What to say to organizations that don’t know they need Facebook

Facebook is the most powerful marketing platform in the world

I know, that’s a bold statement; but, it’s also the truth. Criticisms about privacy, power, and the future use of Facebook’s technology aside, no other platform (at the time of this writing) can boast higher usage statistics, social engagement, or generated revenue than Facebook.

Seriously, it’s not even close.

In a very distant second place as of 2016, is Instagram, which Facebook bought in 2012 for $1Billion. In other words, the only real competition facing Facebook, was bought by Facebook and is now owned by Facebook. Even if Instagram wasn’t behind users by more than double Facebook’s numbers, I don’t think Facebook has much to worry about in competition from their own company.

Facebook is where your customers are

Mark Zuckerberg cheekily told Buzzfeed in 2016:

“If you’re a person that just wants to share with your friends, it helps to have your friends there.”

…and he’s not wrong. Facebook still reigns as the most popular social media network in 2017 with 79% of internet users in the US logging on the site. Additionally, your competitors are on Facebook too, with more than 50 million businesses using a Facebook Business Page.

Worldwide, there are over 1.86 billion monthly active Facebook users. An online marketing platform that has a reach close to 2 billion users is almost 30% of the entire world’s population, so in case you had any lingering doubts, statistically, Facebook is too big to ignore.

Facebook is connected to everything

Facebook’s tracking algorithm, the Facebook Pixel, is one of the most (if not the most) robust online marketing tools in existence today. Coupled with the customization possibilities and wide use of Facebook’s API, no other social media platform offers the magnitude level of data collection, audience reach, or integration capacity that Facebook can. With a Facebook Pixel installed, you can:

  • Measure cross-device conversions: See how your customers are moving between devices like desktop and mobile before they take action on your ads.
  • Optimize delivery to people likely to take action: Ensure your ads are being seen by people most likely to take the action you want them to take, like purchase or fill out a form.
  • Automatically build audiences for website visitors to retarget: Create Custom Audiences for people who take specific actions on your website, like visited a product page, added to cart or purchased a product.
  • Create Lookalike Audiences. Find more people who similar to your best customers.
  • Run dynamic product ads. Create relevant and timely ads on Facebook based on the products people have visited on your website.
  • Access Audience Insights. Get rich insights about the people who visit your website.

On average, the Like and Share Buttons are viewed across almost 10 million websites daily, so every time you visit a blog, a website, or a store, chances are there is a Pixel installed on that website. The Pixel tracks how you interact with that specific website’s page content, and that information is then fed into the Facebook’s Ads Platform which can become actionable interest targeting criteria for advertisements.

Witness the power of the Pixel for yourself. Visit any of the following websites (while logged into Facebook), and see how fast it takes for you to start seeing ads from these Pages:

Facebook’s offers an unparalleled ROI

One of the trickiest topics in marketing is the discussion of ROI.

  • What does real ROI look like?
  • Is it social proof?
  • Is it revenue generated vs. ad spend?
  • Is it lead generation?

It’s all of those things, and more. Here are two examples from a couple pages that I manage:

Facebook makes an ideal marketing platform for eCommerce stores because of the high-ROI potential between ad spend and revenue generated.

This is a screenshot above was taken from one of my eCommerce Pages. Let’s take a look behind the numbers and what they mean:

  • In the first highlighted column, is Cost-per-Result (CPR). This is the average cost it takes for an individual user to make a Campaign-specific action on an ad or set of ads grouped together. CPR varies depending on a multitude of criteria, and the better you meet the benchmarks of this criteria, the lower the cost of your ads. Lower ad costs usually mean more successful ads, so think of CPR as a health gauge to how well your ads are performing.
  • The second column is Amount Spent. This is the total amount of money you have spent on your ads over whatever time range you specify. To measure ROI (at least, in this sales example), you compare Amount Spent with Website Purchase Conversion Value.
  • Website Purchase Conversion Value is the last highlighted column. This is the amount of revenue generated by the ads as reported by your Facebook Pixel, or in other words, your profit. Your total ROI is determined, in this example, by comparing the metrics behind Cost-per-Result, Amount Spent, and Website Purchase Conversion Value.

Most businesses are impressed with a 20% ROI, or in some verticals, single digit percentages in growth. However, in all of the Ad Set examples here, ROI ranges from 250% to 500%, meaning, that in the best Ad Set, I spent $1 to make $5.

That’s some pretty good math, right?

With Facebook Ads and an intelligent marketing strategy, you can really push the limits and the understanding of what ROI really means, thus maximizing revenue while containing costs at the same time.

Facebook is also a really great marketing option for social proof campaigns in the forms of Post and Page Likes.

The second screenshot is from one of my Facebook Fan Pages that’s focused on building a community rather than driving sales. We use the same formula outlined above in the previous example, except instead of Website Purchase Conversion Value to measure overall ROI, we are looking for social proof in the form of Post and Page Engagements, which you can see in the Results column. In this example, one ad spent a little over $100 to reach 90K+ highly targeted users at less than 1/5th of a penny per conversion.

