As smart marketers know, the Facebook ad ecosystem is constantly changing and evolving.
Kevin Bobowski, the VP of Marketing at Facebook Preferred Marketing Developer Offerpop, recently discussed with Inside Facebook how advertisers and marketers are grasping that organic reach on Facebook is diminishing, and how Google’s cessation of Wildfire signaled that the social ad landscape has changed drastically.
Inside Facebook: What does the news of Google and Wildfire mean for Facebook marketers?
Kevin Bobowski: I think for the Facebook ecosystem, with this news around Wildfire, one of the interesting data points that has come up since the Wildfire news, is the diminishing reach of Facebook. Brands are more and more reliant on paid advertising to reach fans and acquire audiences on Facebook. I think because that’s happening, it’s just really clear to us, when we talk to our customers and major brands, that they’re diversifying from Facebook as they think about a social media presence.
IF: Can you tell me a little more about what you’re hearing from clients?
KB: Obviously Facebook has changed their algorithm, but I think there’s a lot more competition within the organic posts. The brand’s message isn’t being heard. What we’re hearing from our clients is that Facebook advertising is still fairly effective, and can drive return on investment. But I think what’s really starting to happen is that as the News Feed in Facebook gets more crowded and organic reach diminishes, brands are now diversifying outside of Facebook and onto other social networks — Instagram, Twitter, and more importantly the more visual social networks, like Pinterest.
I think the other thing that we’re hearing from our customers, is the notion that for a long time on Facebook, you were essentially renting fans. For a while, you could reach those fans through organic reach posts. That’s happening less and less. Brands now feel like this rented audience of thousands of fans on Facebook — generally, they could reach them on Instagram. What we’re seeing is brands are trying to figure out how to own their audiences again. To own their audiences, they’re trying to drive social experiences and engaging experiences back onto their websites.
IF: Do you feel that the cost of advertising is also going up and advertisers are trying to get what they can? Is it more than a News Feed problem, is it a cost problem too?
KB: I’m sure that’s a consideration. With Facebook advertising, and even with organic campaigns, we do see customers drive results and ROI. So they’re getting there, the question just becomes what is the ROI considering the time and money that you’ve spent on that channel. The biggest challenge is proving results and ROI, but the reality is we see a lot of clients actually doing it really well. They can actually prove a return on marketing investment and drive results and ROI. That’s actually starting to happen. The piece that marketers are still missing is this notion of the data they can collect via social and how that data improves other marketing programs. That’s the big gap that we see between a company that’s early in their maturation process for social and companies that really get social and know how it fits in the broader marketing mix.
IF: You said that more companies are spending more on visual networks like Pinterest and Instagram, and I know that Facebook has really been trying to make their ad units a little more visually pleasing. Is it something that Facebook isn’t quite capturing well?
KB: When we talk to retailers and we talk to other companies, they’re getting some really interesting results in terms of traffic from those networks (Pinterest, Instagram, Vine) and in terms of attribution-backing purchases. What they’re actually doing is they’re gathering that user-generated content and taking that content and putting it on their website. That comes back to the notion of renting this audience vs. owning it. They’re using user-generated content to drive commerce, and they’re actually doing pretty well.
I just don’t think Facebook has an answer for that visual media social network.
Readers: Are you diversifying your social advertising spend?