We all remember this meme from the start of 2020 – right?
Well the truth is, beyond the Dolly Parton meme – as digital marketers, not only do we have a responsibility to stay up to date with platform changes, but also changes in user behavior and individual social media consumption as well.
UNDERSTANDING USER CONSUMPTION HABITS
It’s widely known that the way people consume and engage with social media platforms is rapidly changing and evolving. With one of the world’s highest social network penetration rates, a reported 70% of the US population hold a social media account, with the number of users in the states expected to reach around 257 million by 2023. (1)
With this jump in usage, coupled with the new-found availability of social media channels, what people seek to achieve with their consumption across platforms is also changing. This means that it’s even more important to consider the user’s individual mindset when engaging with them online.
Take a social platform like Pinterest for example, in a 2019 study by ComScore(2), the data showed that more than 25% of time on Pinterest is spent shopping – higher than any other social media platform. Users come fuelled with intent and with a specific purpose in mind, and with that comes a highly positive and aspirational mindset. In fact, 2 in 3 people also say that the inspiration phase is influential in determining what to buy. (3)
WHY CREATE CONTENT THAT SPEAKS TO MINDSET?
It’s extremely important to acknowledge the power of the mindset when developing relevant ads that speak to the target audience. This is because we might already be targeting specific behaviors, interests and demographics, but if we aren’t making relevant content that aligns to the users mindset, we’re less likely to capture their attention or drive the action we are looking for.
The importance of social intent can also be understood by looking at the wider purchase journey of a user. A concept that was once defined by a one-size-fits-all funnel approach, is now known to be a series of complex and unique behaviors that are specific to each individual. Whilst it’s true we can’t always predict every step of a consumer’s journey online – we can try our best to understand what a user hopes to gain from the platform that they are engaging with, and in turn create relevant ad content to suit, no matter the stage they are in.
GETTING TO KNOW THE PROFESSIONAL MINDSET
User mindset on social is even more important a consideration for professional social media networks, like LinkedIn. A study by the platform interviewing 6,000 social media users on their consumption habits revealed that professional (social media) network users crave insights above all else and expect to hear from brands 26% more on professional networks than they do on personal ones.(4)
Additionally, these users are also driven largely by emotion when engaging on professional sites.(4) Powerful desires and emotions like ambition, security, achievement, progress and happiness are lying just under the surface of the professional’s engagement on the platform.
Meaning that in order to effectively target users engaging on the channel, we should also make content that speaks to these emotions – like ambition, security and progress – to have significant cut through.
USER INTENT IS NOT JUST FOR SOCIAL
When looking at the importance of intent across other digital channels, we can also draw parallels at the role that a user’s search intent plays in driving effective SEO outcomes.
The difference of just a few years has meant the topic of intent is now a key consideration when designing content that’s fit for purpose across search. According to a study conducted by Ahrefs, 64% of user’s search queries are now four words or more (6) with Moz also identifying that 8% of search queries are also framed as questions (5)
But is the intent different from a keyword of just one or two words? That’s the question many SEOs ask when reviewing online search behavior. For example, on a desktop a user may be more inclined to search a question, whereas on a mobile they may only type a few words. Ultimately, the user is still searching for the same thing.
With BERT last year increasing Google’s capacity for understanding contextual searches, this interpretation has become even more important. It’s seen a huge shift in the direction and type of web content being produced, where keywords are treated as themes rather than specific phrases that need to be included in the copy.
Understanding this change ensures we are again shifting our content focus to become more in tune to the mindset of the consumer, thus providing the best opportunity for engagement and overall effectiveness with the content we are creating.
SO, HOW DO YOU CREATE RELEVANT, IMPACTFUL SOCIAL ADS?
So we’ve addressed the whys but what about the hows? How can you create social content that’s fit for a user’s mindset?
Here are three key tips to consider when making content that aligns to mindset:
- Research individual platform insights for updates on consumption habits – Get your hands on industry updates to see how platform usage changes with user growth. User consumption reports are a great way to know exactly how and why a platform is being used and for what purpose.
- Keep tabs on new platform UX updates and understand what they mean – Get to know the new user features of each of the social media platforms. New features and updates are often enabled to mirror consumption habits, so it’s a great way of understanding intent across a platform and therefore the users’ mindset that follows on from that.
- Create contextually relevant content, and consider tailoring your key messages – Above all else, consider tailoring your key messages to encourage an action that aligns with the thoughts and intent of the users. Considering this alongside the correct formats, targeting, objectives and budget is a sure fire way to drive greater performance outcomes – for each and every Dolly Parton out there!
- Comscore, US, Time Well Spent Study, Jan 2019
- LRW, US, Inspired Shopping on Pinterest among weekly Pinners and non-Pinners, Jan 2020
- Linkedin & TNS, US, The Mindset Divide Study, Jan-April 2012
- Moz, US, State Of Searcher Behaviour Revealed, Article 2017
- Ahrefs, US, Long-Tail Keyword Study, 2020