Thursday, March 12th, 2015 | 8 min read
Imagine serving up hyper-relevant social advertising content to consumers that intuits their interests, dreams, or plans at any given moment. Until now, pulling this off has required constant hands-on social listening and lots of time spent transferring data to advertising tools.
One of the coolest developments in paid social advertising is the ability to automatically generate ads based on smart listening practices. In other words, listening and paid work together in real-time to spot trends and capitalize on them as they happen.
Famous real-time social responses (like Oreo’s Dunk in the Dark tweet) are usually one-off creations that rely on quick thinking and viral success to make their mark. However, this kind of solution isn’t scalable, as it requires continuous management by an actual person and, to be honest, a little bit of luck.
On the other hand, an automated approach combining listening and paid can create truly personalized, relevant social ads for every customer, every day.
This requires fully integrating your listening strategy with paid media. But what does an integrated setup look like?
First, let’s take a look at how most enterprise companies coordinate collaboration between social listening and paid advertising.
Operating independently, a listening team might perform a detailed analysis of the market, profiling customers and grouping together like-minded clusters of users before handing over their research to the paid team, who will use the data to create targeted ads. The listening team will probably also keep tabs on conversations around trends and events that the brand can participate in through organic content or paid media.
In this scenario, a social listening tool enables an employee to monitor conversations and collect, sort, and store historical data for analysis. Listening and paid are working together, but they aren’t fully integrated – there’s still a lot of manual labor involved, and the listening and paid teams are largely siloed off from one another.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. This is where real-time advertising fed by social listening data comes in.
Full integration of paid and listening allows brands to create automated real-time ads that respond to relevant social trends. For example, a TV network could listen for trends that relate to its top series. If any actors from its series are trending, an ad featuring their latest episode could automatically be deployed.
So, if Terrence Howard (the star of the hit TV show Empire) is trending…
… Ads mentioning the actor are triggered automatically by a system of rules you set up in your social media marketing software:
Similarly, a travel agent could listen for trending destinations, attractions, countries, locations, or activities and then shift its budget to ads featuring trending topics that overlap with anything in its product range.
Or, if there is evidence that bookings go up when it rains, ads could be served to cities where “rain” is trending…
… showing inexpensive airfare options from that city’s airport to destinations where it is currently sunny:
When brands adopt a more agile way of advertising and create campaigns around real-time events, they take most of the guess work out of their paid strategy. Rather than planning activities around a calendar of events or trends that they expect to be popular, brands can build automated rule sets within their social platform that help them respond immediately (and automatically) to social trends related to their business.
When you automate processes in this way, you might worry that technology will be unable to pick up on the subtleties of language. Let’s stick with the travel example – perhaps you’re thinking, “What if a natural disaster inadvertently triggers an ad campaign for flights to the location of the disaster?”
Social listening can incorporate sentiment analysis to categorize positive and negative comments, so if there are negative terms associated with your chosen phrases or keywords, the ads won’t be served.
Listening can also improve advertising efficiency by weeding out brand detractors from the list of people who see a campaign. A brand can listen for negative comments and automatically add those users to “do not target” lists.
This means that you don’t waste your budget (and look a little foolish) by continuing to target people who post negative comments about your brand or campaign. This could be done manually, but an integrated system allows you to do it on the fly and keeps the list up-to-date.
Listening can also be used to tie paid social to advertising campaigns or sponsorships outside of social.
For example, if a brand launches a TV campaign or sponsors an event, it can listen for mentions of the TV shows that feature its ads, hashtags, or check-ins from the event and then target those users with follow-up content.
For example, an automotive brand could follow a TV ad at a football game with an offer to test drive on social channels.
Fully integrated social media management systems are designed with efficiency and scale in mind. They bring everything into a single platform so that automation can streamline tasks that don’t need human involvement. Then, they scale activity beyond what’s possible for even the largest social team.
Rules are the backbone of this automation. If listening data is united with ad creation on the same platform, brands can easily create rules that automatically generate ads when listening events happen.
So, in the same way that listening tools are set up to send alerts to a social media marketer based on triggers like trends or mentions, integrated platforms go further by actually deploying ads based on triggers. These rules can be as sophisticated as you want, including all the available targeting options, optimization decisions, budget limits, and restrictions.
When a brand delivers real-time, relevant advertising content to social media users based on trending topics, important cultural events, and user behavior across social platforms, they begin to lay a foundation of consistently delightful customer experiences. And a customer’s experience of a brand – whether it be on the phone, on Twitter, in a Facebook comment thread, or in a store – greatly influences their purchasing behavior.
Remember, your brand is the sum of your customers’ experience at every brand touchpoint.
About the Author: Niels Kvaavik is Sprinklr’s Director of Paid Media Services for North America. He has over 10 years of sales and business experience in the SaaS space.