During 2013 Facebook introduced a roster of changes, many designed to help marketers better reach relevant audiences and thus achieve their marketing goals. The most important of these changes were the introduction of the new Newsfeed, better Page Insights, powerful new ad targeting options and a huge focus on mobile.
So what’s next? What will 2014 bring? During our November webinar we invited Facebook expert Dennis Yu, CEO of Blitzmetrics, a Facebook marketing company, to weigh in on what Facebook might focus on helping marketers achieve in 2014. Dennis shared a lot of great tips (I encourage you to check out the slides and watch the recording), but the most important one was about Facebook’s focus on helping marketers prove the ROI of their Facebook spend in 2014.
Let’s see what this means for marketers. How should you be spending your 2014 Facebook budget?
Facebook introduced a range of tools that focus on two important areas: finding and targeting hyper-relevant audiences, and helping marketers measure not just clicks, but conversions—and even lifts in offline sales (though those are much more difficult to measure at this point). Now that Facebook has tools to get marketers measurable results, these are the areas you should be focusing your spend.
Here’s how the changes introduced this year are going to affect your 2014 budget:
When the updated Newsfeed rolls out to everyone it will allow users to filter their feed to see only updates from their friends, excluding Pages and Apps. Being engaging and relevant has never been more important.
- Ad Partner Categories
You will be able to target Facebook users by job titles, spending habits and lifestyle choices.
- Custom & Lookalike Audiences
You can upload your own internal lists of emails (customers, prospects, etc.) and target those users on Facebook. Also, based on those lists, Facebook can create lookalike audiences of people that are very similar to the ones you uploaded.
- Objective-Based Ad Buying
You simply select what your goal is—conversions, fans, event signups, app downloads, etc.—and Facebook will select the right ad and bid type to help you reach it.
- Focus on Mobile
Facebook’s growth is coming from mobile, so it’s trying to get more and more marketers to spend there. Make sure the experience you’re offering users is great on mobile.
Building the Foundation
Before jumping in and spending on ads or conversion measurement tools, you need to have a strong foundation from which to build. Spend some of your Facebook budget on the following:
- Custom Audiences
Work with the people in your company who own the email lists, email marketing and CRM to segment and upload lists of people that you will want to target and build lookalike audiences on (your best customers, prospects at different stages in the funnel, event signups, etc.).
- Multi-Channel-Friendly Landing Pages and Experiences
You’ll probably run ads on mobile, so your landing pages and apps should deliver a great experience on tablet and mobile.
Once you have these two items covered, you’ll be ready to use Dennis Yu’s budget planner.
Your 2014 Facebook Budget Planner
During our webinar, Dennis Yu shared a very powerful budget planner with our audience. You can download it here.
In this planner, Dennis Yu suggests spending your budget as follows:
- Fan Growth: 10 %
- Engagement: 20%
- Conversion: 70%
These categories map the funnel with fan growth at the top, engagement moving people down the funnel and conversion sealing the deal and getting people to take the action you want them to take.
With Facebook EdgeRank and the new Newsfeed, investing in fan growth provides diminishing returns. You can only reach a small part of them anyway and if your content is not engaging you’re wasting your money.
Again, because of EdgeRank and the new Newsfeed, engagement is what will make or break your Facebook marketing campaigns. Engaging content gets shared organically, is shown to more people by Facebook and keeps your ad cost low. Your content team should be top notch and should be paired with listening and analytics tools that give you insights into what topics and trends your audience cares about and what type of content is working within each segment.
This is where the bulk of the money should be spent. However, conversion means different things to different marketers. So the first step is deciding what it means for you. It might be visits to your site, offline sales or app downloads.
The second step is deciding how you’re going to measure conversions and putting the infrastructure in place. This includes landing pages, a testing methodology, and analytics and listening tools that can show you what’s working. This sounds more complicated than it is, but don’t worry, we’ll go through an example.
Let’s say you’re selling soda and you want to prove to your boss that Facebook spend translates into offline sales. You could use a listening and analytics tool to find out that there’s a certain location where your soda brand really resonates. You would then look at sales throughout multiple regions as a control group. Then, run a Facebook campaign focused solely on that location as a test. At the end of the test you should be able to show a lift in sales in that location. As long as you ran the test correctly and kept all other factors constant (your company shouldn’t have run extra ads in that location on top of the control), Facebook is the cause.
Once you run this test, you have a model and some numbers on lift and attribution. You may have been able to show, for example, that X dollars in Facebook spend provides a 3% sales lift. Armed with this model, you can now scale your Facebook marketing and see if the model holds for larger spend and volume.
Your 2014 Facebook Strategy
There you have it. In 2014 we suggest you spend part of your budget to build a strong foundation of custom and lookalike audiences, as well as multi-device-friendly landing pages and experiences. After having done that, spend 10% of your budget on fan growth, 20% on engagement and 70% on conversion. While 70% can seem like a really large portion to spend on something you might not be comfortable or experienced with, don’t worry. Start small with your controlled test, prove you’re getting conversions, and then scale to a larger portion of your budget.
Want to learn more about Facebook 2013’s changes and your 2014 Strategy? Check out the full webinar recording.
This article was written by Dragos Ilinca from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
Originally published on Jul 2, 2012 4:15 PM