With Black Friday less than 10 days away, the holiday season is already in the books. CPCs will rise, particularly in verticals such as retail and e-commerce; consumers will be inundated with a barrage of ads (plenty of those consumers, it should be said, will eagerly sift through the chaos in search of the best deals); and marketers will anxiously watch as the fate of their media plans, ranging from creating offers to leveraging retargeting, unfolds in real time.
But that story has already been written. Looking ahead to 2013, the most compelling narrative to develop in the first quarter will be the emergence of newer ad types, as well as the marketers who employ them effectively, as the shift away from domain ads continues. As it has evolved, the Facebook marketing landscape has become increasingly complex, characterized by a multitude of ad products, placement types, and targeting capabilities, and it shows no signs of letting up in the near future. Navigating this terrain requires being prepared to test and capitalize on all of the innovation, and early adoption of these features may prove to be a significant advantage.
Here are five ad types I’d encourage you to find a way to incorporate into your Facebook marketing mix come January:
1) Page Posts
Given the massive undertakings to acquire Likes for Facebook Pages, maintaining engagement and activating fans will continue to be an advertising priority. Historically, Page administrators have been able to advertise content (primarily by promoting Page posts) to both their fans and friends of their fans. Now, Page posts can also be distributed in the news feeds of users who aren’t fans of your page and don’t have any friends who are fans. This was first rolled out to mobile but is also the case for desktop, and it’s a major adjustment to the Page marketing sphere that can dramatically alter the reach of your content in the most engaging placement on Facebook.
2) Sponsored Results
This search-inspired ad type is still in its infancy, and thus the economics of an inefficient marketplace offers an opportunity for cheaper user engagement that’s worth taking advantage of. It should be noted that acquiring fans via the type-ahead placement may prove difficult due to the absence of an inline Like button, so sponsored results are best used to drive traffic to apps, steer users away from competitors, and defensively to ensure that no one usurps your rightful place in the search rankings.
3) Custom Audiences
Target – or exclude – users you already know on Facebook. Time to, say, reactivate lapsed subscribers? Slice and dice your email list to create an audience cluster, and now you’re ready to tailor marketing messages and use cases that match your relationship history with cohorts of your customers. The possibilities are endless, so a little creativity will go a long way towards driving results with your custom audiences.
4) Mobile App Install Ads
Combine Facebook’s targeting accuracy with device-specific placement options and the capability to drive traffic directly to an app store, and generating app downloads is suddenly an attractive use case for mobile developers of all stripes. Everyone running mobile app advertising should test the viability of Facebook as a new source of traffic.
5) Open Graph
Action spec targeting and Open Graph sponsored stories are still limited to users of the ads API, but this greenfield is too promising to ignore. The latter is the only app-specific advertising option apart from game-played sponsored stories and traditional app install ads, not to mention its effectiveness as an organic source of traffic, while the former is the first iteration of behavioral targeting on Facebook.
– Kushal Kadakia