5 ways brands can tap into the social-mobile news feed

Social-Mobile News Feed

And how marketers can use mobile to improve social media effectiveness in 2013

The social news feed can be one of the most engaging places to distribute brand content to your audience. Effectiveness increases even more if the content (or ads) are viewed on our most personal medium – the smartphone.

As time spent on social networks and mobile devices continues to rise, it’s more difficult than ever for marketers to connect with consumers through traditional advertising. And it won’t be getting easier any time soon. In 2013, we’ll need to focus on figuring out how to crack a non-traditional channel that will make or break brands: The real-time mobile news feed

At the macro level, Mary Meeker’s 2012 year-end Internet trends presentation highlights that mobile usage is now 13% of all global Internet traffic. Just 3 years ago, it was 1%. This year in India, mobile surpassed desktop traffic. Other countries will follow.

Why is it critical for brands to quickly adopt a mobile-first social strategy?

Facebook Mobile MAUs Trending

  • In Q3 2012, Facebook reported that 60% of users access Facebook on mobile every month (604 million people out of 1.01 billion). That’s an increase of 61% year-over-year
  • Facebook’s US mobile users spend over eight hours a month on the social network, which represents 30% of time spent on the top 10 mobile properties
  • Linkedin is reporting that 23% of their traffic now comes from mobile devices (compared to just 10% a year ago)
  • Instagram tops Twitter in daily US mobile usage and time spent, averaging 257 minutes per month (source: comScore)

As people take in more social content on their most personal medium, brands have the added difficulty of attempting to capture attention in this fast moving, real-time social feed. A small screen filled primarily with personal updates from friends is not the place to serve traditional ad units.

Companies are struggling to come up with effective social marketing and advertising strategies to monetize this shifting consumer behavior. The market is hedging their bets on the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin figuring this out. There is no doubt that they will. Twitter, which began selling mobile ads in February, announced that mobile ad revenue often surpasses desktop. Facebook had some much needed positive news when mobile revenue grew to 14% of their total ad revenue in Q3 of this year.

Even as mobile and social marketing becomes more prevalent in 2013, the reality is that most people have a finite amount of time & resources to truly understand the nuances. And when it comes to driving effective social & mobile brand activation, the devil is definitely in the details. Media strategies, audience targeting and creative ad formats are ‘native’ to each social network, making it very difficult to replicate at scale.

How can brands start to make an impact in the new social-mobile reality? Here are 5 ways of improving marketing effectiveness through the mobile news feed:

1. Right size social ad investment on mobile. Identify what % of your desired audience uses social media on their smartphones. Then, confirm what % of your social ad buy is placed on mobile devices. There will probably be a gap. Close the gap by placing more ads in mobile news feeds, thus reaching a greater percentage of your target audience with your message.

2. Track and measure social advertising performance on mobile to understand the most effective combination of networks, new ad formats, creative, and targeting options. Continually optimize mobile ad buys, while ensuring the strategy supports your overall brand objectives and social goals.

3. Make social apps mobile. If you’re investing in Facebook Page tabs and apps that are not viewable on mobile devices, stop the madness. For the applications that continue to be part of your social strategy next year, start making your Facebook apps mobile — and only develop apps if you are committed to using paid media to drive mobile app installs. The easiest way to burn money is to build an app and then expect it to be successful after only posting a few updates to existing fans.

4. Connect brands to real-time social TV. Extend the ROI of your TV media buys & sponsorships by integrating a Social TV component. In a typical day, 77% of TV viewers use another screen at the same time, while 42% simultaneously used a social network on their companion device (source: Google). Don’t waste the opportunity to drive deeper brand engagement. Set a goal to ‘test & learn’ at least 5 second screen strategies in 2013.

5. Use content to drive immediate revenue. Understand how to use the social mobile feed to create instant spikes in traffic and sales. Design a content plan to reach customers with shareable promotions (e.g., Facebook Offers, Foursquare Promoted Updates) that drive incremental revenue in store or online.

As we prepare to activate social marketing and media plans in 2013, let’s ask ourselves if the brands we work on are truly set-up to make an impact in the mobile news feed. It’s probably safe to say that there will be a lot of learning ahead — but, the brands that crack the new social-mobile reality will be in a much better position to win in the years to come.

How do you think brands can better capitalize on the social-mobile news feed in 2013?

Photo Credit: themonnie on Flickr

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