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February 23, 2021

Social Media Ads for Retailers: Adapting & Thriving

Source: Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels

In the last 10 years brick and mortar retailers around the U.S. have been dominated by the rise of eCommerce and the pandemic has only accelerated the decline. However, large retailers such as Target and Walmart, which are notoriously known for their brick and mortar blueprints, are still competing with eCommerce giants like Amazon. Big box retailers aren’t the only ones finding success. Savvy SMB retailers have adapted their strategies during COVID-19 to compete with online competitors even as traffic has decreased in their physical stores.

Robust Social Media Campaigns

When the pandemic hit, the top combined social media applications saw an increase of 44% in user time across their platforms as reported by Statistica. Social media applications offered brands an increased opportunity for targeted advertising within their customer niches.

Social media is the ideal platform for retailers to expand, as it allows for the extension of the brick and mortar experience with the use of creative ad formats online. A popular industry favorite is the “Instant Experience” format which is available on Facebook and Instagram. The Instant experience is optimized for mobile devices and allows companies to “shorten the distance between your marketing message and the customer” letting users browse showcase videos, swipe through products, and purchase directly in-the-app. Consumers Kitchen & Bath, a multi-location Kitchen & Bath Cabinet retailer located in Long Island, NY leveraged the format to help customers visually discover kitchen designs, and included a call-to-action that prompted users to book a free design appointment.

Medical communities have utilized social media ads as a strategy to generate new leads for socially responsible in-person appointments, as they still have to rely on their brick and mortar locations to perform procedures. James Christian Cosmetics, a plastic surgery firm specialized in Botox and Fillers with locations in NYC, Long Island and Miami leveraged the lead generation ad format to book appointments from Instagram.

Companies that gambled heavily on social media during the pandemic are now seeing their retail businesses not only surviving, but also thriving during a time of uncertainty. A key element for success includes the ability to retain a digital retail balance. Emarketer predicts U.S. retail social commerce is expected to grow by 35% in 2021.

IMPACT Strategy

To achieve this balance during eCommerce expansion, focus on IMPACT – a unique methodology utilized when developing digital to retail social media advertising strategies. Three components contribute to the formation of this methodology.

  1. Revenue – Diversify your revenue stream and discover new audiences using the social media channels customers use every day. This does not mean it is necessary to be on every channel, just the right ones. 
  2. Loyalty – Social media is an extension of a brand. The ads and profile built needs to be a digital experience that customers fall in love with. Social media should represent a company and product in the best light possible.
  3. Engagement – The more users that engage, the higher the results of success will be with social media ad campaigns. Engagement on social media is generally a product of smart creativity. Ensure to invest real thought behind the social media ad formats that are utilized and the stories they tell.  

Social media ads aren’t new, but for many retailers the advancements in ads have made it crucial for SMB retailers to leverage platforms for future growth. If retailers follow the IMPACT method, they can take the first step towards pivoting a retail business into one that thrives.


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Dean DeCarlo is the Founder and CEO of Mission Disrupt. Mission Disrupt is an industry-leading digital marketing company that develops website and digital marketing experiences that focus on driving awareness, engagement, and revenue. Mission Disrupt is headquartered in New York and offers digital marketing services nationwide.

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