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BrandTotal on the Importance of a Strategic Approach to Social Advertising


It’s been quite a year, hasn’t it? While some companies have flourished, others have fallen by the wayside, unable to compete in quickly changing (and unexpected) market conditions. So we wondered, what are companies doing to survive and thrive online in these difficult times?

Our research and experience with customers shows us that companies that benchmark their social advertising efforts against the competition are able to pivot quickly to address shifts in consumer behavior, customer demand, and competitive campaigns. But it’s not always easy.

Recent research published by BrandTotal gives us some indication of that. For example, in a recent survey of 500 U.S.-based CMOs conducted by Pollfish on behalf of BrandTotal in April 2021, 87% of respondents said that while they had a tool to measure the impact of their creative performance, only 37% of respondents actually benchmarked their creatives against rival brands’ advertising creative with a creative intelligence tool.

So, how can you know how your company is performing in social advertising, especially when it comes to brand metrics such as share of voice, consumer sentiment, consumer engagement, share of topic, and other data? Let’s take a closer look at this important strategy, starting with key challenges.

Why Is So Hard to Optimize Media and Creative when Advertising on Social Media?

There are several reasons that make strategic social advertising so difficult:

  • Marketers measure themselves in a silo. That is, you against yourself and maybe some additional competitive data from digital, TV, offline monitoring tools, and snapshot-in-time consumer panels.This data is primarily performance data like CTR/CPM or engagement data such as likes on organic posts, but we all know that’s only one element of a brand’s multidimensional impact, especially on social and ecommerce platforms where consumers don’t just click — they think, they feel, they interact, they fall in love, and they hate — in real time. Unfortunately, the way marketers measure doesn’t give you real-time insight into your entire brand’s competitive landscape.
  • Dark marketing makes competitive comparisons difficul With 85% of today’s digital marketing hidden from view and fragmented across multiple channels, how can you see how your brand marketing measures up to the competition, much less how it can be strategically optimized? That’s a big problem, especially when you are being asked to make data-driven brand decisions to support growth and performance. But to do that, we’ve seen marketers sift through data from dozens of tools, becoming buried under piles of fragmented, disjointed data sets — leading to an average time to ad optimization of 14 days. Clearly, that’s no way to win share of wallet.
  • We haven’t had the right tools to see the full picture. Brands need to decipher which creatives drive the most engagement and positive consumer sentiment quickly and effectively with data, not gut feelings. But, they lack the tools to quantify, measure, and optimize the top and middle of the funnel just as you would the bottom of the funnel. That’s because the vast majority of today’s martech tools focus more on measuring the bottom of the funnel — the conversion point itself — and less on the top and mid-funnel efficacy metrics. The bottom line? Siloed data points in separate sets and fragmented metrics are not enough; if anything, they only add to the white noise of unfiltered big data.

How to Benchmark Against Rival Brands to Improve Your Social Advertising

We here at BrandTotal believe that to optimize your social advertising strategy, you must be able to directly address the key challenges listed above, and one way to do that is with competitive social advertising intelligence, which enables you to:

  • Access your competitors’ social advertising media performance
  • Learn How, Where, Why, When, Who, and What is working instantly
  • Benchmark against your competition in real time with Complete Social SOV
  • Analyze competitors’ insights and reverse-engineer their social strategy
  • Win wallet share and outsmart your competition.

Tools like BrandTotal can act as the one stop for all competitive social ads paired with real (and real-time) consumer response on that ad or campaign. With unparalleled campaign granularity and 100% visibility into paid social dark advertising, you get third-party validation of your social performance benchmarked against the competition. Shorten the time to ad optimization from an average of 14 days to 24 hours. And – no more relying on dubious stats from social channels that don’t correlate to anything else. Moreover, such a tool helps you identify better creative so you can produce optimized content, faster and shorten time to creative by 50%.

Doesn’t that sound like a smarter way to manage your brand’s social advertising? To see the power of BrandTotal, the company has recently released dozens of industry research reports based on the data we collect. In BrandTotal’s new monthly Social Competitive Intelligence Snapshots, we reveal key trends and benchmarks to help you outsmart the competition while optimizing your brand ROI. Get an in-depth review of the competitive marketing in your industry to understand who’s winning at paid social across channels and which channels are most successful at driving SOV and engagement.

A Crystal Ball Looking Into the Future

While it’s been a rocky year, to say the least, we are heartened by the fact that many businesses have pivoted to a strategic approach to social advertising to help them stand up and stand out against their rival brands and better connect with their consumer audiences. As the world returns to a new, new normal, advertisers will continue to move toward social commerce and direct-to-consumer marketing to engage their potential customers and create loyal fans. And when they do, BrandTotal will be there to help those brands understand their competition’s strategy and uncover whitespace opportunities to win. Here’s to the future!