What do Facebook marketers need to know in 2014?

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As advertisers and marketers draw up their post-holiday plans, Facebook Preferred Marketing Developer Marin Software shared a comprehensive whitepaper outlining four key trends for 2014.

Marin pointed out that marketers have really embraced News Feed, as opposed to sidebar, for native advertising, and that users are on mobile now more than ever. Marin found that users are much more likely to buy from brands they’ve had previous social engagements with. Lastly, Marin feels that marketers should be wiser about switching up their creatives on Facebook to prevent showing users the same ads over and over.

News Feed is beating out sidebar

As more and more studies find, the News Feed is the most effective place for advertising on Facebook. While an ad can get noticed on the sidebar, Facebook users are much more likely to engage on News Feed.

Marin’s data for 2013 Q3 shows that News Feed ads, compared to the sidebar, have 44x higher clickthrough rates (CTR), 67 percent lower cost per click (CPC) and a 5x higher conversion rate. Advertisers took notice in the previous quarter, increasing spending on News Feed ads by 140 percent compared to Q2.

Marin recommends that marketers allocate at least half of their budgets toward News Feed ads and leverage unpublished posts, as well as promoting well-engaged current posts. The company’s Senior Marketing Manager, Dan Morris, spoke with Inside Facebook about how marketers are realizing the value of News Feed:

Marketers have really embraced Facebook’s News Feed as a vehicle for native advertising. This is a big buzzword. … Native advertising essentially is, to me, advertising to users in a way that’s very natural, unobtrusive and in a matter that’s consistent with what they came to the channel to do and participate in. What’s interesting is that Facebook kind of shifted their business model, going from a right-hand side business model, to emphasizing ad solutions that are available in the mobile News Feed, and that’s very intuitive. When you log onto Facebook today, your eyes are really fixated on the News Feed.

Mobile is the wave of the future

As Morris noted, more users are checking their Facebook News Feed on mobile than ever before. In Facebook’s Q3 financial report, the company noted that it has 507 million daily active users on mobile — a figure that will likely grow for a while. Additionally, 74 percent of Facebook’s userbase has used the native mobile app.

Marin saw a 45 percent increase in mobile-only Facebook advertising spending from Q2 to Q3. Marin’s data also indicate that CTR is 187 percent higher on mobile, while CPCs for ads served on mobile News Feed are 22 percent lower. The company notes that as competition in the mobile News Feed increases, we will likely see CPC go up, as well.

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Marin recommends that marketers place more thought into mobile-only campaigns, separating them from their desktop plans using different creatives for each vehicle. However, when planning mobile ads, make sure that the campaigns match mobile user behavior, the whitepaper explains:

To be successful on mobile, advertisers need to consider how their target audience uses Facebook on a mobile device. Are they typically at home when they use Facebook’s mobile app? If so, a marketer can use Facebook’s WiFi-only targeting. If target users are more apt to log-in during peak commute times, advertisers should schedule campaigns to run only during the times of the day when people are likely to be commuting. An ad management platform automates much of this process.

Facebook users like familiar brands

Marin also found that on Facebook, users are more likely to buy from brands they’ve engaged with previously. In 2013, Facebook offered advertisers more way to discover, track and analyze users’ web browsing history, giving marketers more insight into behavior.

The whitepaper explains how Custom Audiences helps marketers target and retarget ads based on what kind of buyer the Facebook users is: