Facebook is all grown up and ready for your business.
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If you could step inside a time machine and travel back in time to Facebook 2012 -I know, it is inconceivable that anyone would want to go that far back in time, but bear with me- you would see a company that is wrestling with its identity and trying to figure out what it wants to be.
In 2012 Facebook had about 800 million users and was pre-IPO. Business Insider had just posted an article called, “One Thing Is Clear: Facebook Hasn’t Figured It Out Yet” where author Nicholas Carlson asserts, “Facebook hasn’t yet figured out how it’s going to make money when it grows up.” In his article, he identifies Facebook’s advertising inadequacies and even goes so far as to compare it to a lowly television commercial:
Let’s say you want to buy an ad that will reach a certain group of people because you think there are some people in that group who haven’t yet realized that they want to search for information about your product, and you’d like to convince them to do so.
Do you even buy a tiny, easily ignored Facebook ad then?
Or do you buy a pretty TV commercial, which is harder to ignore, and does a much better job of telling a story about tampons or toothpaste?
Probably, you buy the TV ad first.
What’s the point of this little history lesson? The point is, Facebook for much of the past five years, has not necessarily been the ideal platform for advertising or marketing a brand. The ads were inefficient and inaccurately targeted viewers. There simply was not enough ROI to justify a major investment in advertising, time, or resources. Now this isn’t to say that there wasn’t measurable benefit from maintaining a consistent brand presence on Facebook, there was, and if the status quo remains unchanged, there probably will be until the end of time. Even though the ads weren’t great, there was still the ability to interact with users and make announcements, but again, it didn’t warrant considerable marketing budget.
Fast forward to the present. With 1.8 billion users and $26 billion in ad revenue from 2016, I think it is safe to say that Facebook has grown up. With the major improvements in advertising targeting, users are able to pinpoint very precise groups for very specific ads. You can narrow down your ideal group by gender, age, job, region, and more. Here’s some advice from marketing guru Neil Patel, “I leverage my email list (which is quite large) to create lookalike audiences and target my ads to a 1% lookalike, which means that only people who are very similar to my current email subscribers will see the ad.” This advanced ad placement creates tremendous traffic to landing pages and websites, which in turn make Facebook a crucial tool.
In an interview for Fast Company Facebook COO, Shery Sandberg said, “The marriage of social recommendations with commerce is rapidly attracting advertisers: 4 million on Facebook, 500,00o on Instagram. We want to help them move products off shelves and drive cars off lots.” In other words, Facebook is committed to helping your business grow.
While there are plenty of examples that correlate smart Facebook ad targeting with an increased ROI, there are also other ways to leverage Facebook’s enormous audience to help your business grow.
Again, referring back to Neil Patel, he is spending $12,512 a day on targeted Facebook ads to blast out his content to as many people as possible. When I saw the title of his article, “I Waste $12,512 a Day on Facebook Fans, and I’m Not Going to Stop. Here’s Why” I was immediately curious what the payout was for such a large investment in ads. In his post, he explained that he isn’t necessarily making more money from a revenue perspective, but he is gaining followers and growing his audience.
By creating really, really good content and then blasting it out to a well-qualified audience (remember when I mentioned how he uses his email list to create a very specific focus group) he is amassing traffic to his site and creating brand awareness.
He explains, “the traffic to my website, NeilPatel.com, from Facebook is nearly 240,000 visitors a month! This isn’t traffic from ads. This is traffic from my fan page and other shared content of mine across Facebook.” He goes on to explain the value of creating brand awareness, “Building a large brand eventually produces a high ROI. That’s the power of branding. But, for some reason, a lot of new school companies have decided that we should focus our marketing efforts based on direct ROI… and that’s it.”
As you can see, Neil has been able to derive value by marketing to the people using Facebook on a daily basis to create brand awareness and drive traffic to his own site. Sure, it cost him a lot more than many companies are willing to spend, but the principle is the same and the process is implementable even with a small budget.
If current trends can be any predictors of the foreseeable future, Facebook is going to be even more important for companies, brands, and agencies. With an audience of 1.8 billion people, it the largest social networking site in the world. Even if your ideal audience isn’t using Facebook and so your company doesn’t see much value in investing in an aggressive ad campaign, there is still a tremendous amount of value you can glean from a listening campaign.
If you are missing Facebook data from your social media analytics, then you are missing out on crucial conversations and insights. If your current social listening tool doesn’t provide that valuable data, then you need a more robust tool, one that has access to Facebook data and can deliver that data in an easily read, usable format. With a monitoring tool like NUVI, you get access to a substantial social media data set from many networks including a much larger pipeline from Facebook. Do you have access to all the real-time data you need to really maximize use of those 1.8 billion potential customers? If not, we’d be happy to give you a demo.