Sky Alphabet Social Media Selected As a Finalist in the BCAMA Marketing Excellence Awards

{ Update: we won! }

Sky Alphabet received a nomination for the Canadian launch of “programmatic audio”, a three month organic campaign appearing on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

Sky Alphabet BCAMA 2018 Marketing Awards Finalist

VANCOUVER, BC – January 16, 2019 – Sky Alphabet Social Media (“Sky Alphabet”), a leading Canadian supplier of social media marketing solutions for public companies and private brands, is pleased to announce it has been selected as a finalist in the 2018 BCAMA Marketing Excellence Awards.

Sky Alphabet’s entry for “Programmatic Audio” earned a finalist spot in the category of “Social Storytelling.”

Based in Vancouver, BC, Sky Alphabet planned and executed the social media campaign on behalf of Western Media Group, one of Canada’s most trusted suppliers of independent media solutions.

Programmatic Audio Campaign still #45: "We hear you have a great radio commercial you are dying to play on Soundcloud."
Hundreds of curated and original posts comprised the “programmatic audio” launch campaign for Western Media Group.

As part of the campaign, Sky Alphabet posted to Western Media Group’s social accounts as many as 11 times per day, seven days a week across four social media platforms.

Close to 1,000 different posts appeared across Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook Google Plus and Medium over the three month campaign period.

“Sky Alphabet delivered an immensely successful campaign based on insightful strategy and flawless execution. We wanted to use Twitter to reach early adopters in the media space. It turned out to be the perfect strategy for launching programmatic audio in Canada.”

David St Laurent, CEO, Western Media Group

At the time of the campaign launch, programmatic audio was virtually unknown. It has since become a staple of digital media plans across Canada.

Social Media Campaign Strategy

Designed and executed as an organic social campaign, strategy was central to finding an audience and then connecting the campaign’s messaging to the target.

“Western Media Group is a highly innovative media marketing firm. We wanted to deliver results that would be consistent with one of the great Canadian independent media brands. Taking an organic long-term approach made the campaign much more challenging but it really paid off.”

Steve Yanor, Managing Director, Sky Alphabet Social Media Inc.

The campaign helped to contribute dozens of new clients, a sold out webinar that counted 80 registered guests and hundreds of thousands in new revenue.

Programmatic Audio campaign still #20: "It's funny  how when people listen to music they don't listen to anything else. But the ads."
The campaign creative appealed to digital media buyers. Image from Twitter.

“This campaign was a real winner for us and our programmatic audio partners,” said David St Laurent.


Solving the Audience Equation

One of the key challenges of the campaign was to overcome the obstacle that many organic social media campaigns face: that of limited audience reach. Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram actually limit the organic reach that brands have so they can promote their paid reach products. Twitter is the one platform that allows brands access to their full audience.

“We were fortunate because we started the campaign with a core audience already built out on Twitter. That’s where the early adopters and ‘adtech’ enthusiasts. We knew programmatic audio would be a good fit for Twitter’s audience of media buyers and agencies. It was a matter of building the audience quickly using very targeted messaging.”

To leverage Twitter’s organic reach, Sky Alphabet implemented an aggressive audience development initiative in parallel with the campaign. The audience development program sought to grow the audience of Western Media Group day by day while the campaign was underway.

Western Media Group’s audience size increased by 36% during the campaign period.

“We started with 5,127 followers and ended with almost 7,000. Closing the campaign with an expanded audience was a nice bonus as they are still assets of our brand today,” said David St Laurent.

Programmatic Audio campaign still #18: "Who knew podcasts were such a great place to advertise?"

The campaign’s audience development activities were performed through Sky Alphabet’s own software combined with a popular social media audience management product.

“Audiences grow faster if you use data exported from publicly available AI–driven software in your own coded environment. We didn’t want to re-invent the wheel, just how it rolls,” said Yanor.

Social Media Insights

Sky Alphabet’s Marketing Awards finalist entry incorporated three insights about social media users:

  • They are skeptical and dislike ads
  • They are easily bored and don’t like seeing a brand post the same thing multiple times
  • They need something valuable in return if they are going to follow and keep following

“The social media user is almost a lookalike for the typical media buyer. Both know when they’re being played. For this reason we wanted to stick to the facts. So we gave people a lot of facts.”

