Facebook have given us some magnificent advertising tools that just didn’t exist when I worked in newspapers. In fact they still don’t. Place an ad in a newspaper and you’ll never be able to count who saw it, who reacted to it and who commented on it. But that doesn’t mean that print ads don’t work. You can reach thousands of people by advertising in print, but there’s little control over the ad once it’s running.
With Facebook, you can see these metrics, and choose who you reach. For a typical ad, you can see how many times it was seen, how many people reacted to it and how many people clicked on it.
That’s all good, but it’s still filled with pitfalls. People are wasting thousands of pounds on online advertising that isn’t working. Proctor and Gamble are the world’s biggest advertiser, and even they can’t make it work. Facebook or any online advertising still requires a fundamental formula to succeed.'Facebook or any online advertising still requires a fundamental formula to succeed.' Click To Tweet
Just because it’s measurable, online advertising isn’t automatically better than any other advertising. It is vastly different to traditional advertising in many ways but it still needs to meet the basic requirements of AIDA – attention, interest, desire, action.
When I’m working with clients, the advertising I recommend is the advertising that will work for them. Sometimes the only realistic measure is pounds and pence, but if we can actually measure advertising success in hard cash, then it doesn’t matter where it happens.
But it’s not always that easy though and some of the measurement tools do have a use, particularly those you can validate such as clicks, by picking them up on the website and measuring further.
Advertising will never die
There is a new breed of marketer that has never advertised in a newspaper or magazine yet are quite happy to denounce them – they’ll tell you “Advertising is dead”, “digital is the only way”.
It’s not. And while we’re on it, ‘digital’ and ‘advertising’ aren’t opposites
It’s the very nature of Facebook’s targeting and reporting systems that help these marketers draw this conclusion. Traditional advertising is so much an unknown quantity, that they’d rather just dismiss it. Yet the traditional advertising ‘reach’ (or circulation as we used to call it) is scrutinised by an independent board.
Having worked in a newspaper where the ABC (Audit Bureau of Circulation) sit in your office for days going through circulation figures to record them for public consumption, I can vouch for their (reasonable) authenticity.
There is no such validation of Facebook or Google in terms of the feedback you get from their dashboards, and in fact if you’ve been watching closely, Facebook has been the subject of much criticism regarding its measurements, and has admitted ‘inconsistencies’ more than once.
There is no such scrunity for online advertising claims.'There is no such scrunity for online advertising claims.' Click To Tweet
Easier than buying sweeties
Online advertising is easier than buying than a bag of sweeties. I mean you need to go out of your house, find some change and queue up to buy your bonbons.
But Facebook will put a big blue button in front of you telling you how many extra people you can reach if you click it. It’s called ‘boost’ and it’s so easy that Facebook can get it hands on your cash before you finished your first aniseed ball.
And if you haven’t received £100s of vouchers to spend on Google Advertising, you’ve probably just landed from planet Zuton.
It’s way TOO easy, and if you’ve ever been to a digital marketing workshop or read a digital marketing blog, you’ll almost certainly have been told that you can’t go wrong with Facebook advertising.
Well you can, and most people do. In fact, even so-called experts are getting it wrong. That’s the new breed I mentioned. Before social media, we didn’t have advertising experts or media experts, we just had people that were trained or experienced. Now we have people that call themselves experts because they’re running Facebook pages.
At my agency, we manage advertising budgets among all other sorts of publicity and marketing campaigns for our clients, and that means THEY measure US on the return they get.
And because we’ve been in the business since before Mark Zuckerburg was born, we do know about advertising, and we do know how to measure it, even if there are no easy tools to use.
I don’t work for Facebook, our agency doesn’t receive any commission or benefit from advertising online. We don’t exist to be a conduit for your money between your bank account and theirs. We work for our customers, and if that means telling you you’re better off spending your money on Google Adwords, or email marketing or events or press releases, or god forbid, newspapers and magazines, that’s where we’ll spend it.'We don’t exist to be a conduit for your money between your bank account and Facebook's.' Click To Tweet
Online is just another outlet
In fact, this year already we have put thousands of pounds of our clients’ money in the consumer press, trade press, radio and outdoor. Online is just another outlet. We don’t get any credibility for giving you a bum steer.
In the case of Google and Facebook, I have been through their training courses, but way more importantly is that years of knowledge and experience that enables me to say “no, that won’t work” when I know it won’t. And I do say it.
Advertising is advertising wherever it is. Just because it’s on Facebook doesn’t mean it’s magically going to work. There is, as with any form of marketing, a need to fulfil an objective, such as a sale or a lead. Facebook is actually a difficult platform for that to take place. There is a band of advertisers that say it doesn’t work, and there is a band that says it does. The difference between them, is in the detail of the campaign and how it’s executed and measured. That’s a human skill that no online platform can replace.
Facebook, Google et al give you a heap of tools to encourage you to advertise with them, and step-by-step guidance that ends on the payment page. They’ll tell you your campaign has successfully completed, but at this point no advertising has been done. How can that be a success?
Think of it like this. If a builder gave you all his tools, would you be able to build a house?