When Facebook produced numbers for its 2011 ad revenue as part of regulatory filing on Feb 1st of this year (2012), they showed $3.15 billion in ad revenue. According to an article in MediaPost, Pivotal Research Analyst Brian Wieser predicts that ad revenue for Facebook will continue to surge forward in 2012, will grow by 32% this year, and should hit $12.6 billion by 2017.
Impressive numbers that say a lot about social media marketing efforts, but that was before General Motors did an about-face in May that resulted in the company pulling their $10 million ad campaign right before Facebook’s IPO. This caused a massive stir in the ad industry and left a lot of businesses wondering if they should follow suit – and just what was the actual cause of GM’s departure.
Despite that withdrawal, Facebook continues to show rising ad spending from users’ social media marketing efforts and a continued demand in Facebook advertising models. Driving those increases is an aggressive string of ad opportunities to help Facebook capture more revenue and put new social media marketing tools in the hands of business owners.
Mashable recently posted a timeline for Ad Changes in this article. Here’s the lowdown on that timeline:
The 2012 Timeline for Ad Changes
- Feb 29 – Facebook starts selling large-format log-out ads. Users log-out of Facebook and land smack on the full-page ad of a brand. Like Subway pushing delicious Avocados.
- May 23 – Facebook creates a self-service platform allowing business owners to purchase new premium ads. No more Facebook sales-reps.
- June 5 – Facebook reveals its mobile-only sponsored-story ad placement so that every single advertiser (not just the major brands) can get some play on mobile Sponsored Stories
- June 13 – Facebook now allows real-time ad exchange that applies targeting to ads based on the browser data of Facebook users.
- June 19 – Facebook and e-commerce platform Payvment integrates transaction-based data to provide ad targeting based on how people interconnect around products. Dubs it “taste graph”
- July 6 – Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook plans to integrate ad targeting based on the apps use on their mobile devices, which is tracked based on the “Facebook Connect” feature. Facebook and Yahoo also announce integration of their networks to distribute ads to other digital platforms.
- July 13 – Facebook announces automation of purchases for news feed ads (right side of the news feed), where these ads can now be purchased directly through Facebook.
With all of these changes, and ad revenue growing steadily for Facebook, you want to get your business into the game now before your competitors start benefiting from the growth and functionality of the ad network. But how?
Social Fresh’s new 2012 Facebook Ad Report provides some helpful insights from their polls with analysis and tips from a variety of industry experts. Here are some of the most relevant to adapt to the new changes and grow your social media marketing.
1. Take advantage of Gender Targeting – just 34 percent of marketers target by gender “always” or “often”, making it the ninth most used criteria. That seems like an opportunity for your business to move in and zero in on your target audience.
2. Improve Click Through Rates with Sponsored Stories – Content enjoys a higher response than ads any day of the week, and when you sponsor stories through Facebook you’ll see a lot more user engagement and attention from your social media marketing.
3. Don’t Forget the Analytics – With all the extra activity, you need to use some third-party analytics to measure what happens after the user clicks. A lot of businesses struggle with the ROI of social marketing and paid ads on Facebook. Make sure you’re not one of them by using additional metrics and analytics tools to stay on top of your campaign performance.
4. Try CPM Pricing for Smaller Audiences – There’s no reason a small business or corporation needs to pay out a lot from their budget just to compete in social media marketing. CPM is a smart model if you’re segregating a portion of your audience and it’s likely to be under 1000 – as CPM is a cost-per-thousand-view.
5. Direct users within Facebook to save – On average, those who directed users outside of the Facebook domain to their own site saw an average cost-per-click of 50% higher.
Respondents were, on average, 34 years old, with over 8 years marketing experience. They had been managing Facebook ads for an average of two years, with 42 percent working in-house for brands and 58 percent coming from agencies or vendors.
What changes are you making in your Facebook Advertising or did you about-face like General Motors?