The benefits of Facebook advertising

If you run or market an SME business, you might be looking for some more information on why to advertise on Facebook. Of course, Facebook have been in the press lately, and whilst data concerns are one thing, it has brought one thing to the front of our minds – the fact that people share a lot of information willingly with Facebook.

Whatever your personal views on this, as a business owner or marketer, we as one of the top providers of Facebook advertising services in London think, it’s well worth stopping to consider what this could mean for your business and sales and if Facebook advertising could prove lucrative for you and help increase your sales.

We wanted to take a look at some of the real facts and figures behind Facebook advertising, so you can make an informed decision around if advertising on Facebook could be beneficial to your business.


Why Facebook?

As everyone in marketing and business knows, people are always trying to claim that something that works is dying, or indeed, dead. Email marketing, postal marketing – and Facebook.

However, the stats speak for themselves when it comes to this ubiquitous platform. Worldwide, there are over 2.13 billion monthly active Facebook users for Q4 2017 (Facebook MAUs) which is a 14 percent increase year over year. (Source: Facebook 01/31/18)

There are 300 million photos uploaded to Facebook every single day, and 4.75 billion bits of content.

Whilst marketers might be talking about Instagram, or Pinterest or any new channel, consider that Instagram has ‘just’ 40 billion images shared to date. In short, Facebook has the longevity behind it that makes it a real powerhouse.  Even millennials, the special breed who are said to be leaving Facebook in droves still can’t resists a peek – according to an eMarketer 2017 study, 42% of millennial respondents said they hadn’t lasted five hours without checking their Facebook feeds.

The benefits and advantages to you as a business are the data behind this long-term loyalty to the platform.

A 2017 study revealed that 94% of participants keep a smartphone on hand while watching TV, making mobile nearly as common a TV companion as a remote control. You might see your own colleagues disappearing off to the toilet with their mobile in hand – and on your own evenings in, you probably check in to see what’s happening on the network a few times.

You might think this is all well and good – but what does it mean for a business? After all, we don’t want to be sold to in our own time – or do we? Incredibly, one-third (32%) of Facebook users engage with brands regularly and 5 billion comments are left on Facebook pages monthly. When it comes to being visible, a more than 60 million businesses have a Facebook Page.

There are two strands to a Facebook page – the customer service factor, and the sales factor. So, we all know a great way to get a quick response from a business is to take to social media. It’s visible, public and a PR nightmare when it goes wrong. That’s why stats show that 43% of customer service response happen in just 1 hour on Facebook. (Locowise)

The second reason brands and businesses are on Facebook? Sales. 39% of users like or follow a Facebook page to receive a special offer and the billions of people following brands aren’t all there to complain – some are waiting with wallets and purses (and PayPail) in hand!


Why Facebook ads work

So why are Facebook ads in particular such a success? First there are the multiple types of advert, which we will discuss in a minute. On top of that, is the datasets. Back in 2013, Facebook forged partnerships with data brokers including Epsilon, Acxiom, and Datalogix. This means you might be surprised at just how minute you can get with your data for new customer acquisition and retention of existing customers, alongside those somewhere in the sales pipeline.

Have you ever been looking at something online and seen Facebook has picked up on it a few days later? You may or may not find this creepy. For most of us, we expect this level of data sharing.

For marketers and business owners, it’s a total dream.

Apart from the general demographics, you can use Facebook to start designing campaigns that offer micro and macro conversions based on where the customer is in the sales cycle. The platform isn’t complex, but what you can do with it is seriously impressive.

So what data can you pick up? First there are the basics. Even these are very powerful, especially if you have a bricks and mortar store, or a niche in a certain locality.

  • You can target ads to people based on locations (ex: country, state, province, city, congressional district, zip or post code).
  • Target ads to people within an age range.
  • Target ads to women, men or people of all genders.
  • Target ads to users of certain languages.

After that, things get interesting.

  • Detailed Targeting is one that covers things such as what people share on their timelines, the apps they use, the ads they click, pages they engage with, purchase behaviours or intents and travel preferences. You can easily use this to find people who are homeowners that are interested in cooking and have children – all in a few clicks. If you have a delivered to home, child friendly meal delivery service – this could be the secret sauce to significant sales!

Connections allows you to include or exclude people from your audience based on connections to your Pages, apps or events, whilst custom audiences helps you pick target audiences of people you already know created from information you provide or from information generated on Facebook’s products.

(A subset of Custom Audiences is Lookalike Audiences. A Lookalike Audience is a target audience who are the most similar to the people you already connect with – and of course, life event targeting can also pick up these likeminded consumers, given that we tend to post marriages and engagements to our timelines!)

