Whether we like it or not, Facebook is a force for marketers to reckon with. In my experience there has been no benefit to advertising a small, medium or even enterprise level company on Facebook. I have seen far greater returns with LinkedIn advertising. If you are OK with Facebook as a branding exercise rather than a lead generating one, keep with it. If your expectation is to get sales leads from Facebook ads, then go towards greener pastures.
Previously the way to measure promotions on FB was with “likes” and impressions to your unique urls. Recently it was announced that there is new dashboard to measure the reach of individual Page posts. What this means is that there is an API to allow third-party agencies (like us) to build homegrown tools on top of the new FB data. Companies will also be able to create ads out of their Page posts. There is no shortage on metrics for marketers with the new FB platform, which I do appreciate. Don’t want to seem ungrateful, but this is a little too late for me to get excited. Even at zero cost with some of the FB proposed measures, I’m still not sure that I feel comfortable promising a return on the time spent.
Facebook’s new insights tab will give marketers a window into the amount of shares, check-ins, etc. that happen for any given client. While that is cool, I do not see how that really helps improve REACH. Clearly Facebook is aware of this ugly thought, because they addressed it in the press release saying: “Research shows that word-of-mouth conversations among friends are the most influential for getting a brand’s message across.” I suppose this means that by measuring the reach of content they can improve in the future. While I do agree that what we measure tends to improve, I do not think this is going to be a lightening strike of hits to an otherwise lifeless campaign.
Revamps to ‘social ads‘ will no doubt be some kind of improvement. This reminds me of when the Google content network was new. We threw money in and had no idea what would come out. You would click “ok” to advertise on the content network and have no idea that your ads were running on dormant porn site pages. Facebook’s attempt to give marketers more insight is great, I do appreciate the thoughts behind it. However, I am still skeptical that social ads will provide an enhanced level of ROI that will knock my socks off.
In closing, the good is that we can see where we are going with FB ads, the bad is that I don’t think this helps much and the ugly is that LinkedIn is just BETTER for b2b. Ha ha!