Facebook is the stalwart of social media platforms, achieving unbelievable levels of growth that are almost unimaginable by any standard. But part of this growth and Facebook's corporate mindset change has been driven by a world class engineering and strategy team that together have developed an advertising platform, which many industry experts doubted was possible.
In its early days, Facebook was seen purely as a social media platform; a place where people would log on to see what their friends, family and colleagues were doing. This perception, while correct at that time, hindered Facebook and its attempt to break away from this. The early days of Facebook, where their platform was opened up to businesses at zero cost didn't help them and created doubts as to whether they could ever convert these clients into paid customers. The doubts were very real and I for one, wasn't sure that Facebook could make the transition they required to become a profitable business. Under the stewardship of Mark Zuckerberg not only have the achieved this, but they have done so in style.
During Facebook's IPO in May, 2012 added fuel to the fire with many experts scoffing at the $38 per share launch price at a valuation of $104 billion. By 2020, the share price has risen to $230 with today's valuation sitting pretty at just over $656,15B billion. The smart money, based on the opinions of those who truly understand the value and disruptive nature of Facebook's advertising platform, would suggest that this share price is likely to continue growing.
Much like Google did over 20 years ago, Facebook is revolutionizing the way that businesses of all sizes can reach both existing and new customers in a meaningful way. But rather than copy Google's methodology, which is driven by search intent, Facebook's insights run much deeper and allow businesses to target customers in a more sniper-like fashion.
What Businesses Need to Know About Facebook Advertising in Dubai and Abu Dhabi
There's not much that Facebook doesn't know about its 1.5 billion-plus users. From your age, where you live, where you come from, your marital, relationship or family status, the number of kids you have (and their age groups), your interests, hobbies, your favourite sports teams, how often you travel and more. Much more in fact. Combined, this allows businesses to narrow down highly specific advertising audiences that can be reached within minutes of launching a new campaign. on the back of this, businesses can target audiences as small as 1,000 to over 10 million if that's what the campaign requires.
In the UAE, there are 7.7 million people, aged between 13 and 65+ on Facebook. Out of this number, at least 4.1 million people live in Dubai and 1.7 million live in Abu Dhabi.
Where Facebook has really excelled is the entry level costs involved to run a campaign. Businesses can run extremely budget sensitive campaigns from a few dollars upwards, which completely removes any obstacles to entry. As a direct consequence of this, Facebook now has more than 2 million advertising customers across the world.
In addition to the significant targeting capabilities on offer, Facebook's advertising platform also provides the following opportunities:
Be visible to potential customers when it's least expected
Facebook is a platform that is used by people on their laptops and more so on their mobile devices and iPads. This is a contributing factor to the number of times the average Facebook user accesses the platform on a daily basis. It's also arguable that most users visit Facebook when they're in a more relaxed state, which in turn presents an opportunity for brands to interact in a non-intrusive way, with a potential customers. Remember, those who aren't in a defensive, on-guard mindset are easier to sell to.
Communicate with those who've already been on your website
Part of the Facebook advertising platform is the Retargeting tool. With this tool, Facebook allows businesses to target those who have visited a company's home page or specific pages within a site. This is an incredibly useful tool that allows businesses to target and communicate with those who are already familiar with a brand. The opportunity therefore exists to continue a dialogue with a potential customer or highlight certain USPs within the messaging that may re-ignite previously lost interest. A recent development called Facebook pixel has improved this function even more, as it allows you to create custom audiences based on the time people spent on your website.
You Can Speak Directly To Your Email Database (without spamming)
Ask any digital marketer and they'll more than likely tell you that email marketing still remains one of the most powerful communication and marketing tools available today. But this is strange. In such as fast moving industry, its bizarre to think that a tool that has been in commercial use 20 years ago, is still used today. Email needs to evolve, and needless to say, Facebook has un-earthed a way for company's to make better use of their email databases.
Facebook now allows businesses to upload customer or prospect databases into the platform, where they will attempt to match your database with theirs. A database match of at least 1,000 people will allow you to place targeted messaging to these specific people. Again, no cold marketing, these people know who you are and this format of advertising allows you to provide valuable touch points to those who are already in your sales pipeline.
Why is this significant? Email open rates have been in decline over the last decade, so there's a good chance that no matter how strong your database is, only 30 - 40% of recipients will open the message. With Facebook's list marketing tool, you can allow all matched members to see your messaging a number of times within their newsfeed on Facebook.
Targeting a local audience is easy
With the huge use of Facebook's mobile application combined with the profile data gathered by the platform, Facebook offers targeted location marketing to businesses allowing them to reach those within close proximity of specific landmarks of importance to a business.
Facebook is an incredible lead generation tool
Generating good quality sales leads is the biggest pain point for most businesses. This is another area that Facebook has identified as an opportunity to help businesses and so help, have provided a solution built into the advertising platform, where the process of generating leads is simplified for both a company and a prospect.
Facebook can expand your audience
If you're database isn't of a significant size or your match rates are lower than expected, Facebook's Lookalike Audiences tool can take the smallest database or audience and turn this number into a larger number. In order to do this in a meaningful way in terms of audience size and audience accuracy, Facebook use the profiling data of people from the matched audience and then use this criteria to find more like-minded people who may also be interested in your business' products or services.
ROI can be tracked through the advertising platform
Proving return on investment has always been a challenge for businesses engaging in Social Media. Facebook has been committed to providing ways of displaying ROI for businesses. This makes total sense. After all, those who see a clear and substantial ROI from advertising on Facebook will be more likely to spend more money with them.
Instagram adverts can be created on the same platform
The fastest growing social media platform of the last 2 years is Instagram, which was acquired by Facebook back in 2012. Facebook has now integrated the advertising opportunities available on Instagram within the Facebook Advertising Platform, which allows businesses to leverage the same targeting capabilities across both platforms. See this article for more information on Instagram Advertising.
Direct messaging is an advertising trend. Facebook allows you to show an ad to people who have sent you a message. This will result in higher rates of engagement without having to battle to be seen on a News Feed. With these ads, you can share offers and follow up with people, making it incredibly powerful tool to nurture leads.
Sell to your customers directly
Facebook has recently introduced the ability for vendors and businesses to trade online using Facebook as a platform with Facebook Shops. This means your customers can click to buy without leaving the app. It can be linked to your e-commerce app for your convenience. This can expand your online shopping presence , make the social shopping experience better for customers and boost your sales.
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