The question of the effectiveness of Facebook advertising is something online marketers have pondered on since the social media giant opened its doors to advertisers in 2010. Facebook had at that stage already attracted over 400 million users, who could join for free, so the next logical step was to offer advertising space, a decision that turned Facebook into one of the most profitable online businesses. The problem for Facebook was how they could compete with Google’s tried and tested advertising platform, which had an established and loyal user-base. We look at the features and benefits of Facebook’s advertising platform and whether it’s a worthwhile offering for marketers.
Whilst Facebook executives are adamant that their advertising platform does work, they do insist that you need to look beyond the actual clicks and stats to see the real value of the ads. This doesn’t sound like a great position to start from if you are trying to sell this service, but it has led to marketers finding their own ways of evaluating the effectiveness of Facebook ads. Facebook enlisted a group of marketing experts to rate the retention of the premium engagement ads that large companies run on Facebook home pages. Through this analysis, three crucial factors were identified that play a role in helping people to remember an ad, namely: the focal point, brand link and the tone of the ads.
It would seem that to fully understand the value of Facebook advertising, we need to factor in how these ads influence all other online activities, like organic search for example. Due to the nature of Facebook’s display ads, marketers have found that there was a significant increase in branded searches. Facebook users would not necessarily be tempted by an advert initially, but the subsequent spike in interest for a brand shows the real value of this advertising. The cost for each acquisition will be lowered because you will be paying less on your branded search terms. Facebook ads can be precisely segmented by relevancy and targeted demographics which results in lower CPC (cost per click) rates.
So it seems that there is inherent value in using Facebook for advertising, even if the statistical comparison to Google AdWords shows otherwise. Advertisers should use Facebook ads to focus on their brand visibility and to pique interest from consumers. Facebook advertising might not necessarily work for you or the industry you are in, but it is a worthwhile option to test. As with any investment, the safest option is to diversify and spread your risk.