Facebook is so ingrained in our personal lives, that it is easy to see it as nothing more than a place to post memes, upload selfies and look at dog photos. But this social platform has another purpose, one that is changing the ecommerce world - as a hugely powerful business tool.
Well, a couple of weeks ago Facebook made an announcement; 5 million active advertisers are using their platform to reach out to customers, both old and new. This in itself is impressive, but when you look at the sheer rate of growth it indicates it is even more so - in only September 2016 the company reported 4 million advertisers, up from 3 million in March 2016 and 2 million in February 2015. The lesson is clear - brands are quickly recognizing the power of this platform. What does it mean for you? Well, to be blunt - if you are not part of the conversation - then you may eventually stop being talked about.
But if that wasn’t enough to get you into gear, here are five more reasons to change your mind...
1. If you’re there, so are your customers (and your competitors).
“Our customers don’t use it” is often one the most common objections to the use of social media for advertising purposes, but unless you sell clothing to Sherpas (and honestly, if they don’t have a working internet connection that seems doomed as an ecommerce business model) then I doubt it is a valid one.
What makes me so sure?
Because, and I don’t want to make you feel old, social media isn’t new anymore which means even the tech and social media phobes amongst us have started to get the hang of it. It’s official - we are at that stage in the bell curve where the laggards (oof, I always feel mean using that term) are getting in on the action.
In fact, one of my favorite people on Facebook is my friend’s 87-year-old grandma - she shares not only her opinions on the latest episode of Coronation Street but products that have taken her liking as well (from what I last saw there a particularly good mop that she was after).
But don’t take my word for it. Let’s take a look at the numbers...
When Facebook was launched in 2004 it received between twelve hundred and fifteen hundred registrants in the first 24 hours. Fast forward 13 years and that number has swelled, just a little, to 1.86 billion. That means that a QUARTER of the entire world population is on Facebook. And they are at your fingertips.
But what good is a large audience if they are not engaged..? *Cue next point*
2. People aren’t just signing up to Facebook, they are actually using it
Unlike my MySpace account which lies dormant in some dusty corner of the internet (thankfully, considering the emo photos of me hiding there), people actually use their Facebook accounts. A lot. In fact, on average, Facebook users spend 50 minutes a day on the social media site. With only 24 hours in a day, and the majority of that committed to things like sleep (8.8 hours) and working (9 hours), that is a number to be reckoned with.
Essentially this site is, for most people, part of the way they live their day to day lives - they use it to wish Happy Birthday to their nearest and dearest, share news of their pregnancy or engagement and even mourn the death of a loved one. Facebook is, in many ways, at the core of how we (digitally) communicate, express ourselves and increasingly, it also the way we discover and interact with brands.
3. It’s a data goldmine!
You know what they say - for every action there is a reaction. Well, for social media maybe we should change that to interaction because it is, by its very nature, a place of just that. And whether it is in the real world or the virtual world, these interactions do indeed leave a mark on the world - telling those around us, including Facebook itself and the brands who use it, exactly who it is we are. Everything we do on Facebook reveals what we like, what we dislike, who are friends are, what we want to see and what we don’t.
This is rich information - the kind of insight that brands have craved for… well, ever (or since brands were a thing, anyway). If you want data (and if you want to make informed targeting decisions, then inevitably you do) then you have hit the jackpot… Which, again, brings us to our next point…
4. They don’t just have data - they give you the tools you need to leverage it
That page your customer liked, their location, age, the way they interacted with that post - it all informs the way in which you are able to advertise to them, making sure that when you do, it is more relevant to them. To see the power of this you only have to look at the many ways you are able to choose WHO exactly it is that you advertise to (as opposed to the old method “spray and pray”).
- Demographics - the age, sex and location of the users you want to target
- Interests - a group chosen according to what they want to see, this is deducted by both their behavior (i.e. interactions with certain posts) and the pages they have ‘liked’
- Customers - those people that have already bought from your store
- Lookalike audience - a sample of people that Facebook has determined to be similar to your current audience base depending on interests and demographics
Last, but not least, Facebook (and tools such as Nosto) allow you to retarget visitors to your store within the social media platform, recognizing that the buyer journey is no longer a linear one. In fact, with an average of five interactions, on a number of different devices and channels, before a purchase is made - it is more like a plate of loosely connected spaghetti.
But with Facebook, you can use this fragmented journey, which was previously a hindrance, to your advantage - harnessing the data collected on your own site to make the message you deliver on Facebook more personal and in turn, more powerful.
For example, a customer comes to your store and they see a pair of shoes they like - however, they are browsing on the move, they get to work and they put their phone away. Lunchtime comes and they take a Facebook break (for the sake of professionalism, let's pretend this didn’t actually happen at 10 am) - the pair of shoes that they had liked, as well as other relevant product recommendations, appear as they scroll through their timeline on their desktop. Reminded of their initial interest in the product, they return to the store and go back to buy.
And there you have it, all the benefits we listed above - a heavily engaged captive audience, specifically targeted with a message based on your own customer insight.
That, my ecommerce friends, brings us full circle in the reasons why you should be using Facebook to advertise!
Want to get started? Check out our new guide on Facebook Dynamic Product Ads below...