By: Cassidy LeBert and Kayla Regan
Notifications, friend requests and likes are all words that have become second nature to social media users over the past ten years. These terms refer to some of the many activities that occur on the most widely used social media platform today: Facebook.
Facebook was created by a Harvard University psychology student, Mark Zuckerberg. At age 23, Zuckerberg had already created two social networking sites. The first was Coursematch which allowed its users to view and connect with other students that were in their major. The second was Facemash where users could rate other people’s attractiveness. But Zuckerberg’s third social networking idea was his greatest and most successful.
In 2004, Zuckerberg launched “The Facebook”. Within 24 hours, 1,200 Harvard undergraduate students had signed up. After one month, half of the undergraduate population had an account. From there, the platform extended to other Boston Universities and Ivy Leagues. Then, “The Facebook” became Facebook.com in 2005 when Zuckerberg purchased the website for $200,000. The platform has only took off from there.
Many different features exist on Facebook for it is a platform that offers users multiple ways to connect with the people in their lives. But there are ten top Facebook features that keep it alive and thriving. These include photos, the newsfeed, the like button, Facebook messenger, relationship statuses, turn off push notifications, embed in posts, social plug ins, the timeline and events. Each of these features offer a new and unique facet to connecting with others. Facebook photos are simply photos that users can post and that their friends can view, like, comment on and share. The newsfeed is where users’ posts are shared with one another. The like button allows users to click on a thumbs up icon to physically “like” their friends’ content. Facebook messenger is an instant messaging feature where users can talk to their friends instantly. Something to note is that Facebook Messenger has actually grown to become a social media platform in itself. Relationship statuses are posted on a user’s’ profile to show that they are single, in a relationship, married etc. At the time of this post, users can comment and/or like a friend’s relationship. Facebook offers push notifications, which are optional. Users have the choice to either receive push notifications or turn them off, which would mean that users receive their notifications when they are logged into their Facebook account. Embed-in-post is the ability to post an article, video or picture on Facebook with linked content directly in the post. Social plug ins are when users can comment on various websites just by being logged into their Facebook account. Facebook’s timeline is considered a user’s personal profile. Lastly, Facebook events is a tab where users can create events and invite their friends to them.
Because Facebook has so much connectivity to offer, there is a wide variety of users. Worldwide there are over 1.59 billion Facebook users. The most common age of these users is 24-35. This age group makes up 29.7% of its total users. When comparing Facebook users to all internet users, 77% of females use Facebook and 66% of males.
Aside from Facebook advertising, businesses can create Facebook pages for their company. If this is done strategically, these pages can create significant brand awareness which would ultimately lead to increased sales. With that being said, there are understandably some dos and don’ts of creating a Facebook business page. It is encouraged that businesses use a recognizable profile picture. Facebook users are not likely to click on a profile if they do not recognize their profile picture. It is also important for a business to coordinate their cover photo, posts and content to promote their marketing campaigns. Thirdly, it is recommended that businesses post at strategic times of the day. Studies show that posts between 1-4pm have the best click through rates. What Facebook business pages do not want to do is leave their “about” sections on their profile blank and be slow to answer consumers. Both of these aspects will immediately turn consumers away from their page.
Since Facebook is so widely and largely used, some statistics about this platform may be surprising to its users. For instance, every second, five new profiles are created. Also, the highest traffic occurs midweek between 1 and 3pm. On Thursdays and Fridays, Facebook traffic is increased 18%. Lastly, every sixty seconds, 510 comments, 293,000 statuses and 136,000 photos are shared. One statistic that may not be a surprise is the average Facebook visit is 20 minutes long.
