When it comes to marketing, there are two things we know for sure.
- You have to do it.
- It costs money. Sometimes lots of money.
Now, that cost might not matter so much if you’re, say, Coca-Cola who brings in little over £32.9 billion annually.
But if you’re one of the 5.4 million small businesses across the UK, then you probably don’t have a lot of money lying around to spend on marketing, which means every penny of your marketing budget has to count.
So what do you do? How do you market your business when you don’t have a lot to spend in the first place? Better yet, how do you do it effectively?
We’d recommend Facebook advertising.
The benefits of Facebook advertising
At this point, most businesses are aware that social media can have some great benefits for their business.
Facebook adverts run on the same pay-per-click/pay-per-impressions idea as most online adverts (e.g. Google AdWords). However, thanks to the amount of personal information in Facebook’s database, they allow you to get ridiculously detailed with your targeting. Anything a user can put into their profile—age, sex, location, education, religion, interests, politics, job title, marital status, etc.—can be used as a filter for your adverts.
For example, if you want to market specifically to 30 year old, married men who live in London, graduated from Cambridge University, work at a bank, vote Conservative, and love the movie Die Hard, you can.
The best part? Facebook adverts are surprisingly affordable.
To put it in concrete terms, let’s compare Facebook Adverts to newspaper adverts.
The cost of a local newspaper to advertise a Run of Paper advert will be about £100. With the newspaper readership being about 100,000 people, this would give an estimated cost per thousand (CPM) of £1 per 1000 eyeballs.
While on Facebook a recent advert that we ran over the previous month. It cost us £62.50 and we reached over 28,500 people which gives us an estimated CPM of £2.20 per 1000 eyeballs.
So, on first view, it would seem that the Facebook advertising is about double the price of a print adverts. Round one to print?
No — because there are several more factors we need to take into account.
Compare Screen Presence
Not every “eyeball” is the same. Let’s compare the actual Facebook promotion with a typical print classified advert.
Facebook promoted post
A typical newspaper classified advert
You can immediately see that the Facebook advert is FAR more imposing than the newspaper advert…
- You get about five times the space, and the text is far easier to read.
- The picture is in colour.
- The brand logo is also displayed and in colour.
- There’s a date, which lets you know the promotion is current.
- And, of course, the opportunity to interact RIGHT NOW with the advert.
In fact, this £62.50 promotion got 389 “post engagements”, which means Likes, Comments, and Shares.
Of course, somebody might show an advert in a paper to someone else, but a good online promotion can be shared and shared and shared. But we don’t actually know how many people (if any) actually look at a newspaper advert (which is why advertisers traditionally would insert coupons in newspapers that you would clip out and either mail in or take in store to claim a promotion).
The net result that it only cost us £0.16 per actual engagement. At least 389 people read the advert, got it, and liked it enough to take action in some way.
Not every “view” is the same.
Check out the photo of the newspaper adverts again. There are dozens of adverts crammed into a small space, with tiny text. A reader would need to focus carefully on the newspaper in order to take in the advert content.
On Facebook, however, for a hit to count against your “reach” statistic, someone would need to scroll to or past your promotion, which we think means it is much more likely to be seen than the classified advert.
In fact, the two images are roughly the same size, but the newspaper clip contains about 25 different promotions, while the Facebook advert is just one.
By comparing the same stats, Facebook adverts seem to come out as a more effective, affordable option over newspaper adverts. However, we have to remember that impressions (though a good metric if your goal is brand awareness) do not equal conversions or sales. So how does Facebook add up when it comes to ROI? Let’s take a look.
Your Return On Investment (ROI)
Success and failure with Facebook advertising isn’t black and white. However, a lot of failures happen for two reasons. Either A: the business in question didn’t have a solid strategy in place, or B: they approach Facebook adverts with the wrong intentions.
Facebook adverts are passive, they aren’t targeted at people who are necessarily in the buying mood. So if you use Facebook adverts to sell your product directly, the success of your campaign will hang directly on what products you are selling. Also, B2C businesses are much more likely to find success than B2B.
We have found that the most effective uses of Facebook advertising for small businesses are:
- Increasing brand awareness & social exposure
- Capturing and nurturing leads
In this respect, the success of your campaign is better measured in something called Social ROI.
Social ROI is an analysis of how well your audience engaged with your adverts, and it’s measured by a number of metrics.
- Impressions – The number of times your advert was seen
- Reach – The number of individual people your advert was shown to
- Likes – The number of people who liked your advert
- Shares – The number of people who saw your advert and shared it
- Comments – The amount of comments on your advert
- Frequency – The number of times your advert was shown, on average, to a user.
- Click Through Rate – The percentage at which a consumer saw the advert and click through to the landing page.
- Page Likes – The number of likes generated for your Facebook page because of the advert.
Now, this is where Facebook adverts really get a leg up on traditional advertising. Other than the potential savings, real time analytics let you see how well your adverts are performing, which means you can actively track all the metrics we just mentioned above. And if an advert isn’t working as well as it should, you can use the data to adjust the content on the fly. You can also split test multiple adverts to see which one gets the best results.
Getting started with Facebook advertising
Even in 2017, there are plenty of business owners who are skeptical of using Facebook adverts (or any social media, for that matter). But here’s the simple truth: If you’re a small business with a tight budget, Facebook advertising is one of the most affordable and effective ways to market your business. In fact, over half of professional marketers say Facebook is the most important social network they use.
If you have a success story with Facebook adverts, or if you have a question about small business marketing, please feel free to share it in the comments!