Is Facebook Mobile Advertising Right for Your Business?
Chances are good that your small business is on Facebook. A new survey issued by technology firm MindLeaders reports that 81 percent of SMBs maintain a presence on the social networking platform. But having a Facebook presence and leveraging it to drive revenues are two different concepts: Thirty-four percent of small businesses have never used the site beyond conventional social media outreach, and 73 percent said they are unsure what kinds of marketing and advertising opportunities Facebook offers or whether investing in those channels would yield sufficient benefits.
That means chances are also good that most SMBs are unaware of the new mobile advertising platform Facebook launched in early June.
The mobile-only version of its Sponsored Stories advertising service enables marketers to target consumers exclusively on smartphones and tablets. Earlier this year, Facebook began integrating Sponsored Stories—posts from friends or Pages on Facebook that a business, organization, or individual has paid to highlight—directly into its mobile News Feed. But initially, they only offered Sponsored Stories purchases as one facet of larger, cross-platform premium ad packages, effectively shutting out small businesses. The changes in June mean companies of all sizes and budgets can now reach the Facebook masses on the go.
There’s no questioning the size and scope of the Facebook mobile audience: The site boasts more than 901 million users worldwide, up 33 percent from 680 million a year ago, and 488 million users access its services via mobile device each month.
The question is whether or not Facebook advertising is effective on any platform. Four out of five Facebook users have never bought a product or service as a result of advertising or comments on the social network, according to a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll—in addition, 34 percent of Facebook users surveyed say they are spending less time on the site compared to six months ago, although 20 percent say they’re spending more time. Tracking firm Inside Facebook adds that the total number of people using Facebook in the U.S., the U.K., and other major western markets is declining, although growth in emerging markets continues to fuel the site’s traffic.
If Facebook has indeed peaked—and right now, there’s probably as much data suggesting it has as there are metrics indicating the site’s growth continues—then small businesses may be wise to sit tight before rolling out mobile campaigns on its platform. But mobile social networking remains a viable outlet for your marketing dollars.
A new survey of smartphone and tablet users conducted by consumer research firms Prosper Mobile Insights and Survey Sampling International reveals that 74 percent of respondents fully pay attention to ads while surfing the mobile web, and 59.5 percent regularly or occasionally pay full attention to ads they see while visiting social media sites on their devices, ahead of mobile activities like watching video clips, playing games, or shopping. The jury’s still out on whether or not Facebook has legs, but the intimacy and immediacy of mobile social networking—and the marketing possibilities inherent in those strengths—are here to stay.
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