Facebook is not just a social media and the biggest website in the world. It is a service which has radically changed our lives. And it did it without our noticing, too.
Take the way we communicate, for example. It is now possible to stay in touch with your relatives and friends and keep absolutely quiet while doing so. Humanity has been using speech for tens of thousands of years. Compared to that, writing is a relatively new invention. Then, Facebook further revolutionized communication by allowing us to talk to each other without using our mouth muscles at all.
Facebook is not just a unique phenomenon in a life of every modern person; it is also a tool which many cannot even imagine a single day without. If hasn’t always been this way. For many years, this platform stayed unknown to many Internet users, especially in Eastern Europe, where people still preferred – or just didn’t know anything apart from – ICQ, Skype, and e-mail.
It all started back in 2004, when a Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg and his three friends created a website to facilitate communication within the university. At first, it was called TheFaceBook, but later, “the” was removed.
The news about the service spread throughout the community, and the servers started to experience heavy loads. Soon after, everybody could register, not only those who were in any way involved in the education process.
Facebook made its way to the Russian market first as its analog, VK (which still goes by its full name in Russia – Vkontakte). One of Pavel Durov’s friends from the US told him about this new cool service that young people in America were using, and it didn’t take long for Durov to create Vkontakte. Despite numerous claims that Pavel’s brainchild is his own, the idea and the realization are exactly the same.
In any case, Facebook’s taking over the world was only a question of time.
Just a few years later, in 2008–2009, Facebook started to grow its presence in countries all over the globe.
In 2010, The Social Network hit the screens. The movie related the story of the first years of the platform in quite a bit of detail.
In 2012, faced with a big number of spam sign-ups, Facebook introduced the Verified feature. Users were to claim their verification badge themselves, through the special process.
The same year, in 2012, Facebook purchased the Instagram mobile app. It still owns it, and Instagram is still growing in popularity. It cost Facebook about a billion dollars. Later, several patents were purchased from Microsoft and other companies. Facebook spent billions of dollars forming a large online service aimed at collecting as many users in one place as possible.
In 2015, the number of users reached one billion, most of them using mobile devices.
In 2018–2019, Facebook was required by Russian organizations to give information on the location of their servers where Russian users’ data was being stored; later, administrative proceedings were initiated. However, even challenged with possible blocking, the platform didn’t lose in popularity. On the contrary, it continued its organic growth.
2019 brought massive changes to the game industry: Facebook presented its own platform called Facebook Gaming.
As of 2020, Facebook is the leading social media platform and the fourth website in the world by number of visits. It’s important to understand that Facebook is not only a social networking service: it is a company that owns Instagram, as well as many other less-known services.
For many advertisers, Facebook became the only source of driving traffic, which is quite understandable because there is no need for alternatives at this point. The cost of ads compared to the resulting effect is very low if you learn to use the tools provided in the Ads Manager.
When promoting products and services, the built-in features are also of great help, and their effectiveness keeps increasing by the year.
Retargeting is a powerful tool used by marketers to promote various products and services on the Facebook social networking service.
It’s important to understand that retargeting is not Mark Zuckerberg’s invention: it’s also effectively used in other media.
Let’s define it first. Retargeting is a way of advertising to users that have already performed some kind of a specific action. For instance, a user likes an advertiser’s photo. Such user can obviously be considered interested. Further marketing efforts can be aimed at advertising to all users who have indicated their interest by liking, commenting, or performing any other target actions.
In the end, this helps achieve quicker and more effective results at a lower initial cost.
With Facebook, you can create a large number of various schemes, but the following is among the most effective ones:
A user comes to your site and performs some kind of action, not necessarily a purchase or subscription. The visit itself can be important enough.
The user comes back to Facebook, where he or she sees the ad targeted specifically at them.
The first conversion is a purchase of a product or service, a subscription or any other type of desired interaction.
It is now time to use your advertising – in other words, to further process the user who has once expressed their interest or yielded some other result.
The second conversion.
The cycle can be repeated for a long time, even for years and decades. An example of an especially successful implementation of this scheme is Apple Inc., which started with computers and then continued by offering tablets, phones, smart watches, accessories, and so on.
On Facebook, creating an audience based on preexisting data is very simple:
Go to your Ads Manager.
Go to the Audiences tab.
Choose Create New, and then choose Custome Audience.
It is now important to choose the Customer File option.
Then, you need to upload the file containing customer data. After that, the specific audience is configured.
When importing data, you can choose identifiers for the file: Phone Number, Email, Name, etc. These are not difficult to obtain when processing your clients’ orders.
However, in many cases, advertisers don’t have any way to interact with their potential audience, because those people have not made any purchases yet. To resolve this, there is a special tool called Website Traffic. With it, you can advertise to the visitors who have already been to your website.
When done correctly, remarketing is one of the most powerful tools enabling you to achieve engagement, create a WOW effect, and cause many other positive emotions. The goal of any advertiser is to systematically process their prospective customer so that he or she eventually gives in and makes a purchase.
But it does not end there. After all, the purchase of a product or service can really be just the beginning. This is especially true for services intended to be used regularly. For example, if a woman goes to a beauty salon, meaning, she has already made a purchase, it’s reasonable to assume that within a month she will need to have her nails done again. Therefore, you would want to start retargeting after a couple of weeks to advertise the establishment she is already familiar with.
