Look out Google, Facebook advertising is ready to take off
Facebook advertising for many businesses that I work with has been a low priority, if it was on their radar at all. However, after attending a morning workshop on Facebook advertising run by Beth Powell and Sheena Alexander from the Digital Marketing Club that is about to change. The workshop provided a great overview on what’s possible and how it all works.
Apart from dabbling with Facebook advertising many years ago, I have to confess that I haven’t really given it much consideration since. Back then it was clunky, inconsistent and, with most ads being positioned off to the side rather than directly in the newsfeed, more likely to be ignored. Times have now (thankfully) changed. I’d seen a few ads on Facebook recently that made me want to re-visit what is possible.
The key takeaways from the Workshop:
- Retargeting is available?
I had been ‘followed’ before by retailers so I knew this option was available on Facebook but didn’t know how the setup worked. It is very similar to Google. The main difference is that you need a match of 100 Facebook profiles before the tracking pixel is useful for creating a customized audience.
- Finding a similar audience?
Because Facebook collects so much data on its users through its own platforms together with the data they collate from a number of other sources, they are able to profile an audience to find new ‘looks like’ profiles to target. This is very powerful. It means you can upload your existing database and Facebook will take that data, match it to its existing users and then serve up a similar audience for you to advertise to. This only works if your customers use the same email address to sign up to your service as they did their Facebook profile. If you don’t have your own database yet you can build up this knowledge over time by using the Facebook tracking pixel on a ‘thank you’ page on your site. In some ways, this is even more targeted because you’re creating an audience based on conversions via Facebook, the platform you want to use to reach others.
- It Works for B2B Marketing as well as B2C
I’ve always thought that Facebook was a better match for business to consumer advertising than business to business. This is partially because of the previous targeting options available but also because many people don’t want to be seen to be using Facebook during business hours. However, the ability to target based on income, net worth, interests, employer and skills makes it far more relevant for business use. While professionals may not access Facebook during office hours, many will use it outside of work and with super targeted profiling comes the ability to create very specific, appealing ads. This could trigger engagement about a work topic that is then acted on the next day. For example, if I was targeting small business owners to let them know about the free tool I have available on my website to analyse their marketing, they could click on the link, complete the assessment and then look at the results email the following work day.
Of course, getting more traffic is one thing. Having the right setup on your website to make the most of the additional visitors is another. Unless you’re testing different pages or actions on your site and are happy to pay for advertising to gather this data, then it is better to wait until you have your lead capture system in place before ramping up your audience.
There are other tricks and tips to making it work for your business needs. Probably the best advise is to adopt a testing mindset and don’t expect to crack the conversion code for your business and target market straight up. It will take tweaking to get it right. Given the volume and targeting options available it is well worth looking at to see if you should include Facebook advertising in your marketing mix.