When search advertising emerged in the early ’00s, it was clear what the proposition was to marketers: Here was an ad model in which the click-through rate would be an accurate barometer of efficacy. After all, if you’re searching for something, there’s a very good chance that you’re in the market to buy it.
A few years later, when social media emerged, the premise was murkier. Was the idea to capitalize on all the eyeballs with direct-response ads or was this a branding medium? For a while, Facebook tried to have it both ways. The company began pushing upmarket branding ads in the News Feed in 2012, but persisted in also running dodgier direct-response ads on the reviled right rail.
Those right-rail ads are still there. A few months ago, Facebook made them bigger (and less chintzy), and it’s pretty clear that at some point the company will drop them altogether. That’s increasingly irrelevant. As more users experience Facebook on mobile—as 1 billion people now do every month—the only ads they see are in the News Feed. Since Facebook has made it clear that click-through rates are immaterial as a measure of branding success, what’s a B2B marketer to do?
Facebook has some advice. In a white paper the company released late last year, the social networking giant counsels users to ignore engagement as a metric.
Come again? That’s right. Facebook, known as the platform for Like-mongering and re-sharing, thinks of itself more like TV, where advertising is measured in reach and frequency.
That doesn’t mean that engagement is irrelevant. SocialCode, a New York-based purchaser of Facebook ads, recently released a report advocating using engagement as a sort of focus group for Facebook ads.
Here’s how it works: Since ads on Facebook are actually status updates now, you can run an update and then gauge the response from your fans. If the engagement rate is between 2 and 5 percent, then SocialCode recommends that you maximize the ad for reach and frequency rather than engagement. That is, don’t try to find an audience that’s similar to your fans, but go as wide as you can to reach a broad swath of potential fans.
Why bother with Facebook at all, though? With 130 million monthly active users in the United States, the social network’s reach is now so extensive that there’s a good chance you’ll find a critical mass or relevant audiences on the platform. At any rate, it’s worth a test.
Richard Lefkowitz, Connections Planning Director
Richard is gyro’s North American Connections Planning Director. Prior to joining gyro, Richard co-founded and grew Cossette Post Communications agency to $250M in revenues with a client roster that included Phoenix Wealth Management, TD Waterhouse (now TD Ameritrade), Hunter Douglas, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Carlsberg Beer, McCain’s, Mentos Candy, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the US Coast Guard, and other high profile clients.
As an independent media consultant, Rich headed new business efforts for Mediacom and GE Capital Corporate Finance. He also helped the Miami Dolphins secure agency representation, coordinated the inaugural media plan test for Amazon Toys and Electronics, orchestrated media planning for a NY Jets initiative, coordinated direct response TV planning and media buying for the French Culinary Institute, identified a media buying service for Elderplan and brought an exclusive technology to the OOH landscape.