Short introduction to aviation
The flaps that jut out of the aeroplanes’ wings when they take off and when they land are called high-lift gear. Their aim is to modify its features in terms of lift, by transforming the outline of the wing; in other words, an aeroplane flies slower when the flaps are extended. This is the basics of aeroplane piloting, since every flight begins with the activation of these flaps.
However, once it is up in the air, the flaps prevent the aircraft from flying fast because they make the wings more fragile. To speed up, the pilot retracts them once the airplane has reached some altitude (between 100 and 500 m). Surely you will notice this next time you fly (after COVID-19, of course).
You might be thinking, what does this have to do with digital media?
Not long ago, retailers did not consider social media networks as a profitable medium for growth. They were only useful to start a conversation with consumers, to communicate about the brand.
Agencies focused on performance such as ourselves, influenced by our ultra-ROInian DNA, did not consider this tool to be a profitable growth medium for e-commerce websites. It is important to mention that this happened during the golden age of SEA; we had been trained to work with the easiest part (and also the most competitive) in attracting potential clients: the search. It was somewhat similar to the pilot using the flaps to propel the aircraft’s performance without necessarily getting higher or further.
However, the situation has changed…
- The search (SEA and SEO) has become an extremely competitive medium, logically, since it was the easiest tool to use.
- Many users shop online quite mechanically, almost automated, that is, consumers have already identified their preferred distributors or retailers (general or specialized) and therefore, the search is no longer strong enough to reach every potential client.
- The algorithms have improved so that social networks could increase their economic efficiency, which is what enabled them to finally attract the attention of retailers.
Why not try Instagram?
Try… Yes. That was also the vocabulary I was using 18 months ago when I encouraged our search clients to try a ‘simulation’ in social media. Afterwards, if the system did not work, they could always dismiss it.
However, e-commerces cannot just try anymore. For instance, 40 million French citizens use social media every day, and spend on average more than an hour a day using them.
The truth of the matter is that trying was never an option. I like to say that a director can only push back the decease of the company through their everyday decisions. Trying and abandoning social media networks only means choosing a quicker death since their clients are already there.
In fact, when a company begins to publish advertisements with Google Ads to sell products through their first e-commerce, they never think ‘I will try for a month, and if it does not work, I will stop.’ No, it is impossible, since stopping the search in the middle of take-off equals not leaving the ground. It is necessary to find a balance between growth and profitability.
Something similar happens with social media: the aircraft is airborne, but now the flaps and the undercarriage must be retracted in order to reach higher altitude and greater speeds, the action was never considered optional.
The code has changed as well
The problem arises because Facebook, Instagram, TikTok or Pinterest all use their own code. It is not more complex, really, but it is different. We do not focus on acquisitions as such, but we are not looking for notoriety either; the issue is not that the ROI is not measured any more, but that it is calculated differently. This is normal because we are not at the end of the chain with an exact search that redirects to a product or service.
Each social media network plays a role, and its nature can be different for each advertiser. Therefore, it should be about creating an ecosystem around the online sales area and setting a goal in the media towards each key part of said ecosystem.
Therefore, yes, it is something new and requires some thinking on the matter, even though deep down it is not so complicated. Simply put, retailers are not used to thinking in this way. In France, for instance, this is where Tigrz would come in.
Evidently, to create such an ecosystem it is necessary to set a goal. ‘Trying a budget of 5,000€ per month for Facebook’ is not a goal. An objective would be, for example, ‘reducing the cost of sale by 3% while increasing visibility and commitment to the clients through the SMO.’
Because yes indeed, the SMO is additional to search. Both strategies improve their respective performances and many examples nowadays prove it.
As a final note, we are convinced (and we may have devoted more time than others, as a search agency, to arrive at this conclusion) that SMO is essential to each business model, including those where the pressure exerted by ROI is permanent. Not being open to learning this new language would be like a pilot not wanting to retract his flaps before he sets off to cross the Atlantic Ocean, at reduced speed and higher fuel consumption.
Jerome Keloghlanian, Founder at Ikom – Labelium Group