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Marin Software’s 2017 Digital Marketing Forecast

By January 4th, 2017

There’s no doubt that the options for advertisers are growing by the day. So, as we start 2017, what should marketers be looking at to stay relevant and competitive?

We spoke to market experts across social, search, and omnichannel to ask: what can marketers expect to see in 2017?

From location beacons to artificial intelligence—here is a comprehensive guide to what Marin predicts will be the biggest marketing trends of the year.

Beacons Likely to Disrupt Retail

Amandine Dovelos, Senior Customer Manager

trendimage1-wireless

Location-based, personalized data is the clincher in perhaps one of retail’s most underutilized technologies to date—beacons. Using beacons in sophisticated marketing strategies will be the next step in how customers experience your brand in a bricks-and-mortar setting. For marketers, it also adds a new dimension for in-store analytics, allowing them to better understand buying patterns, create in-store engagement, redeem offers, and increase conversions.

Imagine this: A beacon in a clothing store that can located a shopper and detect exactly what sort of customer they are (for example, their gender, age, location, and whether they’ve purchased from the retailer before). Then, the retailer serves them a notification (email/SMS) with a time-limited, personalized offer.

Since the importance of customer experience dominated throughout 2016, the new year will have marketers’ efforts geared toward consistently improving this experience, as it directly correlates with positive brand differentiation.

Increase in Voice Activated and Integrated Search

Amandine Dovelos, Senior Customer Manager

trendimage2-motor

As interesting enhancements continue to rock the online landscape—for example Google Shopping, carousel ads, and voice search—advertisers need to explore new ways of enticing possible buyers.

With audiences becoming more sophisticated in their online behavior, new online searching patterns have emerged. Search engines can now better analyze each word/token of a query and produce a deeper contextual meaning. Rambling voice searches will be enriched by synonyms to return search results that reflect your deeper intent. Given that many voice searches have a local intent, enriching customer intent with a local tweak will facilitate better results.

Facebook Broadening Scope

Jane Felice, Senior Product Marketing Manager

trendimage3-facebook

Facebook has introduced a unified conversion pixel that combines both the conversion tracking pixel and custom audience pixels that enables more solutions for advertisers. Note that the previous iteration, Facebook’s conversion pixel, is going to be deprecated in February 2017, so marketers will be migrating to the new pixel to leverage the best options Facebook has to offer.

Facebook Audience Network (FAN) will develop new formats, metrics, and channels such as purchases and installs via FAN, so as FAN grows, more metrics and objectives are likely.

Facebook is also likely to invest in publisher partners, focusing on header bidding for greater control. These moves are likely to pivot the focus of programmatic display.

Omnichannel Will Continue to Influence Purchasing Decisions

Brian Lee, Market Research Manager

trendimage4-omni-channel

A variety of quality touchpoints continue to influence consumer behaviors. WBR recently found that 75% of retailers consider omnichannel essential to their business, and with good reason. Over 50% of current search conversions have a conversion path with two or more channels, and this is likely to continue as consumers have access to an increasing amount of data—and options—online.

Augmented Reality Ignites the Customer Experience

Brionna Lewis, Kiip guest author

trendimage5-vr

The Pokémon Go frenzy this year brought augmented reality on mobile to the forefront for businesses. Augmented reality unleashes unlimited creative possibilities when it comes to delivering more captivating content. With this technology, the viewer becomes an integral part of the brand experience as opposed to a mere observer. Instead of a call to action, they are the action.

Highly engaged users are highly engaged consumers, and with the virality of Pokémon Go and the consequential sharp fall in its users, marketers will be looking into this area with great excitement, but also caution. Because AR and VR technologies remain largely uncharted territory with literally endless creative possibilities, we expect advertisers outside of the gaming realm to dive deep into this space in 2017.

Artificial Intelligence: Virtual Assistants and Chatbots Lead the Direct Marketing Charge

Brionna Lewis, Kiip Guest author

Companies like Amazon and Google are already tapping into this in a big way with virtual assistants like Echo and Google Home. These high-touch devices allow brands to reach consumers in an authentic and useful way. They also serve direct communication to consumers, and in doing so, they encourage purchase and brand preference.

