Dark clouds have been gathering around Facebook as of late which has most of the marketing world in a bit of a tizzy. Headlines that mention Facebook lately haven’t been the most positive, and it’s causing brands and businesses alike to backpedal on their social media advertising efforts.
While, yes, the future for Facebook is a bit uncertain, we don’t think all is lost. In fact, we’ve seen strong evidence that Facebook advertising is alive and well. Despite the headlines, there’s never been a better time to advertise on Facebook in its history.
So if you’re a brand or business that is cutting back on their social media ad spend, this article is for you. We’ve compiled the most compelling evidence that Facebook is not dead, and in fact, is poised to be the strongest social media marketing platform in the next few years.
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So, What’s Been Happening to Facebook?
If you haven’t been following the news lately, there’s a lot of commotion surrounding Facebook (and that’s putting it lightly).
Mark Zuckerburg, Facebook’s CEO, has recently been in the hottest seat in Washington: a senate committee hearing on Capitol Hill. The Senate questioned Zuckerberg on Facebook’s business model and practices following the Cambridge Analytica scandal. While Facebook didn’t necessarily break any laws, they certainly failed to do their jobs to protect their users’ data, and failed to be more discerning about how that data is used by advertisers.
While that scandal is still simmering, Facebook captured headlines again recently when their stock took a major dive. Facebook just announced to shareholders that the growth they’ve experienced so far is “unsustainable” as the user count tops out at nearly 2.13 billion people (almost a third of all the people on earth). There’s simply no one else to bring onto their platform right now, and Facebook doesn’t really have a plan in place to tackle this. Obviously, Facebook’s lack of strategy did not instill much confidence in their investors.
It seems like Facebook has been experiencing punch after punch, but considering that Facebook itself is less than 15 years old, it helps to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. The journey of social media advertising has just begun, and we don’t think its slowing down anytime soon.
“Think about what people are doing on Facebook today. They’re keeping up with their friends and family, but they’re also building an image and identity for themselves, which in a sense is their brand. They’re connecting with the audience that they want to connect to. It’s almost a disadvantage if you’re not on it now.”
~ Mark Zuckerberg ~
Time is Money
In a recent press conference, Facebook shared that there are currently 2.13 billion users on Facebook right now, and the average user spends 27 min on Facebook every day, with daily users spending about 41 minutes per day. Two years ago, they reported that the average user spent 50 minutes a day on their platform.
What makes Facebook stand out from other social platforms, however, is how they are able to monetize that time. Even in that half hour, Facebook is able to generate $6 per user, compared to Snapchat’s $1.16.
#DeleteFacebook Has Actually Helped
People who lost trust for Facebook are making the switch to other social media sites. In the swell of the #DeleteFacebook movement in late spring of this year, many people were expressing their anger with Facebook and making the exodus to other platforms.
For many people who left Facebook, they went to Instagram for their social media fix. But what they may not realize is that Instagram is owned by Facebook. Facebook purchased the platform for a cool $1 billion in 2012, and that purchase is paying off. While Facebook’s market value dropped $100 billion at the end of July, Instagram’s value has grown to $100 billion. As it turns out: Instagram is becoming Facebook’s next Facebook.
The good news for advertisers here: Facebook’s intuitive advertising platform allows marketers to market on both platforms. So while the #DeleteFacebook movement made an impact on the world’s perception of social media, it hasn’t made an impact on the bottom line.
Another interesting note: while some users went to Instagram, data shows that people who stayed on Facebook are using it more, not less. In the weeks following the #DeleteFacebook movement, monthly active users actually grew by 4%.
Ad Transparency: Refining Your Competitors Ad Strategy
In light of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook has strived to be much more open about what ads companies are running and how they are running them. They’ve given its users (and, by extension, advertisers), the ability to see what ads a company has posted on their profile.
To put this in perspective: this is the equivalent of Google handing over their algorithm formulas to us marketers (and what a glorious day that would be).
But really, this is an amazing and underutilized new feature on Facebook and for the savvy marketer, it’s a great tool to reverse engineer your advertising based on what your competitors are doing. It gives you insight on how you can optimize your ads against your competition, without copying them directly, of course.
If you’d like to try this for yourself, here’s how:
- Visit any Facebook page.
- Click “Info and Ads” at the bottom left of the page.
The Dawn of AI
Facebook has been and will continue to invest heavily in artificial intelligence research and development. From a logistical standpoint, this makes sense. AI can do what humans can’t: sift through the dizzying number of daily Facebook posts and spot any content that might not belong.
From an advertising standpoint, this technology is also good news for marketers. As Facebook’s AI evolves, it becomes better at providing useful and unobtrusive advertising to its users. This is the core of our marketing strategy here at PHOS: creating content that is useful, helpful, relevant, and engaging to drive qualified traffic to a business.
Facebook Videos Tops YouTube
According to a study released this month by Slidely, Facebook has officially surpassed YouTube as the place where people watch their videos: 47% of people watch videos on Facebook versus the 41% on YouTube.
Of those respondents, 71% said that the sponsored video content they see on Facebook is “relevant” or “highly relevant” to them.
This tells advertisers two things: Facebook video ads are impactful and that people actually enjoy the sponsored video content they see.
Another piece of great news for advertisers: as the number of people watching videos on Facebook increases, the video ads that businesses pay for will reach the intended target audience with greater accuracy. That alone is music to a marketer’s ears: pay the same amount on video ads and get a better return on investment. Cha-ching
Why run a marketing campaign without establishing a target audience? What if your target audience never sees it? That is where buyer personas come in.
With Facebook’s latest additions to its “Watch” platform, there’s no sign of Facebook’s video advertising slowing down. You can now “subscribe” to your favorite content creators, and watch videos in continuous streams. So now, your favorite puppy videos will keep coming, with relevant ads sprinkled in, and that’s exactly how Facebook wants it to be.
This not only proves the value of investing in social media advertising, but also the value of investing in strategic digital video production.
To Wrap Things Up…
There’s a lot of negative press surrounding Facebook right now, but the numbers don’t lie. To sum up, here’s why it’s the best time to advertise on Facebook:
- People still love and use Facebook everyday.
- Facebook has ramped up every tool in their arsenal to help advertisers.
- With the right social media marketing strategy in place, your business is poised for success.
As a team of digital creatives who have a knack for social media marketing, we can’t wait to see what happens next!