For a very long time Google was the only major online marketing platform, but lately, Facebook advertising takes over the primate in some fields from it. Why is this happening, and what are the consequences is not that easy to explain.
First of all, it is necessary to explain how come the social media marketing and social media advertising became so important in general, and the answer to this question is rather simple. Namely, the people tend to look for the shortest and most convenient way to look for the information or for purchasing options, and social networks are simply ideal for this.
While Google does provide multimedia advertising and allows search term, image, and even video advertising, it is far less convenient and does not provide that many impulsive shopping options than it is the case with Facebook. The reason for this is simple – people use search engines and social media networks in completely different way.
While search engine marketing can bring the customers using multiple advertising channels, social media most certainly do it almost “out of the blue”.
This is of course quite far from the truth and there is a well-designed and perfectly developed system behind it, but at the first glance, without knowing what really happens in the background, you might be puzzled with the end result.
What does the mechanism behind it look like? It is an advanced system that tracks users across the globe, and that is able to segment them into groups using various key parameters. Pretty much, this system is able to tell which are the interests, habits, and engagements the people using social networks have. Of course, this opens a whole new dimension and a bunch of prospects for all sorts of marketing campaigns. Naturally, in order to access these advanced tools, you need to pay for it, so this advanced engine is available only for the paid campaigns.
Nevertheless, Facebook also provides a lot of options for free advertising as well. There is a number of marketing techniques that can be applied without investing any actual money in it, but the results are proportionally weaker, and it takes a lot more time to make an impact using this approach. Still, as it is free, and it does hold a lot of potential within itself, it is almost mandatory to pursue this line and make things happen, even if it seems as a not too worthy endeavour in the beginning. The main question still stays – who should use Facebook as the main marketing platform, and what approach should they take, from case to case?
The answer is rather simple: everybody should pursue organic and viral exposure, while the retailers whose products rely on a visual experience should pursue paid Facebook marketing opportunities.
Of course, this explanation is utterly simplified, and there is a lot more to it all than it seems at the first glance. In order to explain things better, we will split this discussion in three separate segments:
• Organic impact
• Viral reach
• Paid Facebook advertising
The first thing you want to do no matter the profile of your retailing company when starting with Facebook advertising is to create at least one dedicated page. The approach should vary, depending on how many niches you are pursuing. For example, the retailers who are strictly connected to a single niche, such as, let us say – dental hygiene products, should make a single page. All their followers will be constantly interested in every single product they market, as they are all complementary. Simply said, people who followed your page because of the premium tooth brushes, will be also interested in dental floss, teeth whitening gear, pastes, and everything that is related to the niche. This means that expanding the reach will be constant and that you won’t have much drop-offs thanks to the inconsistency of the products posted.
On the other hand, if you are running a business that could possibly be associated with several niches, you should keep one general page as the backbone of the entire business, but going with niche specific pages is also not a bad idea at all. For example, if you are running a web store that is dedicated to fishing, hunting, camping, and outdoor activities, it is not a bad idea to create a separate page for each of the niches you intend to cover. The reason behind this is quite simply – the organic and viral reach generate in this way will be much more focused and it will require less effort to expand, convert, and distribute the right information to the right people.
Now, the organic reach in general is rather limited, and it is hard to break out quickly without investing in page reach through paid advertising. Still, once you do have certain audience, the limits of the organic reach become a rock solid advantage. Audience that is reached in this way is loyal, well filtered, generates revenue through sales, and it is the funnel that creates these sales for free.
Viral reach which can be achieved through Facebook is in many cases quite overvalued. Strange as it may sound, the digital commerce is one of the least suitable niches for pushing viral reach as the main component of Facebook marketing activity, yet many marketing agencies push it as hard as they can. The logical question would be – why is this happening?
The answer to this question is simple – viral reach easily reflects on the website traffic, and provides results that are easily measurable and quantifiable in the reports. They simply present it as a successful component of the marketing campaign, and blame low conversion rates and low value of such traffic to the very business whose campaign they are managing.
