A little over 3 years ago, Facebook took a hit from marketers who complained to industry trades about the lack of response they received from Facebook's display ads. Since then, Facebook's response to criticism has been to improve their product.
After GM and other advertisers declared a significant decrease in spending on Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg announced a new look with Facebook's Timeline and soon after the release, big brands saw an increase in user engagement and photo or video interaction. This was a win-win for Facebook, its subscribers and some of media's top spenders.
However with the growing number of users accessing Facebook from a smart phone, Wall Street is still critical of the company's ability to engage the over 1 billion subscribers Facebook has. To help address this, Facebook has strategized various ways to monetize data and yesterday, unveiled yet another new look designed to help advertisers achieve a greater ROI on mobile devices.
So will this design change help? That depends. The new look includes larger photos within news feeds as well as less clutter in the way the news feed is presented on a mobile device. Advertising will also be more prominent. A subscriber will be able to browse by category, such as All Friends, Most Recent, Games, Groups and more.
With this new look, Facebook has yet again done its part in providing the opportunity to engage more users, but marketers need to step up and do their part as well.
3 things marketers need to remember when creating and executing campaigns on Facebook:
1. Think visual: Photos and advertisements within Facebook news feeds will be getting more prominence in this new look. A well thought out visual display can help a marketer engage more users. With the addition of a very prominent "hide" button, the visual aspect is key.
2. Create a call to action: A picture is not worth a thousand words on Facebook. In fact, it may be worth only 3-5. Within the feed, the life of a post or advertisement will still be short so marketers need to make the most of the more prominent inventory provided. Since users have proven to engage more with images on Facebook, the image should be targeted to who a marketer wants to reach, and relevant to the audience desired.
3. Consider the response path: Audiences have tendencies to respond in different ways based on the devices they are using to access Facebook. They also vary based on demographics. Marketers should consider this when engaging and directing the desired audience to a desired outcome with their advertising or when posting on their page.
As with the other updates Facebook has made to enhance the experience for both marketers and subscribers, be ready for the abundance of research that will soon follow. For more on the new look and other Facebook news, check out InsideFacebook.
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Kimberly Willoughby is a Senior Consultant at The Center for Sales Strategy