Facebook Ads Thriving Despite Skepticism
Anybody involved in online advertising and marketing knows just how huge of a business it is. Internet companies like Google, Bing, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have thousands of people paying to run ads or promoted content on their platforms.
Despite the myriad of advertising options on the internet, however, Google has always severely dominated the competition. Revenue from Google's AdWords totaled over $59 billion in 2014 - much, much more than any other service. Now, however, it seems that Facebook ads could be catching up, regardless of the backlash seen in some circles.
Facebook Ads Reaches Two Million Active Users
A recent post on Facebook's business page expressed thanks to all the users of Facebook ads, who now comprise a group of over two million companies and individuals. The post points out a number of entrepreneurs who have had success using Facebook to become successful with their business. It's mostly these types of companies - small businesses - who are making use of Facebook ads. Overall, Facebook states that around 30 million small businesses have active pages.
These numbers represent huge year-over-year increases for Facebook. The social network had a half million fewer entities using Facebook ads as recently as July of 2014. Facebook's share of the digital advertising market went from 5.8 percent in 2013 to 7.8 percent in 2014, according to eMarketer. While Google still has over 30 percent of this share, its percentage declined within the same timeframe. Facebook's revenue last quarter stood at $3.85 billion - a 49 percent increase from last year.
According to Reuters, 80 percent of companies that began using Facebook ads last quarter started by boosting a post rather than promoting a specific page. This number seems to reflect the growing popularity, importance and competition of content marketing. Using content to get exposure and encourage conversions is just as effective, if not moreso, than simply promoting a page to get more likes.
No Way But To Pay
Clearly there are many success stories with Facebook ads, and Facebook's audience targeting potential is unmatched by any other service. The simple fact that more and more people are using Facebook ads could be a testament to their effectiveness. On the other hand, some believe that more and more advertisers are working with Facebook ads simply because they have no other choice if they want to get any exposure on the platform. Reaching potential customers organically has notoriously become nearly impossible. Forrester Research famously recommended avoiding Facebook ads entirely late last year.
At the same time, it must be remembered that Facebook ads are only useful if they're contributing to conversions. Padding a follower count or increasing the amount of Likes your posts receive are meaningless unless those metrics are part of an effective plan to accomplish goals. Simply boosting a post might not get you the traffic you want - the content has to be quality, thoughtful and targeted in the first place. So, if you're willing to put the work into it, Facebook ads can be quite successful. Those who don't have a very large budget or a well-thought out plan ahead of time may want to think twice and weigh Facebook ads against their other options, though.