First in a series
In the past few years, Facebook has become one of the most important advertising vehicles for online retailers. If you offer goods and services to consumers – or small to mid-size businesses – Facebook ads can help boost your sales.
Today Facebook has more than 217 million active users in the U.S. and Canada, according to Statistica. That provides a treasure trove of potential customers who can be easily reached through a well-designed advertising program. Whatever your budget, your geographic reach or desired demographic, Facebook has built an effective digital and mobile marketing platform.
Other online advertising channels, such as Google’s AdWords, focus on putting your products and services in front of consumers who search by keywords. Facebook takes a different approach, allowing you to advertise to your ideal customer – even if he or she is not actively looking to purchase at the moment.
That’s a big advantage for Facebook advertising, especially if your shoppers tend to make impulse purchases. Seeing your Facebook ad might prompt an immediate sale or remind another prospective customer to visit your store later in the day for an extended shopping experience.
One of the best things about Facebook advertising is your ability to target one or more customer profiles. For instance, financial services firms can connect with Facebook users age 50 or more who are worried about retirement. Apparel retailers like Gilt Groupe can appeal to younger audiences, and fashion brands from AllSaints and Burberry to Versace and Zappos can customize campaigns for men, women or teens.
If you have a local customer base, you can advertise to Facebook users in nearby communities. Or if your products appeal to certain types of consumers – say scrapbookers, amateur musicians or coin collectors – you can let them know about your store even if they live thousands of miles away.
Facebook’s advertising versatility also allows you to highlight new products, best-selling lines or seasonal favorites depending on your business and financial objectives. Offering special discounts to Facebook users is also a great way to move older inventory off the shelf.
Whatever your desired strategy, if you advertise on Facebook, you won’t be alone. As of late 2015, the world’s most popular social media site had more than 2.5 million advertisers, according to Facebook’s third-quarter financial report. During that quarter, Facebook posted $4.3 billion in advertising revenue – a 45 percent increase from third-quarter 2014.
It’s also important to note that more than 75 percent of that quarterly revenue came from mobile advertising sources. That’s a key consideration for online retailers who want to stay current with the market shift to mobile purchases. Certainly, many mobile-centric companies, such as device manufacturers, service providers and app developers have found Facebook ads to be a very cost-effective approach to acquiring new customers.
A Facebook advertising campaign can also be tailored to support your overall online marketing program, which might include news announcements, consumer tips, market updates or other posts about your company, products or services.
These are some examples of Facebook ads. Stay tuned for more suggestions about planning and implementing an effective campaign.