In the highly competitive and quick moving world that we live in today it is exceedingly unlikely that a business will survive without promoting itself, usually in the form of paid advertising. The opportunities to reach thousands of potential customers are without limits, the forms of advertising vast. Businesses nowadays have access to a wide range of advertising platforms, from the well-known billboards of the pre-internet era to the expansive options of online marketing now available and, with one third of the Earth’s population expected to be accessing social media by 2020 (data obtained from statista.com), this is the platform that a business should focus on. At a more local level, 82% of adults in the UK accessed the internet daily or nearly every day in 2016 (data obtained from the Office of National Statistics) and, with 1.9 billion monthly users (socialmediatoday.com), it is clear that to gather more customers, a business has a lot to gain through advertising on Facebook.
Number of users aside, making use of social media to advertise has a wide range of benefits for businesses. Social media facilitates a company in increasing it’s social exposure. More and more people are accessing social media on their mobile devices, therefore businesses can target people wherever they are, regardless of whether they are near a billboard, television or newspaper. It’s an exciting and forward-thinking way of advertising.
Advertising on Facebook in particular has many benefits, but surely the largest has got to be that a company can filter their advertising traffic to be visible to certain demographics only. Where else can a business ensure that their advert is seen only by those people that it wishes to target? Certainly not in a newspaper or on the television. Facebook uses clever algorithms that it constantly updates. Therefore, any information that a user puts in (age, sex, marital status, religion – even film preferences) can be used to help filter adverts to ensure only the target audience sees it.
Here’s an example: a florist is wanting to advertise on Facebook. They specialise in floral displays at weddings. The florist can specifically instruct Facebook to show their adverts to users that are female, between 20-50 and have a relationship status of ‘engaged’. A business can also create a custom audience by providing Facebook with the demographics of it’s current customers allowing Facebook to create “lookalike” audiences. The above features are of particular benefit to smaller businesses who may wish to advertise at a local level only. Their adverts can be targeted to a specific locality, even a postcode, thus channelling their advertising costs into campaigns that will be seen by the people most likely to need their products.
Following the advert being shown on Facebook, businesses can receive prompt feedback to review how an advert has performed for them. They will be able to analyse how many times the advert has been seen, the number of likes it has had and the frequency an advert has been shown to a user. Not only this, the business will be able to monitor the ‘click through’ rate (the amount of users that clicked on an advert to access the web page of the business), the amount of times the advert was shared and the amount of business ‘page likes’ as a result of a ‘click through’. This information is invaluable in assessing which advertising campaign generated the most traffic. Indeed, a business can run several adverts simultaneously and update and modify them as required as the data is fed back to them. The information is incredibly useful in assisting a business to review which campaigns are effective and which are not so prosperous.
When reviewing the adverts, the options available for a business to improve and adjust them are numerous. Businesses can choose from a wide range of adverts designs from simple images to autoplay videos (videos that will play automatically as a user scrolls down their feed), markedly increasing how much the video is watched. Autoplay videos and other attractive adverts also have the advantage of being ‘passive’, i.e. a user was not seeking to buy anything when browsing Facebook but has been seduced into clicking on the advert as it pops up on their feed, thereby attracting customers who may not have considered the business previously. Put another way, businesses can pay to have prospective customers seek them out and businesses can pay for their advert to seek out prospective customers. Another niche design of the Facebook advertising market is that a company can choose different images to be the cover for what is effectively the same advert, depending on the target demographic. Same price, more effectively targeted advertising.
So, what about the cost? As with nearly all advertising campaigns there will be a cost. Facebook does, however, compare very well with other social media platforms and online marketing platforms. A quick browse through vendors of advertising space will inform you that from as little as £50 a business can show an advertisement allowing up to 100 clicks. That is 100 people of the target demographic clicking on the businesses web page. Adverts can be as simple or complex as a business would like and can also give as little or as much information back to them as desired. For a little extra cost, as an example, a company can install a pixel onto their web page. This pixel will start gathering information once a user has clicked through onto the web page from Facebook and can feedback key data on action generated on the website. Pixels can track a plethora of activity from which viewers have come via Facebook (paid activity) and which viewers are organic (unpaid) to how many of the page users from Facebook make a purchase from their website as result of a ‘click through’.
With all of the above features, it is not surprising that advertising on Facebook is proven to work. Where else can a business so effectively target such a large number of prospective customers? Certainly at this moment in time, there is nowhere else.
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