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What Is Retargeting? How To Set Up an Ad Retargeting Campaign

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What Is Retargeting? How To Set Up an Ad Retargeting Campaign

In college, I took an advertising class. It taught me what I needed to know about traditional advertising, but the social media portion wasn’t as expansive.

When we covered Facebook Advertising, for example, I found it difficult to follow along with a lack of examples and the lofty overview of content. Because of that, I decided to look online for a deeper take on the subject.

Free Lookbook: 50 Facebook Ad Examples That We Actually Clicked

I ended up watching a video that covered a subject I’d struggled with in class — retargeting. The video gave an overview of the concept, then went in-depth about how that looks on Facebook with vibrant examples, really helping a visual learner like me.

If you‘ve never used retargeting before, don’t worry.

I’ll go through the basics of how retargeting works, explain how you can use it to support your larger marketing goals, and outline an example of a Facebook Ad retargeting campaign.

How Retargeting Campaigns Work

Retargeting is a dynamic digital marketing strategy designed to engage potential customers who‘ve shown interest in your brand but haven’t converted.

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And they work, with brands seeing an increase in search of 1046% with retargeting ads. Primarily, there are two methodologies behind it: pixel-based and list-based. Each has its unique advantages based on your campaign goals.

Pixel-Based Retargeting

Pixel-based retargeting reconnects you with anonymous website visitors, offering a seamless and instantaneous means of re-engaging potential customers post-visit.

Here’s how it unfolds:

  • A visitor browses your site
  • A small JavaScript, commonly called a pixel, is embedded in their browser—essentially “cookie-ing” the visitor
  • As the visitor continues their online journey, the pixel signals retargeting platforms, like Google Ads or Facebook Ads, to serve tailored ads based on their site activity

The key advantages of pixel-based retargeting include:

  • Immediacy: Reconnects with visitors almost instantly after they leave your website
  • Relevance: Delivers ads that reflect specific pages or products they browsed
  • Behavioral Insights: Employs user behavior to make ads more targeted

Downsides to this method are that there is a lower volume of people in the campaign at any given moment in time since it’s all based on how often people are coming to your website, viewing certain pages, and leaving.

It also can be complicated or time-intensive to implement JavaScript on many website pages.

List-Based Retargeting

List-based retargeting activates once you‘ve gathered users’ contact details, presenting an opportunity for ultra-personalized advertising.

The workflow is straightforward:

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  • You upload a list of email addresses to a platform, like Facebook or Twitter.
  • The platform identifies users with matching emails and serves them specific ads.

Though it‘s a little less common than pixel-based retargeting, list-based retargeting allows you to have highly customizable criteria for your ads because it’s based on more than behavior — you’re choosing who goes in which list.

On the flip side, it‘s possible that a person in your list gave you one email address and the social network another — and in that case, they won’t see your ads.

Also keep in mind that because you are in charge of uploading and maintaining the list, list-based retargeting also is less automatic and timely than pixel-based retargeting.

Retargeting vs. Remarketing

If you‘ve ever heard of the term “retargeting,” it’s likely it was in comparison to remarketing. And while the two are often mistaken for each other, they do have differences. Let’s talk about when you would use either.

Retargeting focuses on using ads to recapture the attention of potential leads based on their online behavior. Imagine seeing an ad showcasing a specific collection from an online store you recently browsed — that’s retargeting at work.

It essentially personalizes the message to resonate with the viewer, emphasizing products or services relevant to their interests.

Remarketing is more about rekindling relationships with past or inactive customers through targeted content, often emails.

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If you‘ve ever received an email alert about a cart you abandoned or a membership nearing its expiry, you’ve been at the receiving end of remarketing.

The essence here is to craft messages that reignite interest and drive action, capitalizing on the existing brand familiarity.

A retargeted ad helps those who’ve never heard of your company understand how your product or service fits into their lifestyle or solves a potential problem. Retargeting helps you make the message more personal.

When you analyze sales, you can determine what‘s popular among the audiences you’re aiming to reach.

For example, if you find that a certain line of products perform really well among millennials, pull images of them into a carousel ad and use it to retarget customers.

The personalization of a separate ad promoting a collection, aimed at a segment of your target market, is one example of how retargeting can be successful.

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Take this ad I saw today. Despite never having made a purchase from Nasty Gal, this ad showed up on my News Feed:

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This ad introduces Nasty Gal to new leads (like me) by giving an overview of diverse clothes that are popular among target audiences.

It‘s likely I saw this ad because I fit into Nasty Gal’s target audience set on Facebook, and because my previous behavior on the social channel involved looking for reviews of similar clothing retailers.

On the other hand, to re-engage a lost or inactive customer, you might decide to use remarketing. This strategy aims to improve customer relationships by utilizing marketing tactics that rest on a more urgent, personal appeal.

Essentially, if you want to give customers an incentive to purchase again from your company, turn to remarketing.

For customers that are already acquainted with your brand and have shown a need for your product, create a personalized message to reignite their interest.

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For example, if your company offers a membership, remarket to those whose memberships are expiring and are up for renewal. This email I received is an example:

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This marketing email not only served as a reminder to renew my subscription but was also Thrive Market’s way of reminding me about the benefits of being a member.

In the email, I got to see how much I saved by using the grocery service, where my membership money was being spent, and was offered a special promotion to renew.