Notice that we are not talking about detailed analysis of user preferences, or identifying what groups our prospective buyer is a member of, what he or she buys, likes, etc. Advertisers provide all the necessary information themselves, and Facebook, based on that information, helps bring these users back turning them into your new or regular customers!
Among all advertising tools available to modern marketers, it is Facebook that gets reviewed the most. On the other hand, many of them still use teaser networks, website banners and search engine marketing. In this article, we are going to talk about why Facebook should be the main tool of any marketer no matter how niche and specialized the product they are promoting might be.
One and a half billion users is an astounding number, but it doesn’t really tell you anything. Why should you care that Facebook is used even in the Arctic and the Antarctic if you are promoting a 24/7 flower delivery service in New Jersey? However, if you look closer, it becomes clear that almost 100% of your target audience uses this social networking site.
But let’s inspect further. Do you personally know a lot of people who don’t use Facebook at all? Yes, it is quite possible that there are people like that. But the paradox is that such people are not interested in buying your product anyway. Therefore, you have one and a half billion users who are also active, and the proof of that is their very presence on Facebook. So, it is safe to say that any service will be able to find its target audience on Facebook.
The second advantage is the ease of advertising configuration and placement. No need to develop a marketing plan, hire experts to create fancy diagrams and presentations. But most importantly, placing ads will not even require significant investments. You can start with just a thousand bucks, or five hundred, or even less.
Various built-in features, e.g. pixel training, lookalike audiences, retargeting and remarketing, which, in many cases, only require choosing the corresponding option in the Ads Manager to use.
Powerful tools to show your ads to your target audience help spend your advertising budget sparingly. Using the lookalike technology, you can upload a database of existing users who have already performed your target action and tell Facebook to match for a highly specific “super target audience” to display your ads to. Remarketing and retargeting to enhance your advertising and achieve better results – without the need for you to get directly involved.
The range of advertising tools is particularly impressive. And did we mention that you can use Facebook quite effectively and not spend a single penny? If that’s what you’re after, try working on your personal profile or promoting your group or business page. And if you add paid promotions to match, it will not take long to see the results.
Getting results fast is a very important advantage. You can always assess the effectiveness of your advertising campaign since it only takes a few hours to get first results after launch. Try achieving the same with a traditional banner or a TV ad. Not to mention that in some cases traditional methods of advertising do not offer any tracking means at all.
You should remember that Facebook advertising requires a well-balanced and disciplined approach: thousands of advertisers lose all of their budgets before hitting profits. That’s why it is important to not only work in your Ads Manager, applying different built-in features and strategies, but also do your best to see your landing page the way your potential buyer sees it.
With all that in mind, the result is sure to come – and it is very likely to be the result you expect!
Imagine an appliances shop. Somebody enters in a need of a vacuum cleaner. He or she has not decided on the model yet, doesn’t know which type to choose, but has already read a lot of articles on the Internet and is quite certain that the purchase needs to be done today. A shop assistant greets him or her, and in 15 minutes, the purchase is complete. Huh, that’s strange what just happened. After all, this person was planning to visit three more shops before making a decision. The secret is that the assistant knew that they wanted to make their purchase today!
It would be nice if all sales proceeded according to the same scenario. But how do you achieve that? How do you attract customers? By showing them targeted ads! Well, how do you do that? In the offline business world, this is impossible because ads here are seen by everyone, both those who decided to buy a vacuum cleaner and those who could not care less about hoovers. And while segmentation using niche magazine works (sort of), in case of banners and billboards, most of those who end up seeing such ads are what marketers call a non-target audience.
However, online marketing is very different. You can show ads to precisely the users who have already visited your site and even performed a specific action. Such tools are offered by a handful of services, and Facebook is one of them.
Let’s start off with the definition. As the word “lookalike” suggests, this approach involves some kind of comparison. But what kind?
Let’s assume you have a database of e-mail addresses of users who have performed some particular target action on your site. For example, they bought something there.
What you do now is you upload this into Facebook and allow their algorithms to match your database with the database of all Facebook users to identify similar characteristics.
To give a somewhat far-fetched example, imagine that you are selling yoga mats. Facebook neural networks find out that most of your users are members of groups dedicated to healthy eating and DIY home improvement projects and are not interested in politics. The analysis is done, and you get your target audience with similar characteristics.
Lookalike audiences are a powerful tool which does not have any “manual” alternatives. Of course, hypothetically, you could track your users’ behaviour yourself. However, keep in mind that all you have are their e-mail addresses. What are you going to do with those? You cannot run any kind of analysis without special software. And even if you buy it, it would not be very effective compared to neural networks. These algorithms are configured to constantly improve, and marketers claim that they do become more effective month after month.
You don’t need to know how this lookalike technology works. And you can use it for your purposes absolutely free:
Go to the Audiences section, which can be easily found in your Facebook Ads Manager;
Click the Create Audience link;
Choose the Custom Audience if you want to import the list of users that have already been analyzed; you can also choose Lookalike Audience if you have already put together your own database.
Done! You now only need to choose the degree of similarity. The audience should be as large as possible. You cannot achieve anything with just a couple hundred users.
The resulting database that Facebook will match for you is at least 1000 people. Notice that these are not surefire buyers or visitors that will go to your site or download your application no matter what. These are just the users your ads will be shown to!
So the database should be as big as possible – ideally, thousands and even tens of thousands of people. This will help the platform to find your genuine target audience, which you will see for yourself by monitoring the increase in your conversion!