Tag Archives: Facebook

Randy Parker: ‘The Top 3 SMB Ad Platforms are Facebook, Facebook, Facebook’

brevi

The new focus for SMB advertising is very precise targeting , and that means building campaigns with Facebook, according to SMB marketing entrepreneur and Constant Contact co-founder Randy Parker. “The top three ad platforms are Facebook, Facebook, and Facebook,” says Parker. “There is no second place.”

Parker, who is developing Brevi Ads, an integrated, automated ad platform for SMBs that uses Facebook solutions, says that Facebook’s targeting abilities generally cost less than $150 per campaign, and are better than what Proctor & Gamble would spend millions of dollars on ten years ago.

“If you own a stroller store, you can target women 25-45 who live nearby, and filter in people with a child under the age of three and who bought baby gear within six months,” says Parker. While you could split your budget with Twitter, LinkedIn and Snapchat, “you are probably better spending all of it on Facebook,” he adds. You might plug in Instagram as part of that – Facebook owns it.

Parker and his Boston-based team are building Brevi to take the power of Facebook and apply it to SMBs. He notes that the solution integrates such features as SMB scheduling and shopping carts to better understand the SMBs’ actual needs in each vertical.

“You want to automate by going deep” with the business, says Parker. “Your problem is not that you want to run a Facebook ad. You want people to come for your 5pm Yoga class.“

We are now in the third generation of SMB marketing, Parker adds. “The first generation was getting online and figuring out how to market digitally. The second generation was coached DIY: what we did with Constant Contact. In the third generation, marketing will be truly automated.”

brevi photo

SMB Trust Index: Google “46”; Facebook “24”

Do SMBs think they “like” Facebook more than Google? That’s one theory…that Facebook has leapt ahead of Google by offering the free business page, universal penetration, and simple to use, affordable ad options. Such goodwill would theoretically help Facebook as it increasingly competes with Google for SMB marketing dollars.

But hold on: that’s not exactly the case, circa 1Q 2016. Google is enormously useful, and a lot of SMBs have been grousing about Facebook since last year, when it started throttling organic reach in an effort that has helped it get to three million paid advertisers.

The grousing is reflected in Alignable’s SMB Trust Index, which has been getting an NPS score on top vendors from its base of 6,000 SMBs in 7,000+ communities. The NPS score is a simple 1-10 rating. High ratings (9-10) signify “champions,” while low ratings (0-6) represent “detractors.”

Alignable found that Google is the 4th highest rated vendor for SMBs, with a rating of “46.” Facebook, meanwhile, is 12th, with a rating of “24.” This reflects a drop of four points for Facebook from a year ago, when it had a “28” rating.

Keeping it in perspective, however, both Google and Facebook are still showing overall goodwill from their SMB customers. There is quite a difference in their ratings compared to a low performer such as Web.com, which suffered a rating of “-61.”

These SMB Trust Index rankings strike us as unique and useful. In our view, it is likely to have a real impact on an industry that could never quite tell before where key vendors really stood with their SMB customers. In the past couple of years, it would have helped a lot as the media and general public started leaping to negative conclusions about Yelp, Groupon, ReachLocal and the Yellow Pages in general.

Facebook Focuses Hard(er) on Small Business

Facebook is felt by some to have the potential to dominate SMB online advertising because of its incredibly high organic usage. But the challenge to drive even more SMB advertisers remains. The company currently reports that it has 40 million SMBs with Facebook pages around the world. Two million SMBs are paid advertisers, or five percent of its SMB page holders.

Today, Facebook unveiled several new small business support programs that it hopes will boost its SMB conversion rates. These include a series of local SMB events, the launch of self serve tools and chat and email support.

We got a hint of what was to come during the March 25 keynote by Facebook Director of Small Business Jon Czaja at BIA/Kelsey National in Dallas. During his keynote, Czaja emphasized that Facebook can lift sales results for SMBs by a high percentage if it is added to traditional media ad campaigns.

He also asserted that Facebook does well on its own. He noted that Facebook’s accuracy for narrowly targeted online campaigns is 89 percent, or more than twice as high as the industry’s 38 percent average. Advertising on Facebook provides $8 back for every dollar invested, and a 12x boost in conversion, Czaja suggested.

While Facebook heavily emphasizes self serve for SMBs because they demand it, it is also eager to partner with agencies and others, adds Czaja. “Facebook can’t build everything itself. If there are other partners out there to build on our platform and encourage better performance, then advertisers will be able to choose to go to Facebook or an agency. It’s an ‘All-of-the-Above’ strategy.”

Facebook Goes Up Against Craigslist and eBay (Sort of)


Craigslist has outlasted its challengers, and remains the platform to beat for classifieds, or “things to sell” marketplaces. eBay, similarly, remains a leader for the sale of goods – although most are not geographically oriented. Amazon is also active in that space.

Can Facebook, with its huge volume and trust networks, cut into their business? It is going to try via a new “For Sale” offering that allow users of its groups to post items for sale. Items are listed with prices, photos, descriptions, pick-up location and prices. They can also be listed as “available” or “sold” to let buyers know what’s still on the market.