For the “programmatic audio” campaign launch, Sky Alphabet sourced more than 900 different posts that incorporated verifiable data from trusted sources. The posts consisted of original material, graphics and a lot of curated content from a variety of trusted sources.

Programmatic Audio campaign still #22: "Programmatic Audio everyone wants it. We've got it."
Programmatic audio was virtually uknown before Western Media Group introduced it to Canada. Source: Twitter.

“For this launch to be successful we knew we had to provide a massive amount of information that media buyers couldn’t find anywhere else, mainly because it couldn’t be found anywhere else. We needed enough content so that we could tweet something once and then never use it again. There was very little content recycling with this campaign.”

Social Media Marketing Tactics

As is the case with most Sky Alphabet social media campaigns, the primary strategy is to get in the social feed of the targets.

“The only way any organic social media campaign has a chance to succeed is if the target sees it. So it is mission critical to figure out a way to show up. By hook or crook you have to find a way in.”

Sky Alphabet used two tactics to drive views of Western Media Group’s Twitter content.

The first tactic was to ensure that any Canadian media buyer or agency knew that Western Media Group existed. This was accomplished through a daily audience development initiative.

“This campaign would never have worked with Facebook or Instagram. For the average brand, these platforms are no longer viable for organic campaigns. The other consideration is that programmatic audio is a geeky product. It has a geeky name. And many of its most appealing characteristics play well to the data-side of modern digital media marketers and buyers.”

Creative Strategy

An intimidating amount of creative was developed to complement the campaign’s audience development activities.

“We wanted to use something once and then never use it again. On a platform like Twitter you need a lot of content to be able to pull that off over several months.”

Sky Alphabet determined that if it was to deliver four to eleven posts per day for seven days a week, more than 800 different posts would be required.

Almost one thousand different posts were delivered on Twitter alone.

Original, sales-driven messaging and graphics were mixed in with curated campaign messaging so no one would recognize the overall effort as a targeted campaign.

Programmatic audio was virtually unknown. Now it is a staple of digital media plans.

Fresh, new and valuable content are table stakes for organic campaigns.

To source the most up-to-date information about programmatic audio, Sky Alphabet configured a 24/7 social listening tool to capture new research, presentations or opinions about programmatic audio. This content was saved in a Google Doc that could be reformulated for use in the campaign.

This lent the campaign additional credibility as many of the sources were reputable (i.e. Nielsen, Comscore).

Midway through the campaign the scheduling of the posts were optimized so that they appeared when our growing audience was online. Our campaign ran on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook on a twenty-four hour cycle, seven days a week. Other content also appeared on Medium and Google Plus.

The final creative tactic was a long-form influencer interview that featured programmatic audio. This interview was published across Twitter and LinkedIn.

An interview with David St Laurent, the CEO who brought programmatic audio to Canada, was published on social media over multiple networks.
One of the campaign components was an influencer interview.

“The campaign was successful by every measure. It made us the top result for programmatic audio on Twitter and delivered huge awareness and impressive audience gains.”

Western Media Group

The American Marketing Association’s BC Chapter is hosting the Marketing Excellence awards gala in Vancouver, BC on February 8, 2019.

About Sky Alphabet Social Media
Sky Alphabet is the social media agency Vancouver loves. Incorporated in 2017, Sky Alphabet is a full service social media consultancy serving public companies and private brands across Canada. The agency has considerable experience with planning and executing paid and organic social media campaigns across the major social platforms, especially for business-to-business (B2B) and investor brands. Sky Alphabet is a member of the American Marketing Association’s BC Chapter.

About Western Media Group
Western Media Group is a leading Canadian provider of truly independent cross-media solutions. Spanning television, digital, programmatic, radio and out-of-home media, Western Media Group provides agencies and advertisers with access to a broad inventory of on-demand media properties. Please visit us at www.westernmediagroup.ca or on Twitter at @westernmedia.

Programmatic Audio Campaign Stills (Selection)