Facebook ads - and why they add up for brands when done properly

Rebecca Bolton, digital account manager, Clarion Communications

Every time I pick up a newspaper just lately there’s another story about Facebook - as the world’s largest social network it’s obviously going to attract controversy and last week was no different, as The Sun ran a story on how bookies are ‘buying advertising space which appears on children’s Facebook news feeds’.  Even though, of course, children aren’t the target demographic.
(link: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/article4787148.ece)

Social media was predictably rife with questions about the story: ‘why did Facebook allow this?’, ‘surely this is illegal?’ and ‘why did a bookies advertise to children when it is illegal for under-18s to bet?’.  The moral and legal implications are clearly serious, and could fill a blog post in its own right.  But I want to focus on how this demonstrates that companies undervalue the importance AND potential of targeting Facebook ads effectively.

With over a billion users worldwide - and 3.2 billion Likes or Comments generated daily - Facebook is a marketeer’s dream.  It makes it possible to reach, engage and connect with people who are interested in a brand and ultimately convert them into brand advocates; so why do so many companies not take the targeting of ads seriously?  To build a social community which works for your business you need to reach people who are interested in the product you sell - and in the case of children, that’s most likely NOT about the runners and riders in the 4.10 at Epsom.

This isn’t a question of whether Facebook advertising works or not.  We know it does, and at influenceD at Clarion we have developed some great campaigns that have generated fantastic results for our clients.  Take our recent 24-day limited budget Facebook ad campaign for Warburtons: we reached one MILLION target consumers - four times our target - which increased engagement with our App by over 1,000%.

The issue, rather, is ill targeted ads, which appear on newsfeeds of people who aren’t interested in what you have to say.  Without a targeted campaign you’re simply wasting time and budget as users will not interact with your ad, however great that copy is.

Facebook Ad Systems have the competitive advantage and they allow very specific targeting; you can drill down to Facebook users’ location, age (take note, bookies), precise interests, who they are connected to online, their education and the languages they speak.  And that’s just for starters.

So next time you are developing an advertisement for a client, please think about who you want to target, and what the main goal of the campaign is.  Facebook is like any other audience targeting system, but the advantage is that it’s possible to consciously reach key customers and avoid targeting children.  Once you work that one out, the rest is child’s play.

Originally published on The Wall 

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