Let’s say you’ve made a great product that solves for a real problem.
How do you get people to buy it?
Any marketer will tell you to advertise in a place where your target customers will be looking, in a manner that will resonate with your target customers.
It’s essential to figure out where people are, in order to advertise to them.
You could spend half a billion dollars on the world’s most beautiful billboard, but if it’s posted in the middle of the desert it won’t be effective.
Times Square is a good place to advertise, and probably always will be. The obvious reason is that so many people flock there everyday, and thus ads get recognized.
However, physical ads like those in Times Square have physical limitations; they can only capture the views of those in the hundred-or-so feet around them. Moreover, the ads are facing random people who might not be interested in the content.
The question then becomes - where is the best place to advertise?
The answer: Wherever people are listening, watching, and wanting to absorb new information.
Prior to the first episodes of TV advertisements on July 1, 1941, the radio served as a popular medium for advertising. Why? Because people were listening to the radio, because this was there most effective means for connecting with the world around them.
People want to connect. They want to hear the news, they want to know what’s going on, and they want to feel included. 70 years ago, the radio gave them their best shot at staying connected.
As TVs advanced, consumers transitioned from radios to television, and ads followed suite. Soon TV ads become a dominant form of advertising. Better yet, they were more effective than radio ads. They had more viewers who were more interested in the content (TV offers more information than radios with visual media,) and so viewers saw the ads longer, were more influenced by the ads, and thus the ads were more effective.
As this technology advanced, something huge happened for the industry as advertisers were able to tie ROI (loosely) to the advertiser’s spend, thus enabling the advertiser to have more strategic and effective ad campaigns.
Then Google came out, and all of a sudden people spent less time searching for answers with physical media and more time online. Digital technology allowed even greater returns for advertisers who used products like Google Adwords to attract their audience when they were not just passively watching TV - but when they were actively and intentionally searching for a product online.
The most effective advertising is advertising which targets consumers where they are watching and listening, targets them in a relevant way, and tracks the performance in order to iterate and create better ads.
Never has there been a platform that accomplishes this like Facebook.
Here are the four reasons why Facebook will be the dominant advertising platform of the 21st century.
1. The Largest Consumer Audience Ever
With 1.7 billion people on Facebook, 900 million visits per day, and 700 million mobile visits per day, Facebook has a consumer audience incomparable to any other individual company ever.
There exists no advertiser who’s customers are not on Facebook. If you have a business then you have prospective customers, and those prospective customers spend time every day sharing and connecting with their friends on Facebook.
But that’s not enough for Mark Zuckerberg, who plans to increase the number of Facebook users by giving internet access to other parts of the world via satellites.
2. Granular Targeting
Times Square ads are fun to look at, especially if you’re a tourist.
However, the Coca Cola ad isn’t going to have much of an impact on you if you don’t drink soda.
Facebook offers the most granular targetting capabilities, allowing advertisers to specify their audience according to age, location, gender, language, buyer behavior... and the list goes on.
3. Integration with Media Consumption
Let’s think back to the instance of radio ads. A person might be listening to the radio for news or for music, and as soon as an ad comes on they can turn down the volume or stop paying attention.
Consumers never want to be sold or advertised to. The key to effective ads is to weave them in with content that consumers are proactively consuming. People consume the content and interactions on Facebook for extended periods of time and more intimately than listening to music on the radio, watching TV, or searching on Google.
Interwoven with desired consumer interactions, Facebook ads are highly effective.
4. Data to Prove ROI
At the end of the day, data is all that matters.
Marketing is, after all, only part science, and that part needs to drive the decisions of advertisers.
Marketers and advertisers need to know that their precious marketing dollars are collecting value and net new customers.
While TV ads provide only loose ROI, Facebook ads tell you everything from clicks, views, likes, posts, shares, and can help advertisers determine the difference between dollars going in and coming out of their campaign.
Advertisers can distinguish between levels of success across their different ad sets, individual advertisements, and understand which efforts to invest in.
And it’s only getting better.
Facebook is literally introducing the next form of media with virtual reality, with plans to improve all four of these metrics.