What Role Should Facebook Play in Your Marketing?

The way Facebook dominates the headlines, it sometimes seems like it’s the only ad platform left on the Internet. But in reality, it is only one small—but rapidly growing—part of the marketing universe. How exactly Facebook fits into your overall marketing strategy will vary greatly depending on your industry, your budget, and your brand. Nonetheless, there are some general guidelines to follow.

According to Randy Parker, founder of Facebook marketing tech company PagePart, Facebook’s value to your business will depend on how much leverage you get from the social graph. In other words, as long as your business relies on building long-lasting relationships with a reasonably large audience that you can target, Facebook ads are worth a try.

Industry concerns?

That idea even applies to industries with smaller audiences, such as B2B companies. We at Contently are a great example. We use Facebook for targeted paid distribution of our content—the specificity of the targeting and relatively low CPC allow us to reach potential leads and grow our audience effectively.

MetLife has seen similar success on Facebook. According to Facebook’s case study, the insurance company saw a 2.4x increase in lead-to-sale ratio compared to the next best-performing channel, and a 49 percent decrease in cost per lead.

This is true for B2C companies as well. Banana Republic (retail), Zynga (gaming), and Verizon (telecommunications) have all seen success. Your industry shouldn’t determine how much you value Facebook.

Part of a cohesive strategy

Even though it’s effective across industries, Facebook shouldn’t be your only channel. Using it in chorus with the rest of your marketing repertoire is critical.

“I don’t think it’s the most important marketing channel,” said Deacon Webster, CCO at digital agency Walrus. “It completely depends on what your brand is. There’s some brands that I would say one hundred percent shouldn’t be using Facebook. But more and more people are spending time on mobile devices, and if you need to get in front of those people, Facebook’s a really good way to do it.”

Using Facebook in conjunction with other channels is a key part of understanding the platform’s overall place in your marketing plan. For big brands, using Facebook as one part of a larger media campaign can be a valuable way to take advantage of the network’s unique capabilities, while some brands may be better off creating Facebook-only campaigns.

“It’s always good to have a mix of different mediums happening,” Webster said. “People have a different reaction to seeing something on their phone compared to TV or interacting with outdoor or wherever else. I think it’s part of the mix, but it’s not the whole mix.”

Ubisoft, the Montreal-based gaming company, took this to heart in a recent campaign to increase the reach of a TV ad for the launch of its new game. Because its core user base, 18- to 34-year-old males, tends to be less active on TV, Ubisoft used Facebook to extend the effectiveness of its expensive TV ads to the digital sphere.

Brad Goldberg, vice president of of advertising operations at OrionCKB, believes that Facebook should also only be one part of a digital marketing strategy.

“I don’t know if I would say it’s the most important,” he said. “Obviously, you have to have the right mix of different digital strategies because Facebook is still very much a social channel, and is about building a brand. That’s opposed to something on the search side, where people are typing in exactly what they are looking for. You have to have a good kind of mix between the two.”

Goldberg sees Facebook as “top two” in terms of digital importance for marketers, but it’s not necessarily more important than that other behemoth, Google.

Facebook for mobile, targeting, and video

For mobile, targeting, and digital video, it’s hard to beat Facebook. If your marketing goals are tied to those elements, Facebook is your place. Its vast reach makes it appealing for any campaign aiming at a broad audience, while its targeting features make it worthwhile (though somewhat expensive) for a campaign aimed at a very specific one.

As TV slowly dies, Facebook has been positioning itself as the next platform for TV ad money.

Facebook’s video ad push is an excellent example of how these kind of campaigns—targeted, mobile, video-based—are an excellent fit for Facebook, whether you’re using the platform as a supplementary or primary marketing channel.

As TV slowly dies, Facebook has been positioning itself as the next platform for TV ad money. Socialbakers revealed that marketers plan to spend more ad money on Facebook video than on any other platform.

advertisers and agencies use video

Lexus, for example, recently ran a campaign with an astounding 1,000 unique video ads in order to utilize Facebook’s granular audience targeting features—something that could never be done with a traditional TV ad. Campaigns like this one, which make explicit use of Facebook’s unique features, are worth experimenting with, but otherwise it’s likely best to keep the platform within a larger marketing mix.

Again, this all depends largely on your brand’s idiosyncrasies. Once you understand both Facebook’s evolving model and its place in your marketing strategy, it’s time to start building your Facebook presence.

This is an excerpt from “The Marketer’s Guide to Facebook.”


Image by Tischenko Irina

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