Blog post

Facebook is Not the Problem

By Jake Sorofman | November 01, 2013 | 0 Comments

digital marketing

Fact: Facebook has over a billion users sharing personal information every day, which makes it the largest concentration of social intelligence on the planet. Aside from Google and perhaps a troika of data aggregators, no company knows more about you.

This knowledge is power—serious power—which makes Facebook a serious contender in the game of helping digital marketers to get to know you better.

For marketers, Facebook is not a problem. In fact, it’s an opportunity. But, importantly, it’s one opportunity among many, many alternatives.

The problem isn’t Facebook; it’s myopic thinking.

With a sixth of the world’s population as registered users, digital marketers can’t ignore Facebook as a channel. But they also shouldn’t expect a digital marketing strategy to begin and end with this platform.

There are many other ways to engage audiences, online and off. YouTube, Pinterest and Twitter are just a few high-profile examples of where your audiences may lurk. The point is that the most effective digital marketing strategies orchestrate multiple channels, amplifying brand engagement across paid, earned and owned media, often including but certainly not limited to Facebook. Blindly throwing pennies at Facebook and expecting it spit out quarters like a slot machine is little more than a fool’s errand.

But how do you know how to pick, prioritize and engage multiple channels?

It begins with understanding your target market with the seemingly ancient practice of segmentation. Who are you trying to reach? What are their patterns and preferences with digital media? With your brand? How can you combine the two?

Next, it requires measurement. A recent Gartner survey found that the vast majority of marketers are falling short of transparency in understanding attribution linkages by channel and tactic. Of course, this makes it difficult to know which tactics, which channels—and in what combination—are moving the needle for the business.

Without this transparency, you can’t make comparative, fact-based judgments about how your dollars should flow. Let’s not forget that the conversion rates for online advertising are notoriously low. We all know this and it’s factored into CPM. But, compared to the industry average CTR of 0.07%, on this particular measure, Facebook can look like a hero with CTRs approaching 1%. Everything is relative.

Facebook is fairly unique as an online advertising platform, with more precise targeting (and retargeting) based on more attributes than many other options. How many publishers know, not only table stakes like your birthday and hometown, but exactly which brands you “Like,” what makes you angry, and the name of your dog—all on a platform you check (on average) four times a day?

That’s not to say that Facebook is a silver bullet. Far from it, in fact.

Digital marketing is what you put into it. The sweat equity of picking, prioritizing, engaging and measuring multiple channels and continuously optimizing investment are the ingredients of the magic elixir that turns good digital marketing intentions into real business outcomes. But exactly how to do this well eludes most marketers.

Which is why the problem isn’t one platform. The problem isn’t Facebook.

The problem is myopic thinking.

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