Because I was already familiar with the brand, Thrive was able to use the email to add personal touches and provide a snapshot of what I can enjoy (again) as a member.

Like retargeting, this tactic is successful when messages inspire action. The email’s CTAs, like “Browse our options here!” told me that I could peruse my options in one click, so I did. Use remarketing efforts to remind customers of the perks that come with shopping with your brand, like easy shopping access.

Retargeting Ad Goals

Now that we have the background for how retargeting works and the different types of audiences you can segment by, we can focus on goals.

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The main types of retargeting campaigns you should consider running are those for awareness and those for conversion.

Generate awareness.

Awareness campaigns are useful when you want to re-engage website visitors and tell them about relevant products, features, or announcements. These ads are usually served to pixel-based lists.

The obvious drawback to awareness campaigns is that you‘re serving less targeted content to people who haven’t engaged heavily with your brand.

They’re not in your contacts database, and often, there are lower expected clickthrough rates than other types of campaigns.

However, since the goal is to make prospects aware of your business, impressions and engagement are acceptable metrics to track. Often awareness campaigns are precursors to a much more effective campaign goal: conversions.

Drive conversions.

Conversion goals are just that — you want to get people to click on your ad and take a next step, such as filling out a landing page form.

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Conversion campaigns are best used to align a specific list with a clear next step in the flywheel, and can be measured with typical conversion metrics like website clicks, form submission, and cost-per-lead (CPL).

The best thing about a conversion campaign is that you can use it for multiple parts of the flywheel. Pixel-based ads, for instance, generate leads and will direct people to landing pages where they can give over their information.

List-based ads better qualify those leads. Ads will appear to contacts who gave you limited information and lead them to longer forms with additional fields.

Complete the buyer’s journey.

Additionally, retargeting can be used to move qualified leads to complete the buyer’s journey cycle.

For example, you might use retargeting to send a list of contacts that have downloaded an ebook and invite them to sign up for a free trial of your product.

When they see how your tool can help them meet their goals, they may be inspired to become a paying customer.

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Increase customer lifetime value (CLTV).

Customer lifetime value is the amount of money you can expect from a single customer throughout their entire relationship with your business.

When using retargeting, customers are reminded of your brand and encouraged to continue making purchases. The more purchases they make, the higher their CLTV.

Reduce cart abandonment.

Cart abandonment is when a customer places something in their shopping cart in your online store, but leaves your website instead of checking out and making a payment.

Retargeting can help you recover these customers that have abandoned their carts and serve as a reminder that the item they were interested in is still available and ready for purchase.

Introduce new products.

When you know that customers have visited your website, made a purchase, or shown general interest in your business, retargeting helps you share new products with them that align with their interests.

When they see your ads, you can lead them directly back to your site to discover your new product and entice them to follow through with a purchase.

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Regardless of your goal, it is important to align the positioning, creative, and next step in the conversion process — whether that’s an offer landing page, site page, or request for more information — with your audience list.

List-based retargeting can have low match rates (users synced with accounts on each platform, usually by email address), so make sure you’re fueling your retargeting activities with inbound content.

Retargeting Platforms and Tools

Truthfully, you’ve got quite a few options for actually implementing your retargeting.

Specific platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn offer native tools, and there are also tons of third-party platforms to do web and social retargeting, and we’ll recommend some below.

SharpSpring Ads

SharpSpring Ads, formerly Perfect Audience, is a retargeting tool that allows you to create dynamic retargeting ads and display them in newsfeeds, websites, and social media platforms for your audience members to see.

You can measure the impact of your campaigns to ensure you’re on the right track, and use their powerful analytics to get up-to-date information on click through rate (CTR), revenue, and conversions.

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AdRoll

AdRoll uses 10+ years of consumer data and behavior to help you create retargeting ads that are effective, relevant, and shown to your audience on the platforms they frequently use.

If you’re a HubSpot user, AdRoll can integrate with Marketing Hub, helping you easily sync your existing contacts and create a list of targetable audience members.

Outbrain

Leveraging the power of AI-driven insights, Outbrain presents your content to consumers in alignment with their interests, ensuring a harmonious browsing experience on premium news sites.

What sets Outbrain apart is its emphasis on native advertising.

Unlike traditional banner or display advertisements, Outbrain‘s native ads are crafted to blend in, ensuring users engage with the content organically without feeling interrupted.

The primary allure of Outbrain’s native advertising lies in its ability to introduce promotional content that feels like a natural extension of the user’s browsing experience.

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Criterio

Criterio helps you retarget your audience through contextual retargeting, where they use commerce data from your existing customers to understand which channels have been successful in inspiring purchases in the past.

Your ads are then placed in these same channels for users to see, as they have shown to be high-impact and effective.

While email targeting can be effective, it’s important to note many of the other platforms that could also be beneficial.

Although each platform you use to implement ads will be different, there are some advantages and disadvantages for choosing ones that serve up social media ads or elsewhere on the web.

Social media retargeting often works well since people are more likely to share, reply, and discuss your content on one of these well-known platforms.

They can also see the ads are posted from a real account, as opposed to a small web banner ad with little text that could be posted by anyone.

That being said, web retargeting works well for impressions since the ads follow your targeted audience throughout the internet, not just on a few specific social media sites.

