A few weeks ago, a couple of representatives from our digital marketing team visited a local school for Career Day.
We found out that apparently, Facebook is *gasp* no longer cool.
(The picture is blurry so you cannot see our silent tear. RIP old Harvard pal)
But seriously though, the junior high and high school students were a lot of fun!
They pretended to be SEO specialists and came up with keywords, title tags and meta descriptions for their businesses, which of course were practical concepts like giant squishy stuffed animals and theme parks exclusively for dogs.
We also asked them which 3 social media channels they would choose to promote their brand.
Amazingly, group by group, they all said, “Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter” because “No one uses Facebook!” “Facebook is dead!” and “My grandma uses Facebook!”
So why do we still strongly recommend that you advertise on Facebook, if Facebook is no longer cool?
1. Adults still make the majority of purchase decisions in the United States.
Even though Facebook may be dying out among the younger generation, we still maintain that the venerable Social Network is one of the most powerful tools in digital marketing and advertising today.
Some quick stats from Neil Patel’s recent influential article, Forget Millennials. 7 Reasons Why Baby Boomers Are the Ideal Target Market:
- People aged 50 and over account for 50% of all consumer expenditures
- But only 10% of our marketing dollars are going toward them
- Baby boomers have and spend money – to the tune of $3.2 trillion a year
- 46% of boomers post on Facebook (not counting those who just lurk in the background to keep tabs on their kids) – and the number of users is only growing
- 66% of boomers make online purchases on a regular basis
In summary, Facebook is a pretty good place to get some solid brand exposure.
2. Facebook is a traffic driver, not a traffic “catcher,” which is important for small to medium-sized businesses.
Why advertise on Facebook? Unlike Google Display Network, which can only “catch” traffic that is already there, Facebook actually drives traffic to your site.
As an example, if someone searches for “discount dental plan,” an ad from our 1Dental.com website might show up:
However, Facebook display ads go after people who might be interested in your service, whether they are searching for it that moment or not.
In other words, while search engines can only capitalize on brand awareness you have already generated, Facebook actually creates brand awareness.
Especially with new, small businesses, we may build them a beautiful website – but it doesn’t matter if no one knows they exist! Facebook ads are a key component of any brand-building strategy.
Let’s take the brand ModCloth as an example.
When I was in college, I loved buying vintage-style dresses. A new, startup website called ModCloth started targeting me with pictures of adorable dresses in my Facebook side panel. Now, it took a few views for me to grow comfortable enough to click, but click I did! And when I did, I became a customer and have bought multiple items of clothing from them over the years.
Here are some examples of what their Facebook ads look like:
Eye-catching and fun, and I was squarely in their target audience. But I would have never known about them if it weren’t for Facebook ads!
Facebook even has a positive effect on Google search. The more traffic you drive to your site through Facebook, the more likely your traffic is to be “caught” by Google.
If you sell plumbing services in Fort Worth, you can first begin to advertise on Facebook and receive traffic from your target market. Then when people search “plumbing services Fort Worth,” Google is more likely to bring you up on the front page.
3. Cool kids share with other cool kids.
Why advertise on Facebook? The cool kids (or rather, cool adults), aka your target audience, know a lot of friends who are also likely to be interested in you.
When they click on your ad and have a positive experience with your brand, they are much more likely to share it. Your paid awareness creates an organic awareness domino effect, and the two continue to play off each other.
As an example, we made a fun video ad for one of our clients, Displays Fine Art Services, in which we showed why people need expert fine art handling and shipping. (Why would you pay less than a hundred dollars to ship a painting or sculpture that’s worth thousands or even millions, after all?) The video got lots of views and has gotten 91 shares so far:
Create good content and target it to the right audience when you advertise on Facebook, and the sharing will happen on its own.
4. Facebook knows all the cool kids.
It’s called the Facebook Display Network for a reason. Your ad will not only display on Facebook itself but also on many other places around the web, such as Instagram (which is owned by Facebook). Here’s how one of the Displays Fine Art Services ads appears on Instagram:
So when you pay to advertise on Facebook, you’re paying for other channels as well. Even if your audience only checks Facebook every now and then, they have other spaces in which to interact with your brand.
5. Facebook knows where your audience hangs out.
With Facebook, you can hyper-target your ads. None of the other advertising platforms are able to get so specific with exactly who gets to see your ads.
People create profiles on Facebook and voluntarily give information such as age, gender, location and other variables you need to know to target your ads successfully.
Maybe you’re targeting a niche, such as moms and dads who need mold inspection or who want to repaint their home. Facebook can help you find them.
Facebook is a very “friendly” platform that generates trust. People like to receive ads that are targeted specifically to them. The ads sit unobtrusively in the news feed, becoming part of the customer’s social landscape. The rule of thumb is that they don’t interrupt the user experience.
It’s as if your brand is saying, “Hey, we’re here if you find us useful, but we don’t want to intrude on your friend time.” This is a good thing. People get tired of going to websites and having to click through a bunch of pop-ups to get the information they’re looking for. On Facebook, your customers are in a leisurely mood. As long as your audience and branding are on-target, they’re likely to view your brand in a positive light and give you a try.
6. Facebook ads are highly customizable – have fun!
You can have fun playing with different options for your Facebook ads. Want to try a news feed, side panel, video, plain old picture, form fill, picture carousel or interactive ad? Go for it! You can try different types and watch the numbers to see which perform best.
Some ads now have a 360-degree feature, such as one released for Disney’s recent version of Beauty and the Beast. You can click to watch a video of one user’s journey through the advertisement during the “Be Our Guest” song.
7. Facebook ads thrive in a mobile landscape
Why advertise on Facebook? Many people check their Facebook feeds constantly. Unlike many channels where you can only capture traffic if they search for you first, or only during certain times of the day, Facebook enables you to reach people on their work computer, their tablet, their personal computer and their smartphone.
Facebook ads display well on mobile devices. In fact, when you create a Facebook ad, you get to see a preview of what your ad will look like on a phone, computer or tablet.
Because your audience can see Facebook ads across multiple devices, the ads serve as great “reminders.” For example, have you ever noticed that if you leave items in an online shopping cart, you suddenly see those items in your Facebook side panel?
One of our clients, traffic attorney Bonnie Wolf, has used Facebook ads to help remind past clients of her services. Hopefully, her customers don’t receive traffic tickets all that often, so she may not stay at the top of their minds. But targeted Facebook ads help ensure that her customers remember her next time it happens.
8. Facebook ads are extremely cost-effective
Why advertise on Facebook? Facebook ads are much less expensive, especially considering the results they are able to achieve, than other types of display ads.
For a few hundred dollars a month we have seen small and medium-sized business clients drive 1,000+ sessions to their site, from only a handful the month before. Plus, the hyper-targeting options available in Facebook advertising mean that traffic coming to your site is more likely to convert.
One important note here is that Facebook traffic is very difficult to track directly, sometimes making cost-benefit analysis difficult. Facebook “scrapes” tracking data, which means that on a tool such as Google Analytics the traffic might show up as “Direct,” not “Paid Search.”
However, we can still draw reasonable conclusions from the data. In multiple instances, a client was only getting a few leads a month. We turned on Facebook ads and witnessed increased exposure, clicks and ultimately leads.
So, whatever our junior high friends might say, we recommend Facebook advertising as a key component of your digital marketing strategy. Go ahead…all the cool kids are doing it.