Social media advertising can be daunting, especially as brands juggle multiple social media platforms. The average person uses around eight different social media accounts, which can make it tricky for brands to keep their branding and communication consistent and up-to-date.
As a result, many leading brands have turned to automation to solve time-consuming processes that involve audience engagement and customized content. Automation has become critical especially for brands looking to scale up.
Ironically, automating your social advertising can lead to a more personalized social media experience for your customers, making it easier to create meaningful connections and build loyal customer relationships. In addition, social advertising platforms help you focus on more important things, like marketing strategy and creative concepts.
Automating isn’t only about saving time, but managing resources and gaining better insights into how you’re performing across platforms. It’s great for quick pivots — great social advertising means staying on top of trends: you should be able to respond instantly to a global phenomenon or a viral meme across different platforms.
We spoke with Mark de Bruijn, Director of Marketing for EMEA at Smartly.io, a company that specializes in social advertising — their platform and automation capabilities include everything from creative production to campaign management, ad buying, and reporting, all in one platform.
“When we talk about automating social advertising, there are almost unlimited options — the question is where automation can help to provide a better customer experience,” de Bruijn explains.
Smartly.io enables the collaboration between performance marketing and creative teams. “That is still quite unique,” says de Bruijn. “However, we have seen that successful brands who automate their social advertising are also able to break silos by encouraging these teams to collaborate closely resulting in great results.”
Here are four reasons why social advertising automation is a smart move.
1. Automation is faster, making your brand more agile
The most obvious benefit of automation is speed.
Social advertising management can be tedious and repetitive, especially when you’re doing it in bulk across different platforms that each have their own media formats and dimensions.
“Think about managing campaigns, developing various ads for every product you sell, for example, all of that can be much faster,” notes de Bruijn. Brands still retain control over the look of an ad, but importing, pricing, resizing and other technical tasks can be automated.
“Being agile is imperative for brands nowadays,” he says. “Think about what happened with COVID and the retail industry, for example: brands had a big focus on communicating opening hours and store locations and that changed to meeting customer needs with curbside pickups and flexible delivery options.”
And here’s another huge benefit: automating social ads also frees up time and resources for creative work. “Even though we’re talking about automation, the big potential for automation lies in creative production,” says de Bruijn. “Automation helps you to always stay on-brand while saving a lot of valuable hours that you can instead invest on creating new concepts — creative is what essentially attracts people and makes it a better experience.”
2. Next-level advertising
Automation means you can create next-level advertising that keeps up with real-time, real-world changes.
One of de Bruijn’s favorite Smartly.io case studies is a weather-based ad campaign for Dutch retailer HEMA. The Netherlands has notoriously fickle weather, and HEMA wanted to do something different for cold and rainy weather forecasts. Being able to pivot ad content around the weather required a fast, agile solution.
Smartly.io’s Automated Ads and Instant Experience templates helped HEMA to connect local weather forecasts to their product catalog. If the forecast expected it to rain, ads would display products suitable for the weather. If temperatures were going to drop, HEMA would advertise warm clothing.
The campaign also included stock availability and pricing that helped create a personal relationship with the HEMA customers — a relationship that felt like HEMA was really looking out for someone caught in the rain. The result wasn’t just emotional, it was material, too; Smartly.io helped them to get a 27% higher ROI and a 25% lower CPA compared to other weather-based ad campaigns.
3. Automation offers better insights
With better results, a smart marketing team also needs better insights.
“If you have one platform for your social advertising, with crystal clear reporting across all channels, you’re able to see the ROI from all the channels, and to even see results on the campaign level. It gives clarity and transparency, especially for performance marketers.”
Better insights can lead to the holy grail: ad conversions. Smartly.io helped the Brazilian real estate portal VivaReal to adapt their Facebook Lead Ad campaign to ease user experience and make sure no prospects were left behind. The result was four times more conversions, with 80 percent less cost per lead.
In a totally different field, Smartly.io helped bring real-time insights to ThirdLove, a bra and underwear company that champions confidence and comfort. Working directly with data from ad buying, Thirdlove was able to create, test, and optimize creative content across different channels quickly and effectively, with a 23% increase in ROAS.
4. It’s way more efficient
Finally, automation frees you up to try new things, work on strategic planning, and conduct better tests. Besides the fact that automation creates a better end product for the customer, it means you can spend more time working on creating even better customer experiences.
A great example is the Smartly.io campaign for the Dutch supermarket chain Albert Heijn, which focused on weekly offer advertising. Using Smartly.io’s Digital Circular tool, Albert Heijn reduced time spent on campaign management from three hours to five minutes, saw a 38 percent increase in reach among their target audience, and 26 percent more traffic to the website. It also created a much more dynamic (and accurate), personalized experience for shoppers.
For the meal kit company HelloFresh, Smartly.io helped drive a 300% increase in efficiency thanks to its Automated Ads and Video Templates.
For a seasoned marketing veteran like de Bruijn, Smartly.io isn’t just about technology and intelligent automation. “The true value is that you save time and can do more of the things you love. By creating a memorable experience across platforms, you meet and connect with your customers at different stages of their shopping journeys and that helps build trust and long lasting customer relationships.”