The future of Facebook marketing isn’t about display ads. It’s about visibility and reach. There has been so much pre/post IPO chatter about the flawed Facebook display advertising model. It’s been mentioned that nobody clicks on ads and that ads have been ineffective. Frankly, these folks have it wrong. Facebook is undergoing an organification movement that fellow marketer Marty Weitraub has been preaching for years now. Facebook ad units that everyone screams and yells about are fading away; paid interactions, increased reach and word of mouth advertising are coming to the forefront.
One can think about a Facebook stream as a more modern version of RSS. People use Facebook for all types of information, especially to inform. The usage numbers are staggering. In March of 2012, there were 398 million users who were on Facebook at least 6 out of 7 days and there are over 42 million pages with 10+ likes. This audience is engaged, receptive to brands and “hooked on the ‘book.”
Facebook ads are moving away from standard ad units with set characterful numbers and images to post/page ads, a paid inclusion model and promoted posts. The crux of future Facebook advertising is brand participation and interaction. Having a Facebook page is essential as unique advertising options are available that simply aren’t for external site targeting.
This is advertising that truly hasn’t been seen before. Unlike traditional media, Facebook is creating personalized ad opportunities that users can’t fast forward through with a DVR, flip past in a magazine or avoid seeing due to banner blindness. Facebook is intersecting the divide of natural conversation and paid placements.
The most obvious current iteration of the paid organic model is the sponsored stories. Whether it comes as a page or post, user data is leveraged for brand promotion. The key with Facebook is that open graph data from friends is tied into the ads, giving credibility and personalization to the message. This “sponsored stories” model allows advertisers to use real-life examples to promote their ads for an organic user experience.
Messages can show up as simply as just mentioning pages that a friend likes versus pulling in concrete examples or interactions from other user posts. In reality advertisers are marketing the word-of-mouth interaction just as much as they are marketing their content:
Additionally, new targeting allows for smarter spending based around a specific action. Advertisers can target those who will most likely like a page or click on the ad:
Specific posts can also be naturally promoted with links, likes and comments. Posts can be targeted based on traditional ad targeting attributes as well, so showing a post to those that like a competitor, topic or fit a certain demographic.
With both of these ad types admins can target those not already connected to the page in a turely organic factor as friends and contacts are vouching for the content.
One of the main points at fMC this year was the reach generator product. Reach generator is a packaged advertising solution for qualifying clients that can bump post visibility from 16% reach to fan to a 75% reach.
This product leverages sponsored stories and instead of a CPC format, one page post is promoted each day by Facebook. We contacted Facebook on reach generator and a spokesperson stated the following:
Clients qualify to use Reach Generator if they have the right level of engagement. Since Reach Generator is based on Sponsored Stories and ads from Page posts, businesses must have enough posts and fans engaging with the Page to guarantee delivery.
So for large advertisers this is a full service paid organic marketing platform for promoting posts and content.
The newest test ad unit for Facebook, might be their most revolutionary offering for marketers. The promoted post promotion help posts be seen by a greater percentage of one’s audience, much like a paid inclusion model. Traditionally, posts are delivered to users based on EdgeRank which matches the most relevant, popular content to each user. With promoted posts, you can bypass the EdgeRank algo and have their message seen to their full audience.
This is a revolutionary ad method as brands can ensure their most pertinent posts can be delivered to user streams. Most users typically only see the default-mode of Top News (rather than Recent Posts) and miss a good deal of both user and brand posts. Promoted posts will help to break through that barrier for increased visibility to people who have already “liked” a page.
Instead of buying placements that are outside of the Facebook wall, posts are instead seamlessly displayed directly to users. Promoted posts will ensure that your message is delivered along the rest of the content in a 100% natural format.
Here’s an official video on promoted posts:
Highlight Important Post Test
In May, tests were seen showing even more “paid organic” testing – this time for Facebook accounts, not pages. A single, one time offering was displayed to users to enhance the reach of a personal post. This could be utilized for something like a fundraiser that could have a lower-than-normal engagement normally.
Targeting users to promote their posts confirms the dedication and power of paid organic for Facebook.
In conclusion, Facebook is making a rather large shift in the overall advertising model, something that simply can’t be found elsewhere. The “I don’t click on ads” argument should soon cease while advertisers will find increased reach and visibility with a natural or word-of-mouth format.
Some images courtesy of InsideFacebook.com.