Similarly, powered through messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, Kik, WhatsApp, and WeChat, brands can chat directly with consumers and inspire them to make purchases via chatbots. From Sephora offering makeup tricks, to American Express letting you know about new promotional offers you might qualify for, the opportunities for brands to reach consumers through messenger bots is gaining momentum. They’re likely to be a large focus for marketers in 2017.

Boost Media’s Digital Marketing Trends to Watch for in 2017

By December 21st, 2016

This is a guest post from Suzie Kronberger, VP of Marketing and Revenue Operations at Boost Media.

By the end of this year, digital will overtake TV ad spending in the U.S. for the first time—digital ad spend will reach $72B and TV will grow to $71B. Strategies that worked one year aren’t guaranteed to yield the same results the next, which means marketers must be on the lookout for change and innovation.

So, how far did we come in 2016, and what does 2017 have in store for digital marketers?

2016: Here’s What We Learned

Video is the future of advertising: Mark Zuckerberg said it during the spring ‘16 Facebook earnings call. We’re seeing it in the data. Customers are ordering loads of video ad creative.

Vertical video is much more engaging than 16:9 landscape videos: Snapchat’s insight that watching landscape videos on our phones is awkward was a game-changer. They have 10-12B vertical video views per day. Facebook has vertical video ads now. Watch for this format to proliferate.

  • Insider tip: Don’t shove your 16:9 into a vertical video! There’s a reason portrait mode is called that—your footage needs to focus on people/characters large, front, and center. Best to cut unnecessary scenery.

Mobile is where it’s at, but remember: 60% of Americans watched traditional TV programming on their mobile devices. If you’re in a vertical where there are certain aspects of the funnel where mobile isn’t the preferred device, then target accordingly. For U.S. retail, many purchases are still completed on desktop. Add-to-cart is significantly lower on smartphone (6.2%) compared to desktop (10.4%).

2017: Predictions

Major innovation in ad formats: 50% of clicks on mobile ads are accidental. With delivery platforms innovating rapidly, so will ad formats. Expect there to be new mobile ad formats that will help you drive much stronger engagement than you’ve achieved in the past.

Ad formats that provide user value: Ads that are highly engaging offer users something of value. Value can come in literal forms like offers and promos, but also in the form of humor or entertainment. An ad that people thoroughly enjoy can create deeper connections between the brand and the user.

Be ready to take creative to the next level: With the innovation in ad formats, there’ll be more opportunity to tell stories in compelling, interactive ways that you never could do before. Think big on the possibilities here, and get the help you need on developing new, cutting-edge concepts, mediums, and designs.

Creative makes a difference in capturing and maintaining user and consumer attention. But high-quality, cutting-edge creative doesn’t have to be expensive. Prioritize creative in next year’s budget so you’re prepared to take advantage of opportunities quickly.

Happy holidays and here’s to a successful 2017!

Do Your Instagram Ads Follow These 3 Best Practices?

By September 28th, 2016

This is a guest post from Sarah Burns, Content Manager
at Boost Media.

Instagram ads allow brands to share their story in the context of an inspirational and creative feed. With a global community of more than 500 monthly active users, it’s a great opportunity to get your brand discovered. Here are three creative best practices to help you stand out with your audience.

1. Go natural

  • Use clear images, not grainy or blurry ones.
  • Natural lighting is better than harsh artificial lighting.
  • Make sure your image is high quality and authentic, but still fits into the context of the Instagram feed.

2. Avoid overpowering

  • Your brand should never overshadow your creative.
  • Avoid front-and-center logos and use an iconic brand element or signature color instead.

3. Say less

  • Although not a requirement on Instagram, follow Facebook’s 20% rule regarding text within images.
  • Instagram is a photo app so imagery—not text—should be the focus of creative.

For advertisers who’ve been active on Instagram for a while and those just getting started, these tips should help you structure your strategy on this increasingly popular social channel.

 

About the Author

sarahSarah manages Content Marketing at Boost Media and leads a team of marketing professionals to drive revenue through complex B2B marketing campaigns in the ad tech industry. Prior to joining Boost, Sarah developed marketing and sales strategy at BNY Mellon, a top 10 private wealth management firm. In a former life, Sarah worked in journalism writing for magazines including Boston Magazine, The Improper Bostonian, and Luxury Travel. When she’s not writing engaging content, Sarah enjoys cooking, running, and yoga.

