With social media being such a big part of everyday life, it likewise plays a large role in marketing. There are many different social platforms a business can use to reach out to audiences. Some are free, others are not.
Facebook is one social medium which has recently begun to shift all of its marketing and advertising features to a paid-only format. Whilst, some may argue, that adopting a “pay-to-play” marketing strategy may have driven some users away, Facebook is in many ways still a valid and valuable marketing tool.
Why use Facebook advertising?
Simply put: its custom audience targeting features. Businesses pay not only for prioritisation of their brand content, but for Facebook’s marketing tools, too. The extent of this usefulness can of course be variable, depending on a number of factors.
For example, Facebook would be an ideal marketing platform for a garden centre looking to target middle-aged women who enjoy gardening, but possibly less fitting for a business telecommunications company targeting tech start-ups. Different types of businesses may find different social media more, or less, relevant to their business’s marketing strategies.
As a generalisation, you could say that Facebook is particularly useful for B2C companies, but less so for B2B companies.
Facebook utilises a number of worthwhile audience targeting methods. “But – Twitter, Google and a thousand other sites use audience targeting, too!” I hear you say. And yes, of course, they do. But the information that Facebook uses for its targeting makes it rather unique.
Facebook users build a fairly comprehensive profile about themselves when using the platform, and this can all be used to fine tune your target market.
Some of the data Facebook uses for targeted marketing includes:
- Life events
- Likes – brand connections, book/music/sport/film interests, etc
- Mobile device use
- Purchase behaviour
Of course, this is not a comprehensive list; just a few examples. It is the combination and cross-referencing of this spread of data that gives Facebook’s marketing its value. Arguably, no other social platform uses as unique a combination of information to target its users. This is what makes Facebook particularly useful for businesses in specific industries to reach out to audiences, with relatively small amounts of time and effort.
For example, a travel company could use social media and online marketing to target audiences of certain ages and locations with relevant holidays and packages. But using Facebook, the company could further specify by targeting cruise deals at an audience who are known to have gone on cruises in the past, couples’ getaways to users who have recently married, or luxury vacations to users known to have a high income.
As well as traditional demographics such as age and gender, Facebook’s marketing utilises comprehensive information about lifestyle, interests and activities for a better-tailored target marketing technique.
1. Custom audience
Facebook’s Custom Audience features are virtually unrivalled by any other social medium. A Custom Audience is one a company can create on Facebook, by picking and choosing which targets to include. Custom Audiences comprise clients that a business already has a relationship with elsewhere. For example, a company could use the e-mail addresses of their loyalty-club members to create a Custom Audience on Facebook, or they could transfer a circle from Google+, through Google contacts, to a Custom Audience on Facebook.
The audience is compiled of people a brand already has a relationship with elsewhere, as they will need access to the following details to create the Custom Audience:
- UIDS (Facebook user ID)
- Phone numbers
- App user IDs.
Users compile and upload this information, then Facebook matches it to the information its own users have input on their profiles. Successful matches are compiled into a list, and thus, a Custom Audience is created.
2. Lookalike audience
Lookalike Audiences are another unique feature to Facebook’s marketing tools. A Lookalike Audience allows users to target a new audience that has similar characteristics to an already-known audience.
There are many ways in which companies can create lookalike audiences, and many audiences they can be based on, including:
- Lookalikes for websites – targets users who are similar to those visiting a company’s website. This can be fine-tuned to specific pages or sections within the site.
- Lookalikes for pages – targets users similar to those of a certain page. Companies can only use this for Facebook pages under their control, and not those of others.
- Lookalikes for mobile app users – targets users who use a company’s mobile apps. Useful for retargeting those who are already interested in the brand.
By using Lookalike Audiences, a company’s net of target customers can rapidly expand. The added benefit is that users targeted through a lookalike audience have a greater likelihood of interest in the brand, than those who may be targeted through other marketing techniques and tools.
There are a huge range of online marketing opportunities available to businesses and organisations of all types, but Facebook should not be forgotten about. Facebook may have pigeon-holed their marketing options somewhat by adopting a paid-for format, but arguably, they can afford to do so. The unique features and tools that Facebook offers are invaluable for targeted marketing, promoting brand awareness, and connecting with customers. For these reasons Facebook could definitely be worth incorporating in a business’s marketing strategies.