This post is sponsored by Smartly.io.
Social media is changing fast, and advertisers will need to know how they can prepare for the most exciting (and most challenging) year in the social media advertising landscape to date. From our annual survey with top CMOs in APAC, over a third will increase spend on social media advertising.
Consumer behaviour has changed significantly following the COVID-19 pandemic which saw many countries in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region enforcing lockdown restrictions. As a result, consumers spent more time online, and online purchases increased substantially.
While today’s consumers are active on an average of eight social media platforms, this brings about not just more opportunities for brands to advertise on various social media platforms and stand out from their competitors by leveraging brand creatives and stories, but it also poses some challenges for advertisers.
Digital advertising has become more important than ever in this market, and brands see the potential of advertising across various social media platforms.
Every year, Smartly.io conducts the largest known research of how some of the world’s biggest brands plan their social advertising for the upcoming year. This year is no exception – but we decided to go one step further and make the report more relevant for the APAC marketing teams by surveying APAC-specific brands across various industries. With this report, advertisers can understand key social media marketing trends across APAC and gain actionable insights which will set them up for success.
The future of social has arrived. So how do you get a head start?
1. Build a diverse social media advertising strategy
In 2022, brands will need to plan for a multi-platform social media strategy. More customer touch-points (that is, social platforms) often cause the customer journey to become more fragmented which results in a difficulty to predict the customer journey. This fragmented journey is especially true for social platforms, as today’s consumers use different social platforms for various reasons.
Ultimately, consumers now determine their own journey. They may discover a product on YouTube, turn to Instagram for a more authentic product experience, and ultimately purchase a product through Facebook. Therefore, advertisers need to ensure they have an active presence on all social platforms to deliver memorable experiences along every step of the journey.
A whopping 91% of respondents said they planned to increase spend on Facebook in 2022, and 70% said they would invest more on Instagram ads. To help brands on their social media advertising journey, we currently partner with all major social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, and TikTok, and work with more than 700 major advertisers globally.
We have also recently acquired Ad-Lib.io, which is a Google-certified creative partner, and currently work with 10 of the top 30 global advertisers.
As consumer journeys become evermore complex, brands need to meet shoppers whenever and wherever they are. That means brands need to plan for a multi-platform social strategy that speaks to consumers at all touch-points and mindsets along the way to purchase.
2. Keep your focus on talent
As the budgets and a greater focus of the advertising industry shifts to social media – and more and more platforms emerge for social marketers to manage – there is a growing need for social advertising talent. With the current situation where organisations have a limited number of talented social advertisers there simply aren’t enough hands to properly execute all social campaigns.
Moreover, 72.3% of respondents said their social media advertising creation and delivery involve manual processes that are often time consuming. As the number of targeted social platforms and content formats increases, these advertisers won’t be able to keep up.
The manual work can demotivate talent, as it takes time away from the more fulfilling creative and strategic functions of the job. To add, 51.5% of respondents name lack of talent as one of their biggest internal challenges to their social media advertising processes.
Brands will need to prioritise employees and take a closer look at the actual work being done in 2022, and rethink the ways of working as well to retain their talent in this competitive market.
3. Step up your automation game
In 2022, automation will blend into a broader range of processes in both the creation and delivery of social media ads. The rise of multi-platform advertising and the reshuffling of talent means that the demand for, and use of social advertising automation tools, has never been greater.
Currently, 66.3% of respondents do not use automation technology for their social media, but are interested in automating some parts of this process. Respondents see their teams potentially gaining additional bandwidth after automating social media advertising processes, which means they will have more time to execute strategies and monitor the progress of those strategies more effectively.
Brands need to leverage new tools which allow advertisers to effortlessly generate, launch and scale social ads, with just a few clicks. With robust automation systems such as the Smartly.io platform, advertisers can manage their sprawling campaigns, all in one place, and easily co-ordinate and optimise creatives across platforms and formats.
Smartly.io’s creative automation tools and templates draw on your product catalogue or data sources to customise your creatives, plugging in localised offers, price and copy variations. With automation, the work of social advertising isn’t just more efficient, but also fun and interesting for your top talent.
The advertisers that will emerge as winners in 2022 are the ones who embrace automation to reduce manual work, and use it to drive campaigns across different social media platforms.
Learn more about the survey here and start your plan for social media advertising strategies and budgets in this ever-changing landscape.
The writer is Riikka Söderlund, global director of marketing, Smartly.io.
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