There has been a fair amount of speculation as to whether or not Facebook advertising is worth the investment. With over 1.15 billion users, Facebook is the largest social network, and it is very clear that Facebook advertising continues to be a no-brainer for millions of brands. Here’s why:
Targeting Capabilities — With Facebook’s audience of over 1.15 billion, gaining any cost efficiency requires targeting. Facebook gives brands the ability to target by a specific age group, gender, work, education, and by interest category. Such narrow targeting can be extremely powerful for brands. Think, for example, of a bridal shop trying to reach engaged women. The average engagement lasts 18 months, a relatively short window. Through Facebook advertising, the bridal shop is able to target women who have set their “relationship status” to “engaged,” guaranteeing efficiency and ensuring minimal waste.
Even Playing Field — Facebook allows small companies to compete with larger companies. Smaller companies do not typically have the level of resources needed to fund, plan, create, manage and analyze a large advertising initiative. Therefore, they often have to depend on less effective methods of brand promotion. Using Facebook, companies are able to run advertisements at any budget level, from five dollars to millions of dollars.
Viral — Social networks are a great way for brands to engage their audiences. Maximizing interactions between the brand and its users can help get the brand message to audiences beyond just fans. Facebook’s functions of “sharing” and “liking” allow for free advertising from one Facebook friend to another — the online version of “word of mouth.” And there’s no better advertising than friend referral.
A Product for Any Objective — Facebook continues to expand and improve its advertising product offerings. Whether a brand is trying to drive traffic to its Facebook page or to an external site, Facebook has a solution. A few of the most popular are:
- Sponsored Stories — Used to promote an action a user has already taken (e.g., a user sees that their Facebook friend liked a brand’s page). Does not reach users who are not already connected to the page through a friend.
- Page Post Ads — These start out as posts on a brand’s page, but get additional distribution among fans, friends of fans, or non-fans. Best to use when looking to engage your audience or promote content (e.g., events, offers), but not always the best option when trying to build a fan base.
- Promoted Post — Similar to Page Post Ads, except they only reach fans or friends of fans, not non-fans. Promoted Posts are purchased on a flat rate, whereas most other Facebook ad products are purchased on a cost-per-impression or cost-per-click basis. They are best used when trying to get content in front of as many eyeballs within a brand’s existing audience as possible, but are less effective for building engagement or a fan base.
- Marketplace Ads — Sidebar advertisements that can drive to a page or app on Facebook. This is the only Facebook ad product eligible for Facebook Exchange Retargeting, which allows advertisers to serve ads to people on Facebook who have previously visited their website or mobile app.
Numerous social networks have emerged over the past several years, each serving a different purpose. Of those which offer advertising opportunities, many have minimums or are not scalable to accommodate large ranges of budgets. Facebook advertising provides a unique way for brands to engage with their audiences in a targeted, efficient manner.