Back when I first started in the internet marketing game – amazingly all the way back to 1998 – there was no real thought that social media would come to play such a big part of people’s lives the way it does today.
Indeed, many of the people I first spoke to about the internet weren’t even sure whether it would last as a phenomenon!
Certainly that view would seem to be something of a mistake now…
My own earliest forays into the world of internet marketing consultancy were based on my developing websites for small local businesses, then promoting them through the variety of search engines that existed at the time. (Pre the dominance of Google in the search world).
Though the term wasn’t really in common usage back then, I soon started to focus on SEO – reasoning that there was no point having a website unless potential customers could find it.
Relying on SEO is a Very Dangerous Game
But I always felt there was something a bit haphazard and ‘out of your hands’ when it came to building a business based on organic search traffic. Many times over the years I’ve suggested to clients and potential clients that if their business’s income was reliant on organic search traffic, they were skating on very thin ice indeed.
I even went so far on occasion as to suggest that if revenues were dependent on a good organic ranking then they really didn’t have a sustainable business at all and it could all come crashing down in the blink of an eye.
That’s why I was always a big fan of digital advertising – in particular the Pay Per Click variety pioneered by the original PPC engine GoTo (which became Overture) and then ‘perfected’ by Google.
As a student of marketing and advertising I became convinced that the legends in the field – Claude Hopkins, John Caples, Rosser Reeves, David Ogilvy etc – would be working with Google AdWords if they were practicing their craft today.
Google Search Advertising
After all, Google advertising appeared to be the single most functional and controllable form of marketing in history – so of course the master practitioners from yesteryear would be utilising its functionality to run yet more super successful campaigns for their clients.
And so it remained for many years. Sure there were other players in the field – with Microsoft in particular continually trying to unseat Google from the Search ads pinnacle with first MSN Search, then Windows Live Search which eventually morphed into the search engine we know today as Bing.
But nothing could come close to Google’s market share – which for many years has consistently been above 70% in the US and 80% in the UK. Understandable, then, that I should focus on Google ads as a means of providing internet marketing services for my clients.
And then everything changed for me once I got to grips with the sheer power and versatility of the Facebook advertising platform.
Facebook’s Behavioural Targeting Blows Google Out of the Water
Behavioural targeting – where you show ads to people based on their interests and behaviours – is surely the most effective and sophisticated form of advertising yet devised. (I might even suggest it is the basis for the most effective form of advertising it will ever be possible to devise – with future technologies almost certainly building on the basic concept of showing relevant ads to people who are already known to be interested in what you’re offering).
Of course, bevavioural targeting has been around since before Facebook – with audience segmentation being a well-known staple of traditional media and press advertising. And you can be pretty sure that someone who buys a magazine such as eg Practical Caravan is quite likely to be interested in products related to caravanning.
With Facebook, though, behavioural targeting has reached something of a pinnacle – and I can well imagine what legends such as John Caples and David Ogilvy would be able to do with such a magnificent advertising tool at their disposal.
Sure, there have been some privacy-related setbacks in recent times – with the Cambridge Analytica scandal and new legislation such as Europe’s GDPR rules affecting how people view the data Facebook retains about their online behaviour.
Facebook and Instagram Ads
But the fundamental fact is that Facebook (and Instagram – owned by Facebook) is where your customers hang out.
I’ve always believed that if you have a decent product or service to offer, then giving the right message to the right people is the essence of successful marketing.
Facebook’s targeting capabilities make this process more effective than ever before – to the extent that Google had to “up its game” in order to try and compete with the quality of the results that advertisers were seeing through Facebook.
So if you’re interested in attracting customers through the internet, you really have to be utilising the phenomenal direct response capabilities of Facebook and Instagram – which is why I now focus on this platform for delivering excellent returns for my clients’ digital ad spend.
And you don’t just need to take my word for it, world-renowned digital guru Gary Vaynerchuk has stated many times that Facebook advertising is the future of marketing, so you need to be doing it now or you’ll get left behind.
Contact me for a friendly, no obligation chat about taking advantage of Facebook to achieve your marketing goals.