It’s been a while since I started working with Facebook as a marketing tool. It was back the heady days of 2007 when robots in disguise were charming our pants off in the first Transformers movie, Facebook had a mere 100,000 business pages, and 0 PMDs. Quite a bit has happened since then. Now we’re looking at a fourth Transformers movie, over 15,000,000 business/brand pages and over 1.5 billion daily users. And the best part is it’s always changing, it’s always growing.
So the question for marketers and businesses is: How can we optimize our outreach in this mind-bogglingly vast community? Well, there are more than enough sources on the web with suggestions. I’ve taken the liberty of combing through many of them, using my own experience, and synthesizing what I believe to be the most important concepts. I hope you find them helpful…
Know Your Audience!
You may have already heard, but just in case you haven’t – earlier this year there was a huge shift in demographics on Facebook. These stats from iStrategyLabs speak for themselves. Over 3 million teens, 13-17and 18-24 year-olds respectively, have left the platform. That’s a decrease of 30.8% over three years. That’s a lot, and there’s a chance that number will keep growing. Conversely, the 55+ crowd has stepped their membership and usage. Their numbers have grown by 80.4%.
I think you can see the writing on the wall here. Also, if I may digress for a moment here, Facebook is no longer a free ride. If you want to get your message in front of people you’re gonna have to pay for it. So, if you’re a retailer whose main consumer demo is in the teens then your dollar is likely not going to go very far. On the other hand if your consumers are 55+ then you may find a captive audience. Do the research, then make the call.
Optimize Your Page For Mobile!
It’s official! Earlier this year mobile web visits have surpassed desktop web visits. Therefore streamlining both your desktop and mobile pages so that there’s as a consistent as UX as possible is key.
Here’s some really interesting research on the topic of mobile usage for purchasing. If you’re not really into reading through it all, it basically says that 89% of consumers who search for stuff to buy on their phones do it through branded apps. That’s all great, but what if you don’t have a branded app, and can’t afford to develop one? Well, fire up your Facebook marketing! Because since people are using Facebook on mobile more often – around 945 million monthly mobile users and growing – I think it’s safe to say that you can get your message in front of a lot of eyes for cheaper than it would cost to hire a team of Engineers.
To have the most effective campaign you need to do a few things. The first is to make sure your images are properly sized. A large image may look nice on your desktop page, but if that image is cropped or more difficult to load on your mobile page then the experience is ruined for the consumer, making it less likely for them to engage with your message.
The second thing is to minimize the amount of your copy. In fact the shorter the sweeter I always say. Treat your copy like you would the subject line for your email campaign. The point is to not make the consumer do too much work to figure out what you’re offering. Obviously.
Third, make videos! It’s no secret that with large mobile data packages becoming more affordable people are watching more and more videos on their mobile devices. Don’t believe me? Check this out. “But Leo,” you cry, “what if my business/product marketing strategy is not conducive to video-making?” To you I would say that the best thing to do is to not make a video. But if you think your brand can benefit from a video of some sort, figure out a way to make it happen. You will increase your chances of engaging your audience in a positive way by a factor of possibly more than two.
Diversify Your Spending!
Okay you’ve done the research on your audience, tailored your message appropriately, optimized for mobile – now what? Now you should think about how to divide your dollar’s attention. With RHS ads declining in popularity (because they’re not visible on mobile devices) and Native Ads gaining (see: this good article) it is reasonable to assume that making Native Ads your priority is a good idea.
What are Native Ads? Please refer to previously linked article or this for a better idea. The reasoning of this concept brings my previous suggestion more into focus. What better way to execute the natural form of Facebook than through a visual medium (i.e. a video!)? In my own experience in the entertainment industry I learned that a story told with a visual cue rather than expository text has a better shot at being perceived well by the audience.
Another interesting tidbit on this subject is the efficacy of CTRs. This really good article stat references some nifty research which asserts that it’s not as reliable a metric as was previously thought. It seems that marketers are relying far too much on those numbers, but they aren’t necessarily a good indication of whether or not consumers are buying. I think that’s something to keep in mind as you move forward with your strategy and attempt to gauge its effectiveness.
Alright! We made it to the end. I hope you found this enlightening helpful. Please let me know if any of this was successful in your practical application.
Until next time, happy marketing.