25 Aug 2016 20:45 IST

What to look out for in Facebook marketing trends

Facebook advertising is a strong tool that brands can use to meet their digital marketing objectives

Facebook marketing has become an integral part of any digital marketing strategy and it has revolutionised the way brands look at the digital marketing industry. Over the last 12 years, Facebook has seen a 360-degree shift, transforming from a simple social networking site to the face of a multi-billion dollar company, allowing brands to find new customers, increase their sales, create brand awareness and much more.

When we ran an industry survey among CMOs and brand heads across India, we found that close to 90 per cent of brands in India are already leveraging Facebook. Advertisers are spending more money than ever before on Facebook, that has emerged as one of the biggest platforms to engage with their target audience.

Keeping this in mind, new features are being regularly added to Facebook, and marketers have to constantly make alterations to their strategies to ensure their content is still reaching its target audience. Below are a few pointers which highlight how Facebook might help for both consumers and businesses in the near future.

Less is more

Following the decrease in the organic reach of Facebook page posts in 2014 and further more in 2015, Locowise, a social media tool conducted a study to analyse how page posting frequency impacts the reach, engagement and negative feedback. The study revealed that pages that posted once a week or less on their official page reached an average of 15 per cent of the audience who liked their page per post.

Interestingly, pages that posted two to four times a week reached only 10 per cent of the page audience and pages that posted once a day reached a lower average of 8.42 per cent per post. This means that organic reach drops with an increase in the number of posts, and over-posting content is a common mistake brands made.

Another study by Social@Ogilvy reveals that for large pages, with more than 5,00,000 Likes, the organic reach has seen a remarkable decline and it is believed that brands can expect the organic reach to approach zero in the future.

This means that the quality of content needs to be extremely high and we are likely to see many brands evolving into fewer but highly engaging posts in order to achieve the relevant reach.

Videos, future of marketing

Videos are the next step in the social media evolution and will most likely dominate the online advertising and marketing industry. FB statistics say that users watch an average of 100 million hours of video every day and most of these are on their mobile devices. Daily views have increased from 1 billion to 8 billion in the last one year. These stats are proof that users have started consuming more video content and it is essential that brands leverage this in their favour to engage with potential customers.

Video content is the best medium for storytelling and is a great opportunity for brands to connect with their audience. Live Videos was one of the major updates announced earlier this year by Facebook. This gave live videos prime placement in the Facebook app and also added new ways to find, create, share, and react to them. On an average, Facebook says people are commenting 10 times more on live videos than they do on regular videos. This clearly means that brands must explore Live videos over recorded videos as this would help drive higher engagement levels with the audience.

Mobile is king

The fact that a business needs to have a mobile-friendly website is much talked about and is not a new concept. Last year, Google announced that, for the first time, mobile searches surpassed desktop searches. This eventually led to a new situation where Google’s algorithm started to penalise sites that were not optimised for mobile devices. For the last few years, marketing experts have been stressing that there is an obvious need for businesses to optimise their sites for the ever-increasing number of mobile users.

Facebook announced that it has over 142 million users in India, of which about 133 million access the social network via their mobile devices. This means that a staggering 90 per cent of users are using Facebook on their phones in India. It is essential that marketers who are trying to engage with and attract potential customers in order to redirect them to their website, ensure that their website is mobile optimised and that they are able to leverage every micro moment of Indian consumers.

Even smaller elements can go a long way in this — like ensuring your FB cover image is optimised for mobile devices, or ensuring you have a one-click phone number or e-mail id for consumers to contact your brand.

Internet of Things (IoT) could fundamentally change the definition of mobility and that is something to watch out for as well.

Advertising is inevitable

Just four or five years ago, advertising on social media platforms was a very niche concept with not too many players in the market. In this new age of online marketing, many brands have become aware of the importance of ads across various social media channels, especially Facebook. Today, with the various targeting and advertising options on Facebook, we can reach out to millions of potential customers in any part of the world.

Facebook advertising is a strong tool that can be used by brands to meet their marketing objectives. Facebook ads allow you to choose from a wide range of possible adverts including but not restricted to Page Post Engagement, Clicks to a website, Conversions on Website, App Installs, Video Views, Lead Ads, and so on. Over the last few years, Facebook has evolved into a paid marketing platform more than an organic one so it is essential for marketers to leverage the power of the various adverts available. That being said, engaging content and the quality of messaging is still critical and can make the difference in getting better results.

Shop on Facebook

In an attempt to make it easier for brands to reach out to potential customers and drive sales on mobile devices Facebook has started rolling out the Shop section in phases. This section allows a brand to list out their products and let consumers browse through the catalogue and purchase products that they like from within Facebook. The social network does not charge you to add a shop section to your Page nor does it take any percentage of the money you make through it.

In the upcoming year, more businesses will start selling stuff directly from Facebook as this new section is set to change the way we look at e-commerce and social selling. Of course, it has had product ads for e-commerce companies for a long time now – these can be also be leveraged in paralle.

While Instagram is a part of FB, it still acts independently and we see the integration becoming much stronger in the future.