In light of the recent Facebook scandal, our paid media guru Mark King delves into how Facebook advertising works, how businesses are reacting to the scandal and what Hertfordshire businesses should do about it.
Facebook advertising allows businesses, large and small, to connect with their customers and keep them up to date with their latest offers, events and news. Facebook advertising is essentially an extension of this. The difference being that you can pay to reach people that you are not yet connected with and find new customers.
First, you need to decide what you want to say. You’ll need a headline, description text and imagery to go along with your post, plus a landing page on your website to send people to.
Once you’ve got this you can create your target list. It’s as simple as selecting the demographics (age, gender etc.), and then narrowing down the field with the many options that are available.
Facebook classifies data into behaviours, locations, interests, demographics and more. You can drill down to find specific types of people, such as mums aged 20-35 in your town or people who are a lot like the customers you already have.
Facebook is under scrutiny at the moment about how it collects, processes and uses our data. There has been a mixture of reactions from the wider business world.
Initially, there was a concern around data privacy and international politics. But once this calmed down a little, it really raised awareness for Facebook in terms of the granularity of their targeting options and what businesses can achieve with Facebook advertising.
Companies thought if Facebook can allegedly sway an election, it can likely score some more customers. I think it’s opened the door for smaller, local businesses that were not aware of the possibilities.
(Image credit: Shop Calatog)
Other businesses have completely left Facebook, like Wetherspoons. But then they have actually closed all of their social media channels and are now reliant on word of mouth, their website and the feedback that they get within that platform.
It seems that other businesses have been driven towards Facebook advertising rather than away. Facebook recently announced a record in advertising revenue, up 49% on the previous year.
I would advise that they should be considering using Facebook, organically as a social network and as an advertising platform. It gives you access to so many people that you might otherwise miss with traditional forms of marketing.
The power and sophistication of Facebook advertising is too much of an opportunity not to try. For most other marketing activity, GDPR will be a concern for businesses as fines for misuse of data are extensive.
In light of the scandal, and in advance of the new legislation coming into effect, Facebook has already taken steps to ensure that all of the user data that it holds complies with the GDPR. Users will have received notifications asking them to opt-in and accept the new terms and conditions.
It doesn’t matter if you have a big budget, targeting millions of people, or a small budget targeting a few hundred. An expert campaign can help you drive the right people to your website, ultimately creating a good experience for customers. It also gives you the opportunity to sell your products or services when they are really engaged with your brand.
The scale of available media can also help generate huge brand awareness for start-ups. Combine location targeting with in-market audiences and people looking to buy your products, and you’re onto a winner.
Sign up for yourself and explore the platform. Go through the process of creating a campaign, really get to know what is available for you and your business. Facebook has a support team that can guide you through what you need to do, and they are extremely knowledgeable. Or if you want results with no hassle, you can work with an agency.
Questions. You should always get questions back from any agency that is setting up a Facebook campaign for you. If they don’t ask plenty of questions, how can they know what you want to achieve in your campaign? What is your ultimate goal? Who is your ideal customer? They should be able to provide recommendations to you as well.
Transparency is also a key point. Make sure you can see and approve the campaign content and targeting before anything goes live. This will ensure that you are only targeting the people that you actually want to.
If you aren’t sure about something, your agency should be able to explain it to you without any worries. Make sure you ask lots of questions – at least initially to make sure you’re getting what you’re paying for.
Once you’ve been working with your agency for a while, you’ll probably start to feel more comfortable leaving them to get on with the work – just make sure you stay in touch with them and provide feedback on the campaigns on a regular basis.