I once ran a print ad campaign for a well known household cleaning brand in a declining category. We believed it was well targeted, had a compelling message, and the creative was well done. The results, however, were disappointing, with little awareness or sales conversion. The marketers blamed the creative delivery; the ad creatives blamed the marketing strategy and low spending. In the end, we all agreed that print media just doesn’t “work” for the brand. Now people are saying that Facebook ads don’t work — we are in the next generation of the “Blame the media” game
Marketers are engaged in a passionate debate as to whether Facebook brand pages or advertising are effective tools for brands to use to communicate with consumers. As Facebook gears up for its public offering and pushes out enhancements (timelines, etc.), the subject really heats up.
Fact 1 – There are over 500 million people on Facebook (1 out of every 13 people in the world). 250 million log on everyday. 71% of U.S. internet users are on Facebook.
Fact 2 – Only 0.45% of fans actually interacted with the brand after becoming a fan according to a recent study by Ehrenberg-Bass Institute reported in Ad Age Article. Higher interest lifestyle brands (Nike, Harley Davidson, etc.) scored only about 0.66% while fast moving consumer goods (soaps, etc.) were closer to 0.35%. These numbers point to serious lack of engagement for brands.
While proponents say Facebook is the future, opponents say Facebook is for friends, not companies. Companies are seen as annoying, and inappropriately intrusive. The proof is in the low click-thru, engagement, and sales results of their campaigns.
Wait a minute – brand intrusions are annoying??? We don’t drive to look at billboards or watch an hour of TV to watch 20 minutes of commercials, but disruptive, engaging ads still work in those media. The media world has changed and most marketers and advertisers are trying to creatively keep up. No doubt, it will take some real breakthroughs – not adaptations of traditional messaging.
The only reason to stay away from 500 million people is that your brand is not interesting, you don’t have something interesting to say, or you lack a fresh way to communicate ideas. It isn’t easy. That is why brands struggle communicating on Facebook.