To put the topping on this nonsense cake, they often compare these campaigns with the campaigns of the widely popular and strongly established brands. They tend to say – it works for them, but although you have the same viral reach, it doesn’t work for you, and so it must be because your web store or your product is not as good as that big brand’s.
Of course, this is a total nonsense. Huge brands have the very brand name as a powerful converting tool. There is prestige to owning anything branded with their logos and they can use viral reach as a serious marketing means as they don’t have to bother with building brand awareness, nor they have any problems with brand authority on the market.
So, starting with a bunch of wrong premises, many marketing agencies simply draw the wrong conclusion and still push viral reach as the best way to expand.
To be honest with the issue, additional exposure that viral reach on Facebook provides is in no way a bad thing. The only wrong thing is to present it as a key factor for serious Facebook campaigns. It simply does not work that way!
Still, every business should pursue viral reach options and expand their organic impact base using this means of reaching new people. Since it is also a free thing, it does not cost anything to push things that way, and any benefit drawn from it is more than welcome.
It is important to keep the focus on the things that matter and pursue viral reach only through the business related posts. It is also a common practice with some of the marketers that they go with the light content that is not related to the business, but has a tendency to collect a lot of likes, shares, and attract a lot of new page followers. Although this approach expands the organic audience and exponentially increases the viral reach, it is really of a little value with retailers, as most people who get attracted in this way come there for laughs and fun instead for shopping purposes.
Paid Facebook advertising
The last but definitely the most important segment of Facebook business for retailers is running the paid Facebook ads of all sorts. This is something that brings us to the beginning of this article, and all the advanced features Facebook has developed in order to provide their clients with one of two most powerful marketing platforms out there.
The ability to filter Facebook ad strategy to the last detail and reach very specific type of people, at the locations you are targeting, and with possibility to refer to the gender and age groups provides one of the most potent tools to actually get a voice on the market.
The Facebook ads can go in two major directions: you could promote your page and expand the organic impact in that way, or you can promote certain products or sales campaigns.
Promoting the page is something that pays off both directly and in a long run. With properly defined target group and with filtering the audience in the most efficient way, you can expand the follower’s base to an extent that was unprecedented before. All these new followers will get the newsfeed from your page, and you will be able to reach them in an organic way, without further investing in specific ads. Of course, if they come upon anything that really interests them, in many cases they will share that content and expand your viral reach as well. Finally, it is not excluded that they will find something they wish to buy on your news feed straight away, so it is possible that you will get some ROI straight away. In any case, the effects of this approach are cumulative, and they only increase over time.
The other way of using Facebook ads is to promote certain products, special deals, or promotional sales campaigns. This option gives an immediate ROI, but has lower cumulative effect. Simply, the people will be presented with actual products, and with good calls to action, they will convert into customers straight away. The key for this approach is to address the people who are likely to buy, so the audience filtering should be really matriculate, and you definitely need to run several versions of the ad in order to find the one that gives the best results to your business.
We already explained a part of this segment in one of the previous articles, but the options for optimising ad campaigns are really overwhelming. There is virtually limitless number of variations that can be applied in process optimisation, and the only way to be sure that the ads will work is to optimise them constantly and include as many variations as you can afford.
Usually, the ads that target the right demographics, the right geography, and that are running during specific times of the day give the best results. Of course, the message you are broadcasting is also of a paramount importance. Advertisement content needs to be short and graphic enough to trigger the engagement. People pay much less attention to long descriptions and detailed presentations, compared to short, succinct, and very graphic ads that also include calls to action. Simply, the attention span shortens every day as the people spend more and more time online, and you have only a few seconds to make an impression on them.
This is why the graphic part is very important, and that is the reason why you can’t afford to sell products in the very post. It is there to draw their attention, and the website is the right tool for selling. It is often a stumbling point for retailers, but it can be easily avoided.
If you employ all 3 means of reaching new clients in the right way – your success will be guaranteed. Of course, if you don’t have the expertise in this field, you will need some external help, and we at Studioworx will be more than happy to help you!