Facebook has been tweaking its advertising strategy a lot this year, in preparation for its IPO (and Facebook marketing is definitely a better investment than Facebook stock right now — ouch! too soon?). We at Little Jack already covered some Facebook advertising basics for you, but we figure it’s important to help you stay on top of these changes.
Earlier this year, Facebook announced that it was ramping up its advertising strategy to include:
- Ads that appear in News Feeds (including your mobile device News Feed)
- Ads that run on the right side of the homepage
- Ads that appear when you log out
(Visual person? See Facebook’s ad layout chart)
However, the ads that would appear in these places are not your everyday banner ads. Facebook ads are moving in the direction all social media is going in — brands are more than companies that want your cash; brands are your friend.
It all stems from your company “Page”, a feature Facebook has been pushing companies to use over their “Groups”. The basic idea is that you post content, such as a video, or a status update, and that is your ad. This approach might seem overly simple, or counterintuitive.
Why it works:
- They’re fresh. People, especially young people, are sick of the cheesy ads of yesteryear. The trick is simple: These ads don’t feel like ads. Your company becomes another friend they’re following.
- They’re current. On your Page, it is your responsibility to deliver new content. This content should be interesting and have personality, like the content a friend would post. (We’ve covered this too. Read about The Anatomy of a Facebook Like.)
- They’re targeted. You’re much more likely to get an ad from a company Page you either Liked yourself or your close friends subscribe to. This makes it considerably more likely that you would find the company/content interesting, increasing the impact of the ad on the customer.
And these are not click-through ads. Facebook is going to the older model of pay-per-impression (business owners pay per number of times the ad was displayed), for two reasons:
- The click-through rate on Facebook is fairly low. This probably has something to do with the high level of engagement of Facebook users — they’re already doing something (Facebook creeping), so they might be less willing to click on an ad than if they’re simply searching Google for something specific.
- They work more like TV ads — Facebook looks to the long term, understanding that you might see an ad and be affected by it without necessarily clicking on it.
For companies that want to boost their Facebook advertising into the stratosphere, Facebook offers some additional, paid services. Facebook promises five to ten times more engagement with the use of their Premium service, which places your ads on the right side of news feeds instead of on the right side of profiles. Facebook’s Reach Generator feature will rerun your updates repeatedly, to ensure they are not quickly displaced by other people’s content. That way more users get to see them.
Facebook’s latest strategy, announced last month, includes the potential to show users ads when they’re not actually surfing Facebook (they would still have to be logged in). The ads would still use social media cues, such as “5 of your friends bought X brand chips” to compel users to pay attention.
Though this change hasn’t been implemented yet, it has already caused some users to become uneasy about Facebook’s increasingly bold use of personal information — customers are asking, if we don’t even need to be on Facebook to get their ads, what’s next? But not everyone views these changes negatively. After all, if you’re hungrily searching Google for “tasty chips” and five brands come up, one of which is approved by your best friend, that brand of chips would most likely work for you too. At the very least, you can now turn to that potato-connoisseur friend of yours for a review or a recommendation (and while you’re at it, let us know too).
Facebook advertising is always in a state of flux. One thing is certain — Facebook is trying out some very interesting models and will remain one of the major marketing mediums to watch. And you can count on Little Jack to keep you on top of it all!