Facebook advertising budgets for consumer brands in recent years often were guided by goals like “become social,” “grow presence,” and “acquire fans.”
As 2013 planning cycles approach, brand marketers and media planners must advance to more accountable goals. Such goals should not only embrace established reach-and-frequency planning models, but maximize messaging against the incredible strengths of the Facebook platform, the world’s largest social CRM database.
That means marketers must determine not only how much budget to allocate to Facebook advertising, but how to most effectively allocate advertising budget within Facebook.
Facebook Advertising Is Powerful, But Different
Many consumer brands have invested heavily in acquiring high quality, targeted fan growth. That is a wise investment, because it unlocks the power of the Facebook advertising network.
First, brands gain the ability to advertise directly to fans, who are far more valuable than non-fans. Instead of advertising to unknown demographic targets, brands can message directly to their most valuable social connections. That’s a powerful concept, especially as efforts are made to understand the overlap between fans and actual customers.
Second, if a brand’s fan base represents its entire addressable marketplace within two degrees of separation, that brand can take advantage of social endorsement of brand messaging through sponsored stories, page-post ads, and friend-of-fan targeting.
The importance of social endorsement is significant, to be sure. Nielsen has demonstrated that socially endorsed messaging is 68% more memorable than non-socially endorsed messaging, and people exposed to socially endorsed ads exhibit four times greater purchase intent than those exposed to plain ads. That’s why we see a growing shift towards “always on” fan and friend-of-fan communications, with less emphasis on flighted fan generation campaigns. This is especially true for brands that have already achieved robust, targeted fan bases.
Flighted campaigns with conventional ads still have a place in the social advertising mix, such as with event-based marketing and promotional opportunities. Flighted campaigns with conventional ads are also important for brands in an earlier stage of evolution, that have yet to acquire a critical mass of fans to achieve the benefits stated above.
Facebook Advertising Investment Planning
Incorporating the unique strengths of the Facebook advertising network, marketers and media planners should think about their 2013 Facebook budgeting and planning according to four prioritized phases:
1. Establishing goals.
2. Acquiring a core fan base.
3. Engaging fans and amplifying socially-endorsed advertising to their friends, ultimately growing the engaged fan base through word of mouth.
4. Messaging prospects with priority event-driven campaigns to achieve performance and action.
Following this framework will empower marketers with greater clarity and priority as they continue integrating social performance into the larger marketing and media mix.