Is Facebook running scared after some reports have claimed that money spent on Facebook ads has been wasted?
A really complex question has emerged lately and it relates to the choice of Facebook as an advertising platform for various brands and companies.
Facebook has called for the online industry to move away from using measurements built for direct response marketing towards broader branding metrics.
CTR and CPA not reflective of how people use the web:
Facebook’s head of measurement research Sean Bruich has recently said that direct response measurements such as CPA (cost per action) and CTR (click through rate) are not fully reflective of how people use the web, and as such do not work for sites like Facebook. Citing a report by Comscore released last week aimed at learning more about individual Facebook networks and brands Sean Bruich states:
“When the internet started, the first business developments were e-commerce and, as such, they used direct response advertising to build traffic, which was the measure of success.”
Offline sales and traffic is as important as online:
He went on to explain that:
“Online advertisers now care about other results too – offline purchases for example. For some retailers online presence is key but the bulk of their sales come from in-store. The metrics CTR and CPA do not help a broader set of advertisers. This is affecting everybody, but Facebook is in a tougher position because it is not just about online display impressions, it is about earned media and as such we need to understand a broader set of measurement.”
Increasing reach aims to increase sales in the long run:
Mike Shaw the director of marketing solutions at Comscore has pointed out that an underexploited opportunity was present for brands to tap into friends of fans by creating compelling content and campaigns. Gaining access to these friends of fans allowed brands to increase their reach by a magnitude of 34.
“With the example of people’s likelihood to visit a brand’s own site as a measure of success, friends of fans are considerably more likely to visit than the average internet user. For Starbucks we found fans were 418% more likely to visit their site, but for friends of fans it was still over 200% more than the average web user,”
Bulk of activity on Facebook takes place in the news feed:
Brands are still trying to work out how to maximise the advantages of using Facebook. This Comscore report has made it clear that the news feed is where you need to be grabbing peoples attention. So thinking about the content you post in this area will help to make the most out of the attention of followers and friends of followers.
“The concepts here are not new, brands have been looking for ways to talk to advocates and get them to refer friends before – it all exists already. At the moment the internet is thought about in an isolated DR way and it doesn’t translate to what people are actually doing. It needs to translate to reach, frequency and audience, which already makes sense to a lot of brands.”
Content is still king:
The old adage that content is king still holds true. Put simply, if you have interesting copy (articles) to share, a well produced or interesting video, a well thought out offer or a whole host of other great types of content, you are more likely to engage with your fans and maximise the chance to push this on to other people. What theoretically should happen is that your content will get further than just your immediate fans and then hit the friends of fans, raising awareness and the likelihood that they will visit your brand online or indeed off-line. Facebook does work as an ad platform for brands, but needs to perhaps be looked at as a less obvious way of generating sales.