Facebook continues to dominate the social media landscape, but how useful really is the platform for retailers with an increasingly squeezed advertising budget?

While most retailers will be using a mix of social media platforms to promote their products, Facebook is still the unquestioned leader for social media advertising; with some estimates saying Facebook is responsible for as much as one fifth of the entire global digital advertising market. With a raft of new features in 2018 in more planned for the coming months, we look at how Facebook marketing can work for you.

Total Targeting

 Undoubtedly one of the greatest strengths of Facebook’s advertising platform is its ability to target users based on a wide array of preferences and interests, combined with precise location targeting. This lets you personalise your ads in a way other platforms simply cannot match, giving you both more control and great customer data to work with. Many retailers are combining Facebook advertising with chatbots, so customers can fully research and even buy products without ever leaving their Facebook app.

New Tools For 2019

Over 2018, Facebook made several changes, both to the way it displays ads, and how advertisers interact with the platform. One of the most important of these was the revamped analytics platform, which allows a breakdown of your customers by channel, device, age, gender, location – pretty much any information they give to Facebook.

On top of this, there was an update to the Ad manager interface, which mean it’s now much faster and more straightforward to edit and update your ads. This update also allows more customisation of the reports you can pull from Facebook, and everything can be accessed in the publishing sidebar, so you can get insights and publish content all from the same view.

Media is More Important

Some interesting research by social media agency Ad Parlour last year showed that high quality media is even more important on Facebook than other types of display advertising. What’s more interesting is that the inverse is true for copy. Ad Parlour found that Ads without copy – images only – had click-through rates 40% higher among women, and 54% higher among men.

Image carousels were also found to be more effective, with 23% higher click-through rates among women than single-image ads. For retailers in markets like fashion or jewellery whose customers already expect high quality media, this can be an effective way to maximise your social media ad ROI.

Not All Your Customers Will Use Facebook

Despite its dominance of the social media marketing arena, Facebook is much more popular among some demographics than others. In particular this is true across generations. Consumers 25 and under, often called ‘Gen Z’, are much more likely to research products on Facebook’s sister-service Instagram or find out about new products using Snapchat. Both services are focused on photo and video sharing, and characterised by shorter, snappier posts, another indicator of the move away from text in social media advertising.

Despite the growth of its rivals, Facebook still has a whopping 1.4 billion daily active users, and is not likely to lose its stranglehold on the market any time soon. With new, less clunky, publishing tools, formats and customisable publishing lists, Facebook is still a solid base for your social media advertising.

What results have you seen from using Facebook Ads, and will you be increasing or decreasing your spend on them in 2019? Tell us below.
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