Again, that’s pretty good math. These results are possible given the enormous possibilities of interest targeting and reach potential that Facebook’s Advertising Platform offers.

A statement that speaks directly to the power of Facebook and online marketing comes from Michael Kosinksi, a lead marketing analyst from Cambridge Analytica (one of the driving firms behind UK Brexit’s and President Trump’s online marketing campaigns). He astutely notes:

Our smartphone…is a vast psychological questionnaire that we are constantly filling out, both consciously and unconsciously.

With 1.74Billion active mobile monthly users on Facebook, and over $5 billion in mobile ads revenue generated in 2016, organizations and advertisers that have the courage and the smarts to take advantage of Facebook’s Ads Platform will surely find success in any market, or any industry.

Facebook is for everybody (not just growth hackers)

Not looking to become famous or the next viral meme? No problem! Facebook is still the right fit for you. Not every agency wants or can be the next Upworthy or Collective Evolution. Not every agency is a content creator, nor do they have a need to cultivate a following. After all, content creation is a VERY involved marketing process, and once you’re in the spotlight, you become responsible to all of your fans. Without the right structure in place, it becomes very easy to lose track of your original mission and goals.

Knowing this, Facebook offers a toolkit of unique marketing options for organizations that offer services in extremely targeted and narrow niches. While viral growth strategies are certainly powerful and popular, Lead Generation Ads, for example, are also a great avenue to explore within Facebook’s advertising platform.

Here is a full list of advertising options that Facebook can offer you:

Still unsure? Let me give you an example:

Say you have a program in New York City that helps single parents climb out of financial debt. Your organization’s mission is to help alleviate the collateral damage that has resulted from the ongoing gentrification of the city. Is it possible for us to target low income, single mom households in or near New York City that have at least 3 lines of credit open?

Using Facebook, yes, this is completely possible.

Example Facebook Ads targeting for a low income, single mom household within 50 miles of New York City that has at least 3 lines of credit open.

In the example above, this Ad Set’s interest targeting filters through Facebook’s vast user database and matches the users who fit all of the relevant criteria listed above.

The left image shows us geographic and demographic targeting. Here we choose to target women, ages 18–65, who live within 50 miles of New York City.

The right image continues down the Ad Set dashboard, and illustrates how deep we can go with interest targeting. Using AND/OR filtering criteria, we narrow down the audience to about 14,000 highly targeted users who have at least 3 lines of credit open, and are single parents.

As for next steps, an advertiser will want to consider split test campaigns between Lead Generation, Brand Awareness, Local Awareness or Traffic to see which ad type best resonates with the organization’s target audience at the lowest ad spend.

Everything is trackable and measurable

Every time you use Facebook’s products, Facebook is tracking what you do, what you say, and how you behave.

Crazy, right?

Pretend, for a second, that you’re a registered Democrat and you engage in content related to politics online. If you’ve ever liked a post, made a comment on post, shared a post, or talked to a friend on Messenger about “Democrats”, then Facebook’s algorithm has categorized you as someone who is interested in that subject.

Demographics and interest targeting information like this can lead to massive social outcomes, as this data offers intelligence to build movements or even influence elections. Critics have argued that leveraging innovative technology (like Facebook) was the key for securing Obama’s presidential bids in 2008 and 2012; just as historians have similarly claimed that JFK’s use of the television was a key component in his victory over Richard Nixon.

While it’s certainly intimidating to know that some groups out there routinely use, and sometimes abuse, this data, it’s important to know that this data is available to you too. With Facebook, the playing field is level — anyone can make a difference or start a movement with just a couple hundred dollars and some marketing know-how.

Every ad dollar you spend on Facebook comes with readable and trackable data. Advertisers can monitor both the big-picture and granular health levels of an ad campaign, and pull detailed data over any time range. Account owners also have the power to assign permissions to advertisers, staff, and volunteers so every action taken on the account is trackable and reinforces accountability.

These reporting capabilities make Facebook an incredible performance-tracking tool- not only is the data accurate, it’s available in live time, thus empowering advertisers and decision-makers on how best to proceed with changes or scaling. Additionally, Facebook has a convenient export tool which can shovel out massive amounts of data into spreadsheets.

Conclusion

Facebook Advertising carries the potential for great power, not just with organizations out to make a profit, but also for organizers and non-profits trying to push a message and make a difference. A wise man once said, “with great power comes great responsibility,” and, I can’t stress this enough, it’s imperative that nonprofits and mission-driven organizations grab both that power and fulfill their responsibility to their constituents. It’s time to take action and start using Facebook to promote and grow the hard-work they are doing to bring change and progress to the world.

While this is by no means an all-encompassing guide to using Facebook, I hope this post at least offers some insight as to why Facebook can be such an incredible tool for organizations as both a means to advance social agendas and as a method to leverage competitive markets.

Remember: Don’t be intimidated by large advertising firms or by Pages that have massive followings — not all progress is front-facing or publicly visible! Pick a strategy that works best for you and your organization and go with it.

Let me know what you think in the comments. What do you agree / disagree with? What resonated with you? Do you want to see more articles likes this?

Thanks in advance and best of luck in your campaigns!