The divide between the physical and digital world is diminishing very quickly. Consumers are constantly mobile and have various devices to cater to a “live-in-the-moment” type of world. As people become more mobile, the channels and ways of interactions are multiplying quickly. E-commerce capabilities available on third-party platforms such as Snapchat, Google, Pinterest and more allow brands to more easily have conversations in the consumers’ own environment. It is no surprise that social platforms have become common marketing tools to reach the connected customer. But, not all social media platforms are alike, and neither should the marketing campaigns that utilize them be.

Where Marketers Should Engage Customers

Following in the footsteps of Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, Snapchat recently implemented “shoppable” advertisements, allowing their 100 million users to simply swipe up to buy a product. While this fast (10 seconds to be exact) approach to advertising is relatively new, the adoption of ad capabilities by social media platforms is setting the stage for what’s to come for both publishers and brands alike.  From a marketing perspective, the shift toward more dynamic storytelling forms of media such as real-time messaging apps like Snapchat are opening up the ways in which marketers can engage with their audiences that go beyond the traditional forms of digital advertising. But this trend also begets another challenge: keeping up with the vast number of new social media platforms entering the market on a regular basis, understanding their users and learning the best way to utilize the platforms to communicate with them. It is inevitable that there will continue to be dramatic changes over the next few years as social media platforms go in and out of popularity. Brands must determine the best places to interact with their customers and be mindful of how they interact with them.

Marketers Need to Get Personal

The key to turning these channels into successful commerce opportunities is taking the insights from customer data and determining how to best utilize them for personalized marketing tactics. Having a pool of data from these social channels will allow marketers to better target their audiences based on a number of factors such as behavior, demography, and location. Using this data, marketers can target their desired audience across multiple applications, serving diverse creative based on the user’s preferred social media platforms all within seconds. However, it’s important to remember that while leveraging user data from these platforms can promote effective commerce opportunities, relying exclusively on it will result in a platform-centric engagement and not a customer-centric engagement. Brands that are not cautious of this will find themselves compromising long-term gains in favor of short-term wins.

What Tools Marketers Can Use

The tools and channels to reach customers in the marketing world are evolving at the speed of light, yet many brands are still playing catch-up. As the customer experience becomes more interactive and connected all of the time, how do brands take advantage and keep up with the new marketing shift? Brands must set up an infrastructure that enables them to always market in a way that meets customer demands and behaviors and have the ability to plug into a variety of platforms quickly as they emerge. Using programmatic marketing as an infrastructure, brands gain the most cost-efficient way to deliver personalized content to target audiences at scale in a very quick and systematic way. Programmatic marketing allows brands to leverage data to deliver the right message to the right customer in the right context in an intelligent, automated, and scalable fashion.

Moving forward, programmatic will no longer be just a line item in the marketing plan, but will be the primary method of managing digital spend. This will allow both campaigns and the overall marketing strategy to be increasingly consumer- and user-centric, regardless of the channel. The goal is to address customers in a manner that is not only specific, but that also allows for ongoing, two-way interaction across addressable channels.

The Future of Digital Marketing in Social Media

Due to the enormous potential for direct response activations coming from the wealth of data patterns of user engagement, different social platforms will continue to emerge as key ad platforms. More than ever, marketers will need to develop creative digital experiences tailored to individuals and utilize technology solutions to provide cross-targeting and reporting across multiple channels/platforms. With hundreds of billions of dollars in the balance, understanding how to gain insight from vast amounts of data about audiences and the different media they consume across all channels can be the difference between success and failure for the world’s largest brands.

Read the original article in EContent Magazine