What are Social Mirror Ads?

It can be difficult to decide which social media channels to advertise on. Are you good on Facebook and Instagram or do you need to be on TikTok and Snapchat as well? What about LinkedIn and Pinterest or is that spreading the budget and audience too thin? How do you do all the things?

Enter Social Mirror Ads!

Social Mirror ads mimic the look and feel of top social media platforms however, the ads appear not on the social platforms, but on thousands of other websites and apps and run across all devices. Each ad links back to the social platform it is mirroring and, has a second call to action button that links to the advertiser’s website!  Ads contain unique social actions related back to the originating platform (for example, the like icon, the heart icon, the pinning icon, the retweet icon… those actions are available). These ads can integrate with all the major social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, TikTok, SnapChat, and YouTube. Creatively, ads can be display, video or carousel.

Mind blown!

To break this down into even simpler terms, you know we at ST Digital love our one sentence descriptions on digital products, here is a basic definition of Social Mirror ads:

Social Mirror ads look like your social media display or video posts but appear on other websites and apps, linking back to the social media platform and your website, and run across all devices using our targeting strategies.

So how does this work? It is brilliantly simple, as easy as posting!

Step 1: Create a social post and provide us with the URL of that post. Like this example here of a Tweet on Twitter from Yankee Candle:

Now Step 2: Enhance it with additional call to action opportunities.

We take your post and create it as an ad – that looks just like (and links to) the social post – and run it across thousands of websites and apps!

The best part is the ad has three call-to-action opportunities:

  • Clicks on the Social Media logo and your profile image, take the users to your Social Media business page.
  • Clicks on the Call-To-Action button take the users to your website.
  • Clicks on the Social Media icons below the ad take you to that post on your Social Media page.

On the visual above, if you click on the upper right hand corner on the Twitter icon it takes you to the Twitter business pages (this is the same for all the social icons except for the SnapChat icon – that goes to “add me” as a friend since you can’t socially post).  The Call-To-Action button, in the case above the “Learn More” button goes to the advertiser’s website and landing page of choice.  The social action icons below the CTA go to the specific post and allow the user to complete additional actions (like, share etc.).

To show return on investment, we can report the total number of all the various clicks on the ad in your monthly report.

With Social Mirror ads we are NOT running the ad on the social media platform. Notice in the example above, the ad is not on Twitter, it is on the website Business Insider. What we are doing, is “mirroring” the EXACT look of your social post as an ad that runs on thousands of OTHER websites and apps, targeting just to the people you want to reach, across all devices.

The ads can be display, video or even carousel depending on the social platform, so creatively there is a tremendous amount of flexibility.  Static, video, carousel can be run for most (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram), although some ad platforms, like Snapchat, users would only expect a video or static ad, not a carousel.  TikTok and YouTube users may expect a video, since it’s a video platform.

Social Mirror ads can be done with any organic or paid posts from your business account on these eight social media platforms:

So how are these ads targeted? As always, we start with the geographic area. You tell us the geographic area you want to reach, and then we layer in targeting strategies like Behavioral Targeting, Keyword Targeting, Artificial Intelligence (AI) Targeting and this also works with Retargeting as well.

  • Behavioral Categories – Showing your Social Mirror ads to specific consumers based on their previous on-line behavior, across all devices.
  • Keywords – Showing your Social Mirror ads on webpages and apps that contain keywords related to your business, across all devices.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) – Showing your Social Mirror ads to people using machine learning to target consumers based on who is engaging with the ad, across all devices.
  • Retargeting– Following people after they leave your website and showing them your Social Mirror ad, on other websites and apps they go to, across all devices.

Here is an example of what a social mirror ad might look like in the wild, using our keyword strategy:

We can also use Mobile Conquesting Cross Device Targeting to follow people who have been served a Mobile Conquesting ad, a Social Mirror ad when they go onto all their different devices.

Now as for results, the average click thru rate (CTR) for a social mirror ad is .49% which is 7x higher than the national average.

We have also found that there is little variance on the performance across the different platforms. Meaning all the different types of Social Mirror ads linking to the 8 different social platforms, performed well.

