How The Right Social Insights Can Boost Your Click-Through Rates

The real value of social data is what it can tell you about the interests of your customers and prospects, says columnist John Donnelly III.


Most social marketers have a strong sense of what kind of traction their content gets on each social channel. They’ll also probably be able to tell you how those metrics compare to the brand’s main competitors. This is the type of information that marketers obsess over, since it helps them determine the successes and failures of a social marketing strategy and benchmark their campaigns.

These are important metrics to understand, of course, but they’re hardly the only social insights that should matter to a brand marketer.

The real value of social data is what it can reveal about your audience. What do they care about? What inspires them? What do they do on the weekends? What TV shows do they watch? Why do they choose to buy specific products?

Social channels offer a goldmine of information about audiences’ affinities — information that can help marketers improve any aspect of a marketing campaign.

One particular area where audience insights can make a tremendous difference is social media advertising.

Audience Insights Help Brands Hyper-Target

Social ad buying is a game of inches, so every piece of information about a target audience is an asset in the competition for customers. Any additional data related to the market just makes it easier for the social ad buyer to identify new areas on which to focus to gain new fans and followers.

But the challenge for brands is how to best uncover their audiences’ niche interests in order to identify the hyper-specific keywords that can turn prospects into customers and strangers into fans.

That’s where social media monitoring comes in.

While there are many existing methods of keyword discovery, few brands are tapping into the power of audience affinity data from social channels to shape their ad-buying campaigns. Those that are have seen powerful results.

How One Agency Put Audience Insights To Work

Our company’s client, Socialtyze, was tasked with promoting a film release, and as part of that effort, attracting more fans to the movie’s Facebook page. In order to inform the Facebook ad-buying strategy, Socialtyze turned to the conversation on Twitter to monitor the interests of users who were already tweeting about the movie.

This approach pointed the Socialtyze team to a number of topics and interests they could use to shape the ad-buying strategy. For example, Socialtyze saw that those who had demonstrated an interest in the movie were 18 times more likely than the rest of Twitter users to be interested in the TV show “The X Factor.” It then used that intelligence to select keywords for Facebook buys.

Choosing keywords based on audience affinities, Socialtyze found that social ad-buying campaigns were targeted more effectively and had a greater appeal to the audience it wanted to reach. Keywords derived from this strategy, including the “X Factor,” resulted in a 16 percent higher click-through rate (CTR) than keywords that were selected with other campaign analysis tools.

Tying the interest-based keyword into the social ad-buying strategy resulted in a campaign that outperformed Facebook Audience Insights’ own suggestions by 31 percent in terms of the CTR.

“The fact is that your target buyers likely have very clear interests and opinions that they’re already expressing on a daily basis on social. Are you paying attention?”

Bringing Affinities Into Your Ad-Buying Process

To get started, take a closer look at the people who follow your brand on social channels. Keep an eye on what topics and themes they talk about when they’re not engaging with you directly. There are tools that can help you automate this process, or you can start by simply observing a sampling of your followers to see what’s resonating with them.

Once you identify some of these interest areas, create a list of keywords that you want to test out for your Facebook, Twitter and other social buys. The great thing about advertising on these channels is that you can easily test keywords to see what’s sticking, so feel free to experiment with the new audience interests that you uncover so you can determine which generate the highest engagement.

When it comes to audience affinities, ad buying is just the tip of the iceberg. Once you tap into social data to gain a stronger understanding of what drives your audiences and what their interests are, you’re better positioned to create more effective content, TV commercials, brand messaging … you name it.

The fact is that your target buyers likely have very clear interests and opinions that they’re already expressing on a daily basis on social. Are you paying attention?

Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

As senior vice president of global sales and marketing at Crimson Hexagon, John Donnelly III is responsible for all go-to-market operations across marketing, sales and business development. Donnelly brings over 20 years of experience in the technology industry to Crimson, and has managed companies from start-up to over $700M in annual revenues.

(Some images used under license from


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