With social media advertising expected to reach $15 billion by 2018, analytics and management company Sprinklr is recommending that brands begin moving their social media operation in-house to facilitate better control, and make it more efficient and scalable.
A majority of the leading brands right now enlist the services of a social media agency to handle the job, but Sprinklr, in its latest whitepaper, says that while this plan is “functional” right now, it will lead to shortcomings for brands down the road.
Agencies currently handle the day-to-day management of many brands’ paid social ad campaigns, while the brand’s internal teams, or even another agency, handles the creative and organic efforts.
“As more brands ramp up their paid efforts, they’ll need more control over performance metrics, social data and budgetary allocations,” the whitepaper says. “This isn’t possible when all the keys are held by someone else.”
The solution, Sprinklr says, is “to bring it all in-house” and the whitepaper offers advice on which brands should make the move, how to manage the transition and how to excel at in-house paid social media once they get there.
“Moving social advertising in-house is a big investment,” Sprinklr says, “but the potential gains…make it more than worthwhile.”
What are the benefits of moving paid social media advertising in-house? Sprinklr says integrating all social media operations in-house gives brands the ability to:
• Plan, execute and optimize all of their social media activities in the same environment in real time
• Programmatically buy social ads based on the performance of organic activity or ad performance
• Automate campaign optimization
• Leverage global client data and manage all data and reporting in a centralized platform
• Integrate social into their business
The whitepaper lists 10 questions, stating that brands that answer five or more with a “yes” should consider making the switch to an in-house social media operation. Those questions are:
• Is social media central to your business? Meaning, is social a component of almost all your initiatives?
• Do you spend a significant part of your ad budget on social and/or mobile?
• Do you have a management-level social media focused employee, such as a head of social?
• Do you already work closely with a social agency on paid social media?
• Are you planning to increase your spend on social or mobile over the next few years?
• Do you want more visibility and control over your social advertising budget?
• Do you handle your organic social activity in-house?
• Do you need to run social advertising campaigns across multiple brands?
• Are there time-saving or cost-saving benefits of running your paid social activity in-house?
• Do you want to use existing/internal data assets to advise social media ad purchases?
The whitepaper also lists several steps that companies should follow after making a decision to switch to in-house social media management.
The first is to get internal approval from all the necessary parties so that everyone is on board. The second step is to appoint a team, which, depending on the size of the organization, can be one person or a group of people. They should be people who know how organic social media works, how social campaigns work and how they are planned, bought and optimized, and have a deep understanding of social data and of social media measurement.
A third vital step in the process is to make sure to choose the right software. Once the software is chosen, the team needs to develop their skills in operating the software, producing creative content and copy and using analytics to identify key insights that can be used strategically. And there needs to be a strong person or people involved in tech support. Once everything is in place and ready to go, testing can begin, starting with small in-house created campaigns.
Then, once the in-house operation is up and running, the team needs to continue to stay on top of new trends, make contacts at the various social networks and keep abreast of industry developments, the whitepaper says.
“Social media is in a constant state of fluctuation,” the paper says. “To excel at social advertising, it’s important to keep learning and stay up-to-date with new techniques and practices. Your software provider should be able to help with this, but if you want to be the best, it’s up to you to look for other avenues.”
The whitepaper concludes by stating: “In-house paid social media is a big decision. It won’t be right for every company and, even if it is, it may not be the right time in a brand’s social maturity. For the right organizations, however, the effort to set up and manage internal teams will be repaid many times over.”