As far as reporting, you won’t be able to tell you how many clicks go to the social page vs their website, but you do get an overall click total for the ads.

So there you have it! It is as simple as a post looking in the mirror and seeing something even greater!

How Are You Reaching Consumers Impacted by the Pandemic?

I was at the grocery store the other day and as I was waiting to check out (six feet behind the person in front of me of course) I caught myself staring at the cashier. I was thinking that he looked familiar, but I could not put my finger on who it was or how I knew him. The more I kept looking at him trying to figure it out, the more I realized that he was doing the same thing to me. Now, for me not to be able to place a finger on how I know someone is unheard of. I might not remember someone’s name, but you can bet that I can remember how I know them, so this whole process was driving me nuts. When I finally got up to the register, we were still looking at each other and trying to place it. Finally, it clicked; it was my next door neighbor! I have seen this kid every day for over 4 years, but because he had his mask on, I couldn’t tell who it was.

It has been a year, right? I have heard the words “unprecedented” and “social distance” more times in the last 8 months than I have in 33 years combined. Also, if I had a dollar for every time I have said “Oh shoot, I forgot my mask”, I would be on a white sandy beach with a margarita. I have gotten used to elbow bumps, not shaking hands, and not standing next to people too closely. While we have all had to make changes in our personal and professional lives to accommodate for COVID-19, businesses owners have had their lives flipped upside down with all of the mandates that are provided on capacity, staffing, procedures, etc., but another thing that they have had to shift their mindset on, is advertising.

There are so many ways that business owners can advertise their business with digital advertising. They can utilize strategies on the more traditional side with product like Google Pay-Per-Clicks ads or Display Ads, or they can get a little more targeted with sophisticated products like Amazon Targeting and Mobile Conquesting. One of the more popular products that is out there is Mobile Conquesting, and there is good reason for it being as popular as it is. This is a product that allows for advertisers to reach consumers in multiple ways like Behavioral Targeting and targeting them with Online Behaviors and Offline Behaviors, Address Targeting, Geo-Fencing, and Cross Platform Targeting.

The first step with Mobile Conquesting is to determine the geographic area that you would like to reach. One of the great things about digital advertising is that it can go anywhere and you aren’t limited to the town or city that your business is located in. So if a business has started selling online, due to COVID-19 restrictions for in-store visitors, they might want to reach on a more regional or even national level.  You can target by certain cities, zip codes, states, or even by a radius around a particular location. This is where it gets fun because you don’t want to target EVERYONE in that designated area, so the next step is to determine who we want to target by using Online Behaviors and Offline Behaviors. Targeting by Online Behaviors is where we are targeting people who have shown specific behaviors online, or are in a certain demographic. For example, Baby Boomers (people born between 1946 and 1976), Discount Shoppers (people who shop at discount stores), Veterans and Military (people involved with Military forces at some point), and Young Professionals (working professionals under 35 years old). Offline Behaviors are targeting people by where they have been tracked with their phone recently such as a location, business, or specific brand name stores in the last 30-90 days. Some examples are Agricultural Construction, Animal Shelters, Dick’s Sporting Goods, or Holiday Inn. If someone is within that geographic target area and has shown specific behaviors or has been to certain locations, they now have the ability to see your ad.

One thing that I mentioned above for Offline Behaviors is that we are looking at people who have recently been to certain locations in the past 30-90 days. Now, I don’t know about you, but the past 30-90 days I haven’t ventured too far from the living room, kitchen, dining room, basement, or bedroom, so what good is it for advertisers to target people based on where they have recently been the last 30-90 days since people haven’t been able to go many places due to the pandemic?

