Meta lists 6 cultural codes for advertisers

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Meta recently shared an analysis of the performance of professionally produced content versus “everyday life” content.

Data suggests that lo-fi content is a major contributor to ad recall and content views for brands.

Why do we see this culture changing now?

Meta suggests this may be due to the availability of smartphones, giving us a potentially limitless audience.

Another theory is the need for brands to share content faster and more frequently. Our attention span is limited, after all!

In addition, the culture of social media today has changed dramatically. More and more users are celebrating “real” moments and stories. They don’t want to see the perfection and polish of the marks.

In fact, a YPulse study found that 79% of users are “tired of seeing perfect images in advertising”.

Let’s dive into the six cultural codes that Meta has shared that brands can benefit from.

#1: Real people telling real stories

As mentioned above, users are tired of seeing perfection in ads. The imagery does not correspond to the reality that most of us experience in our daily lives.

Brands that feature their own actual employees or customers can lend credibility; most importantly – relatability with your audience.

By having someone else tell the story, it brings more authenticity to their experience with the brand.

#2: Use platform language

When we say that brands can benefit from using the language of the social platform, it does not mean the language in the literal sense (English, Spanish, etc.)

This means that brands adopt and display recognized behavior on platforms. Examples of this could be:

  • Create your own interpretation of a viral dance or routine
  • Use popular transition or voiceover effects in videos

The reason language culture is so important has to do with user reliability.

#3: Build relationships with creators and influencers for credibility

In research by Meta, they indicated that 63% of adults aged 18-34 trust a designer’s perspective on a brand.

Moreover, these people trust the creators more than the brand itself.

One of the reasons brands can benefit from creator relationships has to do with context.

Often, creators have a way of telling a story about a product or brand in a way that brands can’t.

This helps make your brand more authentic. You ask customers to take other customers’ word for it, not yours.

Using an outside source such as a creator or influencer helps build credibility for you and them.

Take this example from Cerebral, an online mental health company. Cerebral has teamed up with former US Olympic medalist Simone Biles to advocate for mental health.

Image credit: Facebook.com, screenshot taken by author, May 2022

This ad helps normalize the conversation about mental health using an influencer. Anyone can struggle with mental health, celebrities and athletes.

#4: Take users behind the scenes

This cultural code that Meta talks about correlates directly to the YPulse study, mentioned above.

Users are tired of seeing perfectly buttoned up images and depictions of an unrealistic lifestyle.

Perfectly polished images and videos may look unauthentic to some users.

By taking users “behind the scenes” in some way, you help them understand you better. Whether it’s a “day in the life of” position with different departments, startups, and founders, showcasing what you’re working on can go a long way.

You show them what it takes to create perfect (or imperfect) content. It’s a lot more effort than they think!

#5: Using Lo-Fi Editing Techniques

Brands that use lo-fi editing and production tools have an advantage over the modern consumer. These types of tools help portray a more handcrafted image, rather than a polished, retouched look.

It also helps from a reliability perspective, as users don’t want to see perfection.

If you’re new to lo-fi editing, some brands offer specialized courses on using lo-fi techniques and tools.

#6: Use humor to break down boundaries

Brands using humor in their content are more relevant to audiences.

Humor can help dissolve a perceived rigidity for brands and the need to be perfect.

Charmin is an example of a brand using humor in its content. They participated in the #DollyPartonChallenge which was going viral and made it accessible not only to their brand, but also to their users.

The Charmin brand uses humor on viral content.Image credit: Twitter.com, screenshot taken by author, May 2022

As a reminder, if you use humor, there is always a chance that it will inadvertently backfire. Take that Chase Bank Example:

Chase Bank tries humor in tweets but does not go there accordingly,Image credit: contentworks.agency

If you plan to use ads, be sure to read your user base beforehand and map out any potential backlash. It’s always a good idea to have a customer service plan in case things go wrong.

Summary

Social media culture is constantly evolving. It can be argued that the cultural community has changed drastically due to the pandemic.

By keeping up to date with the social norms and cultural codes of today’s society, your brand has a better chance of staying connected with your users.


Featured Image: DisobeyArt/Shutterstock

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