It seems everywhere I go lately, people are talking about Facebook. Along with watching the news, businesses are examining their social media and advertising reporting and wondering how to proceed.
Due to the high volume of media we place for clients, Verdin has our own Facebook representative, but the reality is Facebook is so big and the changes so complicated that my own support provider cannot thoroughly educate our agency on ways to enhance our Facebook advertising. I have conducted my own hours of research and analysis to figure out what’s happening and how we can guide our clients to react. Here’s what I’ve learned.
How is Facebook advertising changing?
The simplest explanation for the changes in Facebook is the revisiting of privacy issues for users. While Facebook users were historically happy to share personal information on their pages, once they realized that their personal information was being used for targeting or influence, they cried foul. Facebook is responding by reducing targeting opportunities for ads to protect users’ privacy.
What that means for advertisers is some sets of micro targeting are no longer available – these include ethnicities, certain incomes, or some religious afflictions – regardless of the content of the advertising message. As you can imagine, these changes are affecting advertising campaigns across all industries.
Those of us who are used to seeing high success using micro targeting on Facebook are now seeing the same budget produce one-half to one-third of the results, compared to campaigns running during 2017 or 2016.
So… should I keep advertising on Facebook?
Even with all the changes happening at Facebook, the results continue to be significantly better than most other digital platforms and more cost-effective than traditional advertising. While Facebook results based on clicks may be declining, other performance indicators such as engagement, reach and impressions are strong.
In the media buying industry, we compare the cost per thousand (CPM) people reached with advertising. The average CPM for a Facebook campaign, even with the new changes, is half the cost of traditional advertising. In addition, the design cost for digital ads is typically lower than print, outdoor or TV ads. This means Facebook advertising still tops the list for cost effectiveness.
What should I do differently?
Here are five ways I recommend responding to this information.
Understand that your Facebook CPM is likely to slowly increase over time. Constant changes in Facebook algorithms suggest that ads will cost more and be seen less.
Consider reviewing your key performance indicators. Clicks to your website are harder to get today than a year ago, but engaging someone with a compelling video ad is more cost effective. Rethink the priority you give some metrics over others, and consider new ways to reach customers with your message.
Be flexible. Facebook and Instagram are still very productive and relatively inexpensive platforms. Understand that with the national pressures and changes occurring at Facebook, all consumers can do is watch and wait. Experiment with different options and creative messaging to break through the noise. Monitor your results and budget while the platform is settling down.
Lower your expectations. In some ways, the honeymoon is over. Ads will get a lower response and cost more, and Facebook will continue to manage the way you can present your message to its users. But Facebook ads are still an effective use of your media buy, so accept and adapt to the new realities.
Don’t give up. Facebook is here to stay, and while the platform may be different and offer some challenges, it is still the single most-used platform in the world.
I’m tracking Facebook advertising updates every day. If you want to continue the conversation, send me an email at [email protected]!