Facebook does work for advertising!

by / Wednesday, 12 October 2016 / Published in Uncategorized

It never fails. Every post, every keynote, every workshop where I talk about the value of digital advertising always begs the same question. What would the digital guru say? When I talk about the low response rates to targeted advertising, what’s the other side of the story? Putting aside the fact that Facebook got their figures wrong, surely digital advertising can’t be all bad?

Well in the absence of any response, let me share a great example of how brilliant Facebook can be as an advertising medium. Yes, honestly.

Yesterday, someone on my timeline shared this video.

For the time poor, it’s a short film of a cool dog, wearing a range of different designer eyewear, cruising on the back of a cycle ridden by various groovy fit people. (that’s a whole heap of content marketing “must have’s” ticked right there). Cleverly, on the version I saw on Facebook the name of the manufacturer had been superimposed in the top left of the film. (tick). It was so good, I showed it to my wife over the breakfast table.

As I write this, thirty minutes later, following a google search for “ruffit”, she is currently on their website working out which of the company’s carriers are right for our dog. And for all I know, choosing colours, size and appropriate strapping solutions.

Ruffit are in Dallas, Texas. We’re in Sydney, Australia and have only ever seen Dallas on our TV. It’s a helluva day trip to see their showrooms and it’s highly unlikely that we’d ever see any of their “old media” advertising over here. In the old world, we’d have only heard of them if they signed a distribution deal with someone in Australia and we found them on sale in a pet shop. Compared to creating awareness by sharing stuff on social media, that’s definitely the long way round.

Because right now, in downtown Sydney, Ruffit dog carriers are making a sale. And more than likely, when the people ask where we got our carrier from (dog people always talk), more sales will flow through.

It may be just one isolated example, but there’s proof. Facebook advertising DOES work.

Except of course this wasn’t actually “advertising”. No money changed hands. It wasn’t booked by a savvy digital planner or by a programmatic media platform or some other piece of modern day digital sorcery. It didn’t go through a media buyer at all. The client didn’t target a market 10,000 miles away where he had no distribution and no awareness on the basis that Sydney people love dogs. He just created a brilliant piece of shareable content and let Facebook do the rest.

Brilliantly, the clip in question is actually a couple of years old. But people don’t share stuff to be ahead of the news. They share it because they like it. And age rarely matters when you are seeing something great for the first time.

That’s the secret of digital advertising. Get people to share your stuff.

Years ago, we used to call it word of mouth. “Best form of advertising”, or so we all used to believe. But the modern version of word of mouth is creating a piece of content that people will share. Forget advertising, forget banners and pop ups.

If you want to use digital and social media channels to create awareness and sales, forget advertising and spend your time instead creating great content that features your product in a favourable light. And then get people to share it. Simple. Oh and don’t forget to put a URL or something memorable people can search for. They’ll find you easy enough.

Now, where’s that video camera?