What ad tracking method should you use to retarget people on social media who have visited your website?

If you choose to use social media as your channel for retargeting those that have visited your website, the best ad tracking method to use is to use tracking pixels.

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As mentioned above, tracking pixels are pieces of code that collect information on the pages your users visit on your website.

When they leave your site and go to a social media platform, they are retargeted with ads that are relevant to the pages they visit on your website.

Want to see what setting up a remarketing campaign is like? We’ll walk through a step-by-step process for setting up a retargeting campaign on Facebook and measuring its success.

Facebook retargeting is no different from the other types of retargeting we‘ve talked about — It helps you advertise to potential customers and lost leads.

Facebook’s technology leverages data from different profiles to help you connect with the right audience. Data, like web behavior, is used to show your ads on the right news feeds.

On Facebook, you have the advantage of its large audience. And marketers love this advantage, with 77% of them using retargeting as part of their Facebook and Instagram advertising strategy.

Coupled with the amount of data Facebook collects about its users, it’s highly likely that the leads you lost are seeing your ad. The website looks at the previous search history of users and pulls ads that are relevant.

For example, every time I shop online for clothes and leave the site without making a purchase, the ads I see on Facebook are from the store I’d visited. If I were to use the search bar on the social media network, I would see similar results.

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To run a retargeting campaign on Facebook, you’ll set an ad campaign and choose your audience set — just like a regular campaign.

The difference is this: In Ad Manager, you’ll toggle a switch that tells the website that the campaign is a retargeting one. That way, the software will know how to filter the right target market for your ad.

For this example, we‘ll pretend we’re setting up a remarketing campaign for HubSpot. To drive qualified leads to a free trial, we‘ll set up a mock Facebook retargeting campaign for leads in our database who we know are interested in marketing automation. Here’s how we would set up that campaign.

1. Create a list of existing contacts, or gather groups from pixel on your website.

First, you‘d need a list of leads to retarget. In your marketing software of choice, compile a list based on two criteria: lifecycle stage, interests based on the topic of their most recent download.

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If this list is sufficiently large, you can move on to the next step. If it’s not, you should revisit your segmentation properties and/or type of retargeting.

2. Upload the list to Facebook’s Audience Manager.

Once our list is processed, we can export the .CSV file and import it into Facebook’s Custom Audience manager to match email addresses with Facebook Profiles.

(There are third-party platforms that also sync these lists on social media, so feel free to pick which upload/sync option works best for your company.)

Select “Manage Your Ads” on Facebook’s advertising home page, click ”Audiences” on the left toolbar.

This will allow you to create a customer list by uploading a .CSV or .TXT file and options to sort by user ID, phone numbers, or emails.

You can create your custom audiences based on different characteristics like:

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  • Who engaged with your brand on social media
  • Who visited your website
  • Who spent a certain amount of time on your website
  • Who visited specific pages on your website
  • Who viewed specific products on your website
  • Who added a product to their cart but didn’t purchase
  • Who initiated a checkout process

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Give your list an appropriate name to easily find it later. Additionally, leave at least a few hours for it to populate. If you try to create an ad immediately, the audience may not be fully loaded.

Aside from Facebook retargeting, Audience Manager will allow you to do standard targeting, which allows you to set demographic, geographic, and other audience targets for an ad — even without a retargeting list.

3. Determine your destination URL.

To create a new campaign on Facebook, hit the green “Create Ad” button in the top right of the ad platform home screen.

This will prompt you to choose an objective for your campaign. Whatever option you select, include a UTM tracking code — a snippet of text added to the end of your URL — to help you track success and attribute clicks and conversions from your campaigns.

For example, we would create a campaign called “Retargeting” and our URL for the free trial would look like:

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http://offers.hubspotm/free-trial?utm_campaign=retargeting&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook

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Once you create your URL, give your campaign a name. Keep similar names for your campaigns to make it easier to track if you have multiple running.

4. Segment your ads.

Dive into your Custom Audience on Facebook and pinpoint the exact geographic region you want to engage. Bear in mind that the location functions as an “AND” criteria.

So, if your list captures leads globally and you only specify the “United States,” not everyone will see your ads. The location is just one facet.

Your buyer personas also play a role in segmentation. Consider factors like interests, behaviors, age, and other demographic nuances to hone in on your audience.

For campaigns driving conversions, remember, you‘re reaching out to contacts who’ve already shown interest in your offerings, so weaving in other Facebook categorizations may not be optimal.

However, remember the nature of your product and the buying tendencies of your customers. Those offering products that are typically impulse purchases might find it sufficient to retarget individuals from the past 30 days.

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Yet, luxury brands or enterprises dealing in premium products, think high-end jewelry or bespoke furniture, might extend their retargeting span to 180 days or even a full year.

Uncertain about the ideal retargeting duration? Here are some standard audience segments leveraged in retargeting:

  • Social aficionados (engaged on Instagram and Facebook): last 90 days
  • Website explorers: last 30 days
  • Content viewers: last 14 days
  • Cart adders: last 7 days
  • Checkout initiators: last 7 days

5. Set your budget.

Kicking off a campaign? Let‘s get down to the details.

Before hitting that “Start” button, it’s important to have a clear idea of how much you‘re willing and able to invest in your paid efforts, especially when you’re dividing it among various channels.

