Leveraging The Power of Facebook Advertising: Three Things To Know

By Guest Writer 

We know that brands will only see meaningful engagement when they put people at the center of their Facebook strategies. But even with insightful, brilliant creative ideas executed perfectly, it’s still highly unlikely that most fans will see a given post. In fact, you may have heard the dreaded 16 percent statistic: the maximum percentage of users expected to see a page’s post.

As part of our Leadership Series event, last week Zócalo Group invited representatives from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Outbrain and AOL to our offices to talk to us and some of our clients about what’s next in paid social media.

Facebook referenced the 16 percent statistic, and discussed different ways to put cash behind campaigns to increase those sad numbers. This Ben & Jerry’s case study is powerful, with results including 98 percent of fans reached and a 3X return on investment.

Here are three of the top takeaways about Facebook advertising:

1. Diverse ad types can conquer ad blindness

Facebook is moving away from those right-hand marketplace ads, which can be more prone to “banner blindness,” and toward sponsored stories and posts in the newsfeed. Because these types of ads are in the place where we look for updates from our friends and pages we like, they’re more likely to be seen and clicked on.

Facebook is also trying to conquer ad blindness with log-out units — those large ads that take over much of the screen when you log out on a desktop. While these ads allow for a rich media experience, they can currently only be targeted broadly (to adults 18+ or 21+) and are pricey — out of the realm of most advertisers.

Another frontier where ads are beginning to pop up is Facebook Graph Search. While the ads on this beta feature aren’t very complex yet, Facebook hinted at a growing array of options for advertising against search terms.

2. People matter above all.

Ad types that tie in social connections, such as those who tell you what your friends have “liked,” tend to perform the best. Friends of fans are an incredibly powerful group, which can be reached directly via Facebook ad targeting on marketplace ads, sponsored stories and promoted posts.

3. Rich user data is here… and growing.

Facebook knows a lot about its users based on what they share on the platform, as well as what they do off of it. Facebook Exchange and partner categories use third-party data to allow advertisers to target people very specifically. In other words, Facebook can “see” what you’re doing off its site, too (even offline), then use all of that data to serve up very specific ads.

For advertisers, this means they can target recent mortgage borrowers with furniture ads, or serve up an ad for a car a user was just looking at on another site. With all of this data, the possibilities are astounding. While some Facebook users might cringe at this level of targeting, they’ll also be seeing more and more ads for things they are actually interested in.

Alexandra Baird is the Assistant Account Executive at Zócalo Group.