, a session from pet food specialist Tails.com, led by the company’s Elaine Wan, head of affiliates and partnerships, and Sophie Van Der Veken, senior affiliates, partnerships and influencer executive, dived into the topic of sponsored content. Drawing on their own work, the pair talked about ways to work with creators to drive acquisition and growth. “It’s important to set clear objectives for your influencer campaign,” said Van Der Veken, “and link them to the metrics you want to hit.”

Other sessions covered how to use paid-social to engage with Gen-Z, whether brand purpose and paid-social are compatible with each other, whether doing paid-social in-house is a good idea — and more. In between sessions, attendees had the chance to mingle and network with their peers and with speakers. As well as delegates attending in person, the event was also open to online participants.