Social Direct Response

Social Direct Response Advertising: A Toolkit for Modern Businesses

Akshay Madhani
Akshay Madhani

Here's a fun fact: 74% of us are glued to our social feeds while deciding what to splurge on.

Whether it's Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or any other platform, they're becoming a huge part of my, and probably your, shopping decisions.

They’re getting everyone’s attention - from your average Joe just scrolling through to the eager buyer with credit card in hand.

So what flips these platforms from being my occasional online hangouts to shopping playgrounds?

Social direct response ads.

Before we dive headfirst into THAT rabbit hole, let's first break down what direct response advertising is.

What is direct response advertising

Direct response advertising is a tactic meant to get a reaction from whoever the ad targets in a quick and measurable way, specifically through paid channels.

When I'm scrolling through my feeds and see these ads, they’re not just there to look pretty. They're created to make me do something right then and there.

It might be as simple as clicking on a link or, if it really catches my eye, I might just go ahead and buy something.

Unlike its counterpart, brand advertising, which primarily focuses on building long-term brand awareness and image, direct response advertising gets results right away that can be measured.

In that sense, the direct response ads you see everywhere on the internet are more than flashy digital billboards. Being noticed isn't enough; immediate, measurable action from the audience is what really matters.

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Traditional direct response ads vs. social direct response ads

One classic example I can think of when it comes to direct response ads is those infomercials you see on TV. You know the ones—the long commercials that can run anywhere from 30 seconds to several minutes.

They usually show off a product in action, and boy, sometimes they do end up making a convincing sales pitch!

But let me tell you, those infomercials were pretty broad in their target audience, and honestly, they didn't quite hit the mark for me most of the time.

The ad usually included a clear call-to-action, such as urging viewers to "Call now to order!" and provided a toll-free number or website.

The success of the ad was directly measured by the number of calls or visits to the website that could be tracked back to the infomercial's airing time.

I would often notice infomercials focusing on kitchen gadgets, fitness gear, or cleaning tools. These products have been a go-to for direct response advertising for decades.

You know, I've often thought of traditional direct response ads like tossing a message in a bottle into the ocean.

You cross your fingers, hoping it finds its way to someone, but who that someone is and when they'll discover it remains a bit of a mystery.

These ads cast a wide net with one-sided communication, which often translates into a waiting game for customer responses and some hefty production bills to foot.

Social direct response ads address these issues, thanks to technology.

You can now target your ads with precision, reaching specific audiences based on their demographics, interests, and online behaviors. Advancements in data analytics and tracking tools help you make swift adjustments and run those all-important A/B tests.

And more...

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When you put it all together, along with the instant engagement features and automation that tools like Scrollmark provide, social direct response ads truly shine in today's high-speed, data-centric marketing world.

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Advertisers can now turn every like, comment, and share into an opportunity for a conversation.

This approach really helps in marching those leads down the sales funnel faster. And so, customer acquisition becomes more affordable.

Anatomy of a social direct response ad

Let's look at a modern example of a direct response ad on social media to understand its key components.

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In this Instagram app-install ad by Balance, we have:

  • A crystal clear and appealing offer of enjoying the app for free for a long period, creating immediate value: “Free for an entire year”
  • A strong and instructive CTA that not only stresses how important mental health is but also encourages the audience to act by suggesting that the Balance app is the answer: “Protect your mental health with Balance” and “Install Now”
  • Several ways to measure how well the ad worked: the number of app installs, likes, comments, shares, and saves
  • A way for Balance to follow up and engage people who don’t convert right away: by using a social direct response platform like Scrollmark to DM people who liked, commented, shared, and/or saved the ad

Social media hasn't just offered new placement options for ads; it's created an environment where measurable and immediate participation from the audience is possible.

It’s high time we ditch the idea of social media being just a top of the funnel channel and start acknowleding its amazing potential to bring in leads and sales through active engagement.

How to create winning direct response ads for social media

Creating direct response ad campaigns that capture attention and convert on social media is an art and a science.

