Facebook has long been one of the biggest advertising platforms; it’s been an essential part of every social media agency’s marketing strategy, especially for small businesses. There’s no doubt that as time goes on and other social media platforms such as Snapchat and TikTok gain more popularity, especially among gen Z, Facebook ads may not be as effective as they once were. Tess Luke, senior content manager at The Good Marketer, investigates whether Facebook has any traction left.
Facebook ads are still one of the most powerful tools for businesses, with Facebook currently standing as the third most-visited website in the world, second only to Google and YouTube. You shouldn’t write Facebook off just yet, but it might not be the impenetrable force it once was.
Putting your business in front of customers
It’s difficult to build a page with a large following – and even harder to keep that following engaged. Paid advertising comes in as a way to reach customers that might never have seen your business otherwise.
Changes were made to Facebook’s algorithm, which made it more difficult for posts to organically reach large audiences. It is estimated that due to the algorithm – which doesn’t automatically boost posts with high engagement statistics – a post will only reach 2.2% of the page’s followers. This is nowhere near enough for a small business seeking to build a brand online.
Increasing reach organically is difficult, which is why so many businesses choose to bring on a social media agency to do this.
It’s still the biggest online social media platform
Despite the rise of other social media platforms, Facebook is still the biggest with 2.7 billion active monthly users compared to TikTok’s 1 billion active users. Choosing not to run ads on Facebook would be choosing to ignore hundreds if not thousands of potential customers, all of whom could make a purchase from your business.
As gen Z take control of the direction of social media, millennials seem to be shifting their attention to new platforms such as TikTok, which could surpass Facebook in terms of relevancy in the next decade.
Facebook has some of the most advanced targeting capabilities available, although these have been changed in recent updates to protect users’ privacy online. In late 2021, Facebook announced decisions to phase out detailed targeting options related to users’ personal behaviors and interests, which will affect the accuracy of targeted ads and may impact conversions. Social media agencies have found ways around this by verifying the domain of each business, but some conversions will be lost.
Following these changes, advertisers won’t be able to target interests related to health causes; sexual orientation; or religious or political beliefs.
Facebook conversion objective changes
In the interests of privacy, Apple introduced a feature in iOS 14 asking users whether they would like to be tracked or not when browsing a new application or website. Many users will opt out of this tracking, meaning that Facebook can’t tell where that user went on the website or if they made a purchase. This affects conversion tracking and means that Facebook’s data is often inaccurate as it can no longer track user behavior. Some applications have been developed to combat this, but overall it has harmed the user experience (UX) of Facebook ads.
Due to these changes, Facebook encourages advertisers to rely on its algorithm to find customers, but this is no mean feat. It is recommended that the targeting options are left to be broad so that the algorithm has space to explore and find the right people, but of course this can end up being very expensive, and something that small businesses can struggle to afford.
Users are more skeptical
Online users have become wiser to the powers of advertising and have a better understanding of how they are being targeted. A few years ago, a user might have seen an advertisement on Facebook and been surprised as they had viewed a similar product earlier on another website, but did not understand how Facebook knew that they were considering buying it.
There were even rumors that Facebook listened to conversations to gather data about individual purchases to be able to present users with appropriate ads. This was just the work of a very strong and effective algorithm.
Because of this change, users now take longer to convert, meaning that advertisers must spend more money to convince them to make a purchase.
Ad spend across different platforms
It might be considered too risky to run all ads on one platform; advertisers are considering using multiple platforms and advertising mediums, such as email marketing, to hedge their bets and reduce the risk of losing too much. As Facebook is such a large platform (it is also fighting to keep up with trends and pushing for the metaverse), advertisers don’t get much choice when it comes to updates and simply have to adapt to Facebook’s ever-changing algorithm.
So if you’re thinking you might not bother with Facebook ads for your business, think again. There are still plenty of customers available who would love to purchase from you, but it will take longer to reach those people, and you have to spend more to find them than previous years. The good news is that once you have connected with the right audience, your success on Facebook ads is unlimited, especially with a great social media agency on board. Don’t be put off by rumors that Facebook Ads are no longer relevant; the best time to invest is always now.