Inside Meta's Performance Marketing Summit

By Ruby Derrick | 30 August 2023
Will Easton.

Meta has held its media roundtable briefing ahead of the final sessions of its Meta Marketing Performance Summit, held throughout August and September in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane 

The Meta Performance Marketing Summits are an opportunity for Meta to bring together the marketing community to educate them on the new ad tools and services, and demonstrate how they can drive the best performance on its platforms.  

Attendees also got a glimpse of where Meta was heading, and pragmatic tips on how they could use Meta’s growing range of tools that use artificial intelligence (AI) to find new opportunities to drive effective campaigns.  

The Summit’s packed agenda addressed key issues facing marketers; including tips on unlocking growth with measurement, how the company is approaching AI in ads, as well as the importance of creative and how it can help fuel marketing campaigns.

Three key growth areas for Meta's apps

Will Easton, Meta’s managing director for ANZ, started the briefing with a business update from Metaoutlining the three key growth areas across the family of apps. 

The health of Meta’s family of apps, said Easton, which is critical to its business, is about how people around the world use its services.  

“In our last earnings, it was shown that our products were being more used more than they had ever before,” said Easton.  

That’s 3.07 billion people using our services every day, and 3.88 billion people using them monthly.  

What's exciting for Easton and the team is that this growth is translating across Australia as well. 

The improved Discovery Engine is driving a lot more usage. AI-recommended content from accounts people don’t follow is now the fastest growing category of content on Facebook's feed,” said Easton. 

Since introducing these recommendations, they have driven a 7% increase in overall time spent on the platform.” 

The second update revolved around the boom of short-form videos, including Instagram’s Reels and Stories.  

We’re seeing heavy engagement of Reels in Australia. Reels plays now exceed 200 billion per day across Facebook and Instagram,” he said. 

Easton’s third update was a glimpse into Meta's new features, including the launch of Threads, Broadcast Channels and Gifts for Creators on IG, as well as new collaboration tools on Facebook Groups.   

As a tech company, he said, its job is to build new products and services that meet its customers needs.  

“Across the whole suite of apps, we've been building new products, and features. With WhatsApp, there's been more done around voice messaging and for Marketplace, we've completely re-engineered our search and listing functionality,” said Easton. 

On the back of the iOS changes, there is no question, said Easton, that it's had an impact on Meta and other advertising platforms 

“In the last 12 months we have been very focused on rebuilding our advertising platform and making sure that we deliver more relevant results to our customers.  

“But ultimately, it's about putting the right adverts in front of the right people that ultimately drive value to those consumers schools, so to drive value to the businesses that they're serving those ads.” 

AI and the future of performance marketing

AI has been a foundational part of Meta’s apps and services since 2006, and it currently powers its Discovery Engine, ads business, content moderation and more, said Ian Stone, product marketing manager at Meta. 

In May, the tech company announced a trial for advertisers to use generative AI to adjust creative in ads with things like text variation, background generation and image outcropping to do things like make an ad’s text more engaging or improve parts of its creative. 

Stone said that with this, there becomes different ways of reaching audiences.  

It’s leveling the playing field and really helping small businesses. This is in its infancy; It's not something you can just buy at the moment,” he said. 

“We believe there's an opportunity to introduce AI agents to billions of people in ways that will be useful and meaningful. We're exploring chat experiences in WhatsApp and Messenger, visual creation tools for posts in Facebook and Instagram ads, and over time video and multi-modal experiences as well.” 

For Stone, the idea of buying outcomes, and buying media is what’s going to drive towards a point of sale, a conversion or re-engagement.

“We're trying to encourage advertisers to think about the way they set up advertising in a different way," he said. 

“The role of targeting when you're buying an audience is really important to make sure that you've got efficiency and that you're not wasting impressions."

When buying outcomes, said Stone, detailed targeting can actually prohibit performance. 

“Data coming in is still really important; we know the ecosystem is changing and we know that cookie deprecation will come. So, the advancements we've made in conversions API - allowing advertisers to utilise their first party data - is still really key to performance marketing,” he said.  

“Once it's in and you're looking at our current machine learning capabilities, the training that comes off of the data is only as good as the seed of the data. It will be a really big competitive advantage. 

Meta Advantage, the company’s portfolio of AI-powered automated business tools, also helps marketers maximise the value of each ad impression and deliver superior results.  

Products like Advantage+ Shopping Campaigns (ASC), is one of the fastest growing ad products in the history of the company – and AI is central to its success, notes Stone.  

Measurement and a new gold standard

Good measurement can help drive real results, and the wrong measurement can lead you to draw the wrong conclusions, said Katie Forcey, client partner at Meta. Incrementality is the gold standard of measurement. 

Meta’s new Measurement 360 was created to help marketers with growth by looking at a holistic approach and cross-referencing results of multiple sources 

Forcey said it’s crucial for businesses to understand what the contribution of marketing dollars is making to the overall growth and health  of the business and health.  

It’s a way to determine where the dollar is best invested. Having a strong foundation of measurement allows cross-collaboration between stakeholders,” she said.  

Measurement 360, said Forcey, is about triangulating multiple sources – a practical approach on how to organise and operationalise marketing decisions.  

Meta recently collaborated with Harvard Business Review to publish a meta-analysis of 18 advertisers in North America and Europe who compared (mixed media modelling) MMM-based measurement with experiment-based measurement.

It's primary finding was that calibration via ad experiments pays off. In its case studies, calibration on average corrected MMM-based return-on-ad-spend estimates by 15%, said Forcey.

“Our most successful marketers are using regular and ongoing experiments to help calibrate their media mix models (MMM) models and attribution tools," she said.

“They use the accuracy of incrementality to calibrate the scope of their MMM models and the speed of attribution. This allows them to feel confident that their results are as accurate as possible, but it doesn’t compromise on the speed and the broad-views across the channels.” 

Marketers who apply the lens of incrementality to everything they do from media testing to thinking about their loyalty program, will be running the tightest, most profitable businesses, said Forcey. 

The combination of MMM and experimental calibration will become the new gold standard for ad measurement for the data-constrained online environment,” she said.  

Creative is the new targeting

Previously ECD at Clemenger BBDO, Meta's creative strategist, Carmela Soares, believes that creative diversification is proving to be more and more effective for brands.

Soares believes AI is enabling a new wave of creative expression for platforms 

“The AI will prioritise and serve a particular creative to the audience that is more likely to take action to a particular ad,” she said.  

“That means that the content of that creative and what motivates the action becomes way more important than ever before.” 

Where diversification plays a part in this, is that people have different motivations to take actions or to need or want a particular product or service, said Soares.  

“People connect and resonate with different visuals. Visually diversifying your creative is an opportunity to improve performance," she said.

“Building different manifestations of a campaign that are fit for the behaviour of that general product is really important.” 

Soares has explored how people have built campaigns based on the culture of people; on what’s really human behind a brand.  

“You can still keep consistency with brands, but they’re resonating with different people at the same time. Creative is the new targeting; you don’t sit in the platform just tweaking and manicuring the audiences, you do that through your creative executions,” she said.  

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