The effectiveness of Facebook ads has been questioned time and time again. A few months ago, the topic picked up a great deal of momentum after a controversial video came out suggesting fake accounts were harming results. Forrester's Vice President and Principal Analyst said brands were becoming disillusioned with Facebook.
Other than relying on the organic sharing of your content and hoping for referrals from that, however, advertising is about the only way your'e likely to get any results from Facebook. It's not going to be from the organic reach of your Page posts, which Facebook confirmed last week. At least Facebook appears to be making moves to increase the effectiveness of its ads.
Do you think Facebook ads are becoming more effective? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Here's the graph that Forrester shared with its comments. Granted, that's based on Q3 2013 data. But still.
Facebook said it will soon start including information about the websites and apps its users visit in its ad targeting, ignoring the user's browser's "Do Not Track" setting.
Facebook already enables retargeting to users who've previously visited specific websites and apps, which advertisers can turn on by affixing tracking software to their products. Additionally, ads can be retargeted to Facebook users on their desktop screens via FBX, the company's ad exchange, which a plethora of demand-side platforms like Turn and AdRoll are plugged into.
But what Facebook is now enabling is far more expansive in terms how it uses data for ad targeting. In a move bound to stir up some controversy given the company's reach and scale, the social network will not be honoring the do-not-track setting on web browsers. A Facebook spokesman said that's "because currently there is no industry consensus." Social-media competitors Twitter and Pinterest do honor the setting. Google and Yahoo do not
Facebook uses the example of a user who is considering purchasing a new television, and starts researching TVs on the web and in mobile apps. That's when the user could start seeing ads for TVs on Facebook. It may also use that information to show you ads for other electronics later on, 'like speakers or a game console to go with your new TV."
This does have the potential to make ads a great deal more effective, and frankly, it's surprising that the company hasn't been doing this for a long time already.
You can opt out of this kind of targeting by using the Digital Advertising Alliance opt out (which is in beta). You can see a list of all the companies, agencies, and ad networks that participate in this here. Facebook will presumably be added to the list. It's a big list.
Facebook also introduced an Ad Preferences tool, which users can access from any Facebook ad. You could remove electronics from your ad interests, for example.
If users use the ad preferences tool enough, it should help ads become more effective, simply because it won't be showing them to users who explicitly don't want to see that particular kind of ad.
As we discussed in a recent articles, Facebook has been working on making its platform better for small businesses, and has put together the Facebook Small And Medium Business Council.
The company also, of course, announced the Audience Network in April, which will help mobile app developers monetize their apps using Facebook ads. Naturally, that means increased exposure for advertisers.
BIA/Kelsey projects social ad revenues in the U.S. to hit $15 billion in 2018, largely driven by Facebook News Feed ads and Twitter's promoted tweets. Resolution Media found that while advertisers invested 127% more in Facebook than in Twitter in 2013, Twitter consistently delivered a higher click-through rate. According to Adobe, however, Facebook ad CTRs were up 20% quarter-over-quarter in Q1.
Do you believe Facebook ads will become more effective? Were they already effective? Let us know in the comments.
Image via Facebook