Monthly Archive March 2014

Why Social Ads aren’t the Smart Buy They Used to Be

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Social networks used to represent the opportunity for marketers to connect more directly with their audience. But the CEO of engage:BDR, Ted Dhanik, argues in an article on Adotas that the rising cost of advertising there has made social prohibitive today. The fact is that there are many variables that play into why Facebook ads aren’t the smart buy they used to be.

Unreliable Data

Facebook’s data delivers metrics on user engagement and social mentions, but this data doesn’t help you discover whether your ads are actually working. You can review conversion data, but there is a missing link between the sale and the user seeing the ad that Facebook doesn’t track. Advertising outside of Facebook frees you to pursue different data points and gather the figures you need to see in order to improve conversions.

It’s not that Facebook is lying to you, it’s that the data it reports isn’t always relevant to you. Not every ad needs a share value to have a success factor, so this metric is less useful than banner advertising analytics that tell you whether a user listened to the audio or video on your site.

User Intent

Facebook is a social network, meaning users come to socialize. If we think of this like a common space in the real world, it’s easy to see how difficult it could be to judge a person’s intentions. For one, that user could be on Facebook for any one of a number of reasons. Not every Facebook user is fully engaged with the network either, leaving out potentially millions or billions of customers you could reach elsewhere. Though Facebook still has value, there is definite reason to seek traffic from other sources like display advertising.

Why Leaving Facebook may Increase ROI

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In the fledgling days of display advertising, when a marketer wanted a specific placement on a site, he had only a handfull of options. Social media offered the chance to appeal to users by interest, while platforms like Google offered the volume marketers were looking for. Improvements to both of these systems have kept them viable, but the advertising industry has kept up. Going outside these systems may benefit your bottom line, according to Ted Dhanik of engage:BDR.

Unreliable Users

The first red flag for businesses with ad dollars is quality of traffic. Facebook provides extensive metrics to help you discover the engagement levels of the posts you make, and the possible shares your post can get. They do not provide you metrics on other elements your ad competed against, like the news feed or a user’s messaging. These other factors make the audience unreliable.

Banner advertising relies on targeting and intent to get the message across.  Shifting your focus to a site where user intent is well-defined will improve your ROI.

Alternate Platforms

Facebook provides a good service to advertisers looking for a place that offers good on-page placement in a niche that is relevant to their audience. They are no longer the only platform allowing this level of targeting, and that’s caused businesses to shift spending elsewhere.

The platforms also come with lower costs for the same amount of traffic. The difference is that you’re going through individual websites instead of one “catch-all” platform. Lowering the cost per click or per view will have positive effects on your ROI.

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