Just like business owners have had to shift gears to navigate how to continue to run their business in this time, the Mobile Conquesting exchange has done the same thing and they have added new categories into the mix that are based around peoples activity during the pandemic. These categories were created to compare how people moved in January to mid-February 2020 compared to now, and then updated in real-time as things open up. The new categories are:

  • Shelter-In-Place: High Movement: Comprised of individuals whose devices show that they are moving at or near pre-stay-at-home order activity levels. Indicates that users have been active, moving at near pre-shutdown visitation levels.
  • Shelter-In-Place: Moderate Movement: Comprised of individuals whose devices show that their movement patterns are beginning to trend upward, approaching pre-stay-at-home order activity levels. Indicates that users are becoming more active, reemerging toward pre-shutdown visitation levels.
  • Shelter-In-Place: Low Movement: Comprised of individuals whose devices show that they are moving at a substantially suppressed level relative to the pre-stay-at-home order time period.  Indicates that these users are limiting their activity as much as possible.

So how can these new categories help business owners? Using these categories can help highlight portions of your business that are going to be attractive to consumers based on their movement history over the last few months. For example, targeting people who have high movement is a great way to let people know you are back to business and that you are open. These are people that are getting back a sense of normalcy and are looking to physically get back in stores, so you can use this as an opportunity to promote in-store specials.

If you are a business that has adopted curbside service, targeting people that have shown moderate movement is a great way to promote your that particular service. These are the people that are starting to show that their movement is increasing, so maybe they are looking to get back to shopping and eating out, but don’t necessarily want to physically go into stores. Curbside pickup at retail stores is a service and convenience that has surged during the pandemic, and it is likely here to stay, so even as things get back to normal, it is a great service to promote to let consumers know that it is something that you are offering.

For businesses that are offering delivery services, you are going to want to incorporate targeting people with low movement into your advertising. These are people that are not moving too much with their devices, so a service that they might interested in would be delivery. Pre-Covid-19, local businesses largely distinguished themselves through the value of their products and services. They may have offered delivery as an add-on service, but traditional, in-person service was likely a core tenet driving their operations. This is another example of how businesses have had to pivot to figure out an angle to keep business running as smoothly as possible under the circumstance. Just as with curbside service, delivery service is something that is on the rise with businesses and likely isn’t going anywhere. Some of the industries to really thrive during the pandemic with delivery services is not only restaurants, but also meal delivery services, and grocery delivery. People don’t want to go to the grocery store, so they are turning to having meals delivered to their house or their groceries delivered.

Another way to utilize the new categories that have been added to Mobile Conquesting is Cross Platform Targeting. By using this strategy, advertisers can still target people that have shown low movement, moderate movement, or high movement, but that same person can then see your ad while they are browsing online, across ALL their devices – not just their mobile phone, with a regular Display ad, Native ad, Video Pre-Roll ad, or while they are on Facebook and Instagram. The way that it works is you select your geographic area that you want to target, you select the behavioral targeting categories that you want to utilize, and then when someone is served that ad, whether they click on that or not, they then have the potential to see that same ad while they are on other websites or while they are on Facebook and/or Instagram. This is a great option because people might see an ad on their phone, and maybe they want to look at your dinner menu or they want to order groceries, but they are more likely to do that on a bigger device like a desktop or a laptop. With Cross Platform Targeting, that allows for that person to see that ad on their mobile device, but then also see it again on a larger device.

Here is an example of what a Mobile Conquesting Cross Device Platform to Facebook ad might look like. BJ’s Wholesale Club is targeting all the Shelter in Place categories and promoting their curbside pickup, ship to home option, and same day delivery services, and since that person was served an ad on his mobile device and they are using the Cross Platform targeting, he is now seeing that ad on his Facebook News Feed across any device he uses:

Being able to cater to consumers and allow them to do business with you in a way that they are most comfortable with is going to set you apart from your competitors, and using digital as a platform to get your message out to the targeted audience you want is a win/win situation for everyone.

Facebook Marketing Blog

Is Facebook Listening In On Me Through My Phone?

How many of us have felt like Facebook is listening to our phone conversations? I swear I just mentioned these new Kendra Scott earrings to my friend and now I’m seeing them in my news feed? Disturbing! Right? Or is it just effective?

It is absolutely unnerving. You feel like you just mentioned to a friend, or even just thought about an item and then you go on Facebook and there it is right in your News Feed. You are not alone in this feeling, almost everyone who uses Facebook has some variation of this happening and has had the same feeling of being spied on. So, Facebook must be listening in on us in some way, right?  If not, how is this happening, and for so many people?

