Element 5: Choose your moment
Timing is one of the most overlooked aspects of campaign strategy, but the best creatives and planners consider timing carefully. Smart timing decisions can distinguish a brand from the sea of undifferentiated ads fighting for audience attention.
In Element 1 (own an event), we discussed timing in the context of planning around a major event, but here we're defining timing on a smaller scale, such as days of the week and times of day. Brands can reach customers at critical moments, like the Monday water-cooler hour (following weekend sports events), Sunday mornings (a peak app download time), and the commute hours (to maximize fast food drive-through sales).
For example, the Victoria's Secret Fall TV 2011 campaign focused on continuity in social to support an upfront buy around TV premieres for popular shows like "Glee," "Gossip Girl," "NCIS," "Dancing with the Stars," and "Grey's Anatomy." Victoria's Secret carefully timed its social ad placements to coincide with each premiere. TV fans saw the Victoria's Secret message not only in TV spots during the broadcast but also in social apps in the 48-hour period surrounding each show. When a "Gossip Girl" fan watched the premiere, she saw the TV commercial, and when she turned to social, she also saw the Victoria's Secret social ad, reinforcing the brand's message in a narrow time frame.
Here's how brands should think about choosing the right moment:
- When is the target customer active in social streams?
- On which days and in which hours should your ads be seen? Has the brand identified optimal consumption times?
- Does the campaign revolve around a local event that generates national interest?
For example, if your program focuses on an event like CES in Las Vegas, you'll develop a creative flight timed for the attendees of the show, on Mountain time, and another flight for people who wanted to attend but couldn't.
What have you learned from timing brand campaigns in social ad campaigns, or what challenges are you currently facing?