This article originally appeared in the February 2016 edition of the Marketing GPS Newsletter.
In 2004, Facebook was born on the World Wide Web, and in the nearly twelve years since it came into existence, it has become a powerful platform for a myriad of things, including news, video, games, messaging, and much more. Facebook accounts for 20% of the daily traffic on the Internet, and the average user spends twenty minutes per day on the site. The average American spends forty minutes per day on the site.
Why Advertise On Facebook?
This is a huge opportunity for small businesses to advertise. Compared to traditional advertising methods, such as TV, radio, and print, advertising on Facebook is incredibly affordable for any business. Facebook’s average cost per click is around 27 cents, with clickthrough rates (the number of people who clicked on an ad divided by the number of people who were shown the ad) of 1.5%. Compare this with a TV advertisement, which can cost thousands of dollars. You can get nearly 4 clicks for every dollar you spend, on average, meaning that an advertising campaign on Facebook with a $1,000 budget could potentially generate 3,500-4,000 clicks to your website or offer. With TV or radio, the person has to be in front of the medium at just the right time to see or hear your advertisement. This is an incredibly inefficient use of advertising dollars, because you will still pay for the advertising, regardless of whether or not anyone actually sees or hears your advertisement.
Facebook is different. You pay per click, so that your account is charged only when someone actually sees your ad and then clicks on it. When a user clicks on your ad, they are expressing interest in what you are selling. There are few consistent methods to determine people’s interest based on TV or radio, magazine, or newspaper ads.
Mobile is another reason that Facebook is so huge. Seventy-eight percent of all Facebook ad revenue comes from mobile. With the world becoming increasingly more mobile, advertising is shifting to this new medium, and Facebook ads work exceptionally well on mobile. A more recent addition to the Facebook advertising arsenal is what is known as the Facebook Audience Network. This network shows your Facebook ads on third-party mobile apps that partner with Facebook. With our clients, we have seen most of their clicks come from mobile devices, and most of those clicks have come from the Facebook Audience Network.
Now that we have looked at why Facebook is one of the best places to advertise, let’s take a look at why Facebook is such a powerful advertising tool.
The Power of Facebook Targeting and Re-targeting
In 2013, Facebook forged partnerships with several major data aggregators, such as Acxiom. While Facebook had a lot of interesting demographics to target before (such as gender, political views, likes, and other things), with these new deals with data aggregators, Facebook gained access to a host of new information on the consumers using its site. These data aggregators have information on about a half billion consumers worldwide, with each consumer consisting of an average of 1,500 individual data points.
The result of all this data? Businesses have more options for targeting their ads to specific consumers, placing their ads in front of the right people, in the right place, at the right time. For instance, a spa might target women between the ages of 20 and 30 who have kids (because let’s face it – these moms deserve a little break every now and then!). This targeting allows them to show ads for spa specials to women within that demographic only. Once you begin geotargeting (based on distance from the store or by ZIP code) the audience can become even more precise. Careful consideration of your audience’s demographics are the foundation of a successful Facebook ad campaign.
In addition, you can build what are known as custom audiences. Custom audiences are groups of users that you create based on a certain behavior or database. For example, you can use an email list to build a custom audience in Facebook. Facebook will take your list and look for anyone on Facebook with the email addresses you provide, and then put those people into a list. You can then target custom ads to these people. For instance, if you have a database of customers, you can take their email addresses and create a custom list for the purpose of offering them a special deal as a thank you for their previous business.
Facebook also allows you to use what is known as a conversion pixel to build custom audiences. This is a truly powerful feature of Facebook advertising, because you can create custom audiences based on interests in particular products or services you offer, and then advertise to those people. For instance, suppose you have a page on your site where people can look at red dresses and buy them. With the Facebook conversion pixel in place on this page, you can build a list of all the people that visited the page about red dresses, and then create an ad for those people about red dresses, and show it to them on Facebook. Since these people already showed interest, it is very likely they may click your ad and give your product a second look.
A third option is what is known as lookalike audiences. These groups are created by using pre-existing custom audiences (by either email list or conversion pixel) and searches for other Facebook users that match common parameters of your existing audience. For example, a common trait among people in our red dress example is that most of them make between $30,000 and $40,000 per year. Facebook will look for other people within your specified parameters that match this and other qualifying criteria.
Facebook is continuing to grow. Having almost 21% of the population on a site is a staggering feat, but Facebook has managed to do it in just twelve short years. With most of the developed world using Facebook, and use skyrocketing in developing countries, Facebook is the place to advertise whether you are a local small business or a large multi-national corporation. The targeting and placement options are simply too good to pass up, not to mention the budgetary efficiencies.
For these reasons, Facebook advertising is a must for any business in the 21st century.
Michael is responsible for client SEO work, reporting, FB ads, and web hosting. Prior to joining NSI Partners, Michael received his Bachelor of Science in Business Management Information Systems from Liberty University, and worked at the school’s Network Operations Center. Michael resides in Lynchburg, VA, with his wife, Megan. His hobbies include gaming, watching Atlanta Falcons football, and reading.
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