Contrary to the views my esteemed peer Sean Hargrave expressed in his recent article for MediaPost, I believe social media marketing is a great channel for marketers. Granted, your average consumer may not be too interested in your brand’s daily profile updates, but that doesn’t mean you need to bin your entire social marketing plan.
There is no doubt in my mind that advertising via social media is set to grow as marketing becomes increasingly data driven. Take Facebook -- it is a fantastic channel for many brands. Not least because it is one of the best tools to reach the largest number of people out there. It has 968 million visits per day, with most of those (844 million) on a mobile device. 1.49 billion people visit the social network every month, with people visiting it an average of 14 times a day. These numbers cannot be matched by any other social network or even advertising platform at the moment.
Facebook advertising is so powerful because it actually works -- it identifies real people and it is measurable. The ability to choose the people you want to target is a blessing for marketers because it saves time and money. One in every four minutes on mobile devices in the UK is spent on Facebook and Instagram, and the amount of time that people spend looking at their phones is a prime opportunity to get the right messages in front of them. That results in clicks, which result in conversions or sales, which result in increased revenue.
There is no doubt in my mind that more brands should be advertising on Facebook because it enables them to find lookalikes of their best customers. Facebook has 1 million variants to search through and compare to the billions using the platform on a daily basis. The way Facebook finds lookalikes and personalises the advertising experience is by harvesting the massive amounts of data that they hold about each and every one of its users and building a profile of them that can be used by advertisers to select the people most likely to buy their products.
The amount of data held and the accuracy of this data saw one major German car manufacturer reduce its cost per lead by 56% and saw a 2.8x increase in enquiries.
This is all very positive for marketers, but what if your target audience doesn’t respond to Facebook advertising or you want to use the masses of personal data on a different platform? You need a way to use Facebook IDs and all the psychographic data that the social network holds and target people across multiple channels.
Many solutions out there are able to use Facebook IDs and create dynamic audience-based targeting that can push a message across multiple other platforms using data sources. Marketing is also becoming more contextual -- sending message to people at the right moment to help drive conversions.
Facebook advertising that incorporates contextualisation is even more powerful than standard Facebook ads. At the moment Facebook advertising is contextualised based on the time the ad is most likely to be seen and clicked on. But imagine if an ad could recognise that it has suddenly turned sunny outside and changes the content of the ad to weather-appropriate products. The technology to do that already exists, and undoubtedly leads to much higher conversions.
Targeting audiences in this way allows lifecycle social advertising to take place -- creating different segments depending on behaviour and preferences depending on how they respond to contextualised Facebook advertising.
Although Facebook advertising is very powerful and can be improved upon by adding contextualisation, no brand wants Facebook to have all of its data. Brands should own their data, IDs and lists based on psychographics. This is especially beneficial if brands want to use that data and advertise on a different platform. If it is tied into one platform, that becomes difficult and expensive to uncouple.
Facebook has built a very powerful advertising platform that is very successful in generating conversions and revenue for brands. But to take it to the next level, contextualisation must be added to the mix so that dynamic audiences can be targeted for even greater marketing success. With more and more advertising dollars being spent on social media, getting the message spot on and sent to the right people at the right time is key. Using a software partner to achieve this makes it easier, more efficient in the long run.