For your Facebook campaigns specifically, it‘s a good practice to allocate a lifetime budget, stretching over the entire duration of the campaign.

Now, don’t just set it and forget it. Keep an eye on how it‘s performing and make necessary tweaks. If you’re still familiarizing yourself with Facebook ad intricacies, choosing to “Optimize for Website Clicks” is a sensible starting point.

A quick note here: the naming part of your ad set can save you a lot of time and confusion later on. Especially when you‘re juggling multiple aspects — be it varied budgets, creatives, or target lists. It’s always a smart move to give each set a distinct, meaningful name.

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Once you‘re all set up and your retargeting campaign is buzzing with diverse audience segments, your job isn’t quite done. It’s vital to check in and adjust your budget where needed regularly.

So, how do you decide the ideal daily spend for each audience segment? It’s a blend of intuition and trial. Start with modest daily budgets for each group, maybe in the range of $20 to $60.

The Facebook Ads Manager is an excellent tool to lean on. It provides insights into the estimated audience size:

  • For smaller audience segments, such as recent checkout abandoners, a minimal budget might suffice.
  • On the flip side, for larger groups, like those who’ve interacted with your site over several months, you might want to allocate a slightly more generous amount. This ensures you engage a broader slice of your audience, ultimately driving more meaningful interactions and conversions.

Remember, every dollar you invest is a step closer to achieving your brand’s goals. So, budget wisely and revisit often.

6. Create your ad.

Each ad can have up to six images associated with it, so you can test which ones perform the best.

Remember to be clear and concise with your positioning, and include relevant call-to-action buttons such as Shop Now, Learn more, Download, etc. on the bottom right of the ad.

By default, ads are shown on mobile newsfeeds, on the right column on desktops, and in partner mobile apps.

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Depending on where you’d like your customers to see these campaigns, you may want to turn one or all of those options off to only display in the desktop News Feed.

Some important details on Facebook ads:

  • Image size is 1080 x 1080 pixels.
  • Text can be used in headlines, but there are character limits depending on ad type.
  • Under “Advanced Options” you can write a News Feed link description to better explain your ad and give context to users.

Once you have everything set up, go ahead and click the “Publish” button in the bottom right of the screen.

7. Track your progress.

Congratulations, you’ve now created a conversion-based retargeting ad on Facebook! Now you can track website clicks, reach, CTR, CPC, and total spend to match them up to your initial goals.

1704939963 874 What Is Retargeting How To Set Up an Ad Retargeting

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You can get a glance of how your Facebook retargeting campaigns are doing by going to your Facebook Advertising home page.

If you want to dive further into the ad‘s metrics, you can go into the ad set, where you’ll see information like clicks and spending per day. It is also easy to make edits to your ad from this screen, such as extending the budget, schedule, and creative assets.

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If you’re using a CRM, like HubSpot, most offer tools to look at the performance of your destination URL to track views, clicks, and submissions back to specific retargeting campaigns.

Retargeting is a great way to keep your prospects engaged and interact with people who have already shown interest in your company.

While it may sound like a simple enough concept, many aspects of a retargeting campaign must be worked out before you make the ad copy and creative.

Be sure to give enough time to make your lists, set goals and types of campaigns, determine the platforms your ads will run on, and tie the whole conversion path together.

Start Retargeting Today

The magic of a stellar remarketing strategy lies in its precision: delivering the right message to the right audience at just the right moment.

It’s crucial to tailor your efforts based on user history, ensuring that each interaction with your brand progressively guides your audience towards that coveted “Checkout” click.

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By combining visually engaging content with adept ecommerce copywriting, you don’t just remind visitors of what they viewed — you actively address their queries and showcase the undeniable value of your offerings.

A well-executed remarketing campaign is your tool to convert those passive browsers into eager shoppers.

FB Ad Examples

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MARKETING

How to Use AI For a More Effective Social Media Strategy, According to Ross Simmonds

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How to Use AI For a More Effective Social Media Strategy, According to Ross Simmonds

Welcome to Creator Columns, where we bring expert HubSpot Creator voices to the Blogs that inspire and help you grow better.

It’s the age of AI, and our job as marketers is to keep up.

My team at Foundation Marketing recently conducted an AI Marketing study surveying hundreds of marketers, and more than 84% of all leaders, managers, SEO experts, and specialists confirmed that they used AI in the workplace.

AI in the workplace data graphic, Foundation Labs

If you can overlook the fear-inducing headlines, this technology is making social media marketers more efficient and effective than ever. Translation: AI is good news for social media marketers.

Download Now: The 2024 State of Social Media Trends [Free Report]

In fact, I predict that the marketers not using AI in their workplace will be using it before the end of this year, and that number will move closer and closer to 100%.

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Social media and AI are two of the most revolutionizing technologies of the last few decades. Social media has changed the way we live, and AI is changing the way we work.

So, I’m going to condense and share the data, research, tools, and strategies that the Foundation Marketing Team and I have been working on over the last year to help you better wield the collective power of AI and social media.

Let’s jump into it.

What’s the role of AI in social marketing strategy?

In a recent episode of my podcast, Create Like The Greats, we dove into some fascinating findings about the impact of AI on marketers and social media professionals. Take a listen here:

Let’s dive a bit deeper into the benefits of this technology:

Benefits of AI in Social Media Strategy

AI is to social media what a conductor is to an orchestra — it brings everything together with precision and purpose. The applications of AI in a social media strategy are vast, but the virtuosos are few who can wield its potential to its fullest.

