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Does Facebook Advertising Really Work?

By 01/21/2014 Blog

Yesterday I gave a talk about Facebook Advertising and if it really works or not. For business owners and marketers alike, it can be very frustrating to run an campaign through Facebook or feel like Facebook is “nickel and diming” you in order to boost posts. With average Facebook Page engagement rates in the single digits, many feel that they spent a lot of time, effort, and money building up their Page Likes, and now they are not even able to reach those people that “opt-ed in” to receive their messages. I get it, and I feel for you. I really do.

But whether we like it or not, it is not going to reverse back.Here are what I see as the two big changes in digital advertising lately:

  1. The lines between Social Media, SEO, and Online Advertising is blurring – you can do one without the other
  2. Competition is increasing in digital spaces – more businesses and brands are competing on platforms like Facebook to reach their customers (that whole thing about ability to track almost everything is pretty darn appealing to marketers)

So what do we do about it? Facebook’s network is evolving and it is not good enough just to have someone manage your Facebook Page any longer — you need to allot a portion of your budget support engagement.

Quality content is still critical, but brands now need to pony up funds to help push it out.

On the plus side (and this is a really, really good plus): targeting ability has significantly improved. Business owners and marketers now have access to an incredible wealth of options that used to only exist for the largest of ad campaigns, through methods such as direct mail, or through an ad or media buying agency.

Today*, we can go to facebook.com/ads/create to set up an ad using targeting options including:

Location Specify by country, state, city or zip code
Age 13 – no max
Gender Male, Female, All
Interests Business, Entertainment, Family, Fitness, Food/Drink, Hobbies, Shopping/Fashion, Sports/Outdoors, Technology [each has subcategories, too]
Connections All, Only ppl connected to your page, Only ppl NOT connected to your Page, Advanced connection targeting
Interested In All, Men, Women
Relationship Status All, Single, In a Relationship, Married, Engaged, Not Specified
Languages English, Spanish, etc.
Education
  • Anyone, In High School, In College, College Grad
  • Specify a School
  • Specify a Field of Study
  • Specify graduation years
Workplaces Good to target people at large organizations
Additional Targeting
  • Events: Has a Birthday Within 1 wk, Has New Job, New Serious Relationship, Recently Moved
  • Family Status: Away from family, away from hometown, Baby Boomer, Engaged, Expecting Parents, Long Distance Relationship, Newlywed
  • Games:  Console Gamers
  • Job Status: Event Planners, Small Business Owners
  • Market: Hispanic (US)
  • Parents:  Parents (All), Parents (child 0-3 yrs) Parents (child 4-12 yrs), Parents (child 13-15 yrs), Parents (child 16-19 yrs)
  • Photography: Photo uploading
  • Politics (US): Active, Conservative, Liberal, Non-Partisans
  • Travel: Business traveler, Currently Traveling, Intender (Any Destination), Intender – Beach, Intender – Used a Travel App within last month, Returned from trip 1 week ago, etc.

As a marketer, this is where I am happy to start geeking out — mostly because I know that for a client we are spending their money as effectively as possible.

So while this is a mindset change from “social media is free” to “social media needs to be supported with ad budget and content should be created strategically with humans in mind” – it is how our field is evolving, and for right now, Facebook has the best targeting options for running web and mobile ads available to the masses.

Feel free to download the handout from my presentation on “Does Facebook Advertising Really Work?

 

*”Today” is an important qualifier here since, as I mentioned, the Facebook advertising platform is constantly evolving and what is true today is not likely to be the same 6 months from now.