This is a lot of interesting data to handle!


What type of Facebook ads are there?

Facebook adverts come in any different flavours – and there will be one kind that suits your business.

The first are known as Link Click Ads, an advert designed to encourage people to take action by visiting your site, viewing a landing page or heading off elsewhere. Whilst they can also ‘like’ your page, these adverts (delivered in the newsfeed) are ideal for people looking to draw data on metrics such as visits and clicks.

Boosted page posts are the next. If you already manage Facebook ads for your business you may have seen that you are encouraged by Facebook to promote a post with a boost. Usually a low value cost, this simply means that you have the chance to amplify the post’s reach with a Boosted Post. You create a target audience and set the budget, and Facebook do the leg work.

The carousel advert

Typically used by retailers with lots of items to showcase, a carousel advert does what it says on the tin, showcasing up to 10 images in a rotating design that’s displayed in the feed.

Dynamic product adverts

If you thought Facebook advertising was simple, you haven’t met DPA or dynamic product adverts. Just like your favourite retargeting tool, you can use these adverts to specifically hone in and target users based on past actions (or inactions) on your website or application with a perfectly timed ad. This could be capturing someone who never made it to checkout or finding someone who added a value to their basket and then bailed.

All you have to do is upload your product catalogue to Facebook and use a Facebook Pixel.

Lead adverts

If you’re a B2B business, you might be wondering if Facebook ads are for you. After all, the space seems very B2C. This is why Facebook created Lead Ads. Designed to capture that critical information to hold tight onto a prospect and not let go, such as email, phone number or job title, Lead ads are the perfect way to allow people to download your content or sign up for your offer without leaving the Facebook platform. This means better conversions and a better response rate.

Video ads

Let’s not forget video ads. With the ability to handle up to 4GB, Facebook ads also give you the ability to re-target subsets of visitors based on how much of your video they watched.


What will the costs be?

The costs of a Facebook advert are strikingly low when you consider the granular, up to date, specific information you are served. Unlike buying email data, which with GDPR on the horizon will soon be something that’s a bit of a minefield/ nightmare for a savvy business owner or marketer, the data Facebook holds can be purchased for a low price point and isn’t subject to such strict regulations.

The costs vary and you set the budget, but to acquire page likes you might look at 25p per like, for clicks on your download, webinar or guide you might pay £2, and for boosting a post, you might pay £4-5 to get in front of another 1000 people.

Stack this up against your AdWords budget and you’re looking at a very good deal. Compare it to what you would have spent on print or TV marketing and you are getting a total bargain – the right people at the right price.


What’s the catch?

The only catch with Facebook ads is the time it takes and the fact that the audience will only respond to the content if it deserves it. With the daily logins and multiple device use also comes distraction and apathy. We’re serial scrollers, barely stopping to take notice of our loved one’s posts, never mind a brand. Create run of the mill content and scrimp on how you get it out there and you get run of the mill results, much like anything in life!

Like any other advertising on social media, Facebook ads aren’t a silver bullet and aren’t going to solve your problems in sales or service – but they can connect you to the right people. After that, it’s down to you. That means spending time, and naturally, investment, in working out what attracts your audience. Perhaps they realistically won’t deal with you without an offer. Maybe a game or competition would see them showing interest. Perhaps targeting their peers and connections would help your success.

Smart marketers and business owners are putting time and money into Facebook ads. In a World where a torch is being shone on data in a big way, our advice is to make hay whilst the sun shines when it comes to attracting and retaining people most like your target customer.


How do I run a Facebook advert?

We always say, try and speak to an expert in the first instance. Whilst most people will have the confidence to boost a post online and track in the basic Facebook settings, agencies and power users of Facebook are able to offer deeper insights and make quick, timely changes as needed.

For example, they will be able to access Delivery Insights – the dashboard that shows the performance of your ad sets, with metrics about your ad delivery, and activity history that helps to correlate sales with recent actions you’ve taken.

If you do decide to run your own Facebook adverts, then you will certainly want to be sure you are tracking the amount spent, the cost per result, the overall results and impressions of the campaign. We won’t teach you to suck eggs, but obviously, get your goals in order before you enter the company credit card details, and ensure your tech is tip top – a faulty tracking pixel or a wildly out of date CPC budget could leave you in hot water!

You’ll also want to create personas for your ideal customers – an understanding of who they are, where they live, what they do for work and what do they do after work can all reveal characteristics might they have.

Want to know more?

We’d love to help you understand if Facebook adverts are right for you and your business and what the potential is. Why not get in touch with us today?