The Power of Facebook Ads in 2019

As the New Year gets into full swing, it’s worth reflecting on what opportunities are open to you for leveraging the power of Facebook advertising in 2019.

Entrepreneur and social media guru Gary Vaynerchuk, aka Gary Vee, is always challenging and stimulating, but a recent video of his really brings home the enormous power of Facebook advertising to transform the way you do marketing.

He highlights the startling fact that many big brands are failing to unleash the power of Facebook. Let me take you through some of the standout points he made, and I’ll jump in with some of my own insights too. It should be a fun ride!

The bread and butter of marketing

One of the key points Gary Vee makes is drawing a distinction between the big corporations with their slow moving advertising strategies, and the smaller entrepreneurs whose living depends upon getting Facebook marketing right.

The difference is between those for who marketing is about hitting targets to get bonuses, and those for who Facebook marketing is their bread and butter and literally helps put food on their table. Ironically, because of this, there’s less of an incentive for big brands to think about what actually works, rather than being obsessed with the old ways, especially when they tend to focus on old media like TV and print.

The creative potential of Facebook marketing

Gary Vee is keen to point out that being innovative, creative and productive is far more important than endless strategy meetings and theoretical discussions, saying:

“You’d get far better answers than in hours of meetings of philosophical debate if we spent half that time doing and testing. We’d all be much further along. ”

This brings home the point that we have to grasp the creative potential of Facebook and Instagram advertising if we want to see powerful results in 2019.

The key to Facebook ad success in 2019

The biggest issue which echoes what GV is saying in his video is that the magic of Facebook & Insta ads is the opportunity that comes with combining highly sophisticated targeting, persuasive copy and creative choices.  There are a range of creative options within the platform, like single images, carousel ads, catalogue ads, instant experiences (formerly Canvas), and of course all the video options. The crazy thing is that advertisers aren't making the most of it!

The power of Facebook and Instagram advertising comes when you make use of the platform’s capability for highly sophisticated targeting, and combine this with persuasive copy and creative choices for ad content.

The trick is not to try and fit a TV-shaped ad in a Facebook-shaped box, or a magazine-shaped ad into an Instagram-shaped box, but to start with your intended platform in mind from the beginning.

The secret to effective Facebook and Instagram Ads:

  • Pinpoint targeting

  • Persuasive copy

  • Creative choices

  • Platform-specific ads

Gary compares this lack of context to the first TV commercials; marketers thought that TV ads were just about putting radio ads on telly, rather than creating content that perfectly suited the medium.

The Facebook ad landscape has already changed

Gary Vee makes a very powerful argument that the Facebook ad landscape isn’t changing, it’s already changed.

There’s no point looking at how your niece uses Instagram, or the fact that your mother is on Facebook, there’s a wealth of empirical data about how people use Facebook and what sort of media they consume... and how responsive they are to certain forms of marketing.

We should be using ‘data at scale’ to steer our Facebook marketing strategies, Vee argues, and he’s right. Because those who are aren’t on board with the new reality of Facebook advertising won’t be around in 5 years time, due to what Vee calls ‘the merit of the market’.

Content vs context

Gary makes a strong case that, "we need more content that's contextual to the planning opportunities of the platform." By this he means it’s not a case of trying to make round pegs fit square holes, it’s about understanding what Facebook and Instagram offers us as a medium for running marketing content and what we can design to perfectly fit the platform.

“We need more content that’s contextual to the planning opportunities of the platform.”

To me this is connected to an age old problem with advertising. Ad briefs typically begin with an ad concept created at the ad agency level. Then it’s fed through to the media team for implementation. This involves trying to make the creative idea fit whatever medium it’s being directed at. Sometimes this means the ad, however creative it is, doesn’t fit well with the medium it’s being run on. And it certainly won’t be optimised to engage and convert on that channel.

Consumers on social media don’t just passively consume media like they do in front of the telly during ad breaks, they curate their feeds with content that impresses them, amuses, shocks or entertains… simply put, content that engages and resonates out in some way.

The trick the big brands are missing

Think about how many creative assets are made for websites, photo shoots, fundraiser videos, store frontages, outdoor billboards, TV commercials and so on. Then compare this flurry of creative production with the amount of creative content created specifically for the platforms that sell, like Facebook. There’s a big discrepancy here.

Now, the vast majority of social media advertisers advertise on Facebook.

93% of social media advertisers advertise on Facebook

93% of social media advertisers advertise on Facebook

Facebook ad revenue has been growing and growing, because it works, and it’s the obvious place to run your ads.

With 16% of the global population logging on to Facebook everyday, it seems astonishing that  advertisers aren’t making the most of Facebook advertising. They’re missing a massive trick.

Marketers need to understand that each channel works in a different way. People don’t engage with the iPlayer in the same way they engage with YouTube. People even consume and curate Facebook and Instagram in different ways, not to mention using different functions like Instagram feeds and stories, each which has its own unique features.

The importance of A/B testing

Vaynerchuk criticises those who engage in endless philosophical debates instead of leveraging ‘data at scale’. I couldn’t agree more. There’s a big part of Facebook marketing that is an art, but there’s a science to it as well.

When I run ads, I don’t just run one and hope for the best, I’m constantly split testing ads to see how they can be optimised to get the best results. I’m always thinking, what’s the best way to encourage audiences to enter the top of my client’s sales funnel? Would a video be more engaging, or perhaps a carousel?

Which image resonates with audiences? Which copy gets more people to make purchases? This can’t be worked out through guess work, but through strategic testing.

It’s this kind of concrete data that helps drive efficiencies that can mean a difference of £££s in ad spend efficiency.

Why aren’t I seeing results for my Facebook ads?

The fact that Facebook is a potential gold mine for marketers doesn’t mean that everyone will automatically see big results. In fact, Gary Vee himself points out that many brands have sunk lots of money into the platform without returns. This doesn’t mean that there’s no ROI in Facebook ads. Far from it. As Vaynerchuk points out,

“the ROI to me of a piano is zero, but to Elton John it’s a billion dollars. Cool it works, but what next?”

Gary Vee argues Facebook ads fail because the content is weak, the targeting in ineffective, and the creative and targeting don’t match up.

This is Gary Vaynerchuk’s recipe for Facebook marketing success:

“Make a great video, target it properly, get hundreds of thousands of people to watch it, then remarket them for a call to action and watch how many convert. You’ll believe in marketing for the rest of your life.”

Why Facebook Ads fail

  • The content is weak

  • Targeting ineffective

  • The creative and targeting don’t match up

He tells us that the best way to build any brand is with truth and authenticity:

“You've got to be you all the way through.”

And you’ve got to put as much content out there as you can and not overthink how people will react:

“Most people don’t show their true selves because they're worried about losing people, thus they become vanilla.”

How to super-target your Facebook ads

Vaynerchuk points out that with Facebook you can target content based on employees of companies.

He suggests you could create a video ad that opens with really specific targeted copy like:

“Hey, does your CMO know….”

“Does your head of HR know…”

Gary Vee points out that if only three of the 4000 people you targeted forward that video to the head of HR big things will happen.

I can help you win at Facebook ads in 2019…

2019 is such an incredible year to start taking your Facebook marketing to the next level. There’s going to be lots more content up on this blog, so make sure you keep checking it out. And if you want to know more about how I can help you win at Facebook in 2019, get in touch or book a Power Hour with me today.