May 11, 2021 4 min read

Finding metrics to convince the C-suite of the real value of marketing activities can be a tedious task. Anil Malhotra explains why buying behavior targeting is one of the most compelling and effective tools for social media marketing.

You present everything. Why do you feel like you are not saying anything?

Social media marketing. There is no shortage of metrics. From click rates to Conversions, Inclusion rates for stocks. Then there are likes, retweets, applause, pins, potentials … the list is endless.

And marketers might be tempted to take advantage of all of them. The more you can show, the more you can justify your marketing efforts and prove your success, right? Well no

Presenting all of these meaningless social media metrics to board members not only isn’t impressive, it also makes the C-Suite question the effectiveness of digital marketing in general.

Let me explain why.

Likes, shares and engagement rates do not play a role for the board of directors

You can argue that a like is valuable. So that you can explain to your CEO that high engagement equals interest in the brand, you can even try to convince them that a retweet is like a free advertisement, but at the end of the day if your activity isn’t attracting paying customers, then the board just doesn’t care. And research shows it.

By doing Bango ‘Board to Death’ In a survey of 200 CEOs, 65 percent said they weren’t interested in hearing about likes. 76 percent said they weren’t interested in retweets, and 66 percent said they weren’t interested in impressions.

Overall, 59 percent of CEOs believe that digital marketing metrics that aren’t related to sales are meaningless to them, while 62 percent think that too much marketing budget is wasted on activities that don’t produce meaningful results.

And the thing is, they’re not wrong. You could try to justify your social media spending by whatever metrics you want, but if your marketing doesn’t have a noticeable impact on the bottom line, the board will (rightly) view this as a wasted budget.

Why do social media ads fail?

In 2020, Australian digital marketers spent a staggering $ 2.5 billion on social media advertising. Those who have invested in social campaigns have likely been seduced by the amount of data available to them. On popular platforms like Facebook, advertisers were able to target campaigns to people based on age, gender, occupation, preferences, and even search terms.

It feels like a real, measurable, and accountable process is taking place here. But in reality, what people like and what they are looking for on social media is not a big enough indicator of what they will actually be spending their money on. Anyone can search for #FiveStarHotels, but no matter how often they “like” your resort, most people will never book the vacation.

The hard truth is that behavioral targeting-based social campaigns are largely guesswork and CEOs are no longer willing to roll the dice. In fact, 60 percent of CEOs believe that the marketing potential of social media is exaggerated, and 22 percent even say that social media marketing or digital advertising are the very first things they remove from their budgets.

However, this doesn’t mean that marketers should give up social media marketing entirely. Social media campaigns are a good idea – they just got badly executed. And if marketers can show that their activities are more directly targeted to those who buy, 71 percent of CEOs say they would increase the budget of their marketing departments.

With conversion rates on major platforms like Facebook (9 percent), Instagram (1 percent), and Twitter (0.5 percent) in the double digits, the question is how digital marketers can ensure that their efforts are generating higher revenue to lead.

Three words: buying behavior targeting.

What is buying behavior targeting?

Buying behavior targeting is one of the best kept secrets for effective social media marketing. Rather than selecting a campaign audience from the standard drop-down menu of likes, interests, and demographics, the Buying Behavior option allows marketers to target campaigns directly to the people who are most likely to buy. Targeting is no longer based on assumptions but on evidence.

Applying third-party purchase data from outside of Facebook greatly improves buying behavior targeting. The latest marketing technology is able to analyze billing information from billions of dollars in consumer spending across multiple purchase channels. These tools give marketers valuable insights into the buying behavior of hundreds of millions of users.

This allows marketers to target campaigns to people who have bought similar products in the past and are therefore more likely to buy them again. And when people are paying for your product, the marketing turns out to be for the board.

What does this mean for the future of social media marketing?

Facebook has been offering its customers purchasing behavior targeting for years. However, because it relies solely on its own first-party payment details to inform segmentation, this type of campaign targeting never really caught on.

Now that payment providers step into the world of big data marketing, buying behavior targeting is only going to grow in popularity and accuracy.

With this growth, marketers can expect their social media ad campaigns to get better value for money and show stakeholders a positive return on investment – music to the C-suite’s ears.

Anil Malhotra is the CMO of the big data marketing company Bango.

Photo by Bruce Mars on Unsplash.