Facebook offering free credits to generate advertising interest
Facebook have turned to free promotional credits in a bid to generate more interest in their advertising. Google already offer promotional credits as a form of lead generation for new customers, and it appears Facebook are hoping for a similar effect. However, given the differences between search and social platforms, it’s difficult to see it working for Facebook.
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s COO and former Google employee, announced last week that Facebook would offer free $50 credits to up to 200,000 small businesses to help them increase sales. Facebook seem intent on improving their advertising revenues by improving initial take up, but how effective can it really be?
Facebook users are not in buying mode, Google users are
When compared to Google and Yahoo, Facebook lacks one crucial attribute – search. When an internet user searches Google or Yahoo or Bing, they are after something, they are some way qualified as a sales lead and in many instances they have already reach the buying decision and are ready to make a purchase.
Facebook advertising doesn’t have that. Maybe it does to a very minor degree for people already signed in to Facebook but most people on Facebook are there to interact with friends and family.
To draw a real world comparison, when someone gets on Google, they are effectively taking a virtual shopping trip. They know what they are after and how much they are willing to spend – their PC (or mobile device) is their vehicle; there’s no traffic jam but they don’t know what the name of the shop is yet. If you, as a business owner, can get to the top of Google’s first SERP, you are effectively the first shop on the high street. With the right product, price or message, you are making money – an adequate combination of all three and you will be making serious money.
Facebook as an advertising platform isn’t like a virtual shopping trip. It’s more like a virtual chin-wag or coffee catch-up – shopping may be the last thing on your mind. And unless you have a compulsion for acting on every sales pitch you encounter, you are not in shopping mode. During a coffee with a friend, there is always the likelihood of a shop window bargain catching your eye but there is no guarantee that you will make a purchase, or even set foot inside the store.
Is it worth looking for a free advertising credit from Facebook?
If you plan to advertise on Facebook, be prepared for a lower cut through. Be prepared to offer an eye-catching bargain that might elicit an impulse purchase and don’t expect wholesale reward for what is a less effective form of advertising.
These proposed credits are available to businesses in the US but if Facebook see a successful return from it, it’s likely that they will extend it to Australia in the future. If you are new to online advertising, rather than waiting for that to happen, we suggest you take a $100 punt on Google AdWords – select the correct keywords, write well-composed ad copy and deliver what your ad claims. If you can get that right, you’ll see a positive return on your advertising investment and a free credit from Facebook might be the last thing on your mind. For help ensuring you get your campaign running right, work with our effective Google Adwords team at roi.com.au