Is Facebook Still a Safe Bet for Advertising?

Jon Bacon      Wednesday, January 30, 2019

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2018 was not the best year for Facebook. Court rulings, stock market struggles, and political issues have filled news cycles and impacted the public's perception of the iconic brand.


For marketers, public uncertainty and political scrutiny surrounding Facebook could raise concerns about its effectiveness as an advertising platform worthy of their consideration, but it shouldn't. As one of the world's most impactful companies, Facebook will definitely find a way back from its current struggles.


Even amidst some of the negative press, Facebook remains a crucial channel for marketers big and small to find and nurture customers.


Why use Facebook Ads


Like many small companies, I must prove value and ROI before being able to justify and grow my budgets. Although one of my biggest fears is missing out on a great opportunity, I also worry about risking too much budget on initiatives and campaigns that may fail.


When financial limitations demand that marketers get creative, we typically look to find the biggest bang for the smallest possible buck. In the recent past, one of the best digital tactics was email marketing. It was inexpensive and had broad distribution. However, some of those efforts have been frustrated with full inboxes and the litany of less desirable email campaigns that flood most inboxes.


Google AdWords remains the digital advertising tool of choice for many, which is in large part due to Google’s legendary algorithms to assist with very targeted advertising. It’s a necessity in any companies digital strategy. But with all of the companies competing for specific AdWords, a smaller marketing budget can be exhausted in a hurry.


That brings us to Facebook. Its algorithms and extremely detailed audience information, help marketers deliver their messages directly to audiences who are just like their current customers. For the consumer, Facebook brings product and service suggestions that align with their personal interests. Additionally, Facebook Ads run at a fraction of Google’s cost, which allows any budget to more effectively compete.


In my experience, that’s why Facebook Ads shine. Here are four steps to get started you’re your Facebook ad campaign.


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4 simple steps to Facebook advertising success


1. Facebook’s pixel: The Facebook pixel is a block of code that companies must install on their own sites to help monitor and measure traffic. This allows the company to track the activity of visitors who come from Facebook and to remarket to them after they leave your site to encourage them to come back and close a sale.


2. Create your ad: Once a company has the tools to identify their Facebook audiences, the next step is to create ads. I recommend creating at least two ads for testing purposes. But most important, and possibly to the annoyance of any good designer, creating beautiful ads is not vital for generating successful results from your Facebook Ads. It is more important to get something out that you can begin testing (at a low budget to start) in order to test what messages and/or images will resonate with your audience. Once you have seen how the ads perform you can tweak the design and text until you have it honed in.


3. Test the ad and targeting: A/B testing is no surprise to any ad campaign, but you’ll want to do a lot of it here as you hone in on the right micro-audience within Facebook’s many communities. For example, my company manufactures a consumer product, cell phone signal boosters. For our campaigns, we might cross-pollinate visitors to our page with fans of auto manufacturers, or mobile device enthusiasts who are between 25 and 40 years of age and located in a small city in Oklahoma that has weak cell reception. The goal for marketers is to find that group who look most like your customer and are motivated to purchase.



4. Review, adjust and relaunch: Engagement, reach, and cost-per-click are some of the metrics to pay attention to on the Facebook side, and conversions, sales, and click-through rate represent the most compelling data from the company page side. Continue to adjust your campaign and target audiences until you’re seeing results that rival or beat those you’re seeing on Google—then, keep tweaking. Don’t be afraid to scrap a set of ads that aren’t performing and start again with some new, perhaps simpler, creative and messaging. Again, all of this can be done on a very little budget.


The ability to target customers at a reasonable cost will have a profound impact on growth as your company improves its Facebook marketing efforts. Increased data from the Facebook pixel and regular monitoring and adjusting will offer greater insights into what drives conversions versus what chases people away.


For now, at least, Facebook is too valuable of a marketing platform to pass on because of recent news cycles, or personal biases, however disastrous they may seem. Hyper-targeted audiences and finding new opportunities will always be needed for any business, and Facebook still offers some of the best targeting around.


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