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As brands struggle to find the right mix of organic and paid campaigns on social media, Benefit Cosmetics has found an approach that works: Organic social media marketing is critical, supported only occasionally by paid efforts. Benefit’s assistant manager of digital marketing, Janine Nguyen, and social media manager, Angela Purcaro, spoke with eMarketer’s Maria Minsker about how the company established an effective combination for organic content and paid ads.
eMarketer: There’s an ongoing debate about the value of organic social media marketing vs. paid advertising on social media. Where does Benefit stand on this issue?
Angela Purcaro: We balance both. We try to use paid advertising for big moments in our marketing calendar, because we do have a limited budget. Meanwhile, we leverage organic in a way that’s always-on and aligned with paid campaigns.
eMarketer: Do your organic and paid campaigns serve different functions?
Janine Nguyen: Our main objective for paid campaigns is brand awareness, because only paid social can give us insight into awareness lift. Organic campaigns, on the other hand, are for acquisition and engagement. Measuring engagement with paid ads doesn’t tell us what resonates naturally, so we’ve moved away from doing that.
eMarketer: For your organic efforts, which platforms are most important?
Purcaro: When it comes to organic marketing, we’re not really thinking about which channel is more important, but rather what purpose each channel serves. For our makeup tutorials, for example, we’re all about Snapchat and Instagram Stories. Twitter, on the other hand, is designated for customer service.
eMarketer: Is organic reach dwindling on Facebook? Is the investment still paying off?
Purcaro: Facebook is still a priority channel for us. We’ve been focusing on traditional and live video on Facebook, and we’re seeing success. Facebook Live is definitely worth the investment. We’re really proud of our Live series “Tipsy Tricks,” and we actually just celebrated our 100th broadcast.
eMarketer: What about paid platforms? Are there some you prefer over others?
Nguyen: For paid campaigns, our focus is on Facebook and Instagram because they’re the big reach players. YouTube is important as well—we like to distribute our video content and gain views there. We made a Sponsored Lens for Snapchat last year to promote our new brow collection, but Snapchat is not as much of a priority.
eMarketer: Besides reach, are there other factors that have driven you to prioritize the platforms this way?
Nguyen: Measurement is a factor. Instagram, for example, is consistently rolling out new capabilities and insights, whereas Snapchat has very limited measurement capabilities. We’re obviously going to invest in channels where our audiences spend time, but we also want to get insights and learnings so we can continue optimizing our content.
eMarketer: Given the advantage of paid campaigns, should brands do away with organic social media marketing?
Purcaro: No. Organic social media marketing is still a worthwhile endeavor, because it’s important to be part of the conversation and be where our customers are. For us, organic social campaigns are about offering entertainment, education and inspiration. While some channels are more important than others, it’s still important to always be on with organic marketing.
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