In February, Facebook announced premium ad placement and offers that would appear on the Facebook log-out page and mobile news feed. The company also introduced a feature called Facebook boosted page posts – ” a simple way for businesses to use page posts to reach more people and drive more comments and likes.” Still around that topic, now Facebook makes Premium ads available through its self-serve Power Editor tool and through third-party Facebook ad sellers.
There are many agencies who are working in paid Social Engagement, including Kaplow PR, Zeno Group & Porter Novelli. Facebook Premium ads are already being used by many companies, in the hope to drive more likes, boost brand awareness, and increase sales. Some of them fail lamentably, because they rely on DIY strategies, without fully understanding their audiences.
Third party ad sellers like BLiNQ Media are experienced in targeting, and have better creative skills to develop ads that drive sales. Last but not least, their teams are trained, certified and approved by Facebook directly to sell Premium inventory:
According to Facebook, Premium ads and sponsored stories on the right-hand side are typically 40% more engaging and 80% more likely to be remembered than all previous offerings. Many marketers agree, including BLiNQ Media CEO Dave Williams, who considers this offer as the “most effective way for a brand to distribute its content and deliver against core reach, frequency and engagement metrics.”
The problem, however, is that not all Premium ads are created equal, and not all are as effective as they should.
Not long ago, BBC technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones conducted ani nteresting experiment to see just how effective Facebook advertising truly is. He set up a bogus bagel company online, VirtualBagel, and promoted it with a Facebook ad. After setting his objectives and ad spent limit, he sat back, enjoying the “likes” that followed almost immediately. But on a careful analysis, he noted that VirtualBagel was hugely popular in Egypt, Indonesia and the Philippines, but just about nobody in the US or the UK had any interest. After analyzing the fans who “liked” his page, he concluded that there seem to be a number of fake profiles in certain countries generating fake “likes”.
For marketers who already experimented with buying Facebook likes from third party vendors, this is hardly news. Except that official Facebook ads shouldn’t target fake profiles and fake likes. And of course, Facebook denies having a real problem with fake profiles, although the issue is not new – despite that in the past fake profiles had to do more with malicious attacks than with advertising.
No matter how well trained third party vendors are to sell Facebook Premium inventory, it’s very unlikely that they can identify fakes from real users, and also very unlikely that they will invest time and effort to do so. The success of a campaign will then be measured not in number of likes, but in actual ROI. On social media, ROI is mostly determined by interactions (comments, shares) if the campaign doesn’t have a clear sales purpose. Also, companies buying premium placements need to be aware that with the end of a campaign, the momentum ends too.
Very few companies find real value in running long-term ads on Facebook – and usually, for small companies, this is not even an effective practice. But for those who believe in the power of numbers to attract even more numbers, the strategy works. Companies selling Facebook likes and Twitter followers are successful because of a general belief that a brand liked by many is a social media influencer. There’s a fine line there, but the strategy works. While marketers look at a page with many “likes” thinking “these could be bought”, ordinary users go for the “like” button, believing that, where so many people like something, there’s potential value to explore.
Of course, advertising on Instagram is a major growth vehicle as well.