About Boost Media

Boost Media increases advertiser profitability by using a combination of humans and a proprietary software platform to drive increased ad relevance at scale. The Boost marketplace comprises over 1,000 expert copywriters and image optimizers who compete to provide a diverse array of perspectives. Boost’s proprietary software identifies opportunities for creative optimization and drives performance using a combination of workflow tools and algorithms. Headquartered in San Francisco, the Boost Media optimization platform provides fresh, performance-driven creative in 12 localized languages worldwide.

5 Powerful Reasons to Implement Single Keyword Ad Groups Today

By May 26th, 2016

This is a guest post from Dionte Pounds, Account Manager at
3Q Digital.

When I start an engagement with a new client, the first thing I do is an audit. As the working account manager, I need to get a good sense of how the account’s been set up and how it’s performed to date, to assess where the past success and difficulties have been and to plan for the immediate future.

As anyone who’s completed multiple audits will tell you, I often notice the same mistakes happening time and again. One of the more common, and avoidable, mistakes is stuffing multiple keywords into a single ad group.

At 3Q Digital, we’re firm believers in implementing single keyword ad groups. Also known as SKAGs, this structure offers so many benefits to advertisers that I’m shocked it’s not used more. I understand why, though, since AdWords still suggests that advertisers group keywords by themes. Conceptually, it makes total sense to do that.

Ultimately, advertisers suffer from a serious lack of control when piling keywords together. Here are five reasons why I use SKAGs (and you should, too).

1. Control Over Bidding

Possibly the most important reason to use SKAGs is the benefit to bidding. Placing bids at the ad group level for a set of 10-20 keywords is simply inefficient, because you’re bidding the same amount for the worst performing keyword in that set as you are for the best performing keyword in the set. This makes bid optimization more difficult than it needs to be.

2. Control Over Ad Messaging

Ad messaging should be as relevant as possible to generate a high click-through rate. But, imagine you have six broadly related keywords housed within a single ad group. Just for fun, let’s also image these keywords are broad match type. Because they’re within the same ad group, they share a common ad.

How can we have a highly relevant ad shared by six broadly related keywords that can pull in a wide variety of possibly unrelated search queries?

AdGroup

Imagine the ad group in question is “men’s shirts” and the keywords include “t-shirts,” “button down shirts,” and “red shirts.” Sure, you can use a general ad that speaks to the types of shirts available, but it makes more sense to have an ads speaking to each type of shirt for the best CTR instead of a generic ad. For this reason, breaking out the ad group into SKAGs is your best bet.

3. Control Over Landing Page Experience

To build off my last point, why would you send a user searching for athletic compression shirts to a landing page featuring not only compression shirts, but also sweaters and tank tops? To me, that sounds like a landing page with a guaranteed high bounce rate, because you’re putting all the work on the user to then filter for the type of shirt he’s looking for.

Expecting each user to take the time to look for what they want is wishful thinking. Even using keyword level URLs in this example isn’t a perfect fix, because then there’s still a disconnect between the messaging and the landing page.

4. Ad Delivery

Continue to imagine you run an ecommerce website selling men’s clothing. After some deep analysis, you see that past website traffic converts well on search terms related to button-down shirts, but not t-shirts or athletic shirts. Being the smart advertiser you are, you want to increase bids for past website traffic looking for button-down shirts to get better position for your ads and ultimately convert more.

The problem – remarketing audiences are applied at the ad group level. Unfortunately for you, applying a positive modifier on your selected audience will result in the bids for all keywords within that ad group being increased, not just the button-down shirt keyword.

If this campaign utilized SKAGs, remarketing audiences with positive modifiers could be applied to specific keywords via the single keyword ad group structure, therefore selectively raising bids instead of pushing everything.

5. Organization

Finally, single keyword ad groups are great from an organizational structure. If you’re like me, you like to have a very clean, structured account. I know that each campaign is made up of any number of ad groups that have one keyword and one ad (two if we’re running an A/B test). I often find that when ad groups have large numbers of keywords inside an ad group, one ad group may have a single keyword while others have a lot more (I’ve seen as many as 100+).

