“Billboard ads. We’ve got to do the billboard ads again this year.”
Sound like a familiar demand from your communications or marketing director?
Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and place for billboard ads as part of a larger integrated marketing campaign. Surround sound brand awareness is always an important driver for pushing people down the marketing funnel. That being said, we’re operating in a new era. 54% of the U.S. population (some 133 million Americans) are now active users on Facebook and spend an average of seven hours per month on the site (According to the Pew Research Center Research State of Social Media 2012 Report). Simply put, chances are good that your target audience is spending considerable time on Facebook.
Let’s look at the facts. If you invest heavily in traditional advertising channels such as radio and billboard ads, you’re investing in impressions. Outside of a controlled tracking URL, you are banking on word of mouth and repeated impressions making an impact without any tangible engagement metrics. Enter Facebook.
Likes. Comments. Shares. AND Impressions. Yowza. Now we’re getting somewhere.
Billboards, radio and TV are all static outlets. If your goal is to drive some type of action online and your primary focus remains on driving engagement only through these traditional channels, chances are good you’ll be left disappointed in the end with a mighty bill that now requires justification.
With Facebook, you’re taking your message to where your audience already is spending their time. Half the work is done. You now have a real-time feedback channel where you can test and analyze reaction to various campaigns through content and message testing.
In a recent post, Frank Strong, noted on Copyblogger:
“Content is currency — something we trade for our audience’s attention. That currency becomes more valuable every time it’s shared by someone other than ourselves.”
Guess who else recognizes that content is currency? You got it. Zuck and company thrive on brands maximizing use of the platform to effectively engage audiences and they want you to pay for it. Take a glance at the stock market. You can’t blame ‘em.
Facebook’s recent algorithm shift means that brands are going to have to focus even moreso on driving engagement (clicks, likes, comments, shares) in order to reach their fans. To help with that effort, Facebook is encouraging brands to use paid advertising with promoted posts to help gain more share of fans’ newsfeeds.
The fact of the matter is that most brands will never achieve reaching an average of 16% organic reach to their fan base with each post. Thus, brands will need to start thinking about how they allocate advertising dollars as part of a “flexible fund” for community managers to ignite posts that are driving strong engagement in real-time.
The big takeaway? Start pushing your creative limits to drive consistent engagement and start planning those ad dollars appropriately.
Image courtesy of mediaboytodd.
About Scott MeisVP, Digital and Social Strategies for @wsseattle. I develop and execute online marketing campaigns for a variety of nonprofit, corporate and government clients. I thrive on creative content, communities and actionable results.
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