Bath-based digital advertising agency SearchStar is hosting a mini-series of actionable talks  (ADFUTURES’19) featuring three of the largest global digital platforms: Amazon, Facebook and YouTube. Each speaker will be sharing inspiring insights and developments from the businesses respectively and how advertisers can best utilise their advertising platforms to execute their strategies as the digital advertising industry continues to grow at a rapid rate.

Giving that it’s Facebook’s 15th anniversary this month, what better to attend a morning keynote to discuss the future of the social media platform and the digital advertising industry?

PerformanceIN attended the morning session at the Watershed in Bristol, which featured a keynote session from Facebook partner manager Lizzy Lillington-Lester and SearchStar conversions and analytics director Ryan Webb. The talk presented an overview of the current landscape of Facebook and how brands can better use the advertising tools available to them to capture their target audience.

Webb began the session with the statement that Facebook is now “unignorable” as digital ad spend through the social media platform reached £1.4 billion in the past year, surpassing traditional television advertising channels such as Sky, Channel 4 and ITV. With this in mind, Webb said that advertisers should be focusing beyond the conversion of their ads and start looking at the engagement and discovery parts of the purchasing journey while understanding the conversations being created from ads.

Remaining personal and relevant

Facebook’s keynote highlighted the incredibly fast-paced world of digital advertising and how users are consuming more content than ever on mobile devices. Lillington-Lester discussed how Facebook’s advertising offering has adapted to the ongoing shifts of the digital world and user consumption on smartphones, stating businesses only have 1.7 seconds to capture a user’s attention on mobile and must tailor their ads to be more meaningful to their audience. Lillington-Lester added that users are becoming more receptive to content relevant to them and suggested using dynamics ads, which can be integrated across Facebook and associated channels (Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram) to promote your product feed. They can not only match the right product to your audience but also expand them beyond websites and into conversational messages.

The session also highlighted that ads are now becoming conversational, with Lillington-Lester referencing Lego’s Facebook ad campaign using the platform’s Messenger tool to target consumers through the use of chatbots to create more personalised conversations to entice product purchase. The results led to a 6x return on ad spend, 30% CPA and 3x conversion rate.

Instagram Stories and embracing change

Video has become an important avenue for brands to capture the attention of customers quickly with Facebook finding that 75% of mobile data is now accessible on video and 100 million hours spent a day viewing video content. The framework of Capture, Design, Frame and Play was proposed as vital steps for advertisers to create seamless video ads to quickly reach audiences while ensuring their ads are ready built for the feed. 

The talk also highlighted the rise of Instagram Stories with 400 million Stories now being adopted per day. With video formats becoming vertical for user consumption and consumers discovering their next favourite brand through Instagram and Facebook, Lillington-Lester encouraged businesses to stay ahead of the game with the ad offerings available, which are ready-suited to format with cards, carousels and call to actions all being accessible and can help lead to returns – referencing fashion retailer Chinese Laundry success, who through using ads in Instagram Stories saw a 32% increase in return on ad spend on a relatively low budget.

Attribution still relevant

The session came to a close with representatives from SearchStar running through case studies of Facebook in practice with successful outcomes from working in e-commerce (Saltrock), brand (COLAB) and lead generation (Leigh Day). Facebook’s recently launched attribution tool was also discussed and while it works similarly to attribution tools like Google Analytics, the free tool is highly useful in allowing advertisers to compare different models across their digital activity, providing a much bigger picture of what channels are best performing for them.

SearchStar’s next ADFUTURES’19 talk will be on 28th February with speakers from Google and YouTube offering an overview of the trends and advances in video advertising respectively. Stay tuned for PerformanceIN’s report of the session in a few weeks.