Just as data from the computer age helped shape finance in the 1970’s, it has also become the digital revolution’s gift to marketing. Gone are the days where marketers are on the back foot as to justifying how their campaigns are working; the availability of real time data gives them instant access to exactly what is and isn’t working on their campaign so they can tweak and optimise it accordingly. This coupled with the availability of tools which predict and measure campaign results, has given marketers a much bigger say into the company strategy and budgets – much like the role of the finance team.
In order to get to this stage however, marketers need to understand exactly which metrics to measure for each channel, in order to successfully play back that channel’s ROI in the boardroom. With the ease of capturing behavioural data online there’s certainly no shortage of such metrics, but the trick is to know what key indicators are important for each channel and observe these accordingly.
Take Facebook ads for example. There has recently been some interesting debate around just how effective this form of marketing is. On one hand, reports have suggested Facebook advertising is not very effective and in comparison to Google provides significantly less value. Other reports however have highlighted brand successes through the same method which begs the question, are people measuring this form of marketing correctly?
Typically, Facebook ads should be measured by soft and hard metrics. Soft metrics include reach and engagement and hard metrics include the impact on revenue, profit, margin and offline store sales across all marketing and sales channels of a business. Where some marketers have struggled in the past however is because they feel that social channels should be measured using the same measurement models and accountability as search marketing efforts.
Unfortunately, this method is flawed because consumers are not spending time on social channels to immediately buy goods and services, like they often are when engaging in online searches. Instead, they tend to use social platforms to connect with their friends, socialise, share content, and participate in dialogue around things that they are experiencing and thinking. Advertising on Facebook, for brands who don’t sell online games or flash deals, is more like advertising on TV – it increases the likeliness to buy, but it often takes time for a user to convert.
Read on for some common themes we have seen from some of our clients’ successful Facebook campaigns….
1. Significant and sustained ad budgets – successful Facebook campaigns must have meaningful ad budgets with significant reach, as a Facebook ad only sees the desired effects when it reaches a significant percentage of users.
2. A strategic long term view – the best social campaigns are well thought out with strategies designed to build audiences and engage with them in a meaningful way, so they: 1) grow a fan base, and 2) increase loyalty to the brand. For the marketer this means a strategy to create meaningful content that is relevant to the fan base at a given point of time, and constantly updating content so that the message remains fresh.
3. Data is used as an asset – the remarkable thing about Facebook advertising is both the targeting and data that the advertiser can obtain with appropriate permissions from the user. A good example is to build apps where the user voluntarily agrees to provide information and then launch and market to them with the support of Facebook ad buys. Through this, the ad buys drive audiences to the app and the data from the app can be leveraged to make the app experience more interesting and the whole process more efficient.
4. Good content is key – advertising will have minimal impact if you don’t have meaningful content. You need a good community manager and moderator to understand when to place content, what content to place and how to measure the efficacy of content. If you fail to develop good content, your fans and the Facebook platform will ignore your message.