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paid social media and retailers: a modern-day love story

When was the last time you made a purchase, browsed a store or scrolled through a product page? We’ll hazard a guess it was very recently. The UK retail sector continues to flourish, after a brief dip in 2020 due to covid, retail sales growth is on a steady incline, with a 4.7 percent increase in 2022.  

But with a growing market comes stiff competition. Brands need to stand out from the crowd and reach their target audience.  

the steady rise of social media  

Retail isn’t the only industry seeing tremendous growth. Social media continues to dominate the online world. Once a place to connect with friends, social platforms now offer an unmatched opportunity to reach, engage and sell to consumers.  

Your social content falls into two categories, organic and paid. Organic content helps to tie in your brand identity, boosting awareness and visibility of your who, what, where and why. Simply put, paid social delivers your message far and wide to a targeted and relevant audience. 

paid social and retail 

Paid ads on social media are a great tool for retailers to:  

  • reach new audiences 

  • re-engage those who have shown interest before 

  • promote products to relevant groups 

But the real beauty of social ads lies in the power of their targeting capabilities, allowing your brand to hone in on those more likely to convert. Social advertising allows you to target specific demographics, life events such as birthdays, interests, locations and more. In an overcrowded industry, you can focus your time, money and resource on targeting worthwhile audiences.  

With a plethora of options to choose from, we’ve taken a look at the most popular social media platforms in the UK and the benefits of advertising on them.  

advertising on meta 

Mark Zuckerberg made headlines in 2021 when he announced Meta. The social brand of all brands, Meta brings together Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and a whole host of other companies.  

Alongside existing paid social activities, Meta released their Advantage+ Shopping campaigns at the end of 2022 to improve campaign performance through automation. The tool can be used to dial down workload, enabling advertisers to improve performance, while cutting back on the time spent creating ads. Using machine learning, Advantage+ enables marketers to test 150 creative campaigns and deliver the best-performing ones to highly relevant audiences.  

While a relatively new tool, Advantage+ has reported promising results. Advertisers have seen Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) decrease by 17 percent, while Return On Ad Spend (ROAS) are on the up by a healthy 32 percent.   

is facebook paid advertising worth it? 

Facebook has often been regarded as an ageing platform. But don’t always believe the rumours. Just shy of three billion active users in 2022, Facebook has the greatest reach of all social platforms and offers huge, often untapped, potential.  

Boasting 140 billion reel watches every day, it’s clear that this platform offers an almost unparalleled reach. Even more impressively, Facebook video ads have a whopping 10-30 percent higher watch rate than other ad forms, proving once more that if you’re not investing in video Facebook, you’re losing out.  

instagram and your brand  

There’s no doubt Instagram is one of the most popular social media giants. With over two billion users, and in-platform features such as stories boasting 1.44 billion daily users, retailers who aren’t harnessing Instagram’s capabilities are missing a trick.  

Originally born as a photo-sharing app, Instagram has seen huge growth and development over the years. Not one to rest on its laurels, the app continuously looks for ways to implement new and exciting technologies, and 2023 is proving to be no different. We expect to see the platform play around with new forms of content such as augmented reality (AR) and 3D posts. An interesting development for retailers, who are already exploring how AR can support engagement with customers.  

Offering a multitude of ad options including basic ads, carousel, reels and story-based ads, reaching your brand's target audience has never been easier. As part of Meta, Instagram has best-in-class targeting solutions so your ads can be displayed in front of highly relevant audiences thanks to its customer segmenting capabilities. When combined with ‘Instagram Shopping’ where purchases can be made in-app, it’s clear to see why Instagram is a firm favourite.  

increase your sales with pinterest  

With over 400 million monthly users, Pinterest’s offering is unique to other social platforms. Considered a window to the future, their ‘Pinterest Predicts’ looks at trends that are set to gain traction in the coming year. What makes this so interesting? Over the past three years, 80 percent of their predictions have come true. Backed by data and a whole host of analysis, Pinterest trends are a proven thing and retailers should be paying close attention.  

With 61 percent of Pinterest users stating that the platform is their starting point for new projects, retail and Pinterest are a match made in heaven. When combined with the fact that 97 percent of searches are unbranded, the potential for companies to reach a high-intent audience is almost unheard of elsewhere.  

An audience unique to Pinterest, users arrive on their platform with specific intent and purpose. They have an idea of what they’re looking for but want Pinterest to inspire them and show potential products to purchase. This is particularly poignant for retailers, who can tailor their ads to an already engaged audience. Possibly why Pinterest has on average a two times higher return on ad spend than any other platform. 

For 2023, the homeware sector is expected to flourish on Pinterest. As the cost-of-living crisis continues and house prices skyrocket, people are looking to reinvigorate what they already have. Budget home makeovers are on the rise as people maximise their space so home decor, DIY, and homeware brands should be making the most. 

tiktok: what’s all the fuss about? 

TikTok has taken social media by storm with over one billion users. Originally considered an app for the younger generation, and wildly popular with Gen Z, TikTok's reach grows monthly, attracting a wider, and older, crowd.  

As user-generated content (UGC )continues to be an integral part of the buying journey, TikTok is a great place to get creative with your ads and reach new audiences. Take the trend #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt, which has amassed over 37 billion views, and a staggering 40 percent of users admit to buying an item after seeing it on the platform; the TikTok influence can’t be disputed. Retailers, in particular, have seen huge success, with 56 percent of users reporting that the platform has introduced them to new brands and products, and 48 percent intend to make a purchase through TikTok in the coming months.  

With a plethora of advertising options, in-feed ads are one way to reach users, with ads integrated into users’ For You Pages. Be aware users can skip ads so creating engaging, authentic and quick videos are a must to capture attention and gain interest. With the ability to embed links into your ads, users simply need to click on your video if the product is of interest. 

Consumers continue to favour user-generated content (UGC) and search for authenticity online. TikTok offers a way to connect with your audience and show another side to your brand. By using TikTok’s advertising capabilities, working with influencers, and interacting with your audience directly, the platform creates a connection between users and brands like never before. 

start your love affair with paid social

There you have it, social media and retail; a modern-day love story. Two separate but interconnected industries which can be unstoppable together.  

If your brand is looking to up your social game but you feel lost in a sea of ever-changing algorithms and updates, our team of social experts can help. With a wealth of experience in paid social and working with big-name brands like Naturewall, we can create a tailored strategy to help you achieve your goals.  

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