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AI to Conduct Customer Research

Imagine you’re a modern-day Indiana Jones, not dodging boulders or battling snakes, but rather navigating the vast, wild terrain of consumer preferences, trends, and feedback.

This is where AI thrives.

Using social media data, from posts on X to comments and shares, AI can take this information and turn it into insights surrounding your business and industry. Let’s say for example you’re a business that has 2,000 customer reviews on Google, Yelp, or a software review site like Capterra.

Leveraging AI you can now have all 2,000 of these customer reviews analyzed and summarized into an insightful report in a matter of minutes. You simply need to download all of them into a doc and then upload them to your favorite Generative Pre-trained Transformer (GPT) to get the insights and data you need.

But that’s not all.

You can become a Prompt Engineer and write ChatGPT asking it to help you better understand your audience. For example, if you’re trying to come up with a persona for people who enjoy marathons but also love kombucha you could write a prompt like this to ChatGPT:

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ChatGPT prompt example

The response that ChatGPT provided back is quite good:

GPT response example

Below this it went even deeper by including a lot of valuable customer research data:

  • Demographics
  • Psychographics
  • Consumer behaviors
  • Needs and preferences

And best of all…

It also included marketing recommendations.

The power of AI is unbelievable.

Social Media Content Using AI

AI’s helping hand can be unburdening for the creative spirit.

Instead of marketers having to come up with new copy every single month for posts, AI Social Caption generators are making it easier than ever to craft catchy status updates in the matter of seconds.

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Tools like HubSpot make it as easy as clicking a button and telling the AI tool what you’re looking to create a post about:

AI social media caption generator step 1

The best part of these AI tools is that they’re not limited to one channel.

Your AI social media content assistant can help you with LinkedIn content, X content, Facebook content, and even the captions that support your post on Instagram.

It can also help you navigate hashtags:

AI social media hashtags generator example, HubSpot

With AI social media tools that generate content ideas or even write posts, it’s not about robots replacing humans. It’s about making sure that the human creators on your team are focused on what really matters — adding that irreplaceable human touch.

Enhanced Personalization

You know that feeling when a brand gets you, like, really gets you?

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AI makes that possible through targeted content that’s tailored with a level of personalization you’d think was fortune-telling if the data didn’t paint a starker, more rational picture.

What do I mean?

Brands can engage more quickly with AI than ever before. In the early 2000s, a lot of brands spent millions of dollars to create social media listening rooms where they would hire social media managers to find and engage with any conversation happening online.

Thanks to AI, brands now have the ability to do this at scale with much fewer people all while still delivering quality engagement with the recipient.

Analytics and Insights

Tapping into AI to dissect the data gives you a CSI-like precision to figure out what works, what doesn’t, and what makes your audience tick. It’s the difference between guessing and knowing.

The best part about AI is that it can give you almost any expert at your fingertips.

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If you run a report surrounding the results of your social media content strategy directly from a site like LinkedIn, AI can review the top posts you’ve shared and give you clear feedback on what type of content is performing, why you should create more of it, and what days of the week your content is performing best.

This type of insight that would typically take hours to understand.

Now …

Thanks to the power of AI you can upload a spreadsheet filled with rows and columns of data just to be met with a handful of valuable insights a few minutes later.

Improved Customer Service

Want 24/7 support for your customers?

It’s now possible without human touch.

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Chatbots powered by AI are taking the lead on direct messaging experiences for brands on Facebook and other Meta properties to offer round-the-clock assistance.

The fact that AI can be trained on past customer queries and data to inform future queries and problems is a powerful development for social media managers.

Advertising on Social Media with AI

The majority of ad networks have used some variation of AI to manage their bidding system for years. Now, thanks to AI and its ability to be incorporated in more tools, brands are now able to use AI to create better and more interesting ad campaigns than ever before.

Brands can use AI to create images using tools like Midjourney and DALL-E in seconds.

Brands can use AI to create better copy for their social media ads.

Brands can use AI tools to support their bidding strategies.

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The power of AI and social media is continuing to evolve daily and it’s not exclusively found in the organic side of the coin. Paid media on social media is being shaken up due to AI just the same.

How to Implement AI into Your Social Media Strategy

Ready to hit “Go” on your AI-powered social media revolution?

Don’t just start the engine and hope for the best. Remember the importance of building a strategy first. In this video, you can learn some of the most important factors ranging from (but not limited to) SMART goals and leveraging influencers in your day-to-day work:

The following seven steps are crucial to building a social media strategy:

  1. Identify Your AI and Social Media Goals
  2. Validate Your AI-Related Assumptions
  3. Conduct Persona and Audience Research
  4. Select the Right Social Channels
  5. Identify Key Metrics and KPIs
  6. Choose the Right AI Tools
  7. Evaluate and Refine Your Social Media and AI Strategy

Keep reading, roll up your sleeves, and follow this roadmap:

1. Identify Your AI and Social Media Goals

If you’re just dipping your toes into the AI sea, start by defining clear objectives.

Is it to boost engagement? Streamline your content creation? Or simply understand your audience better? It’s important that you spend time understanding what you want to achieve.

