Monday, December 4, 2023

Meta’s Multiple Canvases: Fostering Brand Creativity to Meet Gen Z’s Expectations & Drive Growth

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 “Gen-Z is the first generation to have had all the mediums at their disposal,” Karin Tracy, Head of Industry, Retail, Fashion, Luxury at Meta. “They are leading a cultural and aesthetic shift powered by technology – not only for their generation but for all generations surrounding them. The transformational shifts we’ve experienced recently in terms of how we work, connect, express ourselves and shop are intrinsic to this group.”

 So, what do Gen Z consumers want? They want to be entertained: 99 percent of Gen Z watch video content on a weekly basis.1 They want to be educated: 70 percent of Gen Z has used online resources to do research before going into a physical store.2  And lastly, they want to be surprised and delighted with the use of emerging technologies: Gen Z and Millennial online shoppers prefer discovering brands and products using AR/VR compared to older shoppers.3

Meta now reaches over 3.7 billion people monthly across its apps and the number of people daily using Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp is the highest it’s ever been, giving brands access to nearly half the total global population.4 And in addition to reaching consumers, especially Gen Z on a large scale, Meta has earned its reputation for knowing how to drive discovery through its surfaces that work together and in the last decade has focused on getting them right.  It is this combination of the largest audience of Gen Z coupled with their incredibly powerful, AI-driven discovery engine that is driving success for brands large and small.


“When we think about how to translate discovery into real business outcomes, the way brands tell their stories through creative has become more important than ever,” said Tracy. “Creative is your greatest lever in terms of driving performance, so connecting with your consumer in new, exciting and differentiated ways is table stakes.”

Karin Tracy, Head of Industry, Retail, Fashion, Luxury at Meta.

Patrick MacLeod/Shutterstock

 “Put simply, think of Meta as your creative hub with multiple canvases to tell your story,”  said Tracy. “From behind the scenes, to polished campaigns to short form video that educates and informs about all the amazing things that brands have to offer – collabs, launches, drops, purpose driven messages – a brand can express every dimension of its story while still maintaining a consistent brand identity across all of them.”

 And creativity equals performance as shown by Meta’s research, which finds that 56 percent of outcomes in the company’s auction of ad delivery are determined by a brand’s creative.5 “The single most important thing that you can do is build great creative,” Tracy added. “Consumers make decisions in a split-second – meaning capturing them quickly matters.”

Feed and Stories continue to be important surfaces brands can use to tell their stories, and Reels has now quickly become the fastest growing surface on Meta, with 140 billion Reels plays each day across Facebook and Instagram.6 It’s not about mastering one surface, it’s about the full ecosystem coming together. 

 Creators are at the center of this and can play a critical role and brands’ abilities to show up in authentic, entertaining and inspiring ways. Creator partnerships are the rule, not the exception.

 They can help brands easily become a part of a cultural conversation, passion or community that they may not necessarily be able to access on their own. They utilize the latest and greatest tech to help brands get their story across in a fresh, new way; and most importantly, creators bring a feeling of authenticity that’s hard to replicate in traditional modes of marketing and advertising.

People are spending 13X more time engaging with creator content from what they would spend with a brand’s content – that’s 133MM minutes spent with creator content in 20217 – and 63 percent of 18-34 year-olds trust what a creator says about a brand more than what the brand says about itself.8 The opportunity is enormous.

Santi Nuñez / Stocksy United

Consumer behavior research on how people engage on digital platforms shows that they aren’t coming to Meta’s apps for one thing, they’re coming for all of it. But using the right platform or product is only one part of the equation. The next question is: how are we helping put your brand in front of the people that it will resonate with most, and in a way that actually drives action? The answer, Tracy said, is driven by AI.

 “AI is the foundation of our discovery engine and ads business,” said Tracy. “We believe it’s going to enable many new products and continued evolution in our apps. Now we’re leaning into helping advertisers get more efficient and smarter about their investments through our AI-powered products.”

The recent launch of Advantage + Shopping Ads (or A+SC) is the first in these AI advancements and they are already showing promise.  According to their Q4 2022 earnings report, Meta’s advertisers saw over 20 percent more conversions than in the year before. And combined with a declining cost per acquisition, this resulted in higher returns on ad spend.

This impact is shown to not only drive online outcomes but in-store outcomes, too. Meta’s data reports a halo is already in effect with 84 percent of global shoppers reporting they have made at least one purchase in-store after finding or discovering the item on social media.9 As consumer behavior evolves, having a thoughtful presence across digital platforms is now fundamental – impacting not only online sales, but also shoppers’ intentions in-store.

And as brands consider how they connect with customers across platforms, creative is an invaluable tool. Creative plays a vital role in storytelling and is often the first touchpoint a customer has with a brand, Tracy told WWD Studios. Creative has become one of the most important tools for impactful personalization, especially as we enter a post-cookie world. As privacy regulations continue to change the course of the advertising market, creative allows advertisers to unleash new strategies for personalizing each experience.

Reels, Creators, and AR all work – but they work harder together. As brands move to deliver on growing customer expectations, the key to success, Tracy said, is in how they use all available canvases to weave together a tapestry – one dynamic, integrated brand story.

[1] Source: Global Media Study by Ipsos (Facebook-commissioned online study of 16,658 people aged 13-24, monthly mobile internet users, US, Dec ‘21 – Jan ’22). *Includes Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Snapchat. **Includes Facebook, Instagram

[2] Source: ‘Transformation of the in-store experience’ Study by HarrisX (Facebook-commissioned online survey of 136 retail shoppers aged 18-24, US, Sep 2021)

[3] Source: ‘Retail Future of Shopping’ Study by Ipsos (Meta-commissioned online survey of 2620 Retail shoppers ages 18+, United States, March 2022)

[4] Source: Meta Earnings Report, Q4 2022

[5] Source:  “Five Keys to Advertising Effectiveness:  Quantifying the Impact of Advertising on Sales”, by Nielsen Catalina Solutions, Aug 2017

[6] Source:  Meta Earnings, Q3’2022

[7] ​​SOURCE: Tubular Labs | Audience Ratings | Cross-Platform (YouTube+Facebook) | Top 1000 Creators Per Type | Minutes Watched (based on 30s quality views) | US Audience, 2021. The Influencer Marketing Factory “Status of Social” report 2021

[8] Source: Role of Creator Marketing by Crowd DNA (FB commissioned online survey of general population respondents ages 18-65 yrs in USA, N=1,750). Qualified respondents shop online at least two times per month, have been influenced by creators when shopping in specific retail & CPG categories, and have recently purchased in that category.

[9]  Source: “Transformation of the In-Store Experience” Study by HarrisX (Meta-commissioned online survey of 43,863 retail shoppers, ages 18+, in AU, BR, CA, FR,  DE, IN, MX, KR, TH, UK, US), Aug–Sep 2021.

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