As we all know, Facebook has grown into a platform that the vast majority of American adults use daily. It’s come a long way from its original dorm-room inception in 2004. As of late 2013, nearly 10 years later, roughly 1.23 billion people worldwide have Facebook accounts.
What’s even more impressive? According to eMarketer, 5.7% of all global digital advertising revenues (and 18.4% of mobile ad spend) in 2013 belonged to Facebook. Clearly, ads on Facebook are lucrative. But how can they help small business owners reach their local, niche markets? This week, “Prospect Genius Reviews…” will take a look.
In the first part of this two-part series, we’ll cover how Facebook ads actually work; in the second, we’ll look at how small business owners might leverage them to optimize their social reach.
Before we begin, it’s important to note that there are two distinct types of Facebook ads: sidebar ads and news feed ads. Due to their different placements, they achieve different marketing goals.
According Farhad Manjoo’s article on Slate.com, “Facebook Followed You to the Supermarket,” the impact of Facebook’s sidebar ads has nothing to do with the number of clicks that they receive; rather, “people react to ads on Facebook in the same way they respond to ads on television.”
This is one of the biggest ways in which Facebook ads differ from Google’s AdWords. As Manjoo explains, AdWords are direct-response ads that require immediate action— i.e. clicking on an ad to visit a site— because they only appear when an individual with high purchasing intent searches for a specific product or service. On the other hand, Facebook uses demand-generation ads, which basically serve to subtly plant ideas in consumers’ minds, making them more familiar with certain brands and products over time. The difference between these two types of advertising is best illustrated by comparing the two types of TV commercials: infomercials (direct-response) and brand advertisements (demand-generation).
News Feed Ads
Sidebar ads are designed to maximize public exposure to already established brands (like Hertz, Applebee’s, and Citizens Bank, just to name three of the most recent sidebar ads seen by this “Prospect Genius Reviews…” writer). On the other hand, news feed ads are intended to actually draw clicks and generate leads. They’re placed prominently in the middle of users’ news feeds and usually contain an offer, a solution to a problem, and a call to action. In this way, news feed ads are more similar to AdWords. For the purposes of small businesses who are trying to get prospective customers to call them, news feed ads are the way to go.
Now that “Prospect Genius Reviews…” has covered the different types of Facebook ads and how they appeal to consumers, we’re ready to discuss how small businesses can utilize the ads to optimize their advertising campaigns. Stay tuned for the second installment!