ADOTAS – It would be fair to say that the surge of interest in social networking sites and the way they have been embraced by individuals caught many seasoned marketers and advertisers by surprise. The assumption was that search engine marketing (SEM) campaigns and search engine optimization (SEO) technology would work just as well, driving new leads and advertising revenue in this emerging medium. The assumption was badly misplaced.
Social networking is like nothing that has come before and it is forcing marketers and advertisers to reconsider their strategies. Whereas consumers once spent time searching for goods and services online, now they prefer to spend their time “sofalizing” – socializing from the comfort of their couch. Where once they sought out new products and services, now they expect vendors to alert them to specific products and services that interest them. Individual taste, personal space and peer recommendation drive today’s consumer and they don’t always want the distraction of having to search for the next big thing.
Effective Facebook advertising requires a whole new approach and a new generation of technology. Search optimization must be augmented and enhanced with new concepts and ideas as ads become much more tailored and focused, adaptive and reactive in order to connect with a highly discerning and empowered consumer. The emphasis lies in identifying and addressing an individual’s interests and hobbies, aspirations and goals in order to make the offering and service as relevant and powerful as possible.
The Facebook Phenomena
With 550 million users worldwide, Facebook is an alluring and compelling advertising platform. Unlike traditional advertising outlets such as print or television, Facebook is a real-time, fast-moving and constantly changing environment. The ability to pick and chose who you interact with based on common interests or other characteristics, the ease with which one can reach individuals beyond physical borders and geographic boundaries, and the speed with which information can be relayed across groups and individuals has created an advertising platform that is unparalleled.
It’s not enough to simply appeal to an individual’s interests; you need to appeal to their peers and colleagues as well. This is because the circle of people that individuals choose to surround themselves with can influence that individual’s choice of product or service. Like Roman emperors of old, the simple act of a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” can signal whether a company, product or service is seen in a favorable or less favorable light. For advertisers, this marks a seismic shift in the way they identify and approach potential customers and buyers.
Issues and Approach
For advertisers considering Facebook, the stumbling block can be the approach and doubts around the potential return. The sheer scope and fluid nature of Facebook can make targeting individuals a daunting prospect. Technology is often touted as the solution but in this instance the technology is pivotal to not only the approach but also the success and return of any Facebook advertising program.
Individuals typically respond to different elements of an ad, but getting the right combination is time consuming. The flowing nature of social networks adds a layer of complexity to advertising, as marketers have to address issues such as geographical location and the amount of time people spend online. An approach that is underpinned by new technology allows marketers to quickly deal with the many variables.
The limitations of Facebook’s own technology prompted the development of automated platforms that could drive results and keep pace with a changing online environment. These tools allow advertisers to create thousands of ads in minutes, micro-target and geo-target individuals, and pursue a multi-variant testing program that allows them to quickly identify which ads are working and which ones are not.
This improves ad relevancy, increases the click-thru rate and delivery, and lowers cost per click/cost per acquisition. It is precisely because of the technology that one can optimize well-performing combinations, scale up delivery, and generate effective results for social media ad campaigns.
For instance, an international telecom brand recently ran a campaign using TBG Digital’s proprietary technology, ONE Media Manager™, over the holiday season and saw a reduction in the cost per acquisition by 50 percent and a 20-fold increase in volume of sales.
The holy grail of Facebook advertising lies in personalizing the message in way that resonates with the individual and adapting your message and pitch hundreds of times a minute so that you genuinely appeal to the aspirations, needs and interests on the individual. For this, new technology is critical. An automated technology platform that fuses the best aspects of paid search and display advertising is central to delivering a structured, managed approach with constantly effective results.