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For example, say you’re a content marketing agency like Foundation and you’re trying to increase your presence on LinkedIn. The specificity of this goal will help you understand the initiatives you want to achieve and determine which AI tools could help you make that happen.

Are there AI tools that will help you create content more efficiently? Are there AI tools that will help you optimize LinkedIn Ads? Are there AI tools that can help with content repurposing? All of these things are possible and having a goal clearly identified will help maximize the impact. Learn more in this Foundation Marketing piece on incorporating AI into your content workflow.

Once you have identified your goals, it’s time to get your team on board and assess what tools are available in the market.

Recommended Resources:

2. Validate Your AI-Related Assumptions

Assumptions are dangerous — especially when it comes to implementing new tech.

Don’t assume AI is going to fix all your problems.

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Instead, start with small experiments and track their progress carefully.

3. Conduct Persona and Audience Research

Social media isn’t something that you can just jump into.

You need to understand your audience and ideal customers. AI can help with this, but you’ll need to be familiar with best practices. If you need a primer, this will help:

Once you understand the basics, consider ways in which AI can augment your approach.

4. Select the Right Social Channels

Not every social media channel is the same.

It’s important that you understand what channel is right for you and embrace it.

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The way you use AI for X is going to be different from the way you use AI for LinkedIn. On X, you might use AI to help you develop a long-form thread that is filled with facts and figures. On LinkedIn however, you might use AI to repurpose a blog post and turn it into a carousel PDF. The content that works on X and that AI can facilitate creating is different from the content that you can create and use on LinkedIn.

The audiences are different.

The content formats are different.

So operate and create a plan accordingly.

Recommended Tools and Resources:

5. Identify Key Metrics and KPIs

What metrics are you trying to influence the most?

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Spend time understanding the social media metrics that matter to your business and make sure that they’re prioritized as you think about the ways in which you use AI.

These are a few that matter most:

  • Reach: Post reach signifies the count of unique users who viewed your post. How much of your content truly makes its way to users’ feeds?
  • Clicks: This refers to the number of clicks on your content or account. Monitoring clicks per campaign is crucial for grasping what sparks curiosity or motivates people to make a purchase.
  • Engagement: The total social interactions divided by the number of impressions. This metric reveals how effectively your audience perceives you and their readiness to engage.

Of course, it’s going to depend greatly on your business.

But with this information, you can ensure that your AI social media strategy is rooted in goals.

6. Choose the Right AI Tools

The AI landscape is filled with trash and treasure.

Pick AI tools that are most likely to align with your needs and your level of tech-savviness.

For example, if you’re a blogger creating content about pizza recipes, you can use HubSpot’s AI social caption generator to write the message on your behalf:

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AI social media generator example

The benefit of an AI tool like HubSpot and the caption generator is that what at one point took 30-40 minutes to come up with — you can now have it at your fingertips in seconds. The HubSpot AI caption generator is trained on tons of data around social media content and makes it easy for you to get inspiration or final drafts on what can be used to create great content.

Consider your budget, the learning curve, and what kind of support the tool offers.

7. Evaluate and Refine Your Social Media and AI Strategy

AI isn’t a magic wand; it’s a set of complex tools and technology.

You need to be willing to pivot as things come to fruition.

If you notice that a certain activity is falling flat, consider how AI can support that process.

Did you notice that your engagement isn’t where you want it to be? Consider using an AI tool to assist with crafting more engaging social media posts.

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Make AI Work for You — Now and in the Future

AI has the power to revolutionize your social media strategy in ways you may have never thought possible. With its ability to conduct customer research, create personalized content, and so much more, thinking about the future of social media is fascinating.

We’re going through one of the most interesting times in history.

Stay equipped to ride the way of AI and ensure that you’re embracing the best practices outlined in this piece to get the most out of the technology.

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Advertising in local markets: A playbook for success

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Advertising in local markets: A playbook for success

Many brands, such as those in the home services industry or a local grocery chain, market to specific locations, cities or regions. There are also national brands that want to expand in specific local markets. 

Regardless of the company or purpose, advertising on a local scale has different tactics than on a national scale. Brands need to connect their messaging directly with the specific communities they serve and media to their target demo. Here’s a playbook to help your company succeed when marketing on a local scale.  

1. Understand local vs. national campaigns

Local advertising differs from national campaigns in several ways: 

  • Audience specificity: By zooming in on precise geographic areas, brands can tailor messaging to align with local communities’ customs, preferences and nuances. This precision targeting ensures that your message resonates with the right target audience.
  • Budget friendliness: Local advertising is often more accessible for small businesses. Local campaign costs are lower, enabling brands to invest strategically within targeted locales. This budget-friendly nature does not diminish the need for strategic planning; instead, it emphasizes allocating resources wisely to maximize returns. As a result, testing budgets can be allocated across multiple markets to maximize learnings for further market expansion.
  • Channel selection: Selecting the correct channels is vital for effective local advertising. Local newspapers, radio stations, digital platforms and community events each offer advantages. The key lies in understanding where your target audience spends time and focusing efforts to ensure optimal engagement.
  • Flexibility and agility: Local campaigns can be adjusted more swiftly in response to market feedback or changes, allowing brands to stay relevant and responsive. 

Maintaining brand consistency across local touchpoints reinforces brand identity and builds a strong, recognizable brand across markets. 

