This Is Not About The Facebook Boycotts -- It's About Your Chance To Test And Learn From It

Boycotting Facebook ads is a tough decision, but one that brands are increasingly feeling they must make to remain true to their values.

I think this presents a huge opportunity for brands to find creative ways to overcome their over-dependence on one social platform. Perhaps it's time to test new strategies and technologies to prepare for the inevitability of change. There's no guarantee that paid social media will even resemble what it is now in five years. (Does anyone even remember MySpace?)

Testing and learning keeps brands ahead of the competition and disruption. While one of my overarching tenets in connection to planning is to “follow the user,” this is a time for media professionals to get in front of user behavior because it's the right thing to do. 

Why not take this time to use the Facebook budget to test using smart TV data for linear TV and aligning it with digital video, to create a holistic planning and measurement strategy?



Data-driven linear is, after all, one of the fastest-changing landscapes in media. (Of course, you should already be using OTT and CTV.) You know that traditional TV ratings have declined, costs continue to rise, and streaming and cord-cutting are also increasing. Does it make sense to keep planning and buying TV as we have for decades?  

Old-school planning says reach times frequency equals GRPs.

Through extensive tests using Samba TV data with multiple clients and audiences, we learned that consistently, 80% of our total GRPs were going to 20% of our target audience, the heaviest users. They are severely over-served, especially in cable buys.

We learned that reach does not grow as planned. Light users are impossible to reach on linear TV, watching one to three hours per week. Average users only watch eight to 10 hours of TV. The old-school math isn’t just wrong -- it's really wrong. The reach curve flattens faster than we thought, while frequency accelerates faster.  

To bring reach -- and more important, unique reach -- we needed to test a strategic planning method designed to limit the frequency and extend reach. Samba TV data enabled us to measure and optimize that. We measured unique reach, unique site visits and harder holistic combined linear and digital campaign spend.

We added on-store visit measurement for brands with brick-and-mortar locations. We can see campaign data within days of the campaign's start and, after a couple of weeks, we can make tweaks to both linear and digital, based on data and bigger optimizations once data stabilizes.   

This is only part of the magic. New planning tools are emerging that allow you to plan linear and digital extensions smarter and together. Would you like your TV/video to be measured and optimized in flight to real KPIs? 

Are you maximizing your customer data? The “Cookieless World” is barreling toward us. Are you prepared?

Do you have a CDP to run with your DMP? Have you tested alternatives to data from third-party tracking like unique ID solutions like the one in The Trade Desk or Bridge? They bring two important things to your marketing: real people and scale.

If you are wary of a digital ecosystem that overemphasizes walled gardens, this is the time to test and learn.

Have you tested “attention measurement” with unique ID targeting solutions? Attention measurement brings another unique way to look at user interaction with content, and could be an interesting add-on when third-party tracking cookies are dead.

Finally, how do you insert yourself in the conversation or remain culturally relevant without buying it through social channels?

It all revolves around your ability to create meaningful, engaging and relevant content distributed through owned channels. Have you explored product integrations, stunts, guerrilla, special invite-only, or exclusive experiences for your brand ambassadors? Do you randomly surprise and delight them?

You don’t need paid social platforms to do this. If you can excite and activate your brand ambassadors, your branded content will always get shared, even if that is through good, old-fashioned word of mouth.  

There are many creative ways to tap into these hand-raisers and accelerate your content, if you're willing to try some new twists. 

Challenge your agencies and partners to bring you bigger ideas and to try new things.  Partner with like brands that are also important to your core audiences and create together. 

Taking action and testing and learning is paramount to marketing success.

Change is coming for us all, as it always has and always will. Some of us will just be better prepared to adapt.

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