Today’s online marketers are choosing Facebook over other digital and social media channels for a reason; with +800 million users and growing, the chances of brands finding their target audiences on this channel are pretty high. However, while Facebook remains the preferred channel to advertise in the social media space, the last few years have witnessed the networking giant giving the likes of Yahoo and Google a reason to worry. Our research unearthed some key points that tilt the scales in favor of Facebook:
- The ‘like’ button on Facebook is a hot favorite among marketers. The more “likes” a brand has, the more organic traffic from Facebook they will have.
- While Google continues to generate a major part of its income from programs like AdWords and AdSense, with Facebook boasting an impressive $1.86 million in ad revenues in 2010 (Mashable), Google needs to watch Facebook very carefully.
- Facebook’s impressive database allows brands to target specific users. While the search giants still rule the roost with their ‘pull marketing’ principle, Facebook’s ‘push’ marketing strategy can convince users to buy a product they weren’t looking for in the first place.
Although it’s rather premature to presume that Facebook will tower over other channels in the digital advertising space, from the above data, it is clear that marketers are increasingly jumping onto the Facebook bandwagon for launching campaigns. What brands need to understand is that simply creating a Facebook page and then expecting immediate results can turn out to be disappointing. While launching creative Facebook campaigns is the first step, measuring the results and determining the effectiveness of the campaigns is just as crucial.
The Formula for Effectiveness:
In order to create that winning promotion, brands need to first determine the ingredients of a successful Facebook campaign and understand what makes these ads effective.
- Know what you want: The first rule of online marketing… and Facebook is no exception. Having a clear picture of what your end goals are will a)save time b) help use those marketing dollars judiciously c) enable marketers to understand the challenges in store and d) increase the chances of success. Determining goals, in this case, also includes knowing your target audience. Flooding unsuspecting users with marketing messages not meant for them increases the possibility of your content being labeled as ‘spam.’
- Use Facebook Apps: Apps are an important chapter in the Facebook marketing bible.
Yet, not many brands leverage its full potential. The Old Spice e-commerce app on Facebook, for instance, allows fans to buy merchandise from their successful ‘Smell Like a Man’ campaign. Although this definitely sent the sales charts soaring, it also gave fans a reason to talk about the brand. For Old Spice, this creative use of apps for word-of-mouth promotion significantly boosted advertising effectiveness.
- Exploring Your Creativity: Unlike Twitter, which has a 140 character limit, and LinkedIn which is a no-frills-attached professional networking site, Facebook is the perfect platform for brands to explore their creativity. Creativity, in our opinion, plays a major role in designing those memorable Facebook campaigns and is that key ingredient that will distinguish your online campaign in a crowded digital marketing space. The Vitaminwater ‘Formula 50’ campaign, Domino’s Superfans promotion and the Ford Explorer online launch are among some of the most effective Facebook ads.
Metrics for Measurement
In 2011, ad agencies witnessed significant demand for Facebook campaigns and brand pages. According to the 2011 “State of Search Marketing Report”, 84% agencies said they used Facebook for marketing, up from 73% last year. The future for Facebook marketing certainly appears promising. Yet, many marketers are still unclear about what the key indicators of Facebook success are. Let us look at some of the metrics for measuring the success of Facebook campaigns:
- Likes & Fans: While the number of fans or ‘likes’ may not always indicate the effectiveness of your Facebook campaign, dismissing them as unimportant is not advisable. A report by eMarketer suggests that the number of ‘likes’ amassed do translate into returns. The good news is that only 3% of people who ‘like’ a brand a less likely to buy the product. As far as fans are concerned, we strongly believe that an increase in fans means greater opportunity for engagement and even better chances of marketing your product.
- Comments & Reviews: Is your Facebook page flooded with product reviews and comments? If yes, then your campaign is definitely successful. While increase in comments equals increased engagement levels, product reviews on your brand’s page means better visibility and greater chances of making a sale. After all, prospective customers are more likely to be driven by authentic reviews from people they can trust.
- Sales Equals ROI? Sales are solid, quantifiable indicators of a winning online campaign. When it comes to Facebook marketing, the journey begins with the fans amassed, goes on to the leads generated from influential audiences, and ends with converting these leads to customers. The total revenue generated from these leads should give marketers a clearer idea if their Facebook promotional strategy has achieved the desired results.
Measuring the Effectiveness of Facebook Campaigns
Although the increase in ‘likes’, fans and comments indicate that your marketing strategy is heading in the right direction, it is important for brands to use social media monitoring tools to be able to actually measure the outcome of their efforts and establish if they are due for a revamp. Once the metrics are determined, using monitoring tools like Brand Monitor, you can:
- Identify the Actionable Posts: Facebook, being a highly ‘social’ platform, requires interaction on a daily basis. However, it is not possible to reply to every post and interact with every fan. This is where monitoring tools come into the picture, sifting through the noise and identifying the posts that require immediate action. These typically involve influencers’ posts.
- Determine the time spent on your page: The time spent by visitors says a lot about how compelling the content is, the layout design, and the ability to hold people’s attention long enough to get them interested in your product or company.
- Identify Target Audience: For brands looking to aim their Facebook promotional messages at the right audience, media monitoring tools can unearth a vast and useful amount of demographic data. This includes gender and age breakup, country specific breakdown etc.
- Take Action: Armed with crucial data such as information on user demographics, actionable posts, and time spent on the brand’s Facebook page, the final step involves taking action. This means responding to posts and engaging with fans, creating innovative promotional messages designed for specific Facebook audiences and converting interested users into leads and finally customers.
Facebook is believed to be the modern brand’s marketing paradise for many reasons. In 2012, the networking giant is expected to grab 72% of all social network advertising revenues. That’s not all; the company recently announced plans to feature Facebook ads directly in users’ news feeds, and is mulling its first push into mobile advertising sometime in March next year. For online marketers, this certainly is excellent news. However, as discussed earlier, a Facebook ad campaign can be considered effective only if the outcome is known. Understanding the importance of measuring the impact of their campaigns, today’s marketers are establishing the metrics for measurement of their Facebook campaigns. Going by Facebook’s rapid progress in the online advertising space, we expect other networking channels as well as search giants to come up with something new very soon. Unless something rocks the Facebook boat, we believe this channel will soon become the online marketer’s favorite promotional tool.