Organization

While performing audits, I’ve also found the keywords duplicated across multiple ad groups due to the lack of organization involved with this ad group structure. Ultimately, this makes an online marketer’s job more difficult, as the lack of clear structure impedes optimization.

Your Quick Recap of the Latest Social
Advertising News

By February 17th, 2016

The world of social advertising changes every day, and it can be a lot to keep up with! There are new ad types, forming partnerships, emerging tech, financial announcements, and the list goes on.

If you’re feeling a little behind on the latest, need-to-know news, grab a cup of coffee and take five minutes to catch up with this
quick recap.

1. Twitter Launches Algorithmically Sorted Timeline

https://blog.twitter.com/2016/never-miss-important-tweets-from-people-you-follow

Quick recap: Twitter announced a new algorithmically sorted way to view the timeline, although it’s not yet turned on by default. Consider it the “while you were away” feature on steroids.

What it means for advertisers: Advertisers have come to expect lower Facebook engagement on organic content, so the same fears may come into play here. Twitter representatives have said that ads will appear in the newly sorted timeline, but that the best content will rise to the top regardless of whether or not it’s paid. Expect Twitter to continue evolving in its quest to revive shareholder value.

2. Instagram Rolls Out 60-Second Video Ads

https://www.instagram.com/p/BBVMFOsS0Dc/ 

Quick recap: Instagram rolled out support for 60-second video ads, a big change from the previous limit of 30 seconds. T-Mobile (did you catch the Drake commercial?) and Warner Bros. were among the first brands to test the extended video ad type.

What it means for advertisers: Instagram video ads can now be anywhere from three to 60 seconds, giving advertisers lots of room to creatively tell a story. Support is already available on Marin Social for advertisers who want to get started right away.

3. Facebook Soars in Q4 2015 Earnings Report

http://investor.fb.com/results.cfm 

Quick recap: It was a great quarter for Facebook! The network beat estimates, announced $5.8 billion in revenue, and revealed it now has more than 1.59 billion monthly active users.

What it means for advertisers: The entire earnings call transcript is worth a read. To align with Facebook, advertisers should place extra focus on their mobile, video, and Instagram strategies.

4. Snapchat Teams Up with Viacom

http://www.viacom.com/news/Pages/newsdetails.aspx?RID=953935 

Quick recap: Viacom and Snapchat announced a major partnership deal, which will give Viacom exclusive rights to sell Snapchat advertising.

What it means for advertisers: Viacom’s core investment in broadcasting and cable, combined with this new focus on social, hints at just how important cross-channel advertising is becoming. If Snapchat’s not your cup of tea, consider other tactics such as triggering social ads based on TV commercials, or running similar video content across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TV.

5. Facebook Shuts Down Free Basics in India

http://www.theverge.com/2016/2/8/10913398/free-basics-india-regulator-ruling

Quick recap: Free Basics by Facebook is a free, zero-rated platform that provides access to basic Internet services (news, health, education, sports, etc.) in developing parts of the world. Net neutrality concerns have made it controversial, and India recently passed legislation that caused Facebook to shutter Free Basics in the country.

What it means for advertisers: Free Basics will still exist in over 30 other countries, and Facebook plans to continue efforts to connect people in India. There are no ads in the Free Basics version of Facebook. However, international advertisers should consider taking advantage of new Facebook ad types (like Slideshow Ads) to reach users with slow connections in high-growth areas.

6. Facebook Adds Caption Tool for Video Ads

https://www.facebook.com/business/news/updated-features-for-video-ads 

Quick recap: Facebook announced plans to roll out an automated video caption tool, coming soon.

What it means for advertisers: Once the feature is rolled out, advertisers will no longer need to embed captions or upload their own caption files. Facebook’s internal tests show that video ads with captions increase video view times by about 12%!

7. Twitter Introduces First View Video Ads

https://blog.twitter.com/2016/introducing-first-view 

Quick recap: Twitter announced a new ad product called First View. It will allow advertisers to do a 24-hour takeover of the top ad slot in the timeline with a Promoted Video ad.

