123rf20904696 bothThe speed with which online marketing develops is often astounding. Not too long ago, Google was the only game in town when it came to driving serious amounts of traffic, but the last few years have seen a profound shift in the online landscape. It is now social media that has the edge in terms of user volume.

A whole industry has been built around exploiting social media for marketing purposes, and it's often presented as something of a dark art, but it's not necessary to start dabbling in viral content and so on to realize the commercial potential of social. [quotes]For getting a toehold into this fast-developing market, Facebook should be the first port of call with its huge user base, [/quotes] and Facebook ads are the perfect way of grabbing a slice of the pie. Here are five reasons to add this channel to your marketing mix.


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Mobile Reach

Current figures suggest that around three quarters of Facebook users access their accounts via a mobile device. Considering that Facebook boasts well over a billion active monthly users, this translates into a substantial mobile reach, and Facebook ads are an ideal way of tapping into this market. [quotes]It was once accepted wisdom that mobile traffic didn't convert well, but in these days of high-performance smartphones with plenty of screen space, this is no longer the case.[/quotes]

Indeed, mobile users represent potentially fertile ground for creative marketers. Many people accessing Facebook via a smartphone are passing an otherwise idle time, such as their daily commute, and are thus susceptible to a compelling message that piques their interest. How you capitalize on this situation is limited only by your imagination.

Excellent Targeting Features

The amount of data that Facebook holds on its account holders, both individually and in aggregate, is astounding. The debate over privacy will no doubt rage on, but from a marketing point of view this means that Facebook ads can be targeted with extreme precision. [quotesright]The system makes it easy to pinpoint specific demographics[/quotesright] using the Custom Audiences feature, while a successful campaign can be quickly expanded to reach new prospects, using the Look-Alike Audience tool to generate new target lists from previous conversion data.

Detailed Metrics

One of online advertising's key benefits is the detailed way in which results can be tracked, and [quotesright]this is an area in which Facebook ads excel. [/quotesright] Its Insights system offers a suite of tools which allow campaign tracking with extreme granularity. Whether you're looking for a simple overview of engagement levels for each advertisement, or want to drill down into detailed demographic information on converting customers, Facebook makes it relatively simple.

Easy Split Testing

Tracking the success of an ad campaign is only the start when it comes to refining it to boost profits. Split testing goes one step further, allowing for the rotation of two or more variations on an advertisement, comparing the results to see which combinations of elements drive the best performance. Facebook's Power Editor toolset makes split testing at this level quick and easy.

Speed and Responsiveness

Lastly, when taken as a whole, [quotes]the Facebook ads environment enables you to set up, launch, measure, and refine your advertising campaigns with ease.[/quotes] Whether at the level of an entire campaign, or the precise focus of a single advert, this means that it's quick to test new ideas, surf the traffic waves of short-lived memes, and capitalize on what's working without delay. What's more, this flexibility and agility means it's trivial to switch entire campaigns in and out of rotation, helping to overcome “ad blindness” in heavy Facebook users.

It's clear that social media is more than just a passing fad, and after an unpromising start, advertising conversion rates are now starting to rocket. [quotesright]No serious online marketer can afford to ignore this channel, [/quotesright] and Facebook ads offer a quick and effective way to reach this burgeoning market.