Since almost the moment its much-hyped IPO went live (well, after it got over that nasty bit of trouble when NASDAQ’s computers went haywire at the start of trading), Facebook has been rolling out a series of new advertising options. From deploying a real-time bidding platform (known as Facebook Exchange) to a rumored “Want” button, it seems that the pressures of being a public company, combined with marketers’ pent-up demand for data and better ad targeting, have convinced the company that it’s time to shift from catering solely to its users to catering to advertisers.
Whether that is good or bad for business and the future of social networks is up for debate. But what is perceptible to us is that Facebook advertising is growing up – in a positive and mature direction.
Take, for example, Facebook’s recent announcement that brands can now target their posts to users by gender, “interested in,” relationship status, education and workplace.
This new ad targeting feature, combined with Facebook’s recently released Reach Generator, should cause marketers to think more seriously about the value of brand marketing on Facebook.
First, some clarification: If a user “Likes” your brand, do not assume that your posts reach them on their newsfeed. Facebook revealed back in February that only 16 percent of brand posts are seen by users’ newsfeeds. That’s small potatoes considering Facebook has more than 950 million users worldwide.
Reach Generator Extends Life — and Reach — of Posts
It is for this reason that Facebook introduced Reach Generator — a paid service that guarantees 70-80 percent of brand posts are seen on users’ newsfeeds. Now it appears that Facebook is allowing a “pay-to-play” post generator at the post level, as opposed to a flat monthly fee for all posts. The individual post can be targeted to specific demographic to better aim at relevant users.
The introduction by Facebook of new targeting options for brand posts is a positive step forward for the social network. Social marketing success is recognized when relevant engagement is executed as opposed to mass-market broadcast. This new feature by Facebook allows marketers to highly target their paid posts.
One word of caution: Marketers should not view this as an advertising channel. They should remain focused on “stories” and “conversations” that reinforce the brand promise, value and commitment to their target market. They should remain strongly committed to responses and conversation that benefits their customers — not just ads that make their company look good or smart.
For marketers, Facebook's new posts targeting options present a positive step forward, providing opportunity for deeper connection with the target market.