Advertising on Facebook has become one of the most successful and popular online advertising options for marketers. According to eMarketer.com, Facebook ad revenues are expected to reach over 4 billion dollars in 2011 (with 2.2 billion in the United States). Emarketer.com states, “The company will receive 68% of all social network ad spending worldwide. In the US, it will garner 71% of social network spending and 7.7% of total US online ad spending.” It isn’t a surprise that Facebook has become the apple of the marketer’s eye.
So what are you waiting for? Although Facebook ads shouldn’t be the entire focus of your marketing plan, you should consider allocating a portion of your budget in this direction.
One of the major reasons to consider investing in Facebook ads is your ability to target specific audiences. Let’s be honest, most people put their lives on Facebook. People list (freely) their demographic information, jobs, residence, and interests within their profiles. As Facebook continues to expand its advertising options, it will allow marketers to get more creative in their marketing strategies and messages.
One of the newer services available is Facebook’s “Likes & Interests” targeting option. What exactly does this mean? Simply stated, you are now able to display your ad in front of individuals that have some sort of vested interest in your competitors (or people that have “Liked” a competitor’s company page). This also means that you are able to advertise to people that identify an interest that may be affiliated with your target audience.
Let’s take a look at the example below to better illustrate how this targeting option is utilized. Pretend for a moment that you are working for a University in Florida. Your goal is to advertise your college to the majority looking to go to college in Florida (in this case, we will focus on targeting the U.S, ages 17-25). Within this target, you’d like to advertise to individuals who have displayed interest in other Florida Universities.
With the “Likes & Interests” option, you can reach these people by placing names of other higher education institutions in Florida. This granulates your search and gives you the ability to get in front of a group of people that wasn’t necessarily guaranteed previously. Most likely, this ad will display to people looking for a Florida college as well as to people who are currently attending a University but may be looking to transfer or continue their education after graduating.
The “Likes & Interests” option may not be applicable to all industries. Perhaps you don’t want to advertise to people affiliated with your competitors. Remember though that you can be creative with identifying your specific targeting keywords. Your approach may be more indirect (as opposed to such a direct approach in the University example). Instead of trying to reach individuals who have shown interest in other Florida schools, perhaps you are trying to reach the same age group who have mentioned interest in a sport or geographic interest (such as the beach). If you are a college in South Florida located near the beach (Florida Atlantic University for example), placing “beach” as a targeting interest may be an interesting way to grab the attention of your target audience. In this case, you may wish to tailor your ad copy to speak to this audience. As an example: “How would you like to spend your study breaks on the beach? Apply to FAU today”.
Facebook has undoubtedly become the front runner in social media paid advertising. If you know your target audience and are looking for a creative way to reach them, Facebook advertising may be the marketing route for you!
According to a recent article by eMarketer, “US marketers will spend $3.08 billion to advertise on social networking sites this year. Spending will be up 55% over the $1.99 billion advertisers devoted to social networks in 2010 and will rise by a further 27.7% next year to reach nearly $4 billion.” Amazingly enough, spending in social media is $1 billion dollars greater than what was projected back in August 2010 (a mention that I made in a previous blog post). What’s the disparity? One word. Facebook; the biggest player in the field.
Often times, businesses seek guidance in trying to formulate a “magic number” to set aside for online advertising. While there isn’t an easy way to project this number, one thing to consider including in future budgets is paid advertising in social media networks. According to the same study done by eMarketer, “Social network advertising is to account for 10.8% of the online market.”
With the increasing number of people participating in these social channels, coupled with the amount of time spent throughout a day (either personally or for business), this data actually begins making a lot of sense. People are spending more and more time on social media. Paid advertising through these networks enables businesses to get in front of their viewers, hypothetically, all day long. If you would like additional insights, check out this recent article from BusinessNewsDaily on 5 Ways Businesses Will Use Social Media in 2011.
Understanding the benefit of the social media channels can greatly impact your ability to gain new customers and increase ROI in 2011. As a side note, always remember that it’s never too late. If social media advertising isn’t within your budget for this year, begin with what you can afford. Creating social media accounts for business, if you haven’t already, is the first step in gaining a presence in the space. Including social media accounts onto your website will help with your SEO rankings. Lastly, always find a way to measure progress. Quantitative data in social media channels through analytics, will allow you to understand which efforts are successful. Use this data as a guide to making optimal business and marketing decisions for the future.
With the rise in use for social media for business, there is a great amount of discussion around how organizations quantify its success. Is it through the number of followers, likes, mentions, or retweets…? Although you may have not seen a direct correlation between user engagement and revenue in the past, social media has truly become a force to reckon with. Companies are now adding lead generation forms to their social media company pages and are actively collecting prospects’ contact information through their regular “social media-only” promotions.
Aside from collecting actual measureable leads, analytics is very useful in understanding the value of social media. Over time, social media outlets have rolled out analytics data within their platforms to help companies start to quantify their investment in social media. Facebook for instance, has “Insights” available as their form of analytics, viewable only to administrators of the company page. Admins are able to select a date range to view the number of “likes” and “post views” within the desired timeframe. This data, previously only collected by individuals manually, is now readily available.
LinkedIn, now allows you to view statistics on different companies’ growth, number of employees (on LinkedIn), job function composition, etc.. In the future, I anticipate that all social media outlets will launch some sort of analytics for their users. It will be interesting to see the additional analytics tools that are added and the value added as a result.
Although these tools will most definitely help businesses get insight on the success of their pages, I would definitely suggest accessing Google Analytics data to get a better understanding of the amount of “referring traffic” being driven to your company website. You can also track the number of leads as a result of that traffic.