Why brands must unite social and creative for campaign success

With investment in social media increasing sharply, guaranteeing ROI requires marketers to optimise their cross-platform strategies.

Social media is now the number one activity for online users aged 16-24 in South-East Asia, surpassing even the use of search engines. As consumer interaction with social media deepens, brands are keen to tap into this engagement. Facebook ranks as the preferred platform for more than a quarter of young adults, with Instagram coming second (21%), and in response the ad spend allocated to them has grown 36.4% year-on-year as of Q3 2021.

With investment in social media increasing sharply, guaranteeing ROI requires marketers to optimise their cross-platform strategies. On average, young adults are using over seven different social media platforms each month, while in Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore, this number rises to eight for the same demographic.

Effectively capturing user attention across platforms, devices and highly visual ad formats now depends on more than precise targeting. Marketers must focus on creativity and consistency to maintain their competitive edge, as well as understanding how users engage with brands on their favourite social channels.  

A connected strategy opens social commerce opportunities

When over half (55%) of digital users in South-East Asia visit brand websites and more than one-third (34%) like or follow brands’ social media profiles, building a cohesive online presence is critical.

One of the biggest challenges in this area that marketers must overcome is the reliance on data silos, which are a well-known source of inconsistency. As social media began gaining momentum, brands typically established unique teams that specialised in each platform. While it is important to note the differences between the formats, placements and potential of each platform, disparate teams can cause friction when marketing campaigns should be planned and implemented in tandem.

Piecemeal measurement is a key concern of siloed strategies as well. To gain a clear, accurate view of performance, brands need a comprehensive understanding of all social media and digital channels. Furthermore, disjointed delivery can undermine both the results of multi-channel campaigns and consumer perceptions of a brand. Creating a seamless digital journey is now vital, particularly as social media platforms are becoming the go-to place for online shopping activities. Almost four-fifths (78%) of consumers favour social commerce in comparison to bricks-and-mortar retail (35%), and revenue per social commerce order increased by 88% in the first half of FY21.

Impactful social experiences therefore present a major opportunity for brands to maximize revenue, so what other campaign elements must be refined to achieve this?

Cohesive creative makes for better branding

Unconnected strategies also pose a risk to creative quality and consistency. If a specific team on each platform has its own pool of assets, unique messaging, and isolated objectives, then brand style will vary widely across social media. Maintaining a clear oversight of creative operations is a major factor in building a strong brand identity, wherever consumers engage with a business.

Iconic visuals play a significant role in brand identity too, as shown by the bitten Apple logo or the golden bird of Singapore Airlines, which crowns YouGov’s Best Brand Rankings for the fourth year in succession. When long-established research says the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text, generating visual impact should be a top priority for brands looking to make their mark in the highly competitive social media landscape. Not only revenue, but also brand trust, loyalty and growth are all on the line when it comes to creative.

Streamlining social campaigns with automated creative

Consolidating the management of social media campaigns and breaking down internal divisions are strong steps towards multi-channel success. Through centralising operations, marketing teams can ensure campaign strategies complement each other and build the seamless online experience consumers have come to expect. This includes consistently personalizing ad creative and messaging, monitoring ad frequency across platforms, and guiding users smoothly along the marketing funnel. Collaboration between teams is essential for a harmonised approach to online marketing.

The ability to create and deliver personalised ads for each user device, digital channel and ad format is a tall order, however. Doing this ‘by hand’ requires a significant amount of time and resources, but automated creative technologies can take on the bulk of the work and deliver optimal results.

Today’s solutions enable marketers to collate their creative assets and make them accessible to all teams, protecting that all-important, consistent brand identity. Some creative tools also offer the ability to oversee marketing activity on one console, which allows brands to establish robust guidelines. For example, these guidelines could determine how ad variations are optimised using real-time data, such as time of day, consumer sentiment on social media, or a return customer’s purchase history. What’s more, advanced creative technology can monitor cross-channel performance, helping to quantify impact and inform future strategies.

Consumer preference for social media shows no signs of slowing down. To effectively engage digital users across the growing selection of platforms they engage with, brands must ensure their multi-channel strategies are all in sync. With the landscape of social media and ecommerce colliding especially, brands must centralise their creative operations, campaign planning, and delivery to seize this valuable opportunity.