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    In times of uncertainty, advertisers must go back to the ‘new’ basics

    In challenging times, brands have an opportunity to aggressively win market share – but they need to go back to basics quickly. We speak to Sam Bevan, EMEA director of emerging at Snap, to find out how.

    Economic instability, a looming global recession, a cost of living crisis; just when we thought the worst of the pandemic was behind us, the road ahead for marketing remains rocky. The latest IPA Bellwether report suggests that the mood among marketers is low – with nearly half (40.3%) of survey respondents pessimistic about their own business prospects.

    With more market uncertainty ahead and many brands pulling back – the IPA slashing its ad growth forecast from 3.5% to 1.6% for the remainder of 2022 – it might seem all doom and gloom. But for the optimists out there, it’s an opportunity to capitalize and aggressively win market share.

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    Rather than cutting budgets, brands should embrace this moment to double down and get more efficient with their spending. By taking the long-term view and maintaining (if not increasing) advertising spend, profitability has been shown to outweigh the short-term savings. Just look at recessions of the past where brands like Kellogg’s, Toyota, Amazon and Pizza Hut were able to win market share by ramping up their advertising efforts at a time when competitors dialed back.

    Fast forward to the environment we find ourselves in today and to drive bottom line business results, marketers need to go back to ‘new’ basics – and quickly, urges Sam Bevan, EMEA director of emerging at Snap.

    “With every challenge comes an opportunity,” he says. “There are going to be challenging circumstances for businesses of all shapes and sizes, but this creates a huge opportunity to grow your voice on platforms and scale because it’s a more competitive and cost-effective way of reaching your core audience.”

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    Navigating a shifting digital environment

    The difference now versus past recessions is that the digital landscape has fundamentally changed – not only in terms of how content is being created and consumed, but how media is bought and the ways in which advertisers track, measure and create audiences.

    “The biggest shift we’re seeing amid this uncertainty is that we’re operating in a more privacy-centric environment,” says Bevan. “This means that advertisers are going to have to start shifting to server-to-server (S2S) integrations with platforms, through things like the Conversions API (CAPI).”

    Moving on from its software development kit (SDK), Snap Pixel, CAPI is a structured, privacy-centric interface that allows advertisers to directly pass web, app and offline events to Snap via an S2S integration. In doing so, it allows the system to optimize ad campaigns, improve targeting and measure the conversions resulting from a Snapchat campaign.

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    What’s more, it has been built with privacy in mind giving the advertiser control over what and when to share data, and allows for stronger optimization to drive more efficient cost per action, in addition to robust targeting opportunities and improved measurement solutions.   

    “In light of all these changes, we need to ensure that, as a platform, the advertiser’s data marries ours to ensure that we are targeting the right people at the right time in the right place,” explains Bevan. “Without that, it really inhibits some of the traditional forms of digital advertising that people are used to. It’s almost like going back to the new basics to make sure you have the foundations in place.”

    Scaling up while others dial down

    By scaling up when the competition is pulling back, brands will be in a stronger position when the market starts to pick up again. Going back to basics will require a few key steps:

    1. Set yourself up for success by using CAPI to track, measure and create audiences and reach users at a more effective rate due to auction density and low competition

    2. Start to capitalize on fast-growing audiences that are hard to find on other platforms

    3. Continuously innovate by making the most of existing formats today, while leaning into new solutions like augmented reality (AR)

    4. Start testing performance today and learning from the trends to prepare to scale.

    “Don’t fall for this narrative of doom and gloom, now is the time for brands to win,” says Bevan. “Our auctions are going to become more competitive, there’s going to be more ability to reach audiences at a much more effective rate and now is the time to grow your voice on platforms to capitalize on the share that you typically wouldn’t have been able to in the past.”

    To hear more about the opportunity for brands as we enter the festive shopping season, watch the first in a new four-part series from The Drum and Snap here [link to video on Drum TV].

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