Social Display

Bridging the Gap Between Programmatic and Social Media

Transcript Hello, and Welcome to The Webinar Series. I’m David McBee,’s Director of Training and Education. Thanks for joining us on the second Monday of each month for industry news, interviews, product roll-outs and training on all things related to targeted advertising and connected TV. And if you miss us live, you can visit the webinars page of our website at or request access to Bullseye, our learning management platform, for all of our previously recorded episodes and other valuable resources. It’s September of 2022 and this month I’m excited to share with you a new and exciting opportunity that I’m confident that many of you will find a valuable addition to your digital strategies. Friends, today I will introduce you to social display. WHAT IS SOCIAL DISPLAY? Social display ads are authentic recreations of social media posts designed to reach prospects outside the limits of social media platforms. Social display ads can appear on hundreds of thousands of websites and mobile apps where traditional display ads are normally delivered. This provides your advertisers the opportunity to take their best performing organic social posts, convert them into display ads of all shapes and sizes, and extend the reach of those ads beyond the confines of Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and others. We’ve made it beyond simple to translate social media posts into production-ready, rich-media creative, pre-configured for immediate activation in a programmatic environment. Of course, the easiest way to explain what social display is, is to show you. Here’s an example of a social display ad. As you can see, it looks like a social media post, but it’s actually served to users in the programmatic environment. That is to say, the ad isn’t confined to the walled gardens of social media websites and apps. These ads can appear on any websites or mobile apps that monetize their content by leveraging programmatic exchanges. In this example, that ad is appearing on a travel website. Note that even though this isn’t a social media site, the ad retains the social elements that we all know and love. It has the familiar brand avatar and social media name (and even the blue checkmark for users that have earned those), along with dynamic social data including likes (or hearts) and the comment count. The ad even brings in a portion of the original post’s caption. These elements give it that familiarity that we’re used to with organic social media posts. Still, at the end of the day, it’s an ad that we want users to click. For that reason, we’ve added a customizable call to action. In this case, “Shop Now”. Consider that we see thousands of standard display ads every day as we surf the web or browse the apps on our phones. Now if I asked you to name even ten of those thousand ads, you’d probably have a hard time with that. Chances are you would remember the big brands that use a lot of frequency and you’re likely to remember the ads for things that are relevant to you – things you’ve recently shopped for or target your exact demographic. For example, as a bald guy, I’ll barely notice ads for shampoo. But I might remember an ad for a barbecue restaurant because that’s important to me. Or said another way, our brains have been conditioned to ignore a lot of those irrelevant display ads we see. But that isn’t the case at all for social media. We choose to view social media posts every day. Often multiple times per day. We consciously consume this content and that means we pay closer attention to it. When we see an ad that appears to be an organic social media post, even outside of social media websites and apps, our brains are more likely to notice and pay attention. Social display sells the feeling because we often have an emotional connection to social. Consider how valuable that is for the advertiser who has been struggling to stand out against the hundreds of other ads their prospects are exposed to every day. Back to the ad itself. When a user clicks the ad itself or the call to action, they are taken directly to the advertiser’s website. In fact, social display ads tend to have much higher CTRs, some of our brand studies have shown CTR to be as high as 5 times that of standard display ads. Clicking on the brand avatar, the social data or the caption will take the prospect to the advertiser’s social presence so that they can engage with the ad, just as they would if it truly were a social media post. At least, that’s the choice that most advertisers make. Technically, those elements can be customized to send the user wherever the advertiser chooses. But we have found these to be the most user-friendly actions. We’ll go more into how these ads are created and all the options that go along with them shortly. But first I’d like to talk about how this EXTENDS THE REACH OF SOCIAL MEDIA. So I don’t know if you’ve dealt with this much, but I often talk to advertisers about the value of programmatic advertising and their reasoning for not entering the space is that they have a great social media presence. Fantastic, I say! Social media is great! Most of us have a slight, if not a considerable social media addiction. There’s a huge audience consuming content on Facebook, Instagram, snapchat, TikTok, twitter and LinkedIn. Of course it makes sense to promote your brand there. But… social media isn’t a perfect solution either. It can be over saturated for one. Every brand is there, and that means your competitors are all there, advertising to the same people you are. It has a limited audience. You’re never going to be able to reach everyone, even if you have the time and resources to be on every social platform. Some people just don’t consume social media, or they only check it now and then. The targeting is somewhat limited, and in fact, has gotten even more restrictive in recent years. Yes, social sites know a lot about you, based on what you post and consume within their walled gardens. Some even integrate with data providers who make it possible for advertisers to target pre-built audience segments. And most have some limited geo-fencing capabilities. Also, as I understand it, the cost of paid social is increasing. Advertisers have complained to me that achieving their CPA goals on social have become much more challenging of late. In contrast, there are a great deal of advantages that are unique to programmatic advertising.’s search retargeting tactic, for example, leverages unstructured data to reach users based on individual keyword searches that take