Boost Your E-Commerce Brand with an Omni-Channel Social Advertising Strategy
by Jeff Pearlman
There’s one goal every e-commerce marketing team has in common: Turn brand awareness into brand affinity, and brand affinity into brand loyalty.
Another thing every single e-commerce marketing team has in common? They know that process is easier said than done.
Social advertising for e-commerce has the potential to take your brand to the next level. But it’s also a crowded, competitive environment. And, users have short attention spans and a wealth of content to choose from. So to achieve the growth you’re looking for, a consistent presence across multiple platforms is vital.
Future-proof Your Ad Spend with an Omni-Channel Social Advertising Strategy
Any CMO worth their salt (e-commerce or otherwise) knows you can’t put all your eggs in one basket. However, it’s easy to get stuck and solely rely on the channels that are currently your best performers.
But doing so is a mistake that can cost you future growth opportunities. For example: Defaulting the majority of your ad spend to Facebook without considering how TikTok could be a better long term investment. With the way social media rapidly evolves, it’s important to have your ear to the ground, listening for what’s next.
That’s not the only reason an omni-channel strategy, or a strategy across different platforms, is important. The evolution of digital privacy is driving brands to seek out different methods of connecting with the right audiences and make sure they are seeing return on their ad spend. Staying up-to-date on growing platforms and trending content is vital to success. If you don’t get ahead, you’ll be left behind the competitors who did.
Finally, the world of social advertising is different for the consumers you are trying to reach. E-commerce brands operate their social advertising spend with strategic goals in mind. But, people use it for any combination of entertainment, shopping, learning, working and socializing. Spreading your ad dollars out across platforms can help you target different facets of your audience.
Right now, you might be seeing value by sticking to the same channels that have proven themselves to be top-performers. But to reach the widest audience and achieve the best long-term success, diversify your platforms.
How to Find Your Audience on New Platforms
Before you allocate ad spend to different platforms and design a multi-channel campaign, you’ll need to do some homework. Just like in high school where your grades reflected your studying efforts, your social ad strategy requires some brainpower.
An omni-channel strategy won’t be effective if you haven’t properly researched your audience and their behavior on each platform. Take some time to revisit your audience targeting strategy. Whether it’s undifferentiated, consolidated or segmented and then review each social platform to make sure your audience is there. Tailor-made creative will go a long way toward reaching each segment of your target audience — especially as you spread your ad spend across multiple channels.
Thoroughly analyzing each platform in terms of audience information, creative performance and buyer journey perspective will help you craft a successful strategy that gets your audience to take action.
Pros and Cons of Advertising on Different Social Platforms
The upside of an omni-channel strategy? You’ll be able to test which platforms are the best at reaching your audience in specific situations. For instance, you may learn which platforms are excellent for awareness and which ones lead to the most conversions.
But, with those insights, you should also be prepared to learn some harder lessons along the way. You will likely see an increase in ad spend and a lower return — at least in the short term. Don’t worry. That’s to be expected. Stay the path and you’ll eventually be able to optimize and find more success in the long term.
To help you get a better sense of where it might make the most sense to spend your ad dollars, let’s dive into the major platforms you should consider as part of your omni-channel strategy:
Facebook and Instagram (Meta)
Though two separate platforms from the user perspective, the advertising experience is linked for the meta platforms. The demographics and content consumption habits of audiences vary, but the analytics and targeting capacity remain robust, despite changing privacy restrictions.
Though Facebook and Instagram may be falling out of favor with younger demographics (Gen Z)s, there’s still a huge audience to be found. With 3 billion people on Facebook and another 2 billion on Instagram, even when you consider overlapping users, these combined platforms boast the largest user base by far.
Pros: Meta has the largest combined audience, along with a well-established advertising platform that work together seamlessly. This provides a good user experience not only for your social ad teams, but for your audience across each platform.
Cons: As a company, Facebook and Instagram often innovate in reaction to other platforms. Meta is so focused on its long-term vision that it can fail to create in the present. This provides an opportunity for other platforms to innovate faster and grab market share. Plus, younger audiences are shrinking as they migrate to other platforms like TikTok.
