4 Big Marketing Takeaways From Facebook’s Earnings Call

Sheryl Sandberg touts Facebook and Instagram combo as a killer mobile app for marketers; 1.5 million SMBs posted Facebook video in September; Dynamic Product Ads seeing ROI as good as paid search.


Facebook’s well-oiled social media machine continues to hum along, (November 07, 2015) reporting another blockbuster quarter. The focus, naturally, was on how well Facebook is doing as a business, with its $4.5 billion in third quarter revenue, more than one billion daily users and eight billion daily video views attracting most of the attention.

But there was also plenty of interesting news for marketers and businesses who depend on Facebook to help fuel their growth. Here are four takeaways:

Instagram + Facebook = Unsurpassed Mobile Reach

COO Sheryl Sandberg emphasized that with Instagram ads now available to buy through Facebook self-service platforms, businesses have an excellent way to reach an audience that is increasingly a mobile one. Average American adults, Sandberg said, spend 25 percent of their media time on mobile devices, and 20 percent of that time is spent on either Facebook or Instagram.

“Businesses are lagging behind consumers in making this shift to mobile, and we believe we’re well positioned to help them catch up,” she said. “Facebook Pages are already the mobile solution for millions of businesses. Pages now offer better messaging capabilities, call-to-action buttons and news sections that enable businesses to highlight important information.”

1.5M SMBs Posted Facebook Video In September

The Facebook video surge — views on the social network have doubled since April — is an opportunity that marketers are tapping into. In September, 1.5 million small businesses posted video (both organic and paid), Sandberg said.  That’s not happening at that high a level on any other platform, she said, “but with us it’s cheap, it’s very easy to use and that gives us a way to continue to work with SMBs and increasingly grow our business with them.”

Larger enterprises are also taking advantage of Facebook videos, using them to improve the effectiveness of their TV campaigns. Sandberg cited a Nielsen Research study showing that marketers using Facebook video ads along with TV ads saw higher reach, ad recall, brand linkage and likability. GMC, for example, used video and other Facebook ads to extend the reach of a campaign for premium trucks and SUVs and got a 13-point lift in ad recall and a six-point lift in brand favorability.

“Video on Facebook gives marketers not just mass reach, but better cross-device targeting and measurement than we believe is available on any other platform,” Sandberg said.

IKEA’s Smart Off-Hours Ad Play

Big enterprises are also finding other creative ways to advertise on Facebook. IKEA wanted to boost online sales while its retail outlets were closed, so it purchased carousel ads that were served to people in Norway when IKEA stores were closed. “[T]hey turned a $35,000 investment in carousel ads into $2 million in sales which happened precisely when they want it to happen,” Sandberg said. “That’s a direct response ad buy because it’s very specific carousel ads product but it’s also a brand play for them as they strengthen their brand and get people to interact with them as they want them to.”

Dynamic Product Ads Performing As Well As Paid Search

Facebook’s Dynamic Product Ads, launched in February to give businesses the ability to load their product catalogs into Facebook’s ad environment, are now driving ROI comparable to paid search, Sandberg said. She didn’t offer any specific data to back up that claim, but she said Marriott is now using the ad unit to re-target travelers based on their travel search habits, and Latin American e-commerce merchant MercadoLibre is using them to re-market more than 38 million products in 13 countries. Both companies, Sandberg said, are seeing high ROI and are continuing to invest.

(Some images used under license from Shutterstock.com.)


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