It’s been a turbulent year for Facebook in 2018. A firm that could seemingly do no wrong in the eyes of investors, Facebook was beginning to develop itself as a serious contender to Google in taking businesses advertising budget.
WPP announced in their Q2 report in 2018 that Facebook advertising had grown so significantly in the previous year that it had become their second highest platform behind Google for online advertisers.
The Cambridge Analytica scandal however has hit Facebook hard, and rebuilding reputation is no easy feat. Facebook’s Q4 earnings report show the social media giant is showing no sign of slowing its growth, however there’s a mixed report going into the first quarter of 2019.
Affinity’s data partner in the US, Cleveland Research Company, have released their latest insights pack for social media and the overriding theme for Facebook is that advertisers’ budgets are shrinking due to weaker than expected ROI and budget diversification to other advertising platforms.
Key insights for Facebook advertising looking ahead to 2019:
- Near-term ad spend has remained strong due to key sales periods Black Friday & Christmas and a higher cost of traffic due to increased competition.
- Facebook ROI tracks lower than expected, with 48% of respondents reporting ROI was lower than expected in Q4, however Facebook ROI was higher than expected across the previous three quarters so increased competition was a likely factor and helps to guide advertiser’s strategy across the year.
- Stories & the marketplace are emerging as key growth areas for Facebook's advertising platform and an excellent space to advertisers to trial campaigns.
- Although advertisers generally reported that budgets will shrink for Facebook in early-2019, Instagram has an exceptionally positive outlook; advertisers responded that Instagram was one of the highest ROI areas across social advertising.
- Amazon looks to be the beneficiary to the diversification of advertising spend with advertisers outlining the platform as a key growth area for 2019
Affinity have been working with clients to grow presence across both Facebook & Instagram and from the results we’ve seen for eCommerce retailers, we believe this still operates as an excellent channel to grow sales and brand awareness.
For both platforms, stories offer a huge opportunity, Zuckerberg recently reported that stories were the game-changer for Facebook, with Instagram posting numbers of 500 million users engaging with the stories feature daily.
Is Facebook the right platform to advertise my business in 2019?
Across our network of clients, we’ve found that advertising via Facebook is yielding good results and for the majority the ROI justifies a strategy of growth and development for 2019. There is no getting away from Amazon being the big growth prospect for many businesses as the site continues to increase its presence across the web in both paid and organic search channels.
On the whole we are still seeing Google’s Ad platform to be the best returning channel for businesses and our strategy for many clients is to forecast growth across search and shopping campaigns, and then put an emphasis in delivering an increased conversion rate to complement that activity as the main focus, and look to Facebook as a secondary channel that’s holding good promise.
Our advice for clients that haven’t yet held any presence on Facebook for advertising is to allocate a small test budget to trial and measure results. Sales yielded from social platforms should be seen as a bonus to the existing activity that they’re running and then depending on the results, we can then look ahead to putting a long-term strategy in place.
Have you defined your marketing strategy for 2019? The team at affinity are just an email or phone call away, with the expertise to help shape a plan to meet your needs.