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Media Alternatives to Paid Facebook Ads

By Eric Schmitt | July 13, 2020 | 0 Comments

MarketingDigital Marketing Strategy and Execution

A large number of advertisers have coalesced around #StopHateForProfit, and paused or reduced ad spend on Facebook.  For many advertisers, subtracting Facebook from a media plan can create a significant gap.  The gap can be large.  Consider a few numbers from Pew Research, which has tracked social media for 15 years and offers an excellent data resource:

– Facebook reaches a whopping 69% of US adults (75% of women, 63% of men).  74% of Facebook users use it daily.

– Instagram reaches 37% of US adults (31% men, 43% women).  Among 18-29 year olds, Instagram penetration stands at 67%.  63% of Instagram users use it daily.

The size of these advertising audience universes underscores the importance of the media planning question at hand:

How can I most effectively and efficiently reach the people I would ordinarily market to on Facebook and Instagram?

A few possibilities come to mind:

  • The most practical way to fill the Facebook hole for many advertisers is likely through a series of adjustments throughout the rest of the media plan. Dialing up investments in programmatic display is an obvious starting point. In many cases, there are further opportunities. Recently we’ve discussed media planning strategies with clients that include increasing investments in new formats like streaming audio and podcasts, as well as in-store retail opportunities. Some advertisers are revisiting targeted-but-traditional tactics including zone-based cable TV, radio and direct mail.
  • For Instagram audiences specifically, logical substitutes include Google’s YouTube, Snapchat and perhaps TikTok.  Younger audiences especially are flocking to streaming video, including over-the-top (OTT) and connected TV (CTV).  When shifting budget into OTT and CTV, advertisers should be mindful of the tradeoffs between buying direct from content providers, vs. programmatically via DSP.  Programmatic buys allow for more targeted execution, but expose buyers to fraud. For more on OTT/CTV strategies, see (Gartner clients only) How to Put Over-the-Top TV Advertising to Work
  • Advertisers looking to reach Facebook gamers can explore media buys on Amazon’s Twitch, which is closing in on 40 million monthly active users in the U.S.

Whatever approach you take to adjusting your media plan, keep in mind the central importance your target audience definition. How you define and size these audiences is of crucial importance to crafting an effective media plan.  For more, see (clients only) Use Targeting Segmentation to Maximize Advertising Reach

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