Ever since Facebook introduced advertising, it has been met with a mixture of enthusiasm and a hint of annoyance from those bothered by interruptions in their feed. Regardless, the advertising potential of Facebook and its entire family of apps – including Instagram – remains huge for business. The opportunities and options for ads continue to grow, as do the millions of advertisers.
In fact, on the Facebook Q3 2019 Earnings Call, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said 140 million businesses use its social platforms every month. And, of Facebook’s 7 million advertisers, 3 million already advertise across Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger Stories.
This transition to expand advertising across its platforms has been developing for a while. And as it evolved, Instagram and then Facebook, copied the horizontal-scroll tap-and-swipe format of Stories from Snapchat. This short-form, ephemeral micro-content is what advertisers would do well to focus on in 2020.
There are two fantastic aspects of using Stories. First, creators can publish an abundance of content and not worry about ‘jamming up’ the feeds of their followers. Second, followers can consume as much or as little Story content as they wish. In essence, both parties are in control.
Plus, with Facebook and Instagram adding more and more fun, interactive, highly engaging features to Stories, such as polling stickers, advertisers can also capitalize on this super popular feature that has a prominent top-of-feed placement.
To create an interactive Stories ad, choose Instagram Stories as your only ad placement in Ads Manager. Then, check the “Add an interactive poll” box. It’s in the same place where you upload your creative and edit the text. Spark a conversation, run a contest, get insights from your community, and more.
If you haven’t already done so, start testing what gets the most clicks and engagement now.
The other fastest-growing areas on Facebook and Instagram for users and advertisers are Messaging, Videos, Facebook Marketplace, and Augmented Reality.
In August, Facebook started rolling out Lead Generation in Facebook Messenger. This new template within Ads Manager enables businesses to create automated experiences to help them qualify leads. With this feature, your business can ask custom questions - and remind people to answer them a way to nurture leads - and close the loop on the unqualified leads and integrate the information with your CRM. Businesses, such as the UK-based professional services firm RIFT Tax, have already seen meaningful results. In their case, RIFT increased qualified leads by 42%.
Facebook’s continued investment in video and the Watch platform is a major indicator of what will also be important in 2020 and beyond. Not only is it valuable to create more 15-second in-stream video ads, but marketers should also be publishing more long-form video, which is over three minutes.
IGTV (Instagram Television) could also be a big player in the coming year. As the platform is still under-utilized, explore how your business can use IGTV to engage and develop your audience of consumers.
While Facebook Marketplace is where customers can discover and purchase items, creating a paid ad to appear when people shop is much more effective than listing an item for sale. Create ads through the Ads Manager tool. Set your budget and select your ad placement. Choose Automatic Placements for your ad to appear on Marketplace, as well as other compatible placements on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Audience Network.
New Advertising Options
With the new year comes new ads and ad placement options.
- Facebook Search. Reach people who are shopping - and therefore in the discovery mindset - with ads in Facebook Search Results. The ads, which look very similar to news feed ads and have the same control and transparency including a “Sponsored” label, appear in Marketplace or general search. If your ad is eligible, Search will appear in placement options.
- Facebook Groups. Last fall, Facebook started trying out ad placements in the Groups tab in order to evaluate whether they would be beneficial for people and businesses. It is one more option Facebook found to increase ad inventory. Given how much Facebook has been prioritizing Groups, the test ads will most likely get results.
Also of note, in Mid-2020 Facebook is expected to limit the number ads pages can run simultaneously. However, this only impacts a small percentage of businesses. Stay up to date with what’s new in Facebook Ads Manager here.
As you create your Facebook and Instagram ad strategy for the new year, go with what has been working for your business and then slowly introduce new ad features into the mix. Experiment to see what features best impact your business in a positive way.
About Mari Smith
Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing and social media. She is a Forbes’ Top Social Media Power Influencer, author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day. Forbes recently described Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” She is a recognized Facebook Partner; Facebook headhunted and hired Mari to lead the Boost Your Business series of live events across the US. Mari is an in-demand speaker, and travels the world to keynote and train at major events.
Her digital marketing agency provides professional speaking, training and consulting services on Facebook and Instagram marketing best practices for Fortune 500 companies, brands, SMBs and direct sales organizations. Mari is also an expert webinar and live video broadcast host, and she serves as Brand Ambassador for numerous leading global companies.
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