As a content marketer, you spend tremendous time and money to create content – be it brand awareness, thought leadership or lead generation pieces. And then…no one sees it.
To succeed you must get your message in front of the right target audience. It is no longer enough to hope they find it. Hope is a terrible strategy. Instead, we must now actively push our content out to our intended audience.
Facebook has over 1 billion active daily users. 1.038 billion in January 2016, to be exact. Notice that is daily users and billion with a B. If Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest on earth!
Not only that, the average Facebook users logs on 15 times a day and spends 20 minutes browsing, watching videos and interacting with relevant and interesting content! For U.S. users, it’s 40 minutes!
According to the 2016 Content Marketing Benchmark Report by the Content Marketing Institute, the top three paid advertising methods used by B2B marketers to promote/distribute content are: Search Engine Marketing (66 percent); Print or Other Offline Promotion (57 percent); Traditional Online Banner Ads (55 percent).
B2B marketers, in particular, are missing a huge opportunity with social advertising to promote content.
I don’t care who you are, what you sell or who you sell it to. In and amongst those 1 billion daily active users is a critical mass of your target audience. And no where else are they so reachable, en masse, at such a low cost.
Your job is to figure out how to make your content relevant and interesting enough to get a share of their attention.
With that in mind, here are 5 amazing facts about Facebook that will help you see the opportunity.
Well, we covered this already but…1 billion active daily users with 20 minutes plus of on-site time? That is staggering.
Facebook makes money by selling advertising. But the social advertising model looks nothing like the traditional shotgun approaches we are used to. Big data makes Facebook one the most amazing matchmaking services ever.
Facebook’s whole reason for being is to take your ad and put it in front of the one person, from amongst that 1 billion, who is going to be happiest to see it and most likely to take action on it.
In this model, everyone is happy. The user gets information that seems to magically appear just when they need it. The advertiser gets a very high return on ad spend and Facebook makes money.
Who doesn’t want an ad agency like that working for them?
Facebook collects something like 10,000 data points on each and every user. No one knows the exact number. But it is staggering.
“Facebook boasts the broadest, deepest, and most comprehensive dataset of human information, interests, and activity ever collected. (Only the NSA knows for sure.)” (TechCrunch)
Think about all the extremely informative things people tell Facebook: “I live in Chicago.” “I am the Director of Marketing at Company X.” “We just bought a house!” “I love beach vacations.” “I am interested in digital marketing.”
In addition, Facebook partners with companies like Acxiom and Datalogix to fill in blanks. These companies gather information from loyalty programs and credit cards and then match it to social media user IDs.
And then there are the approximately 2 million webites that have a Facebook tracking pixel on them so that the website owner can retarget its website visitors. But you are not the only one using that data. Facebook, of course, now knows the web visitor history over a huge swath of the Internet.
In case you are wondering, the data is anonymized so advertisers can’t specifically see which user makes over $100,000 or is a senior executive in the construction industry, for example, but marketers can use that information to target them.
Of course, Facebook won’t let you reach them for free.
Organic reach has declined from 16 percent in 2012 to 2 percent. This is a measure of the number of people who will see your post in their NewsFeed without any paid placement.
Organic reach has declined across all platforms – organic search and social. Not just social. And not just Facebook. Given the explosion in both users and content, mathematically reach had to decline.
In response, Facebook introduced an algorithm in June of 2014, that puts what it thinks the user would most want to see at the top of their NewsFeed. Everything else is effectively buried. It’s much like being on page five of a Google search. You just aren’t being seen.
You can look at this two ways…a nefarious money making scheme or necessary to maintain user experience and therefore user engagement and therefore engagement with your brand.
Regardless of which view you take, just like with Google, paid advertising has become the way to make sure Facebook users see your content.
Facebook’s ad platform offers over 10,000 data points for ad targeting. Targeting options fall in the broad categories of Demographics and Events, Location, Mobile, Facebook Connections, Interests, Behaviors, Education and Workplace and Advanced Demographics. There is no other ad platform where you can target this precisely.
Because of the amount of data Facebook collects and its inference algorithms, you can put your content in front of the exact subset of Facebook users who are dying to see it and are most likely to take action on it.
For example, it is said, with very clever targeting, you could put an ad in front of your girlfriend, asking her and only her, from among 1 billion people, to marry you, without anyone else seeing that ad. Supposedly someone has done it. It may be an urban legend among Facebook ad wonks. But true or not, it makes the point.
With mass media, there are only so many 30 second spots in an hour or so many placements on a page. Because of limited supply and broad targeting, these ads are very expensive.
In contrast, because Facebook can target so precisely, it has, in theory, an unlimited ad inventory. As a result, ads are very, very low cost and return on ad spend is much higher.
Facebook earned 3.69 billion in profit in 2015. What does this tell us? Facebook advertising works and works well.
Brands of all shapes, sizes and colors are increasingly discovering the power of Facebook advertising to put their content in front of its intended audience. There are just short of 3 million advertisers on Facebook.
And it isn’t just for B2C. That’s a myth. In fact, because B2B has been so slow to adopt Facebook advertising, compared to B2C, there may still be some outsized return possible from being an early adopter.
Facebook advertising gives anyone the ability to put their content in front of the exact right audience, at the exact right time at a very attractive price. If your job is to create brand awareness, thought leadership or leads and you are not promoting your content on Facebook, what are you waiting for? Dive in.