TikTok is taking the social advertising world by storm. Rapid growth and agile capabilities, like pivoting to add shoppable features, means if you aren’t already considering advertising on the platform, you should. One of the greatest benefits of TikTok is its highly engaged users. 70% of users say TikTok is the best platform on which to express themselves.
What does that mean for e-commerce brands? TikTok is a great way to align your brand’s values to your audience’s own and make sure you align with them.
Pros: TikTok’s rapid growth is promising and likely to continue, so there’s market share up for grabs. And since users feel free to express themselves, you’ll also be able to easily target audiences by psychographics and get insight into the creative that grab attention. You can also bet that TikTok will continue to innovate to maintain their growth trajectory, so the shoppable features are likely just the precipice of new advertising innovations.
Cons: As a new player, TikTok is largely untested. You’ll have less historical data to rely on and a smaller (though very engaged) user base.
Pinterest is an excellent outlet for retail advertising — most notably for e-commerce brands in home decor, crafts, beauty and women’s fashion. The user base is heavily female. For e-commerce brands looking to build awareness, Pinterest is an excellent avenue for advertising. The nature of the platform is in its name. User “pin” items they’re interested in. That makes it easy to target Pinterest users based on what’s most relevant and appealing to them.
Pros: Pinterst leans heavily into a few key industries. If you’re one of them, that’s excellent news, and you’ll find an engaged audience with easily identifiable interests for targeting.
Cons: It takes a while to build advertising momentum on Pinterest. Consider Pinterest as a supporting role unless you are in one of the key industries like home decor or crafts.
Youtube, owned by Google, takes advantage of the search engine’s industry leading functionality. In fact, YouTube is the second largest search engine in use (behind Google, of course). One benefit of advertising on Youtube is its wide audience, though that leaves some guesswork when it comes to targeting.
Pros: As the second-largest search engine, Youtube has excellent search functionality that benefits users and lends accuracy to your advertising efforts.
Cons: YouTube advertising does an amazing job of achieving top-of-the-funnel metrics. If you are looking for quick, performance-marketing related results, this might not be the channel for you.
Vetting Social Platforms and Understanding Data
Vetting each platform to see if it’s worthwhile investment of your time and ad budget is a massive undertaking. That’s largely in part due to the differences between each platforms’ self-reported metrics making comparison difficult.
And with the evolution of privacy policies, we always recommend a blended attribution model to help you get the clearest picture from your data. Rather than relying on isolated data points, this model takes into account all channels and provides a big-picture view of your social advertising effectiveness.
But no matter how much homework you do to vet platforms and review data, you can turbo-charge your strategy with info directly from the source. For example, we have a direct line to reps from each platform. The benefit of a social advertising partner is the access you’ll have to detailed, accurate information pertaining to how your audience behaves and interacts with content — beyond what the platforms provide in their typical dashboards. With insight coming directly from the platforms, you can be sure the channels you leverage and the assets you create align strongly with your audience.
Diversify for Social Media Success
A cohesive presence that targets your audience across social media and aligns with how they use that platform is the key to building brand awareness into brand loyalty, and brand loyalty into brand affinity. But reaching a truly omni-channel presence will not happen overnight. The audience and platform research alone are processes that should be given plenty of time and effort. Testing different platforms should be intentional and with your goals and desired audience at the forefront of your efforts.
By treating each channel as its own branch of your overall strategy, carefully targeted to each audience and different goals, with strong bespoke creative assets, you can achieve that all-important brand loyalty you are after. Otherwise, you’ll be setting yourself up to waste ad dollars that could be going farther elsewhere.
We empower our clients to make the best use of their ad spend by providing information and insight you can’t get through research alone. Get in touch to leverage our expertise for your omni-channel strategy.
About the author: Jeff is an analytical and creative Digital Strategist with 9+ years of Social Media, Influencer and Content Marketing experience with various brands like Jaguar, Land Rover, Lenovo, Motorola, Ulta Beauty, Malin & Goetz, Teleflora, b New York and Raaka Chocolate – to name a few. He started his career as a copywriter, penning copy for an online sports company where he found his work featured on the back covers of national publications and featured on ESPN Radio. He currently resides in Seattle where he likes to spend as much time outside as possible with his wife and three kids, one of which is a dog.