What it means for advertisers: Brand advertisers, rejoice! First View will offer a high-impact way to drive awareness at scale and gain maximum exposure for your brand.

8. Account Switching Now Available for Instagram

http://blog.instagram.com/post/138938416772/160208-accountswitching 

Quick recap: Instagram users will now be able to quickly switch between multiple accounts, without having to log out.

What it means for advertisers: This is an exciting change for social media managers who run multiple Instagram accounts. However, larger advertisers who use a tool to manage their accounts won’t see much of an impact.

The Quote Company: Extracting the Most Value from Search Campaigns

By February 8th, 2016

If you’re a search marketer having enough of a challenge managing search campaigns on Google alone, then copying changes from Google to Bing can be especially time-consuming, tedious, and not worth the hassle.

This was The Quote Company’s predicament. As a company that matches people interested in solar installations with the right service provider, they continually aim to drive leads at a profitable ROI. However, with a small, in-house marketing team and due to Bing’s lower search volume, running cross-publisher search campaigns wasn’t realistic. As a result, they were missing out on a big opportunity.

Fortunately, they found an easy solution in Marin Smart Sync. With Smart Sync, they were able to take advantage of both Google and Bing, ultimately achieving their goals and adding new levels of efficiency to their search marketing campaigns.

Syncing Changes Across Publishers

Using Smart Sync, The Quote Company was able to easily copy information at the account, campaign, and group levels from Google to Bing. Once copied, Smart Sync continues to sync any changes the team makes from Google to Bing, ensuring that all campaigns remain matched and current.

quote-company-google-bing

This streamlined campaign management has allowed The Quote Company to treat Bing simply as an extension of their overall search reach, by automatically pushing changes from Google to Bing.

Learn more and see full results in our Quote Company case study.

 

Why Marketers Need to Pay Full Attention to Voice Search

By January 26th, 2016

Consumers are warming to the idea of interacting with their phones and wearables via voice. 33% of U.S. consumers have used a digital assistant like Siri in the past 30 days, and 37% plan to purchase a smartwatch in the next six months. For marketers, this means it’s time to begin reinventing new ways to engage with customers during critical buying moments.

What voice search means for branded websites

Digital assistants can provide answers to many voice search queries without actually visiting a site. This means site traffic will drop off. However, optimizing to support instantaneous information retrieval means brands can provide high value to customers and engage in a more seamless way. Enable digital assistants and voice-activated devices to be virtual brand advocates by tailoring creative around how they retrieve and deliver information.

What voice search means for SEM

Keyword matching will become less precise and more conversational. We’re likely to see longer-tail searches phrased as questions. Test ad creative that poses a question to match the way customers phrase voice search queries. Also test copy phrased as the answer to mirror the response a digital assistant like Siri might use to respond to a query.

What voice search means for SEO and content

The SEO value of images and videos will grow substantially. Unlike text – which digital assistants can read aloud – images and videos must be delivered via the website that hosts the content. Ramp up your image, infographic, and video content efforts. Keep in mind that Siri is powered by Bing, which means if you aren’t focused on optimizing for Bing, you’re missing an opportunity.

Voice search: Where to go from here

Not long ago, touch screens became the dominant method of interfacing with devices. Voice search may be the next frontier. It’s time for marketers to start rethinking the approach to creative and content in the context of the voice search activated user experience.

About the Author

sarahSarah manages Content Marketing at Boost Media and leads a team of marketing professionals to drive revenue through complex B2B marketing campaigns in the ad tech industry. Prior to joining Boost, Sarah developed marketing and sales strategy at BNY Mellon, a top 10 private wealth management firm. In a former life, Sarah worked in journalism writing for magazines including Boston Magazine, The Improper Bostonian, and Luxury Travel. When she’s not writing engaging content, Sarah enjoys cooking, running, and yoga.

About Boost Media

Boost Media increases advertiser profitability by using a combination of humans and a proprietary software platform to drive increased ad relevance at scale. The Boost marketplace comprises over 1,000 expert copywriters and image optimizers who compete to provide a diverse array of perspectives. Boost’s proprietary software identifies opportunities for creative optimization and drives performance using a combination of workflow tools and algorithms. Headquartered in San Francisco, the Boost Media optimization platform provides fresh, performance-driven creative in 12 localized languages worldwide.

