There was a great article on eMarketer recently posing the question “is there a problem with Facebook Advertising?” Given that GM recently pulled all their advertising dollars from Facebook, and the statistics showing that 83% of Facebook users hardly ever click on FB ads or sponsored content, you might think the answer to this question is yes, there’s a problem. But, I’m not even sure the question is framed correctly. I’d be more inclined to ask if brands have the right expectation about what advertising on Facebook will do for them. Given Facebook’s performance since it’s IPO, I don’t think I’m alone.
I have recently started describing marketing as a systematic approach by which enterprise manages individual relationships en masse. This applies here because Facebook is not just an advertising channel, it’s a relationship management tool as well. When thinking about how Facebook fits into your marketing plan, understand that you’ll be encountering a range of audiences, from prospective customers all the way through to advocates. You have to develop a strategy for communicating with each of those audiences based on what they want to know given their stage in the customer engagement continuum. Facebook advertising is a way to build brand awareness with prospects, so your ads should be designed to gain awareness and fans, not sales. Think of it this way, if you go to a party with the intention of leaving with a marriage commitment, you will have the wrong expectation and hence the wrong approach to meeting people. But, if you go with the expectation of engaging with some like minded people, you’ll increase the likelihood of leaving with your expectations fulfilled and a chance to engage with some of the people you met at a later date and on a more intimate level.
So, before assuming there is something wrong with the platform, ask yourself this question: are you expecting the right thing from that engagement given your relationship status with your various audiences on Facebook? Once you have figured that out, adjust your messaging and your metric for success. You may be very pleased with the outcome.