I read an article recently on the New Yorker’s website where the journalist described Facebook as the world’s first global direct-marketing company. To my mind, this is a perfect way to describe the social network; they own one of the most effective ad targeting tools ever built and they are offering advertisers incredible opportunities to achieve their marketing goals.
In years gone by, direct marketers used to spend days trawling through databases to segment data and find that perfect ‘set’ which would reduce the unit cost and guarantee a favourable cost per acquisition. When I started my career, I remember working on printed direct mail campaigns where we had to wait 2 weeks for a segmented database to be created and approved. Social networks now give advertisers immediate access to customised audiences based on the data they have offered up to the network, a page’s existing fans as well as detailed insights on the predicted reach of the audience.
“Facebook is the world’s first global direct-marketing company”
Last month, my colleague Ross touched on some of the key factors to consider for an effective social media content strategy. I’d like to compliment this, by highlighting one the biggest opportunities offered to marketers on social media; and one that is constantly innovating.
It’s common knowledge that almost every major social channel is now offering paid advertising. What perhaps is lesser known are the staggering success rates advertisers are having and subsequently, the huge market share channels like Facebook are capturing in the paid media space.
In last month’s Campaign magazine, an article highlighted that Facebook Ad sales have overtaken Channel 4 and Sky in the UK, generating £1.4 billion in revenue. In 2015 the social network generated $17 billion USD worldwide and it’s hard to envisage anything other than an upward curve. So why are we spending so much cash with Facebook?
“Facebook Ad sales have overtaken Channel 4 and Sky in the UK”
One of the reasons their ad products are so effective is that no matter how big or small your budget is – if you approach it tactically – marketers can almost guarantee results.
Recently, we ran a series of ads on Facebook for a client whose ambition was to sell more tickets for their event. We had a very limited budget so we needed to be focused with our execution. Though there were other components to the campaign including email marketing and display banners, the results from Facebook were staggering, with the website conversion ad generating over 1/3 of ticket sales for the period.
As mentioned, the audience targeting offered by Facebook is extremely sophisticated and getting more so by the month. We can now target people based on age, career, interests, marital status and location and the recent addition of postcode targeting now allows us to get even more specific. Advertisers can also upload 1st party data, which will mean that messaging will reach a large proportion of the people on that database – provided of course the email address is the one associated with the user’s Facebook account. You can even target people who ‘look like’ the consumers who already like your page or have visited your website.
Aside from consumer profiling, another factor contributing to the success of ads on Facebook is the fact that we now have multiple ad products to choose from and each one is designed to support a particular goal. Facebook & Instagram now offer a total of 13 “objectives” with the most popular ones being clicks-to-website, video ads, page post engagement, offer claims and lead-generation [the ability to capture data within the platform].
In addition to this, and as a result of the recent chat-bot phenomenon [a topic for another article perhaps], the social network is even developing ad products for their native messaging platform, offering brands the opportunity to send “Sponsored Messages” to people who’ve already voluntarily started a conversation with a business.
If you combine all of this with carefully crafted audience segmentation and throw in some 1st party data, you can create a campaign that is tailor made for your ideal target.
Take a look through your own Facebook feed and notice the content that appears to be talking directly to you; a brand offering a product or service you’re genuinely interested in. Whoever created this got it spot on in terms of profiling and objectives and as a result Facebook served it up on your news feed.
So when you are planning your next digital media campaign budget, make sure you apportion an amount towards social media ads – even if it’s just to test the water. With the right tactics and a goal-based approach, you may be more than surprised by the results.
For more information about what our award winning marketing agency can do for you, why not take a look at the digital marketing services we offer or contact us to tell us more about your business? Offering everything from PPC management to creative social media marketing services, we can help with whatever you need.