This post was originally published on 10/7/2014 and has since been updated.
Look out Google, Facebook is here to play in the world of online advertising.
A competitor of Google's well known ad platform, Adwords, has come into the fray with the release of a new ad network run by Facebook in the first few days of October. Facebook has made this possible through their recent acquisition of Microsoft's Atlas, an ad network that lets them market to users when they're on and off of the platform.
After a redesign, Facebook will launch their own version of Atlas that will quantify and implement the user data of the over 1.3 billion people on Facebook. Yes, your posts, statuses, likes, and other actions on Facebook will all be taken into account when displaying ads to specific demographics and target audiences, which could someday give Facebook a leg up over Google's paid advertising options.
How will this make Facebook a viable competitor to Google, the king of online advertising?
Facebook's online advertising strategy could go into much deeper detail compared to Google's by providing advertisers with more information about their target audiences. Not only that, but Facebook is also reportedly giving marketers a better picture of where their ads will be displayed and providing them with predictions of how users will react to the ads they are being shown. Facebook could start a new and more thorough trend of analysis overview for online advertising.
Instead of just trying to generate clicks and explain user behaviors after the results of a campaign have been analyzed, Facebook's ad network is said to provide more information about conversions, impressions, clicks, and other key performance indicators about users before a campaign even launches.
How will Facebook use user-collected data to their advantage to reach audiences at the right time?
Facebook will implement their understanding of all the collected data from their users over the years along with the new version of Atlas feature that has the bandwidth to track individuals without using cookies or sessions. With so much user data from the 1.3 billion people who have created a Facebook account, and with the ability to present offline ads, Facebook has the potential to grow as a leading player in online advertising in the near future.
Straying away from the typical strategy of showing advertisements to a specific target audience, Facebook's online advertising platform will go deeper by displaying advertisements to a slice of a target audience that is more likely to convert. Facebook is also focusing in on displaying different ads depending on where in the buyer journey a user is. By giving more precise timing options to marketers on when they display their ads to users, Facebook's advertising platform is giving marketers a better chance of success with their ads by serving them at points in the sales funnel that they were meant to be viewed by users. This is a smarter way of ad targeting that is beneficial not just for businesses and marketers, but for users as well.
Should your business consider using Facebook's online advertising platform?
If Facebook's online advertising platform is everything that it's worked up to be, all businesses and industries should at least consider using Facebook's new service in their overall digital marketing strategy. Besides the level of detail and increased insights that the new online advertising platform supposedly provides compared to Google Adwords, it might already be a no-brainer for businesses that have already established a brand presence on Facebook, and it can act as the next step for them to get users already liking their Facebook page and activity to actually become customers. The platform is still very new, but it might be worth checking out for businesses looking to drive more traffic to their website, generate more online sales, and grow their online presence both on and off of Facebook.
Who is currently on Facebook?
The number of Facebook users at 1.3 billion is astounding, and holds room for unlimited potential for businesses looking to implement the new online advertising platform. With more and more users expected to join Facebook every year, what target audience or demographic could you not find on the social media giant? Despite its enormous user size and expected growth, marketers must understand that Facebook's ad platform is different from Google's and also know that Facebook's user-collected data defines who they can target with their ads. For example, of the current 1.3 billion people on Facebook, mobile users across the globe number over 1 billion.
The largest demographic on Facebook is between the ages of 25-34, but there are other large, active, demographics with different age groups too. Chances are, if you have a business and wish to utilize Facebook's online advertising platform to reach your target audience, they are already there.
With Facebook's acquisition of Atlas and years of stock-piled data collection on its users, expect to see a change towards more people-based marketing that advertises not on a target demographic level, but on an individual one.
What do you think: will Facebook soon become a major player in online ads?