Many of you reading this blog probably saw this post by Ignite Media’s Jim Tobin a few weeks ago. The big stat: Facebook engagement has dropped by as much as 44% in some cases.
And, as a result, all sorts of people are calling for the end of the world. More specifically, lots of people are calling for the end of Facebook.
But, I’m not really buying into that.
But, the reasons for why I’m not buying into it might surprise you.
Sure, lots of people are saying we should have seen this coming. That brands shouldn’t over-rely on Facebook as their core marketing tactic. That pay-for-play was always on the horizon.
But, very few are talking about the other angle: That Facebook remains a viable, cost-effective and efficient form of marketing and advertising for many small and mid-sized businesses.
It just requires a shift in perspective.
To date, it seems like many people are still thinking about Facebook in terms of “free” marketing. Remember those days? I would have thought we’d squashed that viewpoint by now, but it seems pervasive based on the chatter we’ve heard this month.
Instead, people need to start thinking about Facebook for what it really is now: A paid advertising option for brands.
Plain and simple.
Shift that mindset, and all the sudden things start to sound a whole lot better when you think about Facebook and the marketing opportunities it offers:
Consider three key points:
Point #1: Facebook advertising is still more affordable than many other forms of advertising
I’m talking about small to midsized businesses here. Not Coke or Ford, whose Facebook ad budgets most likely range in the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. For small and midsized businesses, Facebook provides an extremely affordable advertising option. I’ve helped many small and large businesses in this area over the last few years. And, for the smaller businesses, you’d be surprised how far a budget of $750-1,000 a month can stretch–and how many eyeballs it can attract. For one client, our general $800-1,000 a month budget for Facebook advertising typically results in more than 100,000 impressions. Compare that to ad rates and impression totals for your local newspaper (ours is the Star Tribune) and I think you’ll start to see the benefit pretty quickly.
Point #2: Targeting options still make it more efficient than almost all forms of print and mainstream media
What other traditional media allows you to target advertising by zip code, interest area or even employer? I mean, Facebook is THE most targeted form of affordable advertising out there, isn’t it? With all the demographic information available to you, you can literally reach almost anyone, anywhere, anytime. Add in the new “custom audiences” feature and you can even target potential fans that resemble current fans/customers. No mainstream media can match that targeting.
Point #3: Facebook still offers two-way engagement with real, human fans you can’t get with other paid media options
Paid advertising in print or in broadcast is typically one-way. That is, you paid for an advertisement, the media outlet prints/runs it, your target audience consumes it, and that’s it. End of story. Message sent. Message received (potentially). All done. Not so with Facebook advertising and messages. As we all know, fans have the opportunity to like, comment and share on all posts and Facebook ads (page post ads and promoted posts at least). What’s that “engagement” worth to brands? I’d say a whole lot based on how much brands have been willing to pay for likes, comments and shares the last few years. Now, suddenly there’s no value in that when they have to pay for it? I’m not buying it.
What do you think? Am I off-base here or is Facebook still a cost-effective tool for marketers?