Cutting-through on social media has never been more cut-throat. eight&four look into how brands can maximise personalisation and optimisation 

Everybody knows the average person is bombarded with thousands of ads a day. Reaching the right people in the right place at the right time – and then grabbing their attention – is only half of the job.

So how do you stand out? What’s your marketing weapon of choice – personalisation or optimisation? Do you optimise for the majority, or do you personalise for the minority? Are the two mutually exclusive?

Let’s take a look at how achievable personalisation is and whether a sophisticated ‘test and learn’ approach of optimisation could be more effective in the quest for social success.

Test, Learn, Optimise

While marketers once considered mass reach campaigns to drive the highest growth for brands, it is only once these are blended with tailored audience communication that businesses are really able to drive optimum results.

Speaking to Campaign magazine at Cannes, Chris Osner-Hackett, head of integrated marketing at Sanofi, said: “It does me no good to slice and dice the audiences based on their past purchase history and then not serve them creative that’s unique to where they are both within their journey and in the category.”

The granular targeting capabilities available through social platforms have allowed advertisers to drill down their audience pools, tailoring groups of people according to even the most nuanced of interests. Segmentation therefore allows you to tailor messaging according to what is more likely to resonate with your target audience – testing multiple creatives and optimising towards those that land with the greatest impact.

Landsec Christmas Campaign

Leaning into automated optimisation like dynamic creative here enables advertisers to make sure they are serving high-performing combinations of ads to audiences – basing this on indicators of what they know will drive the most results from each individual.

This approach works in a similar vein to a live user research session, allowing businesses to
ask people what they want to see, on mass, as opposed to relying on platforms to tell them what is blanket best practice for their brands. If you can’t get the accurate data needed to deploy personalisation effectively, you’re arguably better off tapping into creative optimisation.

Any activity needs to consider which stage of the consumer journey audiences are at – a deciding factor in ensuring content will perform according to brand objectives. This is where optimising creative according to ‘the funnel’ comes into play.

Tailor Your Message at Every Touchpoint

Engaging consumers with no brand awareness requires a very different set of tactics to those needed to convert a ‘warm’ consumer from consideration to sale.

Brand building is the main driver of long-term growth and involves the creation of memory structures which prime consumers to want to choose the brand; this is where video adds the most value despite the decline in TV reach. Its rich storytelling aspect helps to build meaningful relationships with audiences, while its capacity for tapping into shock, amazement, disgust and hilarity enables it to drive brand recall (and, ultimately, fame). We’re watching more video than ever, just through different channels.

Sales activations, contrastingly, dominate short-term sales uplifts and conversions, leveraging behavioural prompts as a way of encouraging consumers to ‘buy now’ or ‘request a demo’. It’s important to optimise creative based on the objective you want to achieve and align this with the user journey so that you’re not using hard sales messages when trying to build a long-term emotional connection, and vice versa.

As a social creative agency, we’ve always looked at how the idea can live and extend beyond TV. Gone are the days of just making a TV ad, passing it to the media agency and washing your hands. We’re always thinking how we can extend the shelf life on social and optimise the creative appropriately across the funnel. The contemporary agency offering must adopt this mindset as a necessity. Yet you’d be surprised by how many are falling short.

Performance- Driven Optimisation for Cameo

Our goal was to drive performance across the funnel, from brand awareness to hard sales lower down, setting new benchmarks for ROAS uplift and pure conversion rates.





Optimising creative according to objective/user journey is crucial in terms of allowing brands to both build new audiences and speak directly to their existing audiences’ needs without the risk of alienation… but this wouldn’t be able to drive success on social without taking into account the role of channel and formats at each stage of the funnel.

Optimise to Both Channel and Format

There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to choosing which channel or format will deliver social success for your brand, because there is no channel or format that delivers just as effectively across every objective/stage of the  user journey.

Audiences with a presence on different platforms are consequently receptive to different formats, and those who are at the brand awareness phase are likely to build more emotional resonance with a video than a static image that could drive them to sale.

For best results, creative should be optimised not only according to channel, but also to the formats specific to that channel, in order to maximise the native experience and avoid a disruptive user journey or channel flow. It’s about speaking to consumers  on their level, using the tools available to us that we know, by nature of consumers being on the platform, that they will be receptive to.

Taking into account how using vertical built-for-Reels ads can have a 47% lower CPA compared to non-vertical ads – a trend similarly echoed in the fact that Stories- first creative shows on average a 12% lower CPA and TikTok videos shot vertically have on average a 25% higher 6-second watch-through rate – there is no doubt that optimising creative according to best practice recommendations on each platform is essential to securing social success.

Winning Through Optimisation

Perhaps we value personalisation purely because we know how much time and budget we’ve put into achieving it. And the majority of the time, it’s investing in vain.

Given the number of variables within audience, objective and channel, it is impossible to truly be able to personalise a social media ad; however, by leveraging albeit more broad-stroke creative optimisation, we can harness brand-specific insights in order to inform our approach – ensuring our content lands with maximum accuracy and authenticity wherever it is served.

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