Click here to schedule a free demo of the Creative Optimization platform today.

Update on Marin Social Upgrade

By January 21st, 2016

The improvements to the Marin Social platform are almost complete, and will be fully available again at 11:00 pm PST on January 21, 2016.

The changes represent a major improvement to the data layer of the platform and are an important evolution for Marin in developing a more advanced big-data backend. These improvements will enable new and innovative features moving forward.

The upgrade was planned for and completed over the weekend of Jan 16-17. As the migration was completed, it was decided to address additional system maintenance based on testing results. The engineering team is currently wrapping up the QA process.

While some clients experienced intermittent access this week, ad serving was not interrupted and all campaigns continued to run. Marin account services teams have been in direct contact with clients to assist with changes during the maintenance window, and are providing guidance on making changes within the native tools, as necessary.

3 Remarketing Creative Tests to Run for the Holidays

By November 24th, 2015

Price comparing and deal hunting can lead to a lot of work and stress for customers, and can rack up high media costs for advertisers as customers click during this high CPC time of year. Remarketing, which tends to have lower CPCs than SEM, is a great tool to help convert indecisive shoppers who are waiting for a better deal. Here are key use cases for holiday remarketing, including examples of ad creative tests you can use to move the needle.

Convert early shoppers

By now, you have sizable cookie pools of potential customers who have been to your site, and who may or may not have already made a purchase. This presents an opportunity to get those early shoppers to come back and purchase, especially during big promotional events.

Sample holiday remarketing test

Hypothesis: Customers have made their holiday shopping lists and are ready to buy, but are waiting to see if a better deal will come around.

Test: Create a sense of urgency and give customers a reason to convert now by creating messaging and promotional events with discounts, plus limited-time and lowest-price guarantee messaging to counteract procrastination.

Upsell big-ticket, non-gift items

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), over 50% of holiday shoppers plan to “splurge on non-gift items for themselves.” Shoppers looking to make big purchases are conducting premeditated research. Remarketing is the ideal vehicle to reach, engage, and convert these customers.

Sample holiday remarketing test

Hypothesis: By the time Black Friday rolls around, the only excuse shoppers need for a self-indulgent purchase is assurance that they’re getting the best combination of low prices, ease-of-purchase, and brand reputability.

Test: Test creative that combines Black Friday deal messaging with a call-to-action to indulge in big-ticket, non-gift purchases, before it’s too late to take advantage of holiday savings.

Share gift card options

Also according to the NRF, holiday shoppers spend more than $31 billion per season on gift cards. As the holiday season progresses and shoppers miss the deadline for ordering gifts with guaranteed delivery before Christmas, there’s a huge opportunity to sell gift cards.

Sample holiday remarketing test

Hypothesis: Customers who have already made a purchase inevitably forget someone on their shopping list until it’s too late to order a gift.

Test: In the days leading up to Christmas, test creative around concepts like, “it’s not too late” and “did you forget someone important on your list?” to remarket holiday gift cards to customers who have already made a purchase from your site.

The holiday shopping season is like a stocking overflowing with holiday remarketing opportunities. Take advantage by testing variations of ad creative that target the early shoppers, the big-ticket item seekers, and the last-minute gift card buyers.

 

About the Authors

sarahSarah manages Content Marketing at Boost Media and leads a team of marketing professionals to drive revenue through complex B2B marketing campaigns in the ad tech industry. Prior to joining Boost, Sarah developed marketing and sales strategy at BNY Mellon, a top 10 private wealth management firm. In a former life, Sarah worked in journalism writing for magazines including Boston Magazine, The Improper Bostonian, and Luxury Travel. When she’s not writing engaging content, Sarah enjoys cooking, running, and yoga.

Karen AmundsonFormerly a Strategic Customer Success Manager for Boost Media’s top tier clients, Karen is the founder of Apiary Digital Media Collective which curates teams of experienced freelancers to deliver performance marketing solutions to growing brands. Karen has managed SEM accounts for Fortune 500 clients at Hearst Media’s digital agency, iCrossing. When she’s not helping brands to improve ROI, Karen enjoys getting outside backpacking and mountain biking.