The listings are currently free – and probably won’t go into the paid areas that provide the bulk of Craigslist’s revenue: apartments, cars, jobs and “personal services.” But if Facebook decides to provide a greater emphasis on classifieds, it could conceivably move into transactions (and commissions). It could also open the service up beyond its groups to have more of a geo-orientation.

It isn’t the first time that Facebook has been used for classifieds. Oodle, a large classifieds platform that launched in 2005, took over a nascent Facebook classifieds service in 2008 and focused on Facebook’s huge scale to offer items for sale to friends and groups within the service. Oodle was sold to QVC several years ago.

It also isn’t the first time that online groups have been used for classifieds. In their heydays, Yahoo Groups and Big Tent – each with hundreds of thousands of users — had active lists of classifieds. Many associations and groups currently host classifieds on their websites and pages.

The classifieds project is the latest transaction-oriented effort from Facebook, which may want to diversify its revenue beyond advertising. Facebook has been experimenting with various transaction models for several years, including tests with virtual gift cards, deals and virtual currencies. Facebook has also developed an Amazon-like capability to enable transactions on other sites by collecting credit card information on its profiles.

Facebook’s Joe Devoy, BIA/Kelsey New Orleans: ‘Pairing Advertising, Sales Data’

Facebook announced today an ambitious program to match sales related data from a variety of sources to show ROI. Speaking at BIA/Kelsey’s Leading in Local: SMB Digital Marketing event in New Orleans, Product Marketing Manager Joe Devoy noted that the program reaches out to Facebook users for feedback because sales results cannot really be ascertained from click thrus. The program is being tested with national advertisers, but is clearly aimed at SMBs, who make up the vast majority of Facebook’s 1.5 million advertisers.

“Within local, our misision is to create the most relevant ads for people on the platform, says Devoy. But “Measuring offline sales has always been difficult,” says Devoy. “Clicks don’t have an impact on the performance of the campaign.” Ninety- nine percent of people who saw an ad on Facebook and later went into the store never click on an ad.

The program’s ad exposure helps tremendously. There is a 70 percent higher ROI from campaigns that maximize reach, and an 8X return on ad spend, says Devoy. At the end of the day, “Facebook reaches the majority of consumers. We can reach any vertical,” he says.

A Look at Facebook’s ‘Buy Button’ for SMBs

Facebook hasn’t really been a player in ecommerce –Facebook Credits, its games-oriented initiative, was shut down in 2012 after three years of experimentation with virtual currencies. But it continues to test the waters — which is not surprising, given its volume and huge edge in social media and native advertising.

Last year, Facebook began to allow consumers to add credit card information to profiles in order to enable ecommerce transactions. Now, Facebook says it is testing a “Buy Button” with “some” SMBs.

During the test, consumers are providing Facebook with credit/debit card info for PayPal-like purchases on a one-time-only basis. Neither the SMB or Facebook ever get to see the info – all payments are being handled by a third party processor. Consumers could then opt to allow Facebook to make the credit/debit card info part of their permanent profile, using the cards for convenience.

If Facebook expands the effort – which Reuters reports is currently free for merchants — the implications could be significant. For starters, Facebook’s enhancement of its anonymous consumer profile would put Facebook on a collision with Amazon and its one-click purchase system. By focusing on the under-served SMB market for ecommerce – and likely offering a blend of virtual and physical goods — Facebook would also be breaking new ground.

Facebook’s Joseph Devoy is discussing a wide range of SMB initiatives at Leading in Local: SMB Digital Marketing Sept. 22-24. You can register here.

IAB Leadership Meeting: Facebook, NY Times Defend Native Advertising

Native advertising — the insertion of contextually relevant advertising amidst other content — is viewed with suspicion by much of the ad community, which sees it as unscaleable, and perhaps the opposite of its drive towards programmatic (automated) sales.

During the Summary Panel today at the IAB’s Annual Leadership Meeting in Palm Desert, one hypothesis by moderator Terry Kawaja, CEO, LUMA Partners, playing devil’s advocate, was that “agencies cannot create the volume and quality of native content necessary to populate every native ad.”

New York Times Executive VP of Advertising Meredith Levien, rising to the bait, strongly disagreed. “Good native advertising puts the onus on the reader to decide whether to engage or not,” she said, noting that The Times, Buzzfeed, Forbes (her former employer) and others have set up native ad areas that are clearly differentiated from other content, and highly successful. “It’s not like we have (columnist) Thomas Friedman writing for Pepsi,” she said.

Facebook VP of Ad Products, Monetization and Atlas Brian Boland, a keynoter at BIA/Kelsey’s ILM show in December, vigorously defended native advertising – not surprisingly, since Facebook is banking heavily on it. Native advertising, when combined with personalization, provides unprecedented value, he said. “People are going to a place where they want to discover what is important to them. It creates an opportunity for people to be excited about what they see.”

Boland noted that Facebook has recently been criticized for pushing the envelope with native advertising by having video ads. But critics should have done their homework, like Facebook has, Boland said. He noted that it did reams of testing and research, and the feedback has shown that the video ads are totally engaging viewers.

Going forward, Facebook is developing a set of formats to enable people and advertisers to express themselves via native advertising on every platform – especially mobile. Boland acknowledged, however, that such formats are better suited towards larger media concerns. A handful of publishers will similarly see how things evolve, he said. But it remains “a challenge for midsized publishers.”