Let’s just say that Facebook’s IPO could have gone better. After the smoke cleared from the media frenzy, Facebook’s stock price has been on a roller coaster that has mostly headed down. Now my RSS feeds are packed with stories about how “Americans are getting bored with Facebook” and “Facebook is on the decline.” But as the saying goes, “reports of Facebook’s demise have been greatly exaggerated.”
I manage pay-per-click and look over timeline posts for quite a few of our Facebook clients. That means I’m on Facebook a good bit. I gave a speech at a university a few years ago and I predicted that Facebook would change drastically once it had to make money. I’m not psychic – I just know humans. Once humans are responsible for making money, things change – and boy has Facebook changed. In the last few months it has gone crazy with new advertising opportunities for its business users. If you’re large enough, you can even buy a giant ad on the “log out” screen! Facebook even shortened the number of words you can use in your pay-per-click ads, presumably so they can fit more ads on a page.
Oddly enough, at the same time that Zuckerberg Inc. has introduced these new “innovations,” some large retailers – most notably General Motors – have bailed out, citing a general lack of response to its ads. Rather than fight the growing clutter, GM redirected it’s advertising dollars elsewhere.
So what does this mean for the rest of us? Should we abandon ship? In a word, no.
Facebook may be one of the most poorly programmed and frustratingly organized web sites that I deal with, but if your target audience is a good fit, it is still a very, very effective way of reaching them. In fact, for small and mid-level advertisers, not much has changed. Having a company like Anchor manage your Facebook content is still smart (overcoming the aforementioned clutter and keeping up with Facebook’s obsessive tweaking are just two good reasons). If you do a good job, your message can still utilize very specific targeting, and the time your message spends in front of those people is still hard to beat. Best of all, if your Facebook marketing is done right, you can convert your target audience into fans, and they are as good as gold. For example, we have a client who adds 20 new fans a day to its Facebook page via a very reasonable pay-per-click budget. That adds up fast, and those fans become a tremendously valuable resource over time. They’re like a wonderful opt-in mailing list, except with infinitely more interaction.
So don’t give up on Facebook. As with every medium, it’s all about how you use it. Let us help.