For marketers, Facebook is the 800-pound gorilla in the room. The Pew Research Center says that nearly 80% of Americans who are online use Facebook, more than twice the number who use Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or LinkedIn. Facebook users are also highly engaged, with more than three-quarters of them visiting the site daily and over half logging in multiple times per day.
The number of active monthly Facebook users worldwide stands at approximately 2 billion. But for marketers, the most important Facebook statistics may be this: Users spend an average of 35 minutes a day on the social media platform. Marketers can’t afford not to compete on Facebook — it would be ceding too much ground to competitors, yet many find it a challenge: 94% of marketers use Facebook, but only 66% are convinced that it is an effective way to distribute content.
Why the discrepancy? It’s not that Facebook doesn’t offer many options to help marketers find their target audience: There are 92 customer attributes available that marketers can select for targeting, including geography, mobile device type, operating system, personal interests, demographics and user behavior. That’s one reason Facebook charges a premium rate via cost per click, cost per link, cost per thousand impressions and cost per action.
But for too many marketers, these customization options don’t translate into genuine opportunities. Marketers still face hurdles in generating ROI and efficiently and effectively selecting an audience. Savvy marketers may have customer-engagement strategies in place, including compelling content, but it only generates ROI if they can get it to the intended audience.
So how do marketers accomplish this? Audience profiling is the standard reply, but to truly succeed, marketers need to look beyond the data Facebook provides. An effective Facebook marketing strategy incorporates data from a variety of sources, including CRM information such as transactions, purchase history, and interactions. It should also include survey research data, such as customer likes, dislikes, customer-reported values, and preferences.
To generate ROI from a Facebook marketing strategy, marketers should combine CRM and survey results with data analytics. This is a great way to fill in the gaps between their own customer information and Facebook profiles. It also affords an opportunity for the marketing team to identify connections between customers’ Facebook profiles and the company’s proprietary customer information as well as between customers’ Facebook interests and existing CRM profile data.
When marketers connect Facebook information with CRM and survey data, they gain a greater understanding of their audience. Making those connections enables marketers to get compelling messages in front of the right people, and it also allows the company to deliver a seamless brand image across all channels. This strategy also allows marketers to create more accurate effectiveness estimates, keeping the organization on track.
The more marketers know about their customers, the better they can communicate with them. Delivering a positive, seamless customer experience across all channels, including social media, is critical for building credibility and establishing trust. Data science is the best way to personalize campaigns, and companies that combine CRM and survey data with Facebook’s powerful marketing capabilities can drive social media ROI and expand their customer base.
This research stems from a survey of 165 marketing, commerce and supply chain executives, and 12 deep-dive interviews with executives who reveal the ways they are rethinking their engagement strategy.