Unlocking the Potential of Social Media Advertising

Unlocking the Potential of Social Media Advertising

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Platforms like Instagram and TikTok weren’t built for traditional click-to-buy conversions – at launch, both were “unclickable” channels. That’s been a challenge for many of our clients and partners. How do you prove the true value of your social media advertising campaigns – and with it, secure the resources and funding needed to keep growing this mission-critical channel?

We recently worked with an e-commerce brand that was running Pinterest and TikTok campaigns. Like many brands, they were seeing limited conversions from these platforms, and that, they believed, was impacting ongoing growth.

We weren’t convinced, though. After reviewing responses to the client’s “how did you hear about us?” website survey, it was clear Pinterest and TikTok were having a significant impact – that impact, though, just didn’t follow the traditional attribution model. Based on the survey, many customers learned about the brand via social media, then later came to the website to browse and buy – a win for social media.

Validating social impact with geo-lift testing

To dig into this further, we launched a geo-lift test, looking at the regional impact surrounding the client’s latest paid social campaign.

As part of this type of test, we choose markets with similar purchase patterns and split them geographically. Those markets were split into two – a control and a test. In the test market, we would run paid social media campaigns with an eye on measuring the anticipated lift.

For this particular campaign, we segmented the country into three groups:

  1. Markets exposed to the paid TikTok campaign
  2. Markets exposed to the paid Pinterest campaign
  3. Control markets, where we ran no paid social campaigns

While platform conversions showed limited volume, the client’s “How Did You Hear About Us?” survey indicated many customers were gaining awareness of the company from social media. Our geo-lift test helped us go deeper, comparing the impact of running Pinterest and TikTok campaigns on user and conversion lift.

With this analysis, the impact was clear: Pinterest had a statistically significant impact on overall revenue, as well as users, sessions, and total transactions. In this case, TikTok didn’t. Armed with these real-time insights, the brand shifted its budget to Pinterest, which now is one of its primary lead gen – and revenue-driving – platforms.

With a traditional attribution model, the client would have assumed social media didn’t deliver – that it was a nice-to-have and brand community builder but not a meaningful lead source. In reality, though, Pinterest was powering engaged, active, top-of-the-funnel activity. And that’s key. But making this connection required thinking beyond traditional attribution and focusing on the incremental business lift.

For BCM, this represented a repeatable solution for our clients, especially those that are able to differentiate their approach at the geo level.

Billy is the Director of Performance Analytics for Beeby Clark+Meyler. Billy focuses on upleveling 3 key focus areas including automation and how to properly feed algorithms to drive results, media measurement using more formal statistical test design, and performance insights that focus on marketing intelligence and business growth drivers.