place outside of social sites. That means we’re able to target individuals based on most of the searches they perform and by looking at the keywords on many of the websites they visit. Search retargeting is one of our most effective strategies and it simply doesn’t exist inside of social media – at least not the way we do it.’s addressable geo-fencing, which is a tactic that curates an address list based on over 700 demographic and psychographic variables, targets individuals at the household level. This is a different kind of targeting than is used by social media. But most importantly, social campaigns normally only reach users on social sites! Consider how you use the internet every day. Even if you’re a social media junkie who checks your feeds multiple times a day, chances are you’re spending even more time on the web, outside of these social apps. We’re talking about all the things that exist on the web beyond social media – things like reading the news, checking the weather, looking up the score of last night’s baseball game, looking up recipes, doing research, playing games, watching cat videos, catching up on celebrity gossip, you name it. The world wide web is a lot more than just social media. has always believed in and promoted the value of reaching targeted prospects on what we call, “the rest of the internet” – websites and apps beyond Google and the social media sites. For that reason, we believe that placing social display ads in the programmatic environment, or “the rest of the internet” creates a huge opportunity for advertisers to extend the reach of their social media – reaching people on literally thousands of websites and apps across the world wide web. CREATIVE SERVICES Another hurdle that advertisers face in the programmatic space is the requirement of creative services. Someone has to build the display ads and/or video creative. These creative units have to be built in very specific formats, follow best practices, and often require the services of a graphic designer. Not every brand has a graphic designer handy, or the knowledge to build ads that will be effective. And even those with access to graphic design services may have limited bandwidth or budget restrictions. What if that wasn’t an issue? Converting social posts into a variety of sizes of display ads is incredibly simple and something that’s dedicated support team handles on behalf of our advertisers. Advertisers need simply provide the social URL of the post they want converted and we can quickly and easily create display ads from nearly any social media platform in a plethora of sizes and types, including desktop display, mobile display and even in-banner video. And speaking of video, because the content posted on social sites has already been approved, repurposing it in the programmatic space eliminates the need for long approval processes. Agency clients, there may even be cases where we can create mockups for you to use in your proposals to your advertisers. One other thing before we move on, standard display ads, no matter how good your graphic designer has done on them, need to run for some time before their effectiveness can be assessed. What if an advertiser could leverage social posts that have already proven themselves to be effective, those with lots of user engagement, and run them in the programmatic space? With ad effectiveness already established, the advertiser can be confident in the design from day one, getting kind of a head start on a successful campaign. Next, I’m going to give you a bit of a “behind the scenes” preview into how the social display ads are created leveraging’s partnership with SPACEBACK. We’re going to start with this social media post on LinkedIn and we’re going to turn it into a recruitment ad. The first step is to simply copy the URL of the post itself to your clipboard. As a client, you can just send this URL to our support team. But I’m going to show you what they do with it. I’m logged into the SPACEBACK user interface and I click on New Creative and choose my social media platform of choice. As you can see, we’re currently able to support posts from Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and TikTok. Mine is from LinkedIn so… Now I’m just going to paste the URL here and click import. Spaceback automatically identifies the post type during the import process, however to ensure it is accurate, you have the option from this drop-down to choose the correct type, in this case we’re using a single image. As you can see, it renders a creative preview within seconds. As I shared earlier, it includes the brand avatar and it’s brought in all the social data from Linkedin. We’re not done, but it already looks really good. This ad has defaulted to the 300×250, but as you can see all of the standard ad sizes are supported or you can create a custom size. Before we tweak the ad, we’ll name the campaign and choose the destination where we want our prospects to be directed. As you can see, it defaults to the social media post, but most advertisers choose to send prospects to their website. Since this is a recruitment ad I’m going to navigate to’s careers page and copy this URL. I paste that URL here, and then click this eye icon to confirm the link works properly. It does. Now for some additional customizations. I’m going to adjust the image so that it fits neatly. We can use these alignment buttons or just drag the picture where we want it. If the image doesn’t fill the shape, it’ll automatically fill in the sides or top and bottom using colors that match the imagery. I’ll click creative preview to see my changes. So I’m not in love with those side bars for this ad so I can use these other alignment buttons or just drag the image where I want it. Ta da. Back over here on the left, you’ll notice that the text from the original post was imported. You can leave it as is or change it to something else. While it’s tempting to change this to a headline or call to action, remember the whole point of social display is for it to still feel social. So I’m going to leave it alone. That doesn’t mean we don’t also still need a headline and a call to action so… I’m going to click Call-to-Action. Shop Now and Learn More are very popular so they’re right here, but I’m going to click more and see what else is available. Lots of great choices here, and I’m tempted to use Apply Now, but I happen to know that we have a different call to action on our careers page… And I know there is value in having the ad match the website experience so I’m going to choose custom and use SEE ALL POSITIONS. I’ll click