Social Media and Direct Marketing: 6 Things You Need to Know

2016 is going to be the year in which social media advertising fully matures into a full on direct-digital channel. For many direct marketers, the idea of complimenting their offline direct marketing campaigns with digital ads on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter is extremely exciting.

Seeing as social media advertising is a new frontier for many DM'ers, here is a list of six things that every Direct Marketer needs to know about social media advertising.

1) Direct, 1-to-1 targeting is possible through Audience Onboarding

Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are just a few of the digital platforms that offer Audience Onboarding.

What is Audience Onboarding? In short, Audience Onboarding describes the process of uploading a prospect, donor or customer list to a digital platform and matching that list to a specific user base. For example, you can take the individuals on your upcoming mailing list, match them to their Facebook profiles, and send ads to only those matched individuals.

For more information about Audience Onboarding, check out our full blog post here.

2) Audience Onboarding Can Be Done By Email Address or Name and Mailing Address

When it comes to matching offline lists to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter users there are two avenues: email address matching or name and mailing address matching. The latter can only be done through a limited number of vendors and provides for a stronger match rate and digital campaign.

3) Offline Transactional Data and Data Models Can Be Used to Segment an Audience

Since onboarding involves matching an offline list to a digital user base, any segmentation methodology that is used for direct mail campaigns, like in-house RFM data, 3rd party data and data models, can be applied to a list before it is onboarded to ensure you are reaching highly-responsive buyers

4) Digital List Rental is Now a Reality

The combination of onboarding and social media advertising is introducing a new revenue stream for both list owners and list managers. List Mangers are now renting lists not only for direct mail and email campaigns, but for digital campaigns as well.

The process is simple: After a list has been approved for digital list rental usage, the list manager hands over the rented names to an onboarding vendor. From there, the vendor uploads the list to Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter. Finally, the matched audience is made available to the list buyer for targeting.

5) Ads are incredibly simple to create and test

While the specifics differ based on a platform-to-platform basis, most social media ads are made up of an image, a bit of text, and a landing page. That's it. There is no need to worry about HTML coding. Want to make changes to your creative after the campaign is live? No problem! Creative can be changed on the fly for complete creative control. In regards to testing, panels can be created for just about anything: creative, audience targeting, landing pages and placement.

6) Your Buyers, Prospects and Donors are most likely on Facebook

There is a firm belief that Social Media websites only cater towards young folks. While some of the newer players, like Snapchat and Instagram, still do for the most part, the industry leader, Facebook, is becoming ever-so-more diverse.

Here is a breakdown of the gender and age of Facebook users: