What we learned from the 2023 Meta Brand-Building Summit 


On October 10, 2023, Meta hosted a brand-building summit to explore “shifting consumer behaviors and evolving technology are shaping the modern marketer’s landscape and how those wishing to future-proof their brands are moving at the speed of change.” 

Or as we like to call it: brand-formance advertising. 

Several of our team members attended virtually, and our founder Ralph Burns attended in person. Here’s a recap of some of our takeaways from this day-long presentation.

Our Takeaways

We discussed some of our takeaways on The Customer Acquisition Show. Watch now!

Brand-Building Plus Performance – It’s no Longer Either-Or

The data is out: there’s no longer such a thing as a “captive audience,” and all attention has to be constantly earned. 

Which means that brands need to use both brand-building tactics of organic social, content marketing, and native content and performance-driven advertising in order to thrive online. 

Brands are on Meta because People are On Meta

The Summit was kicked off by Eva Press, The Vice President of Global Business at Facebook, who highlighted that Meta now has a 3.8 BILLION person reach – that’s the number of active users each and every month on Meta. 

She also revealed that according to one study, 63% of consumers say that they made a purchasing decision based on personalized ads they first saw on Facebook or Instagram. Meta has been using AI for over a decade in their ad delivery system to deliver the right ad to the right person at the right time.

Your Social Channels Are the First Touchpoint, Not Your Website

Traditionally, brands have centered their marketing around the website experience, leaving social media activities as an afterthought. But consumer behavior has changed, and more often than not, your social channels such as Instagram will be the first touchpoint consumers have with your brand. 

Daniel Green of Tier 11 says, “If I end up on a website, I always search for the brand’s social media links.” 

Your job in marketing is to create connections with your consumers, and look for opportunities to co-create culture with them through UGC, collaborations, and community. 

Culture is Fundamental to Brand-Building Success

In the second session of the day, Tina Craig from UBeauty discussed brand-building ecommerce success using Tiffany & Co as an example of a brand that has successfully pivoted to being an IT brand with Gen Z. 

She says that long-term relationships are key to building a successful brand. At Tiffany, they  identified individual influencers who embodied the brand’s values, and then let the creators they chose tell their own stories.

TIP: Influencers know how to speak to their own audience. Let them speak to their audience with their own voice if you want to break into their world. 

In a later session, Ceci Seatun gave even more tips for reaching Gen Z, who value fandom, authenticity, and experimental expression over polished ad campaigns. 

Tips for reaching Gen Z: 

  • Focus on educational content
  • Realize that creators specialize in different things – don’t treat them as one-size-fits-all-content
  • Diversify your storytelling to cultivate sustainability
  • Stay up on trends to move forward “virality” with content
  • If something goes viral on social, plug it in an email newsletter
  • (You do have an active email newsletter, right?)
  • Give your audience a seat at the table. Help them feel heard. 
  • If you are an innovative brand, don’t feel afraid to experiment and try new things
  • Lean into “depolished” aesthetics and collaborate with creators to help brands appear even more transparent

How to Balance Brand-Building and Performance Advertising

In the third session, the presenters Hillary Oestricherand Abhishek Jadon discussed how to align short-term performance goals with long-term brand-building. 

They also highlighted the importance of thinking short-term and long-term, saying, “You aren’t capturing the full effect of your advertising if you’re only measuring short-term outcomes.” 

TIP: “Channel-first” is no longer the right approach. To succeed long-term, brands need to be consumer-first and advertise in ways that customers want to consume.

They discussed how buyers have new “consumption muscles” when it comes to online advertising and information. Thanks to these “new consumer muscles”, consumers are able to sift through information VERY quickly and make decisions in <15 seconds. This is because more and more consumers are digital natives and thus very used to this influx of information. This is leading to trends such as short-term video, user-generated content, and less polished creative assets.

Ultimately, the core business we are in is building consumer connections and relationships.

The key takeaways: 

  • Continue to evolve how you show up and connect with consumers and innovate
  • Create a holistic measurement plan which looks at the full investment – long and short-term
  • Optimize your creative for ALL formats and where your buyer is consuming it

Creative is the New Targeting

In session 4 with Kristen Durkin, the idea of “brand companionship” was discussed. Brand companionship includes the visual, spatial, aural, linguistic, and gestural components of the sensory experience which can now be included in ads and online media in ways never before seen by consumers. 

And thanks to heavy investments in AI over the last decade, Meta is able to deliver assets to exactly who needs to see them. Which is why creative is the new targeting; how you create your ads and your brand ethos taps into existing subcultures where your buyers live and consume. 

Short Term vs Long-Term Value

In one slide, Meta presented an interesting statistic: that your brand’s performance is 40% short-term ROI and 60% long-term ROI. Short-term measurements undervalue brand advertising, and thereby miss ROI that could have been gained with consistency and a long-term view. 

Takeaways to improve results:

  • Target with your creative; Broad Targeting on Meta has a 2.5X ROI vs campaigns with a tighter targeting
  • Pick an optimization goal wisely to maximize the Meta algorithms
  • Target a frequency of 1.5X-2X every week to maximize ROAS
  • Stick with it! A consistent presence gives you a +39% sales impact and a +24% ROAS

Ready to explore a new creative advertising strategy? Check out how we helped one Organifi scale their brand.