Creative Preview to see that change. And there’s our new call to action button. Notice that it uses the theme colors from LinkedIn. Had our original post been from another social site, this button would look different. There is a feature that allows you to change the button and text color, but again, using the social site’s theme colors further reinforces the social elements of the ad that make it unique from standard display. Back here under advanced creative settings, we have the ability to change the caption length. It has defaulted to 3 lines but if you want more of the text or more room for your imagery, you can change that. Next is social options. You can choose full social, …. Lite social…. Or simple social. I’m kinda digging the look of lite social for our ad. Next is headline and description. Let’s play with these and see what happens. Now hiring blah blah blah… Creative preview. Okay. So it looks like I need to adjust the image location a bit. Let’s try this. Perfect. Let’s see what description does. Named a best workplace by Inc. Magazine. Creative Preview. I love that, but it’s also looking a bit crowded so I’m going to remove that element from this ad. Next we can display the follower count or not. That shows up here. Here is where we can change the color of the button. I’m going to leave that alone. The Call to Action URL is next. This determines where prospects are directed when they click the button. Then you’ve got this legal disclaimer section, which a lot of advertisers won’t need, but should you need it, the content replaces the follower count like so. You can actually change the brand too if you like. So if for example you have to have some kind of underscore in your social media name, or maybe your name is longer than your Instagram handle, you can customize that here. The final section is for Impression Tracking and Click Tracking: These are used when tracking impressions and clicks in a 3rd party, such as IAS, DCM, Double Verify, etc. Using this customization, we can append the respective impression trackers and click trackers so that advertisers can pull in data to a third party. Finally, I click on update creative and it takes us to this screen where I can download the ad tag and I can preview what the ad will look like on my desktop… on a laptop… and on a mobile phone. And… if I want to recreate that same ad in a different size, I can click here and choose duplicate. Now I can pick a totally different ad size… let’s see what happens when I choose 300 by 600. Okay, looks like I need to make a few tweaks…. Let’s use 3 lines of the caption instead of two… And let’s choose this side of the image…. And now that we have a little more room at the bottom, let’s include our description… And just like that, we have two custom social display ads, ready to target users in the programmatic environment. SUCCESS STORY Now that you’ve seen social display, you may be wondering, “But does it work?” had the privilege recently of working with an advertiser who had a large social media campaign, but for some reason, had never run ads in the programmatic space. They were concerned that their social media was performing poorly, that they were hitting the same (or a smaller) audience over and over, and that while prices for paid display remained the same, their CPAs kept going up. They heard about our social display and were intrigued. After giving us a budget to run a test campaign, they asked us to hit the CPA goal that they were unable to achieve on Facebook. We took several of their best performing social media posts, converted them into social display ads and ran them in the programmatic space using a variety of targeting tactics. How’d we do? After running the campaign for two months, we were able to exceed their expectations, achieving a CPA that was less than half of their goal! They were so pleased that they have committed to running a new campaign five times the size of their test budget. Bottom line… extending social media onto “the rest of the internet” while leveraging’s advanced targeting tactics worked great for them and we believe it can work great for most advertisers. BENEFITS OF SOCIAL DISPLAY Now that we’ve covered the ins and outs of social display, allow me to leave you with this list of benefits before I go. One. Because our brains are programmed to pay closer attention to social content than standard display ads, the ability to create engaging ads that look and feel like native social media posts helps combat “banner blindness.” Two. Social-centric advertisers can repurpose existing materials to extend the reach of their social media campaigns into the programmatic environment, reaching a whole new audience of users on “the rest of the internet.” Three. Likes and comments update in real-time on the ad, increasing the opportunity for user engagement and higher than average CTRs with the added ability to track advanced engagement metrics while unlocking powerful social validation. Four. Because ad creation is so simple, advertisers can easily A/B test across creative types and optimize toward top performing ad creatives. Five. Social display can be created in the most popular banner (and in banner video) ad sizes. Six. Social display ads can be used with all tactics, including site retargeting, keyword search retargeting, contextual targeting, geo-fencing, event targeting, and addressable geo-fencing. Seven. Ads can be created within minutes – from both organic and paid social media posts. Eight. Social display isn’t expensive. adds a small margin for social display, but the cost is nominal, especially compared to outsourced creative. Contact your account manager for details. Nine.’s dedicated support team can help create the ads for our partners, update or change them in record time, and in certain instances, we can even provide mockups for proposals. And ten. Better performance including increased CTR when compared to traditional banner ads. Brand studies have shown as much as a 5X improvement in brand lift and consideration. Thank you for joining us today on The Webinar Series. For more information on how to take advantage of social display, reach out to your account manager or send and email to For questions about additional training or education, send an email to A recorded version of this presentation will be available on the webinars page of our site at or in Bullseye, our learning management system. Please join us on the second Monday of each month for the Webinar series. I’m David McBee. Be awesome, and I’ll see you next time.

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