What first started out as a platform for students to find fellow classmates has now become a revolutionary app that has taken the world by storm. The best part is, Facebook is the representation of how technology is continuously evolving and opening doors to a whole new world for businesses. So what does this entail for marketers, and what exactly is the future of Facebook marketing?
Facebook marketing has become a business’s core in the past couple of years, regardless of whether it’s in the B2B or B2C industry. No matter how big the company is, Facebook marketing has played an enormous role in how these brands grew.
Ghost of Facebook’s Past
Facebook started out as a platform for students to connect and serve as an educational hub to better communicate and enhance the effectiveness of education through online channels. At that time, it wasn’t as popular as MySpace, and the whole notion of Facebook pages didn’t even exist. In fact, it was almost a carbon copy of MySpace – the same info, you can write on people’s walls but just without the plain savagery of choosing “top friends”.
Generally, Facebook at the time wasn’t very relevant, and the only reason people signed up (other than the fact that it was free) was so they didn’t get left behind with the trends. Businesses didn’t even start to consider the possibilities of utilising Facebook to market their business, let alone sell their products or services on the platform. No one really thought long and hard about the potential Facebook could have in changing peoples lives.
But that didn’t mean the future of Facebook marketing was as good as done. In fact, the revolutionary app just began its massive takeover.
Fast forward a couple of years, people’s lives started to revolve around the world of social media. In today’s technologically advanced times, if you want to get that competitive advantage, you’d have to be on at least two social media platforms, one of which is usually – you guessed it – Facebook.
With over 36 million Facebook users in the UK alone, the future of Facebook marketing was locked and set. The popular social media app took more significant strides from being another MySpace competitor to being a much more flexible and user-relevant tool. In fact, its marketing tools had surpassed the social media sites that came before it and thus, businesses, especially those without a large marketing budget, flocked and started creating their respective Facebook pages.
Facebook remains the dominant social platform in the UK, and over 71% of the UK adult population can be reached by adverts on the platform.
In the early stages of Facebook marketing, it was merely getting the most likes so that you reach more people. But as time passed, Facebook was able to develop a sophisticated ad platform that allows you to target specific people (based on location, interests, app behaviour, etc.). Because of this, it now enables marketers to focus more on establishing a relationship between their target audiences, giving more importance to engagement rather than follower count.
Facebook marketing has also been made easier by Messenger. This feature allows business owners, marketers, and other professionals better reach their audience and get to know their needs on a personal level. It also allows the customer to feel as if the brand is really speaking to them and that they’re the number one priority. Gone are the days when we worry about sounding like a cheap car salesman because, with this feature, we can to be ourselves.
Another revolutionary move by Facebook is Audience Insights. Let’s face it, we’re no Professor X, and we can’t really tell what our audiences are thinking about. Is this ad hitting the right spot? Is our behavioural analysis even updated? Well – lucky for you, Facebook marketing is your real-life Cerebro. With the tools provided by Facebook, you can analyse and learn about your target audiences’ behaviour in real-time. Think of how Clinique, one of the more popular beauty brands in the world, was able to increase online sales by 22%. They utilised and improved their way of using the different tools to asses the impact of various campaigns. They looked at offline sales and also which of the creative assets were more likely to capture leads.
The Future of Facebook Marketing
One of the best things about Facebook is how it’s always changing and is consistently a step ahead. For business owners and entrepreneurs looking into stepping up their marketing strategies, the future of Facebook marketing is full of endless possibilities.
Cameras are now replacing keyboards, and Facebook Stories are perfect for real-time video ads that can easily reach and show your audience a more personal view of your brand. According to industry expert and Delmondo CEO, Nick Cicero, “Stories are the future”.
With that, the possibility of allowing Facebook stories to be more interactive and further incorporate audience targeting may be the future of Facebook marketing. Stories could be a total game-changer, imagine being able to target people based on how they use story updates – locations they frequent, daily activities and people they interact with each day. Stories give a direct insight into what people do in their day to day lives and no doubt, Facebook will allow us to use that data for ad targeting.
Facebook has started monopolising the different features found on other social media platforms and found a way to make it better. For example, after the boom of Snapchat, Facebook then released its own story feature, which is now gaining traction with many businesses looking into the future of Facebook marketing.
Apart from that, the app is slowly adding in more features such as Facebook Dating and Online shopping. Who knows – it might even become the next-generation CRM platform so you can do all your marketing and manage your customer base on one single platform.
Have you ever experienced seeing a Facebook ad of something you literally just mentioned in a conversation just moments ago? It’s scary but genius. Facebook has always made it a point to keep updating its algorithms to reduce spam and provide better content to its users. So you can expect that more algorithm updates will be made in the future, especially to its marketing platform. Imagine being able to reach and engage more of your audience without having to do the heavy lifting.
Nowadays, everything is going cashless. The possibility of Facebook incorporating its very own digital wallet will make it a lot easier and convenient for users to shop on Facebook or send out gift cards to friends, family, or colleagues. They’re also developing their own cryptocurrency: Libra.
Imagine being able to stream podcasts on Facebook or rather than typing what you are thinking or feeling, you can just say it! The Siri-inspired feature could potentially change the future of Facebook marketing altogether. It’ll allow your users to engage your brand better, and, your brand can have its own literal voice.
AR / VR, 3D and 360
Content is slowly shifting from 2D flat content to 3-Dimensional, 360, and augmented content. Who knows, in a few years, Facebook will allow marketers to use holographic content to engage with its audience.
Nowadays, people want a realistic feel when it comes to ads – it helps them relate to a specific brand and the best way to approach that is to let them see the kind of reality your brand is aiming for through 3-Dimensional content. Sure this may present some challenges, but it will also open so many doors for businesses to better engage with their target market.
Essentially, the future of Facebook marketing is bringing content to the people rather than them searching for it. With all the untapped functionalities of this revolutionary app, this can be a total game-changer for your business and brand. Facebook is also making themselves a lot more hands-on for marketers to get a better grasp of consumer behaviour and build strategy.
The inevitable dominance of Facebook has allowed businesses to know their buyer personas, understand the customer journey and provides them with new marketing potential. This information is made a lot more accessible because it can literally fit in your pocket and it’s something you can access anywhere, anytime. No one can predict the future of Facebook marketing, but I’m sure it will be exciting.