Facebook is a marketer’s dream. With hundreds of millions of users who willingly give out personal information and regularly check the site, it is a no-brainer for brands to market themselves on Facebook. Facebook is continually revamping its privacy and advertising policies, and the revisions affect how businesses communicate messages to their audiences. Keep reading for the five recent Facebook advertising changes business marketers should know about.
1. Ads outside Facebook
Before the most recent change, Facebook already served ads with a social context outside Facebook. For example, an ad outside Facebook would read “Friend A, Friend B, and 682 others like ice cream” with a link to that ice cream’s Facebook page and website. Now, Facebook has explicitly stated that they can use the information they have to show ads on other websites that don’t necessarily reference your friends or Facebook. These ads would look just like any other online ad, but tailored to you based on your Facebook interests. This has caused speculation that Facebook is hoping to compete with Google ads.
2. Sponsored ads
Sponsored ads are the ads found on the right sidebar of Facebook’s website. These have previously been reserved for what is known as “marketplace” ads, where businesses design the ads and specify who sees the ads based on demographics and other information. Now, you can also create ads that encourage interaction with your business’ Facebook page. For example, an ad could encourage a user to watch a video, answer a question, read an article, or listen to a song. These ads are down from 135 words to 90 words, allowing for Facebook to place more ads in their available ad space.
3. Featured stories
Featured stories are business promotions that show up in users’ newsfeeds. These are completely new; previously, ads were not present in newsfeeds. These generally look like a story posted by a Facebook friend, like a picture, article, or status update. However, these featured stories will say “featured” under the post, on the same line where the “like,” “comment,” and time stamp are. Users will only see featured stories from businesses they have liked, or their friends have liked. These stories could potentially show up on a user’s newsfeed organically, just like a status update from their friends, but they can also be paid.
4. Mobile ads
Previously, Facebook was not showing ads on its mobile app, which was a huge untapped market for them. Now, featured stories in users’ newsfeeds will serve ads to mobile users. This adds bang to your advertising buck since around 40% of Facebook users have the mobile app.
5. Paying for ads
Facebook is attempting to move away from pay-per-click (PPC) as way to pay for ads. Facebook argues that click-through rate is irrelevant, and ads should be measured by audience, much like a TV or magazine ad. While traditional marketplace ads are still paid for based on PPC, new ads are priced based on reach and “gross rating points,” a system Facebook developed with Nielsen.
As you can see, Facebook has been busy reevaluating its advertising. As a business, this means new opportunities for you to showcase your brand. But don’t get too comfortable. All of these new ad features are experimental; several things could happen to cause Facebook to make new changes. Users could find featured stories invasive, Facebook could decide that PPC is actually the best way to go, status update-based ads could prove ineffective, or brands may default to Twitter or a new social media platform that has yet to be invented. In the world of social media, anything can happen. But for now, these new practices are a great way for any business to integrate Facebook into its online marketing.
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