Facebook emerged as a social media platform in the mid 2000s, and it didn’t take long at all for the business world to see the potential of this revolutionary networking site. Large nationally based companies began buying ads on Facebook as early as 2005, back when platform registration was still restricted to students. 2007 saw the arrival of Facebook Ads and a host of useful marketing tools that enterprising advertisers wasted no time in exploiting to the fullest.
By this point, Facebook had become a powerhouse in the burgeoning social media sphere. It presented a wealth of opportunities to the marketer who wanted to reach the biggest and most diverse audience possible. But much has changed in the social media landscape since the glory days of the 2000s. Marketing strategies that once reliably generated conversions are now, in many cases, much less effective.
To a large degree, these changes in marketing trends have to do with changes in the Facebook platform itself. One big change has been the Facebook algorithm shift that favors paid content over traditional organic reach. Another is the pro-privacy rules imposed on Facebook by third-party entities—Apple’s iOS 14.5 release is the most dramatic example to date of this growing trend.
Why Facebook Advertising Is Still Relevant
Given the trends outlined above, more than a few digital marketers have wondered if Facebook is on the way out as a platform that can be effectively used by the business community to promote goods and services. It’s a reasonable conclusion—but it would be premature to write off Facebook just yet. Why? Because you can’t argue with the numbers: At present, Facebook has over 2.9 billion active users. That’s enough to make it the third most popular site in the known universe. No other social media platform comes close to matching that.
Simply put, Facebook is too big to ignore. As a marketer, you owe it to yourself to maximize your chances of reaching this vast audience. To do that, you need to have a clear-eyed understanding of the pluses and minuses of advertising on this worldwide platform in the 2020s.
The Pluses of Facebook
Substantial daily traffic – Facebook’s massive user base means that business pages get a lot of views, giving the diligent advertiser plenty of opportunities to pull potential customers into the top of the marketing funnel. While it’s true that the Facebook user base has begun trending older, as younger people show a preference for relatively recent platforms like TikTok, Facebook nonetheless continues to provide access to ample numbers of customers from all age brackets.
Paid marketing options – Facebook’s paid ads and sponsored posts remain highly effective at reaching users who have money to spend. Paid ads can be posted in your choice from a wide range of formats and placement options (e.g., Facebook Stories, Marketplace, etc.). Sponsored posts—also called boosted posts—are just ordinary posts that a business pays for to ensure wider visibility in user feeds.
Customizability – Facebook ads can be targeted at specific demographic groups to optimize the effectiveness of your outreach efforts. Even if you don’t have a huge ad budget to work with, the platform’s tools, such as those provided by Facebook Business Manager, can be extremely useful for finding the right audience. And with assistance from AdBeacon, these tools become even more powerful.
Easy expansion into other platforms – When you advertise on Facebook, your promotional reach is not necessarily restricted to just that platform. You also have ready access to promotional opportunities on Instagram and WhatsApp (which are, you may recall, owned by Meta Platforms, Inc., Facebook’s parent company). For instance, you can place your Facebook sponsored posts on Instagram with just the push of a button.
The Minuses of Facebook
Reporting issues – Data reported by Facebook, such as conversions and related info, can be delayed for up to three days. This can be a serious problem when it comes to obtaining up-to-the-moment data about your ads, as actionable marketing attribution information may be slow in arriving. Underreporting and overreporting are frustratingly common.
Shrinking lookback windows – It’s no secret that Facebook’s default lookback window—the period of time in which an ad view or impression can be credited to a conversion—shrank significantly with the release of iOS 14.5. Advertisers are facing increased difficulty in conversion tracking, which can lead to a lot of wasted ad spend. This is another area where AdBeacon, which supports user-defined lookback windows, can help tremendously.
Privacy and data regulations – Of course, the biggest impact associated with iOS 14.5, at least as far as marketers are concerned, has been the diminishment of useful customer data. With so many people choosing the option of blocking the use of their data, it’s gotten much more difficult to track customer journeys. Nor is this just a temporary issue; pro-privacy trends in consumer data are only expected to gather momentum in the coming years.
What Is the Future of Facebook Advertising?
Facebook remains a viable platform for marketers, but it’s vital to ensure that your advertising campaigns take into account the strengths and weaknesses it offers. There are several steps you can take in this direction. Due to Facebook updates of recent years, it’s more important than ever to include paid ads in your campaigns. That doesn’t mean you should ignore organic reach altogether; in fact, a good strategy is to use a combination of both.
It’s also vastly important to be able to utilize tools that can accurately measure the performance of your Facebook ads. You can’t rely on the numbers you get from Facebook, or, for that matter, any other third-party organization. The new privacy rules have negative game-changing implications for marketers.
First-party data—the kind you get directly from your customers relating to their interactions with your business—is fundamental to the brave new world of post-iOS 14.5 marketing. But you must be able to analyze this data properly. AdBeacon is the partner that can support you in these endeavors.
AdBeacon gives you a wealth of customizable tools and insights to optimize your campaign performance and ensure that you spend your marketing dollars wisely. Most importantly, it empowers you to take full control of your marketing campaigns, so you aren’t dependent on the whims of third-party companies.
Sign up today for a free 30-day AdBeacon trial.