With many companies now having established social media platforms and reaping the benefits of a growing follower base, it makes sense to market to this resource.
Business-to-Consumer (B2C) selling on social media is more commonly seen in a retail environment but, increasingly, brands involved in the Business-to-Business (B2B) space – both product or service-related – are also getting involved.
As we adopt digital experiences as a new normal, and younger generations begin to infiltrate our way of life, we begin to be influenced by their expectations: a more digital, seamless, immediate, and review-based approach to shopping.
Google joins a growing list of companies experimenting with shoppable content. While Snapchat rolled out its firstshoppable series to showcase streetwear brands last month, Instagram enlisted Sephora and other brands to launch acheckout service for shoppers to buy direct from a user’s feed or stories. Instagram also recently opened its shoppable feature to creators.
This trend of D2C is emerging in ‘Consumer Land’, but also in a B2B setting. Both B2B buyers and sellers prefer the new digital reality according tothe latest from McKinsey. More than three quarters of buyers and sellers say they now prefer digital self-serve and remote human engagement over face-to-face interactions, a sentiment that has steadily intensified even after lockdowns have ended. Their findings point to 80% of B2B buyers preferring remote human and digital self-serve sales interactions due to ease of scheduling, savings on travel, and safety.
Image source: netcoresmartech.com
Manufacturing businesses are recognising the value of providing a rich digital sales experience, with social media selling a key part of that ecosystem. IMA client, BOC Limited, a leader in the field of healthcare and industrial gases and related products, had been promoting its catalogues on Facebook and Instagram to its trade audience for some time, however it was not a primary channel.
The advent of COVID-19 though, led to customers increasingly engaging with digital platforms rather than relying on printed catalogues. This trend prompted BOC Gas to engage IMA to investigate how it could further leverage its social presence to more effectively communicate its latest offers to this audience, to achieve the best return on investment.
IMA recommended developing a number of campaign test samples, to learn more about how the audience would engage with each, and to discover which option would achieve the best cut-through.
IMA campaign recommendations:
Undertake A/B Split Testing (creative/audience/placement) to determine which strategy performs best:
Creative. Compare different images/text or creative types (video format has been proven to increase click-through rates by two to three times and increase conversions by 20-50%)
Audience. Compare how effective the ads are at reaching different audiences or demographics
Placement. Compare placement types when reaching the audience (Facebook versus Instagram)
IMA used BOC’s latest New Zealand catalogue campaign to apply the recommendations through Facebook Ads Manager. Four ad formats were tested; post copy, audience, placement and budget were all the same – the only difference was the ad visuals which were broken down into:
Static carousel (BOC’s most readily used format)
Single video ad (15 seconds)
Single video ad (45 seconds)
After running for approximately three weeks, the following insights were gained:
The video ad formats proved to deliver significantly higher clicks per spend through to the catalogue, providing a strong result for the client. The insights will be used to shape future BOC direct to consumer campaigns.
When responding to a significant client brief, it’s tempting to immediately start looking for creative solutions. To use a building analogy though, this is like making colour selections in your new house without first having laid the foundations.