If you’ve ever used Facebook it’s no surprise that the social media giant lands itself as number one on the list of advertisers using such communication forums. Although the everyday user may get annoyed with the constant sponsored posts popping up in their newsfeed with seemingly no control, businesses love the easy access to native advertisement. Yet as you’re scrolling through with utter annoyance or maybe you’re one of the few users actually interested, you can’t help but wonder why the ads seem to be so relevant to your life. The answer lies within Facebook’s Ad Targeting strategies
Facebook gives businesses the opportunity to target specific audiences before posting their ads. The social networking site provides marketers with the tools necessary to get however broad or specific they want with their target group. Marketers begin by selecting a geographic location that may get as detailed as zip code or as vague as a country. They are then prompted to specify specific age groups, gender, and even language spoken. Next, depending on the product or service businesses can explicitly choose to target audiences with certain interests or behaviors such as “organic foods”, “biking”, “cooking”, sports teams, etc. all of which Facebook can tell you how many people are interested in that topic.
The cost of advertising on Facebook varies just as it would for Google. There are two ways to bid for ads on Facebook: (1) Cost Per Click (CPC) or (2) Cost Per 1,000 Ad Views (CPM). Average click costs are generally $0.24 whereas CPM averages $0.64. Retail stores (like Target) typically have to pay a very high CPM or CPC. The average CPC cost was $0.31 cents and $1.39 for CPM. Food & Beverage companies (like Coca-Cola) paid an average CPC of $0.21 and CPM of $0.65. CPM tends to be better for companies trying to promote brand awareness whereas CPC is more successful for conversions. US advertisers on average will have to pay $24.00 to get 100 people to click on their advertisement or will have to pay $24.00 to get their ad shown 36,364 times. It’s important to note that advertising for local businesses may cost more because the target range is a lot smaller and there are more local companies bidding for the same ad space.
Before hitting that final create button, it’s important for marketers to make sure they’re honing in on the following best practices. First and foremost determine your objectives! Understand whether the aim of your campaign is to increase brand awareness, conversions, video views, etc. Next, be specific with your target audiences as discussed earlier. Finally, don’t forget to rotate your ads regularly! When people start to see your ad too many times, they stop clicking. When click through rates drop, Facebook penalizes you, driving up your cost per click (CPC). It is recommended to rotate your ads every 3 to 5 days.
Facebook features almost a dozen advertisement options for businesses to choose from. The first category of ads is best for marketers looking to gain traffic leads for their website. This includes Domain Ads which are the simplest, cheapest form offered by Facebook that only may be placed in the right column. A Domain Ad features a small picture, description, and URL. Similarly Page Post Links are the most common type of ad used on Facebook. The main difference is this ad appears on mobile apps and in users’ Newsfeeds as well. Multi Product (Carousel) and Dynamic Product Ads are best for sales leads. These ads have high click through rates and effective retargeting strategies especially with Carousel ads given the ability to promote 5 products or promotions at once. Page Likes, Posts, Videos, and Photo Ads are best for brand awareness and likes. Event and Offer Advertisements are self explanatory in driving consumer traffic to stores and events.
One of the most successful Facebook advertising campaigns came from Eggo Waffles in 2014. The company, which had fallen in the breakfast shadows in previous years was looking to make a comeback with their previously used L’Eggo my Eggo campaign. The goal was simple: stay relevant in a mobile world while targeting a younger audience. Eggo tried to put a twist on era where people share everything on Facebook, but still not their Eggos. The campaign featured Facebook videos of supermarket workers giving out free samples of Eggos but running away when customers actually put their hands out for the taking. The company also posted best practice photos of how to protect your Eggos whether it be a castle wall or decoy label.
You might have found it weird that one day you Google searched Eggos and then three days later the ad popped up in yours Newsfeed. The same can be said for that pair of shoes you couldn’t decide on, or maybe a restaurant you were thinking of trying out. As much as you might think it’s just a coincidence, Facebook is very strategic with their big brother ways. Facebook Exchange is a CRM tool created in 2012 in partnership with Kenshoo Social that allows advertisers to target users with highly relevant ads based on their browsing habits. This is made possible through a bidding ad exchange forum in which advertisers drop tracking cookies on users’ browsers as they surf the web.
— Now that you know the facts, would you use Facebook for more than just friends?