How Will The Facebook Ad Landscape Change In 2013?

By Justin Lafferty 

As more users and brands have joined Facebook, the ways that companies market to fans (and potential fans) have changed greatly. At first, marketers were obsessed with getting likes, and then the focus was on engagement. What’s next? Mike Onghai, founder of social marketing platform AppAddictive, feels that companies will start paying more attention to their current fans in an effort to turn likes into sales.

Onghai — whose company works with brands such as Vonage — talked with AllFacebook about how the ad landscape will change in 2013.

Onghai said he sees more businesses focusing on converting fans into sales rather than attracting new people to like their pages.

He talked about how there are several ways Facebook has already implemented where brands can see if sales came from the social network — such as Facebook Offers and Facebook Gifts. He also talked about Collections, which was recently rebooted, where Facebook fans can say that they want something, allowing brands to see who would really be interested in purchasing a product:

Yesterday, I made my first Facebook gift. I sent a gift to a friend, and the moment I bought the gift, the friend received the message, the friend opened the gift, and the friend entered the address where the gift is supposed to be sent — all of that, Facebook was reporting to us what was going on…. That’s how Facebook is going to check conversions. With open graph, that is another way for Facebook to track.

Onghai also sees potential in the proposed 15-second video ads. He said brands could put landing pages at the ends of ads, seeing how many people were tempted to jump from Facebook to their websites. If companies are not fortunate enough to be part of Gifts or the Collections test, Onghai suggests that they take advantage of tabs, which can lead users to landing pages, where marketers could then track conversions.

Brands can also simply ask fans if they’d be interested in purchasing — but not in a way that sounds like a straight-up sales pitch. For instance, a page could post four images of its products and ask users which one they’d be most likely to buy, and it can use the comments as feedback.

As more brands demand some kind of metric to actually track return on investment, Onghai thinks that Facebook will continue to roll out more ways to see if people actually buy something based on a Facebook ad or post.

Earlier this year, Facebook controversially partnered with Datalogix to track conversions.

Onghai noted that the way brands think about social marketing could change in 2013:

The “Mad Men” days, where brands will have an ad agency in charge of coming up with ad creatives, (have passed). It’s almost like the content part of the brand is actually separate at ad agency. But what social is — word of mouth really — it’s finding your organic content that works and simply amplifying it so there’s actually less of a need to come up with this witty, creative ad, it’s more about which of your organic content is already growing and just amplifying this message. I think this is the main difference between social ads and display ads or TV ads as we know it.

Onghai also said that targeting will likely become more popular, as brands look for more ways to get a bigger bang for their buck. Instead of spending lots of money to cast a wide net, Onghai thinks that more companies will become smarter with their money and target posts to the kinds of users who would be most interested in their brands. Onghai sees sponsored search results, rolled out last year and very popular leading up to the election, becoming a bigger ad product, as brands try to compete.

Additionally, Onghai thinks that more brands will start creating separate mobile marketing campaigns, if they haven’t already started:

More and more people are coming to Facebook through mobile, so I’ll see more brands create mobile-only campaigns, especially because brands can specifically target mobile users when they buy ads. I can see a lot of brands creating mobile website landing pages for mobile apps.

Readers: What do you think 2013 will hold in terms of Facebook advertising?

Image courtesy of Juan Camilo Bernal /