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Social
Meta’s New Standards for Performance Marketers
In mid-September 2022, Meta Executives, industry titans, senior performance marketers, and select Meta Business partners gathered at Meta’s Menlo Park headquarters to educate, inspire, and prepare for the future.

The summit focused on how performance advertisers can act on emerging growth opportunities Meta deems as the ‘world’s greatest ad platform.’

New Beginnings

You’ve heard it before; the pandemic changed things and drastically altered consumer behavior. Net new DTC strategies emerged from empty stores across the globe and online shoppability became a major lifeline for brands looking to make it. Talk about collapsing the funnel.
During this time, Apple announced and implemented its App Tracking Transparency framework, which severely limited the data Meta could harness from its users. Specifically, it inhibited Meta’s ability to target, optimize and measure performance. So, Meta wrote a new playbook.

The Future of Product

Meta determined to circumvent data access barriers by launching Meta Advantage Suite, which maximizes its ability to be personalized without using personal consumer data.
This rollout is a simplified version of campaign objectives drastically consolidating sub-variants to overarching objectives from awareness through conversion, with a post-conversion option to follow shortly after.

Meta is also encouraging advertisers to embrace the short form video (think TikTok) with its vertical video product, Reels. Already 20% of Instagram time is now spent on Reels with Facebook seeing growth towards this placement.

Additionally, Creators (formerly Influencers) serve as Brand Ambassadors and are becoming an ever-greater part of advertising strategies. Their growth on the platform cannot be underestimated. As the creator economy keeps booming, so must efficient content creation and scalability. Only those creative agencies who offer more than content generation will achieve sustainability.

Performance 5 Framework

Meta’s Performance 5 framework respects the unique nature of each advertiser. While their ‘criterions’ need to be vetted and tested, they give social strategy a much-needed initial structure for those going to market for the first time and best practices to challenge.

1. Account Simplification
• Goal: Leverage simplified Advantage suite campaign objectives and keep spend in the learning phase below 20%.
• Context: Removing unnecessary tactics duplication will drive platform efficiencies and allow optimal usage of machine learning, so the majority of spend targets the top performing audience and ad combinations.

2. Testing Creators
• Goal: Spend 10% of budget (or more) on Creators using Branded Content Ads.
• Context: The creator economy is exploding with exponential growth happening every year. In 2020, within direct response campaigns, Meta saw a nearly 40% average sales lift and 19% lower cost per acquisition from Branded Content.

3. Creative Diversification
• Goal: Test into Reels and rotate creative concepts, personalities, tones, and assets.
• Context: Reels will increasingly take shares from Feed and Stories placements. Testing strategy early allows for successful scaling and creative feedback as to which concepts will work the hardest.

4. CAPI Implementation and EMQ Scores
• Goal: Successfully implement Conversions API (CAPI) and maximize Event Match Quality Score (EMQ).
• Context: CAPI is a necessary and fundamental next step into the cookieless world and creates a pipeline from your website directly to Meta re-capturing signals lost by IOS14. EMQ indicates whether you have set up your information parameters correctly, and the percentage of server events passed back.

5. Business Results Validation
• Goal: Run at least 1 lift study per quarter.
• Context: Not new, but a great reminder and audit item to ensure ongoing tactics, optimizations, and testing strategies are actually helping you drive business. While this doesn’t need to be the primary KPI, these studies can help provide color to the standard MMMs, MTAs, and last click attribution models guiding business decisions which typically fail to accurately capture the true impact of Paid Social.

(Extra Credit): Consumer Experience
• Goal: Fully functioning site speed load times within 3 seconds.
• Context: Despite the best campaign strategy, creative concepts and testing plans, a poor consumer experience can devalue your investment instantaneously. Relevant landing pages, fast load times, and streamlined checkouts are crucial to a seamless consumer experience – even if microsites need to be created to accompany the campaign.

If advertisers want to identify the most efficient delivery platform, they must embrace and test these standards against their current strategies.

Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Creative

Too often, campaign performance is paired with unclear explanations such as seasonality, poor performance audiences, increased competition, etc. In fact, most performance can be tied to creative quality. Meta estimates 56% of all outcomes can be attributed to a campaign’s creative. One content quality perspective might be:

“It’s not about creating the perfect ad — it’s about creating a variety of ads to reach people when they are ready to engage with it.”

Ad variety value cannot be understated, is affordable, and can diminish ad fatigue. Meta states a 60% drop in conversation performance can occur after 4 exposures to the same ad. Also, Creators can provide platform first creative at low costs and high variety, with authenticity that can drive higher lift than stills from the TV spot or the 1-2 planned assets for the quarter long campaign.

A New Reality (Literally)

We are fast entering Phase three of the internet. Phase one consisted of accessing information across different desktop sites, blogs, and chatrooms. Phase two was born when the internet became mobile and user generated content across social sites dominated daily use. Phase three will bring immersive and transitive experiences that can be shared with anyone, anywhere, and at any time with avatars becoming synonymous with our digital identity.

Of course, this encompasses VR/AR technologies and the beginning of the metaverse. Meta is all in on metaverse being the next big computing platform and is focused on building technologies that enable connection there. However, timing and comprehension are making it difficult for advertisers to strategize and prepare for Phase three.

The overarching guidance today is equal parts vague and simple: your metaverse strategy should align with your business strategy. This 1,000-foot view suggests brands focused on growth and innovation should look for opportunities today, while more reserved and cost-conscious brands should delay investment until the space has seen further maturity.

Wherever your brand sits in the timeline, Meta provides the following proportions for web-based investment:

  • 70% towards building your current foundation with Web 2 technologies including optimizing consumer experiences so friction is present for evolved experiences.
  • 25% towards test and learn opportunities with AR including evaluating how AR fits into your customer journey and how the technology can provide true value to your customers.
  • 5% towards the exploration of emerging opportunities within the metaverse including digital product offerings and alternate worlds where consumers can engage with your brand.

Key Takeaways

  1. Embrace product updates towards machine learning, increased automation, and short form video with simplified campaign structure and creative versioning with Creators.
  2. Establish where your brand sits within the Performance 5 framework and monitor performance quarterly with strategic measurement in place.
  3. Test where AR fits into your customer journey and how your brand can provide value.
  4. Ideate metaverse experiences that fit into your brand strategy and prepare internally for the resources, partnerships, or internal infrastructure needed to execute them within the next decade.