Let’s begin with the facts. Facebook clearly says that they are not listening. In fact, they have outright denied this claim and have said they are not using your phone’s microphone to show you relevant ads. They say they only access your microphone if you have given the app permission AND if you are actively using a specific feature requiring that audio.

There are other sources that say it isn’t so as well. CNET did a study specifically trying to prove Facebook is listening in and came up short on any conclusive evidence. The test wasn’t overly scientific, but they did settle on the fact that it was data points and not listened to conversations that led to the ads they received.

Are you convinced? Although the test doesn’t 100% disprove the idea, there have been more tests and security experts trying to prove Facebook listens in on our phone but they too come up short in finding any evidence.

What does Mark Zuckerburg have to say about all of this? Well, when he was directly asked this question by Congress last year he gave an emphatic “No.” He said, “No. Let me be clear on this: You’re talking about this conspiracy theory that gets passed around that we listen to what’s going on through your microphone and use that for ads,” Zuckerberg replied. “We don’t do that.” He said no, yet the conspiracy theory continues to thrive on social media with many still unsure of the truth.

One of the main reasons the conspiracy theory is so believable is because the ads truly do appear to be THAT accurate and targeted. So, if they are not listening in, how are they getting the targeting so right?

The answer is complex. There are in fact a tremendous amount of other ways for Facebook to come up with targeting options. For example, have you taken a quiz on Facebook? Have you posted anything on Facebook? Have you checked in somewhere? Have you “liked” something? Do you have “friends” on Facebook? Have you shared any information online? Have you opted into apps and websites and just clicked “I agree” to terms and conditions? Likely you have, and the digital eye in the sky is watching our every move. It doesn’t even have to be on Facebook, you just have to go online and or have a phone.

Tracking pixels are constantly in motion in the background, raining down with every click and measuring our activity. What sites are we looking at? What are we clicking on? What sites are we lingering on longer? What sites do we bounce off immediately? Millions of data points are consistently and constantly being tracked and connected behind the scenes to determine our online behavior.  This technology allows us to be put into targeting categories that define our demographics, interests and behaviors so advertisers can easily and sometimes eerily market ads to the right person. Ads can be hyper-targeted because tech companies know what websites we are visiting.  Online activity is constantly tracked which allows not only Facebook to track our likes and dislikes, but Google and many others as well.

It is not just online.  The technology also knows were we go, places we frequent often, maybe even the brand of coffee we drink. How? Through our geolocation data. Consider this example, most days of the week I leave my house around 7:50 am and drive my two kids to school, oftentimes, I stop and grab a coffee at my local Starbucks. I don’t check in anywhere or report to anyone where I am going, but my phone does, and it is always with me. I pull through the carpool line at the high school. My phone is pinging my latitude and longitude location and bouncing off cell towers. My Bluetooth is on, of course, how else would I take a call but through my car connection? I repeat this activity a few times in the morning and I’ve now put myself into a category of “parent of high school aged child.” Why? Simply because I am near the school most weekday mornings at a certain time.  I move along, I hit Starbucks on my way to elementary school, my phone is still reporting my location and I also paid with my app, so not only my location is recorded but also my exact purchase. I move onto elementary drop off and put myself into the “mom of elementary age child” category, and the saga continues.

Technology can report what we have recently purchased. Stew on this for a moment.  It has also been reported that Google knows about 70 percent of all payment card purchases in the US. 70%! That is a huge number. So that dress I purchased online yesterday? I’m going to see ads for dresses online today.

This type of data exists on all digital consumers and their friends. Even if you’ve never searched for a certain product online, if your friends have, you’re much more likely to see ads for that. The same goes for just being in the same location as someone else. Despite all of these facts, the conspiracy theory does still exist and it does make people nervous. If you fall into that category, consider the fact that it would be completely illegal for an app like Facebook to listen in without your permission. If they were in fact secretly recording people’s conversations and using that information for targeting ads, they would be breaking the Wiretap Act, and if caught violating its billions of users, they would be subject to trillions of dollars in liabilities.

Frankly, listening is not even needed for ad targeting, that’s so 2010!