Facebook advertising: The harsh realities

Facebook_Unlike

As of September last year, Facebook’s reported user base was at a mind-shattering 1.15 billion users. This statistic alone is enough to make even the most reluctant business owner consider the virtues of Facebook advertising because, honestly, where else on earth can anyone hope to reach that many people?

While I am a fan of Facebook advertising in theory because of its unique ability to pinpoint certain demographics or target ads by local area, there is increasing evidence that questions its overall effectiveness. A recent report combined by Social.com and Marketing Cloud presents a variety of regional and global indicators on the real cost of social advertising that fuel my hesitation to rely on Facebook. Indeed, there is an increased warning regarding the realities of Facebook advertising every business needs to heed before making this marketing leap.

1. Overusing Facebook ads

People have come to rely heavily on Facebook. The problem is that Facebook is continually implementing changes to its platform, particularly on the advertising side of things, irking Facebook users in the process. As marketers, we need to tread carefully to avoid pushback from these users who are more concerned with the goings on of their family and friends.

2. The effects are dropping

As a sort of appendage to my last point, it is interesting to note that the overall effects of Facebook ads have dropped significantly as the trend had caught on — doesn’t it always? The sour taste newsfeed advertisements leave in one’s mouth has led users to shun many Facebook ads. This is of particular note in Australia, where the report I referenced earlier stated that the cost per click (CPC) on Facebook ads is at a staggering 96% above the global average.

3. Consider the type of ad.

I would think very carefully about the style in which you use Facebook advertising. There are several options available, which include everything from ads that push to external websites and inline advertisements, to more complex options such as sponsored posts that include location check-ins and page likes. Encourage people to check-in to your locations. You can then advertise specifically to these people at a later date. This model currently has the highest response rate because these are essentially pre-existing customers.

 4. You must produce credible, consistent content.

Another good option begins with promoting what you actually post on your page using the ‘Boost Post’ function. The problem is if your content isn’t great to start with, you are just wasting your money. That is true of any social media activity. You can’t supplement poor content planning with advertising. You might consider doing very small A & B testing on campaign messages, and review your results and feedback before broadening out your spend and/or targets.

5. Monitoring is mandatory.

News flash: Social Media marketing can morph into a full time job. You need to carefully monitor your page, or else you risk serious damage to your brand. This means employing someone whose job is to know and mediate social media posts in an educated and mature way. It is also important to have page guidelines that warn against foul language so you have grounds to remove some posts if necessary. Just deleting offensive posts can have a serious negative backlash that may end up doing more harm than leaving the comment up in the first place.

Adding Facebook advertising to your company’s overall strategy is still one of the best and most effective ways to reach a specific targets. However, the realities of doing so must also be considered before diving in head first.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000129173708 Winston Marsh

    So, on balance Natalie, do you really think its worth the time and trouble for small businesses? I’m beginning to believe its just there for people to report on the mundanities of their lives. I haven’t really discovered many real business successes. That said I have worked with a few clients who have had great results… the right product, the right offer for a heavy FaceBook user market.

    • http://www.pollenmarketing.com.au Natalie Giddings

      Thanks Winston,

      You are right on making sure you have the right product vs offer vs Facebook usage.

      It isn’t that it isn’t worth the hassle. But truth be told – if you want to make FB work, you have to put some advertising dollars behind your effort. My point is – it is increasingly complex.