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Updates on Facebook as an Audience Development Tool

As more changes come to Facebook, many publishers and digital marketers are looking at the social networks’ power as an audience development tool

Many online business professionals have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. Some love the audience development opportunities from the social giant. Others are discouraged by the marketing response from it. Today we’re looking at a variety of news stories involving Facebook and how these may impact digital publishers.

Our first story looks at the expansion of Facebook’s Marketplace categories, an act that appears to be an appeal to content publishers. Search Engine Land reports, “Facebook launched its classifieds site Marketplace in October of last year. Now the company is rolling it out to more countries and adding new categories and content from (local) business owners.”

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Considered by some as a “Craigslist clone” or potentially a “Craigslist killer,” the social site originally positioned Marketplace as a peer-to-peer selling platform, responding to the organic creation of specialized buy-and-sell groups on the site. Now it’s expanding participation to businesses and introducing content from a range of listings and data aggregators.”

The article continues with information from an interview with Deb Lu, who is in charge of Marketplace. “For existing categories in Marketplace (e.g., Autos, Property), Facebook is going to add listings from businesses and content aggregators. These categories will feature side-by-side presentations of individual and “professional” listings. Facebook will also be introducing new categories that will be more business-centric:

  • Jobs (live now — US, Canada, Mexico)
  • Daily deals (eBay partnership test)
  • Tickets (Eventbrite and Ticketmaster), which are also presented on event pages
  • Shops (products from Shop section of business Pages)”

Our next story looks at another Facebook change, focused this time on sponsored content as an audience development strategy. Digiday reports, “This week, Facebook started letting social stars turn their paid content into sponsored posts by tagging the brands they are working with and then letting advertisers boost those posts directly without sharing them first. Brands can choose to authorize which creators can tag them in their page settings, and they will also be able to have stats around reach, engagement, total spend and CPM to determine the effectiveness of influencer posts.”

At first glance, it seems like Facebook is simply making it easier for advertisers to run paid promotion for influencer marketing, but the worry from execs is that Facebook’s algorithm will gradually suppress influencer posts if brands don’t boost them.”

The article continues with a look at what this means for audience development on Facebook. “This isn’t really unprecedented: Essentially, Facebook is bringing influencer marketing in line with the rest of its ads strategy, one that has largely spurned advertisers’ “organic” postings and asked them to pay to get the results they want. It is also bringing some rigor to influencer marketing.”

Our last story today looks at the efficacy of Facebook’s advertising. Forbes reports, “Fewer than one-third of U.S. consumers are influenced by social media when making a purchase decision. That was an eye-opening statistic from a new consumer survey conduct among 1,512 U.S. online consumers by Splashlight, a visual content creation company.”

The article continues with some company examples and an overall discovery from the research. “What I discovered is that Facebook makes big advertising promises that most small businesses take on faith, not measurable return on investment. But as the saying goes, “Hope is not a strategy,” and the only thing that will make those FB advertising efforts pull customers in the end is to make a big investment in time, and often money, to achieve success.”

Do you need help figuring out your audience development strategy? If so, set up a time to speak with us. We can help you build an extensive audience development strategy focused on your needs.

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