Advertisers know that social media is a cost-effective way to reach potential customers they never could have reached before, and ever since Facebook introduced new targeting options, it became even easier for brands and advertisers to get their products directly in the face of the consumer.
A new report by Curalate, a social commerce platform, looks at the ways that advertisers are falling short when it comes to Facebook ads but also offers solutions they can use to improve their use of the popular social media platform to reach even more consumers.
Facebook has more than 1.5 billion users, and according to Curalate’s data, consumers spend one of every five minutes on their mobile devices on either Facebook or Instagram (which is owned by Facebook), while Facebook captured 65 percent of all social media ad revenues in 2015.
“While marketers are investing in the right channel, however, many have yet to truly unlock their ad revenue. On Facebook, for instance, it’s common to see brands retargeting consumers with stock photos — you know, that uninspired image of a product against a white background,” according to Curalate. “And Instagram is still new. Brands are just now testing and learning. The bottom line is this: Highly visual consumers, who have access to all sorts of information at all times, command today’s marketplace. In order to activate them, marketers must target their content and their audiences strategically.”
Curalate believes that Facebook’s dynamic product ads (DPAs) are a very effective way to reach potential customers because, for example, if a woman is searching online for a pair of shoes and clicks on a pair she likes but does not complete the purchase for whatever reason — maybe she got distracted or something else came up before checkout — a DPA can be used to insert those shoes into the woman’s Facebook news feed the next time she’s scrolling through it as a friendly and not-so-subtle reminder that she browsed those shoes but never purchased them.
“Facebook DPAs help brands promote relevant products to shoppers that have browsed the brand’s product catalog across any device,” according to Curalate. “The cherry on top: minimal work on the marketer’s end. These ads pull content from a brand’s existing product feed, so there’s no need for marketers to design custom creative specifically for them.”
The problem with DPAs, Curalate believes, is that, oftentimes, the images they pull are bland and not very exciting and don’t particularly make the consumer want to buy the product.
“The challenge with Facebook’s retargeting solution is that it pulls images from a brand’s product feed — a steady yet insipid stream of stock photos and descriptions that are managed by eCommerce and web management teams,” according to Curalate. “Not exactly inspiring. This information certainly serves its purpose on your website, but it won’t do much to cut through the noise on a channel like Facebook.”
But if the product is paired with a lifestyle image — for example, a hat being worn by a woman on a beach rather than just the same hat on a white background like an image from a catalog — Facebook users are much more likely to buy that hat. Curalate said that, when its platform was paired with a retailer’s brand on social media, making it easier for the retailer to fill consumers’ news feeds with high-quality lifestyle images featuring their product, it typically led to a 31 percent increase in return on ad spend.
Curalate believes the best way to succeed when it comes to Facebook ads is a threefold strategy that involves harnessing photos from users of the brand, working with social media influencers to reach a wider audience and creating high-quality visual images in-house that best highlight the products.
When it comes to soliciting photos from users, Curalate recommends creating a custom hashtag that lets users post their photos directly on social media and associate themselves with the brand; adding an upload widget directly to a retailer’s website is also an effective way to solicit user-generated photos.
“Who better to create authentic imagery for your brand than the people who truly know and love it?” according to Curalate.
Influencers are also a viable way to increase the conversion rate of Facebook ads, as “they have tons of followers for a reason.”
“Influencers know what works” on social media.
And there’s nothing wrong with creating high-quality photos showcasing a brand’s product expressly for social media marketing purposes, Curalate believes.
“Tap into the talents of social media gurus on your team to get a good feel for the type of content that resonates on these platforms,” according to Curalate.