2. Leverage customized audience segmentation 

Customized audience segmentation is the process of dividing a market into distinct groups based on specific demographic criteria. This marketing segmentation supports the development of targeted messaging and media plans for local markets. 

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For example, a coffee chain might cater to two distinct segments: young professionals and retirees. After identifying these segments, the chain can craft messages, offers and media strategies relating to each group’s preferences and lifestyle.

To reach young professionals in downtown areas, the chain might focus on convenience, quality coffee and a vibrant atmosphere that is conducive to work and socializing. Targeted advertising on Facebook, Instagram or Connected TV, along with digital signage near office complexes, could capture the attention of this demographic, emphasizing quick service and premium blends.

Conversely, for retirees in residential areas, the chain could highlight a cozy ambiance, friendly service and promotions such as senior discounts. Advertisements in local print publications, community newsletters, radio stations and events like senior coffee mornings would foster a sense of community and belonging.

Dig deeper: Niche advertising: 7 actionable tactics for targeted marketing

3. Adapt to local market dynamics

Various factors influence local market dynamics. Brands that navigate changes effectively maintain a strong audience connection and stay ahead in the market. Here’s how consumer sentiment and behavior may evolve within a local market and the corresponding adjustments brands can make. 

  • Cultural shifts, such as changes in demographics or societal norms, can alter consumer preferences within a local community. For example, a neighborhood experiencing gentrification may see demand rise for specific products or services.
    • Respond by updating your messaging to reflect the evolving cultural landscape, ensuring it resonates with the new demographic profile.
  • Economic conditions are crucial. For example, during downturns, consumers often prioritize value and practicality.
    • Highlight affordable options or emphasize the practical benefits of your offerings to ensure messaging aligns with consumers’ financial priorities. The impact is unique to each market and the marketing message must also be dynamic.
  • Seasonal trends impact consumer behavior.
    • Align your promotions and creative content with changing seasons or local events to make your offerings timely and relevant.
  • New competitors. The competitive landscape demands vigilance because new entrants or innovative competitor campaigns can shift consumer preferences.
    • Differentiate by focusing on your unique selling propositions, such as quality, customer service or community involvement, to retain consumer interest and loyalty.

4. Apply data and predictive analytics 

Data and predictive analytics are indispensable tools for successfully reaching local target markets. These technologies provide consumer behavior insights, enabling you to anticipate market trends and adjust strategies proactively. 

  • Price optimization: By analyzing consumer demand, competitor pricing and market conditions, data analytics enables you to set prices that attract customers while ensuring profitability.
  • Competitor analysis: Through analysis, brands can understand their positioning within the local market landscape and identify opportunities and threats. Predictive analytics offer foresight into competitors’ potential moves, allowing you to strategize effectively to maintain a competitive edge.
  • Consumer behavior: Forecasting consumer behavior allows your brand to tailor offerings and marketing messages to meet evolving consumer needs and enhance engagement.
  • Marketing effectiveness: Analytics track the success of advertising campaigns, providing insights into which strategies drive conversions and sales. This feedback loop enables continuous optimization of marketing efforts for maximum impact.
  • Inventory management: In supply chain management, data analytics predict demand fluctuations, ensuring inventory levels align with market needs. This efficiency prevents stockouts or excess inventory, optimizing operational costs and meeting consumer expectations.

Dig deeper: Why you should add predictive modeling to your marketing mix

5. Counter external market influences

Consider a clothing retailer preparing for a spring collection launch. By analyzing historical weather data and using predictive analytics, the brand forecasts an unseasonably cool start to spring. Anticipating this, the retailer adjusts its campaign to highlight transitional pieces suitable for cooler weather, ensuring relevance despite an unexpected chill.

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Simultaneously, predictive models signal an upcoming spike in local media advertising rates due to increased market demand. Retailers respond by reallocating a portion of advertising budgets to digital channels, which offer more flexibility and lower costs than traditional media. This shift enables brands to maintain visibility and engagement without exceeding budget, mitigating the impact of external forces on advertising.

6. Build consumer confidence with messaging

Localized messaging and tailored customer service enhance consumer confidence by demonstrating your brand’s understanding of the community. For instance, a grocery store that curates cooking classes featuring local cuisine or sponsors community events shows commitment to local culture and consumer interests. 

Similarly, a bookstore highlighting local authors or topics relevant to the community resonates with local customers. Additionally, providing service that addresses local needs — such as bilingual service and local event support — reinforces the brand’s values and response to the community. 

Through these localized approaches, brands can build trust and loyalty, bridging the gap between corporate presence and local relevance.

7. Dominate with local advertising 

To dominate local markets, brands must:

  • Harness hyper-targeted segmentation and geo-targeted advertising to reach and engage precise audiences.
  • Create localized content that reflects community values, engage in community events, optimize campaigns for mobile and track results.
  • Fine-tune strategies, outperform competitors and foster lasting relationships with customers.

These strategies will enable your message to resonate with local consumers, differentiate you in competitive markets and ensure you become a major player in your specific area. 



