Some are angry. Some feel betrayed.
But, really. Did you expect Facebook was going to give us free traffic forever? Try selling that deal to your ad rep from the newspaper or TV station.
Facebook is a business, just like ours. And, they need to make money to pay employees and stockholders. Where else are they going to get money except for selling advertising?
So, stop whining and accept the fact that your organic reach on Facebook is limited. Even creating great content won’t get you much more than a few hundred post likes and a few comments. If you want to create the kind of engagement (and market results) we’re used to, it’s gonna cost you. Learn how to optimize Facebook advertising to replace organic reach.
Is the end of organic reach on Facebook a bad thing?
Most brands agree that the end of organic reach on Facebook is a VERY bad thing.
Maybe you’ve analyzed your Facebook insights and been frustrated that you’re not getting the lift you used to. One of my clients said Facebook is cheating him.
At least 1 marketer thinks the decline in organic reach on Facebook is a GOOD thing.
Bryan Maleszyk wrote on Digiday that:
Many brands (and the agencies that represent them) have accumulated a graveyard of “fans” by dubious means over the years, from buying likes from gray market sources to “like-gating” promotional campaigns. Those fans are still counted, regardless of their true value to the brand.
Furthermore, in a desire to “test-and-learn” by posting content on their Facebook page once or more a day, brands have focused on producing high volumes of content rather than considering the quality and value of that content to their target audience.
It is Facebook’s responsibility to maintain the best user experience possible for its 1.2 billion users, so as to avoid the MySpace curse of over-advertising. If brand content continues to overwhelm the news feed with such limited engagement, the currently small trickle of user abandonment will likely turn into a torrent. And without them, Facebook offers no value.
Now, I’m not going to go so far as to say it’s a good thing that organic reach on Facebook is dwindling, but I think the decline was inevitable.
Plus, brands don’t really appreciate something they get for free. When brands pay for something, they invest more resources (time, money, talent, testing, monitoring) to make sure it produces market returns. Facebook charging for reach reinforces that it’s a MARKETING decision to reach Facebook’s 1.2 billion users and you should have a plan to optimize Facebook advertising.
That said, Facebook advertising is a great way to meet your marketing goals — if you do it the RIGHT way. That’s because:
- Facebook advertising is very reasonable. We’re getting, depending on the goal, between $.13 and $.25 per ENGAGEMENT with our Facebook ads (which is about $.003/ impression). We increased traffic to a client’s website by almost 1000% in just a week! I challenge you to get results like that from any other channel.
- Facebook allows for incredible targeting opportunities. You can select based on deep demographics (see Facebook’s ad targeting from the screencast below), interests, geography, and behavioral markers (US only through 3rd party providers).
- Facebook allows customization based on your goal and reports engagement metrics based on actions that support your goals. Choosing the appropriate goal both modifies your ad — for instance, page post engagement goals create sponsored posts while the Clicks to Website goal creates an ad to the right of posts with a Call to Action button — and the metrics used to assess success.
Create the ad
Obviously, optimizing Facebook advertising starts with identifying your goal and selecting the ad type best suited to achieving that goal. Think about the value provided by each behavior. For instance, getting folks to like your page or your post might NOT translate into money in the bank.
Marketing is really an ecosystem — ignore or destroy one element of the ecosystem and the rest of the ecosystem withers away. Thus, your goals shouldn’t always be converting traffic. Some goals should focus on building and engaging your community, some on bringing back folks who converted in the past, some on driving awareness … And, for heaven’s sake, don’t always talk about yourself, or no amount of advertising and marketing will save you!
After selecting your goal, build your target audience. Here’s a screencast of how to build your target audience:
Select your country — and cities within countries if you want. Select gender and age groups, then languages. That’s the easy part.
Next, select the target market most likely to help you reach your goals based on other demographics, interests, and behaviors. Remember, you’re looking for target markets that help you reach your goals, not just get likes. For example, you can pick homeowners or households with grown kids or liberals. Pick folks likely to be interested in your brand. If you’re Home Depot, you’re looking for DIYers and, for certain products, folks who own homes. Don’t waste your budget on folks less likely to be interested in your brands.
The recent addition of Partner Categories gives insights into the offline and online behaviors of Facebook users so you can laser target folks most likely to convert. So, finding that single mom who buys frozen dinners is a snap! Partner Categories are only available for US users and come from third-party providers: Datalogix, Acxiom, and Epsilon.
As you add new criteria to your target audience, Facebook tracks the size of the resulting audience. You then select based on the reach desired or amount of money you’re willing to spend on ads. I tend to run ads for a relatively short period — a day or two — and a small amount of money — $50-$100 — then extend those ads that work best.
Sorry, guys. I don’t have a crystal ball. I can’t predict with certainty which ads will do best (I have some good guesses). What I can do is set up a program to test each element of your Facebook advertising campaign to optimize your results. I’ll test:
- which market(s) convert best for you
- how different markets respond to images, text, and links
- which ads give the most value — ie. the lowest cost per engagement
- what are the best times to reach different segments of your market
I use the sort function extensively to reorder ads based on different performance metrics to see which are my top performers.
Armed with a few weeks of purposeful testing results, I’ll know which ads do best and consistently create ads that optimize Facebook advertising.
Facebook now offers a pixel you can install on your landing pages to track the actual acquisition of new customers/ members/ etc. It’s really easy to get by selecting the “Website conversion” goal and adding the pixel to your page much like you would install a Java snippet to track visits for Google Analytics.
Optimize Facebook advertising performance by:
- creating more of the ads that work best for you
- sharing similar content to the same target market
- increasing the budget to increase the reach within your existing target market
- test to see if you can take successful ads into additional target markets.
A bunch of paid tools can help optimize Facebook advertising. As to free tools, be sure to use the Facebook ads manager rather than creating ads from within your Facebook page ie. boosting a post.
Power editor is a Facebook tool allowing easy editing of your Facebook ads.
Both tools help track performance in a way that makes it easy to optimize Facebook advertising performance.
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