The Social Market Paradigm

3 min. read

No one is questioning the power of SMM (Social Media Marketing), but there are mixed opinions on how the next iteration will unfold. At WebMarkerters, we’ve been closely attuned to the nuances of its on-going evolution and more importantly, where it’s going. Our acquisition of Media Launch in 2020 allowed us to fully integrate their cutting-edge team of social evangelicals, thus putting us at the forefront of the broader digital marketing industry. Since then, we’ve been offering our clients a comprehensive team of leading experts in each segment of the space – including full scale video production and animation, SMM, SEO, Paid Search and a dynamic team of strategists that can pull it all together for results-based outcomes.

For SMM, our team has been leading the charge since the early days of 2012 when organic content still had a strong purpose. But when the throttling began in 2015 (significantly limiting organic reach) the new pay-to-play model came into full swing. TikTok is now the last bastion of relevant organic reach – but don’t expect it to last (I’ll tackle this one in a future post).

In 2015, our leadership team started to track and monitor the effectiveness of each ad style over a variety of different campaigns, with a variety of demographics and city specific targets. The result of our analytical research during this process led to the creation of what we call the “Social Market Paradigm” (SMP).

Our “SMP” acts as the guiding principle behind a series of intricate ad composition and targeting details that help qualify and determine the language set and visual effectiveness of a campaign.

The basis for developing our paradigm was largely the result of our conscious decision to focus on qualitative research methodologies that supported our assumptions based on a combination of experience, observations, and an intuitive understanding of “all things social media” Our analysis often runs counter to much of the quantitative data that is readily available online. While quantitative data can be useful for basic ad targeting, it doesn’t offer much beyond core numbers. In many cases it can even be misleading and damage the potential of a specific ad campaign.

To counter this, we began to work on a proprietary, qualitatively-driven, matrix (the core of the SMP) that allowed us to target campaigns in a significantly more effective, results-driven manner and also more cost-effectively.

To further accomplish this, we had to understand the behaviour, tendencies and impulsivity of social media users based on a series of persona-based targets that we identified throughout our research. By breaking it down even further, we created a persona based system to identify what we call “micro level targets” (MLTs). More commonly referred to as microtargeting. Hypothetically, if we’re trying to target men aged 22 to 34, should our ad title start with “Save on…” or “Great Deals on…”? In this case, it really comes down to which city. Let’s compare Ottawa vs Toronto. In a case where we’re trying to micro-target single men, 22-34, living in Ottawa, working for the Government, who like baseball; what title should I use? Our matrix indicates “Save on” will produce better results, and it does. I’ll leave the “why” for you to figure out. Furthermore, something as simple as full capitalization on certain words can also make a significant difference in a 2 line ad campaign.

At its base, advertising is intended to shape cognition, influence perception and ultimately elicit a response – buy this, want that. On a macro level, we’re finding that “target/reach and conversion” has significantly different results per campaign; not only between the most common sexes, but also when considering the different perceptions of what we call “city consciousness.” That is, a 28 year old woman living in Halifax thinks or perceives social media differently than a 28 year old woman living in downtown Toronto. This is not exactly groundbreaking to the old schoolers of the ad industry as they generally saw Canada as four primary markets: West of Ontario, Ontario, Quebec and Eastern Canada. Today, Alberta and B.C. have also grown into their own markets. And now with social media microtargeting, it can be broken down by multitude of factors including, age, gender, city, hobbies, Indigenous, multicultural, the list goes on.

Yet strangely, we rarely hear about other social media companies planning for it. To most, a 28 year old female on social media in North America is just one giant catch all demographic – which is absolutely not the case. Regardless of the AI targeting capabilities currently built into current ad management systems, most companies are not properly utilising it (or they don’t understand how to) at WebMarketers, we like to refer to this as “lazy marketing.”

If you take a minute to research the demographical data of social media users that is currently available online, you’ll see how incomplete it really is. Most of it is based on quantitative, broad stroke data such as age and sex and most companies utilising social media (or the so-called experts running it for them) are still implementing dated, non-strategic campaigns that are 70% less effective than a campaign based on the matrix of the Social Market Paradigm.

Dan Cummins,
Chief Strategy Officer, WebMarketers