Over the last year, social media and programmatic platforms have introduced a slew of powerful new features and tools to help digital marketers and advertisers capture a larger share of business ad spending.
For example, Facebook, which changed its name to Meta earlier this year, focused heavily on improving products such as Instagram Reels to address the growing competition its apps face from TikTok.
Meanwhile, Twitter has made a number of welcome improvements to its ad formats, including heavily investing in its SKAdNetwork to open up more inventory and introducing multi-destination functionality for carousel ads.
In addition, LinkedIn launched Event Ads to promote LinkedIn Events (digital or in-person events), as well as an Event Analytics tool that allows businesses to track metrics like attendee/visitor engagement with Event posts, unique event visits, total number of attendees, and viewer count at the peak of a live stream.
The launch of TikTok advertising in South Africa in April this year, and Google opening up Google Performance Max ads to all advertisers, were two developments we found particularly significant for our South African clients this year.
Let’s take a closer look at what these developments mean for South African brands and how businesses can incorporate these new advertising options into their campaigns.
TikTok: genuine interactions with a growing user base
TikTok’s popularity in South Africa has grown rapidly since the launch of its first set of premium ad reservation buys, which included Top View, One Day Max+, Branded Hashtag Challenge, Branded Effect, and auction buys.
Despite the fact that these offerings are more expensive, many of our clients have had great success using them for launches and large brand-building campaigns. The Branded Hashtag Challenge, in particular, works well for increasing TikTok audience engagement and generating authentic user-generated content.
TikTok, like Facebook, allows brands to control their budget, gain real-time insight into campaign performance, optimize their campaigns for goals such as reach, website and app traffic, app installs, and website conversions), and use a variety of bidding and optimisation strategies as well as an array of targeting filters.
TikTok’s machine learning and auto-optimisation capabilities aren’t quite as powerful as Facebook’s, but it’s still early days, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the platform evolves.
TikTok launched its Commerce Solutions, which are aimed at the bottom of the sales funnel, in October. Brands can use their TikTok Business Account to add a shopping tab to their profiles, synchronize their product catalogues, add product links to their videos, and run Dynamic Showcase ads with TikTok Shopping.
They can also run Lead Generation Video Ads that include forms that send leads directly to a company’s CRM system. Meanwhile, Collection Ads enable brands to include product cards in their video ads, directing users to an Instant Gallery Page where they can browse and purchase products.
Google Performance Maximizer
Google released a beta version of Performance Max campaigns last year as a new way to buy Google ads across YouTube, Display, Search, Discover, Gmail, and Maps from a single campaign. Following the success of this beta program, Google expanded the availability of Performance Max to all advertisers in November.
Google Performance Max promises to take Google’s automatic, data-driven campaign optimisation to new heights, allowing brands to target customers who are most likely to convert with the right message even more successfully.