By Simon Mansell, CEO, TBG Digital.
It was John Wanamaker, considered by many to be the father of advertising, who over a century ago famously quipped: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half”.
While that may have been true then, it certainly is no longer the case today – especially in the realm of social media advertising. The popularity and unique characteristics of social networking sites is transforming the advertising industry and with it established methods of reaching consumers.
The dilemma facing marketers is not whether to advertise on Facebook but how much of their advertising budget they allocate to Facebook advertising and the best approach to adopt in order to generate maximum returns.
With 550 million users worldwide, Facebook is an alluring and compelling advertising platform. Unlike traditional advertising outlets such as print or television, Facebook is a real-time, fast-moving and constantly changing environment.
The ability to pick and chose who you interact with based on common interests or other characteristics, the ease with which one can reach individuals beyond physical borders and geographic boundaries, and the speed with which information can be relayed across groups and individuals has created an advertising platform that is unparalleled.
Facebook’s success is in part a reflection of the changes in society generally and an acknowledgement that individuals are increasingly choosing to interact with others on their terms. Moreover, it’s not enough to simply appeal to an individual’s interests, you need to appeal to their fans as well. For advertisers, this marks a seismic shift in the way they identify and approach potential customers and buyers.
Issues & Approach
For advertisers considering Facebook, the stumbling block can be the approach and doubts around the potential return. The sheer scope and fluid nature of Facebook can make targeting individuals a daunting prospect.
Technology is often touted as the solution but in this instance the technology is pivotal to not only the approach but the success and return of any Facebook advertising programme. It underpins the key success factors, namely speed, scalability, adaptability and creativity.
There’s no doubt that the advent of Facebook has changed the rules. The question is no longer whether to advertise on Facebook or if the returns can be realised. Instead, the question is how much should one advertise and how best to go about it.
Getting face-time from a Facebook audience can be incredibly difficult but an approach based on a solid, flexible technology platform can deliver incredible results.
The key lies in personalising the message in way that resonates with the individual and adapting your message and pitch hundreds of times a minute so that you genuinely appeal to the aspirations, needs and interests on the individual. For this, technology is critical.
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