The best ads blend compelling creative elements with deep personalization—targeting not just demographics but behaviors and interests.

Let's unpack these elements with real-world examples.

Instagram Story ad by Gymshark

Gymshark’s “Flex” activewear line launch was a visual punch of bold colors and sleek design, all wrapped up with a compelling call-to-action that viewers couldn't ignore.

The payoff? An astounding 2,400 orders directly tied to the campaign and a 9x return on investment, proving that sometimes, simplicity reigns supreme.

With just a handful of dynamic product shots and a punchy CTA, Gymshark demonstrated that you don't need complex animations to make a splash.

Create such impactful ads by focusing on:

  • Engaging visuals: Select 4-5 high-quality images that showcase your product's strengths. Ensure the visuals are cohesive and align with your brand identity
  • Clear CTA: Your call-to-action should be concise and direct, encouraging viewers to take the next step, whether it’s “Shop Now” or “Learn More”
  • Simple message: Like Gymshark, keep the ad straightforward. Use minimal text to communicate the value proposition effectively

Then use Scrollmark’s smart automation to send a DM to people who like, comment on, or share the Story and offer them additional information or nudge towards a purchase with the help of goal-driven AI nodes.

Conditions in the journey builder can tailor these interactions based on user behavior, making follow-up messages more relevant and likely to convert.

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Twitter/X timeline takeover ad by Elegant Themes

Using the power of a giveaway to drive engagement, Elegant Themes created a Twitter timeline takeover ad for their Divi Black Friday sale.

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The ad itself is an energetic burst of color and excitement. The use of bold typography and playful imagery captures attention, while the countdown timer adds a sense of urgency.

For brands looking to create a similar ad, attention should be paid to:

  • High-impact visuals that align with your brand identity
  • An enticing offer that's too good to scroll past
  • A clear and direct call-to-action, like "Enter Now" or "Win Today"
  • A countdown or timer to build anticipation and encourage immediate action

Scrollmark can be used to then automate follow-up with entrants and personalize the messaging to different user segments.

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Facebook quiz funnel ads by Bambu Earth

Bambu Earth is a skin care brand that used a skin quiz in their social media ad campaign, leading to an impressive 415% year-over-year growth in 2020 and another 63% in the first quarter of 2021​.

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All these direct response ads cooked up by them were meant to have us click our way to a landing page with a skin care quiz.

The ads are a carefully concocted potion of personalization and engagement, meant to tickle our fancy and nudge us toward a tailor-made skin care regimen.

These ads are all about cashing in on our craving for that personalized pampering, and they've got a catchy, irresistible call-to-action: "Take our Skin Quiz Today."

The key is to create an interactive element like a quiz that promises a personalized result. Here's how:

  • Understand your audience’s pains and gains: Know the unique needs and pain points of your audience to create a quiz that feels relevant to them
  • Have a prominent CTA: Make your call-to-action prominent and compelling, urging immediate interaction
  • Use quality content: High-quality images and videos that reflect the quality of your product or service are a must
  • Keep customer journey in mind: Make sure the transition from ad to quiz is smooth, maintaining the user's attention and interest

Using Scrollmark can be a game-changer for such direct response campaigns.

You can automate follow-ups with users who've commented on the quiz posts, providing them with personalized advice, product recommendations, and tailored messages.

This approach ultimately leads to increased engagement and higher conversion rates.

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Final thoughts

Direct response advertising on social media is a powerful tool that gets people to act right away.

We've covered the major tactics in social direct response ads, but trust me, there's a treasure trove of different strategies for each step of the journey.

The main ideas in this blog post will help you kickstart a social media campaign that doesn't just land in front of your audience but speaks their language, nudging them towards that all-important click, call, or purchase.

But as platforms change and evolve, so should your strategy. Real, genuine engagement powered by a sprinkle of automation can work wonders, turning those casual scrollers into eager buyers.

If you have any comments or questions, don’t hesitate to ping me on Twitter.

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