Skip to content
5 min read

#1: Commercialising Social 

Featured Image

Welcome to the first installment of The attribution of ROAS on paid social and beyond. Let me know any feedback, wishes, or questions on any of the points below and I’m happy to get back!

  • Instagram has successfully tested hiding like counts and Facebook is preparing to test this too. While users potentially feel bad about not getting enough likes for a post and may not post at all because of this, hiding like counts could increase users’ well-being and hence time spend. Together with the ever-smaller prevalence of follower counts plus checking out directly on Instagram, this will move Instagram away from vanity metrics towards a real community around product revenue and video.

  • Facebook and Instagram are testing new shopping features. Instagram is testing the ability for businesses to promote organic shopping posts as ads and Facebook is testing to tie together dynamic ads (product catalog ads) and checkout on Facebook. Facebook says this will remove friction, true, but what it also does is removing those pixel-website-integration GDPR headaches. Facebook pitches this as zero friction future.

    More and more lights are coming on that Facebook is closing the loop on the blue app and on Instagram. Discover and shop products without leaving the app. Influencers were door openers for businesses in the past, they will lose that role to Instagram features and will have to evolve around product and video as the big number game of followers and like-counts will slowly dissolve.

  • In February, the Bundeskartellamt decided it was time to unbundle Facebook. Well, said the Oberlandesgericht Düsseldorf, the processing of user data and competition law are two pairs of shoes. Also, from a user’s standpoint, the processed data can easily be duplicated and handed to a different platform without weakening the user’s welfare. The rebuke of the OLG most probably is the end of this attempt, even though the Bundeskartellamt now appeals to the Bundesgerichtshof.

    Facebook, or Google for that matter, are not Volkswagen. If they need to change due to regulatory or user behaviour changes, they can roll out app updates within a couple of days. Volkswagen still has no competitive electric vehicle and is still in the process of finding/fixing those cars driving around with illegal Abschaltvorrichtungen.

  • For Instagram Stories, Facebook has begun rolling out templates, royalty-free music as well as effects that draw attention to the call to action. Facebook and Messenger stories to follow. This will increase complexity for success while it creates competition at the same time.

    A good starting point to increase the stickiness of story ads are interactive elements for story ads, i.e. the poll sticker, with more stickers coming soon. These stickers are added in the ads manager when setting up the ad, so leave space for them during the creative planning phase.

  • On that note, video poll ads are rolling out this month globally. This increases interactivity and can optionally be combined with a website link (watch - poll - browse) or an app install (watch - poll - install). This is cool! But even better:

  • AR ads are now in open beta. Two types of applications: Effects on people (faces, movement) and effects on/with objects. Try out lipstick, shoes, clothes, destinations, furniture - all in real life (well, is it?). It seems difficult to pull off, I know, but Spark AR Studio works like Photoshop. To take part in the beta talk to your account manager.

  • How to solve 9:16 content creation? Have a look at how Chinese media companies like Tencent and Baidu are experimenting with vertical narrative:

  • To help measure offline Store Visits, Facebook is rolling out Store Visit-metrics for every campaign, not only those optimised towards store visits. And even though accuracy and statistical significance of the absolute number is in question without testing for increments, you can still compare creative assets or campaigns on a relational basis, to see what format/asset drove more store visits.

  • With some past client projects I had, businesses were going to great lengths fussing about targeting options on social, splitting up interests, gender, and age groups into myriads of adsets. These days are long gone. Now I work a lot with a simplification and flexibility strategy, namely:

    1. Dynamic Ads/Dynamic Creative - to not only trust your luck with 1 or 2 creatives/products but many more and quickly learn what drives results.

    2. Automatic placements - to deliver on all available placements, not separating out Instagram and Facebook or newsfeed and right-hand side.

    3. Campaign Budget Optimisation - to automatically spend the budget across ad sets where it is most effective for a given goal instead of doing this manually.

    4. Simplified account structure - to let Facebook optimise within bigger audiences instead of having lots of niche targetings causing overlaps and friction.

    This is all about auction flexibility (and machine learning) to lower costs and increase efficiency. I have seen great success in combining campaign budget optimisation with dynamic creative and automatic placement.

    What’s more, you remove a lot of technical campaign blabla from your internal conversations and have more and deeper conversations about products and goals.

    Let me know if you have questions about this.

  • I’ve met with Pinterest the other day to talk about roadmaps and their pitch toward advertisers. They will be offering a pin academy to help foster knowledge and at some point during Q4 shopping ads (product catalog ads) will become available in Europe. Apart from that, it’s still early days for them, as half of the DACH team hasn’t even started. Let’s spend all the marketing budgets we have to help them grow and professionalise ;)

  • Also, they are testing Stories with selected businesses. Sounds like Instagram and Facebook Stories, but are more like Facebook’s Instant Experience (Canvas). People spend more time on Instant Experiences than they are spending on video views. So if you are looking for brand metrics it makes sense to tell your story and showcase your products not only through video but through these instant experiences too. Be it on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest.

  • Shopify announced its most ambitious expansion yet, a network of fulfillment centers across the USA that will offer two-day shipping by the end of the year. In other words, Shopify is evolving from a software company to a software and logistics company with Amazon Prime-like capabilities. This might prove a relevant alternative to Amazon.

    I generally recommend Shopify for anyone with a low to mid-level setup. It has strong integration with social and is a partner on Instagram’s Checkout beta too. However small businesses may find out they can have success with an Instagram-only strategy, i.e. no website. There are multiple small businesses in India that operate solely through Whatsapp (and Facebook is about to launch FacebookPay to make it even easier for these businesses to handle payments).

That’s it! I hope this newsletter provides value to your business - let me know :)

And please don’t hesitate to forward this to someone who might find it useful.


P.S. As an entrepreneur for future my office is closed today as I’m joining the global climate strike.


Share this article