Dig deeper: The 5 critical elements for local marketing success

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

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Battling for Attention in the 2024 Election Year Media Frenzy

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Battling for Attention in the 2024 Election Year Media Frenzy

Battling for Attention in the 2024 Election Year Media Frenzy

As we march closer to the 2024 U.S. presidential election, CMOs and marketing leaders need to prepare for a significant shift in the digital advertising landscape. Election years have always posed unique challenges for advertisers, but the growing dominance of digital media has made the impact more profound than ever before.

In this article, we’ll explore the key factors that will shape the advertising environment in the coming months and provide actionable insights to help you navigate these turbulent waters.

The Digital Battleground

The rise of cord-cutting and the shift towards digital media consumption have fundamentally altered the advertising landscape in recent years. As traditional TV viewership declines, political campaigns have had to adapt their strategies to reach voters where they are spending their time: on digital platforms.

1713626763 903 Battling for Attention in the 2024 Election Year Media Frenzy1713626763 903 Battling for Attention in the 2024 Election Year Media Frenzy

According to a recent report by eMarketer, the number of cord-cutters in the U.S. is expected to reach 65.1 million by the end of 2023, representing a 6.9% increase from 2022. This trend is projected to continue, with the number of cord-cutters reaching 72.2 million by 2025.

Moreover, a survey conducted by Pew Research Center in 2023 found that 62% of U.S. adults do not have a cable or satellite TV subscription, up from 61% in 2022 and 50% in 2019. This data further underscores the accelerating shift away from traditional TV and towards streaming and digital media platforms.

As these trends continue, political advertisers will have no choice but to follow their audiences to digital channels. In the 2022 midterm elections, digital ad spending by political campaigns reached $1.2 billion, a 50% increase from the 2018 midterms. With the 2024 presidential election on the horizon, this figure is expected to grow exponentially, as campaigns compete for the attention of an increasingly digital-first electorate.

For brands and advertisers, this means that the competition for digital ad space will be fiercer than ever before. As political ad spending continues to migrate to platforms like Meta, YouTube, and connected TV, the cost of advertising will likely surge, making it more challenging for non-political advertisers to reach their target audiences.

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To navigate this complex and constantly evolving landscape, CMOs and their teams will need to be proactive, data-driven, and willing to experiment with new strategies and channels. By staying ahead of the curve and adapting to the changing media consumption habits of their audiences, brands can position themselves for success in the face of the electoral advertising onslaught.

Rising Costs and Limited Inventory

As political advertisers flood the digital market, the cost of advertising is expected to skyrocket. CPMs (cost per thousand impressions) will likely experience a steady climb throughout the year, with significant spikes anticipated in May, as college students come home from school and become more engaged in political conversations, and around major campaign events like presidential debates.

1713626764 529 Battling for Attention in the 2024 Election Year Media Frenzy1713626764 529 Battling for Attention in the 2024 Election Year Media Frenzy

For media buyers and their teams, this means that the tried-and-true strategies of years past may no longer be sufficient. Brands will need to be nimble, adaptable, and willing to explore new tactics to stay ahead of the game.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday: A Perfect Storm

The challenges of election year advertising will be particularly acute during the critical holiday shopping season. Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which have historically been goldmines for advertisers, will be more expensive and competitive than ever in 2024, as they coincide with the final weeks of the presidential campaign.

To avoid being drowned out by the political noise, brands will need to start planning their holiday campaigns earlier than usual. Building up audiences and crafting compelling creative assets well in advance will be essential to success, as will a willingness to explore alternative channels and tactics. Relying on cold audiences come Q4 will lead to exceptionally high costs that may be detrimental to many businesses.

Navigating the Chaos

While the challenges of election year advertising can seem daunting, there are steps that media buyers and their teams can take to mitigate the impact and even thrive in this environment. Here are a few key strategies to keep in mind:

Start early and plan for contingencies: Begin planning your Q3 and Q4 campaigns as early as possible, with a focus on building up your target audiences and developing a robust library of creative assets.

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Be sure to build in contingency budgets to account for potential cost increases, and be prepared to pivot your strategy as the landscape evolves.

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Embrace alternative channels: Consider diversifying your media mix to include channels that may be less impacted by political ad spending, such as influencer marketing, podcast advertising, or sponsored content. Investing in owned media channels, like email marketing and mobile apps, can also provide a direct line to your customers without the need to compete for ad space.

Owned channels will be more important than ever. Use cheaper months leading up to the election to build your email lists and existing customer base so that your BF/CM can leverage your owned channels and warm audiences.

Craft compelling, shareable content: In a crowded and noisy advertising environment, creating content that resonates with your target audience will be more important than ever. Focus on developing authentic, engaging content that aligns with your brand values and speaks directly to your customers’ needs and desires.

By tapping into the power of emotional triggers and social proof, you can create content that not only cuts through the clutter but also inspires organic sharing and amplification.

Reflections

The 2024 election year will undoubtedly bring new challenges and complexities to the world of digital advertising. But by staying informed, adaptable, and strategic in your approach, you can navigate this landscape successfully and even find new opportunities for growth and engagement.

As a media buyer or agnecy, your role in steering your brand through these uncharted waters will be critical. By starting your planning early, embracing alternative channels and tactics, and focusing on creating authentic, resonant content, you can not only survive but thrive in the face of election year disruptions.

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So while the road ahead may be uncertain, one thing is clear: the brands that approach this challenge with creativity, agility, and a steadfast commitment to their customers will be the ones that emerge stronger on the other side.


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