The Marin Customer Spotlight series profiles industry leaders and provides an informed perspective on current topics and trends. Last week, Jeff Ferguson, CEO at Fang Digital Marketing, sat down with us (virtually) to discuss the state of Facebook advertising and the future it holds for online marketers.
Marin: What are your thoughts on Facebook’s recent announcement around their new targeting options (email lists, etc.) using Custom Audiences? How effective do you think this will be in engaging and converting more Facebook users? How do you see businesses using this functionality?
Jeff: I think this is an immensely powerful tool for Facebook advertisers. The ability to reach out to your existing prospect or customer based on another marketing channel, especially one that is designed for social interactions like Facebook, will allow marketers to increase conversion retention, and share of requirements (repeat purchases).
Although one of the examples that Facebook provides for this type of tool, which is running a campaign to get more likes, would usually be seen as a waste in and of itself, in this instance, since you're trying to get likes from prospects or existing customers, the value of those likes would actually be of some worth. Once that interested audience is within your circle of conversation, you can continue that conversation to close the deal or get them coming back for more.
Marin: Facebook continues to explore additional revenue opportunities - with new audience options, ad types and device targeting - to promote more advertising spend.
- As ads begin to infiltrate every aspect of a user’s experience on Facebook, what would be your biggest concerns over relevancy and engagement? How would you have Facebook respond?
Jeff: First and foremost, I know that Facebook is in the business to make money - period. Discussions around how that they should limit their attempts to create revenue for their company and their investors are just not based in reality.
That said, I give major praise to Facebook for not only trying to find the proper balance of revenue generation and user comfort, but doing such without the fear of failing. Unlike many businesses who seem to get stuck in a single design, a single ad format, etc. because it's working (or worse, "always worked before), Facebook is putting it all out there to find that perfect match of making money, making its customers, that is the advertisers, happy and keeping its users from feeling they are just the vehicle for making Zuck richer.
- Marin: Are there any challenges that you face today that prevents you from spending more on Facebook? How does Marin help you in facing this challenge?
Jeff: Facebook is still an evolving animal, especially when it comes to its interfaces for its advertisers. Facebook ads were clearly designed with a single, self-serve attitude in mind, which was fine for the smaller advertisers they had when they started, but it's time for them to grow up and make that interface work for the Enterprise and the Agency. Marin Software allows that type of access for management of bids, ad testing, and much more, and all within the same interface where we manage our paid search campaigns.
Marin: With news feed ads receiving more attention, most recently with the introduction of Facebook's mobile ad placement, how have you seen advertisers capitalizing on this opportunity and how have you seen users respond? Is there a compromise that needs to be made as more ads are delivered in a limited mobile landscape?
Jeff: I have seen advertisers capitalize on the mobile front, but it's mostly early adopters. There is a tremendous opportunity on this front for a variety of brands, products, and services, to start that conversation with Facebook's most active segment, but as usual, it's usually the little guys and the agencies themselves who put it out there first to see how it could work.
I don't think there needs to be a compromise as much as a balance, and there is a difference there. The balance should be based on testing both the advertiser’s ability to get their message across to an audience and that audience's ability to use the product in such a way that keeps them coming back again and again.