About Boost Media

Boost Media increases advertiser profitability by using a combination of humans and a proprietary software platform to drive increased ad relevance at scale. The Boost marketplace comprises over 1,000 expert copywriters and image optimizers who compete to provide a diverse array of perspectives. Boost’s proprietary software identifies opportunities for creative optimization and drives performance using a combination of workflow tools and algorithms. Headquartered in San Francisco, the Boost Media optimization platform provides fresh, performance-driven creative in 12 localized languages worldwide.

Spruce Up Your Instagram Campaigns: 6 Tips for Fashion & Beauty Brands

By October 6th, 2015

After several months of testing and refining, Instagram advertising is now open to businesses of all sizes around the world! To make the most of the opportunity, follow this spotlight blog series for helpful tips specific to your industry or vertical.

To mark Instagram’s 5th birthday, we’re kicking things off today and celebrating all week, with two additional industry posts on Wednesday (automotive) and Thursday (consumer packaged goods). Happy birthday, Instagram!

 

Instagram is all about creative inspiration – captivating visuals with the power to move people. That’s why it’s such a great fit for fashion and beauty enthusiasts, who log in for easy-to-consume content on the looks and trends they love.

Now with over 400 million monthly active users, Instagram is a growing and engaged community that’s predicted to span one third of the entire Internet population by 2018. For fashion and beauty brands, this translates to a huge potential for gaining new lifetime customers.

Here are six tips on how to be part of Instagram’s haute couture:

1. Consider creating tailored regional accounts

A whopping 75% of Instagrammers live outside the US. Leverage this opportunity to reach a global audience by creating separate accounts for key markets. Then, for increased relevance, tailor your content accordingly by country or language. For example, if you know that fringe details are all the rage in Europe but not at all popular in North America, you can use that knowledge to showcase different trends on each account.

SephoraSephoraBrasil

Notice the difference between these Sephora and Sephora
Brasil posts.

2. Establish your organic presence and
follower base

If you’re just getting started with Instagram, step one is to establish a strong organic presence and build up your follower base. Post visually compelling images that tell a story, showcase your products or services, and convey your brand’s unique perspective. Also try posting Instagram-exclusive content that doesn’t appear on any other channel, to give your followers a reason to keep coming back.

3. Take things to the next level with some
ad spend

After you’ve built a healthy organic presence, the next step is to bolster your efforts through advertising spend. This will help you fend off the competition, keep engagement high, and wow your audiences along the way. And since Instagram no longer requires an insertion order or minimum spend to get started, it’s easy to begin advertising right away.

4. Experiment with both branding and direct response objectives

While most advertisers clearly recognize the value Instagram has for branding campaigns, the platform also offers an increasingly strong set of direct response options. This gives you the opportunity to start high-level with videos and images, and then draw users down the funnel and send them directly to product pages where they can make a purchase.

5. Get creative with cinemagraphs

Cinemagraphs combine the clarity of still images with the visual impact of video for a surprising and mesmerizing effect. A wide variety of brands, from Toyota to Budweiser, have tested these out. Perhaps one of the most compelling examples comes from fashion brand Stuart Weitzman, which used the technique to show off small and striking details. Instagram provides lots of room for creativity, and cinemagraphs can be an inventive way to stand out.

SW-optimized

Cinemagraphs, like this one from Stuart Weitzman, use small, eye-catching movements (click the image to see it in action).

6. Test or create relevant beauty and fashion hashtags

See what hashtags others are using, and incorporate them into your content. Or, create a specific hashtag just for your brand. For example, Estée Lauder created the #BestAngle hashtag to promote a contest, while L’Oreal Paris uses #RockYourLashes to promote their Miss Manga Rock mascara.

MissManga

L’Oreal Paris uses the #rockyourlashes hashtag to promote Miss Manga Rock mascara.

Fashion and beauty brands already live and breathe “visual,” so Instagram is a natural way to extend their messaging. If you’d like to learn how Marin Software can help advance your Instagram strategy, feel free to get in touch.

Resources

case