In the eleven years since its arrival, Facebook has become integrated in almost every facet of our lives — both personal and professional. If Facebook were a country, it would have the largest population in the world. It’s no longer just a place for connecting and keeping up with friends. Increasingly, it’s also where we interact with brands and products.
The booming social network has 1.39 billion active monthly users, and over half of those users click the Like button on their favorite products. We’re past the controversy of whether brands should “do social media.” It now boils down to how well they do it. Most brands and retailers run a Facebook page already, but it’s how you run it that determines your success.
Today, we’re going to focus on recent changes from Facebook that retailers should be aware of, as well as those retailers that had an exceptional audience growth during Q4 2014.
FACEBOOK’S LATEST EVOLUTIONS
Changes That Affect Retailers’ Page Strategies
Ever growing and ever changing, Facebook continually provides updates to its users, which can influence the way retailers manage their Facebook pages. Listed below are three updates from Q4 and how they’re set to affect retailers.
1. Local Awareness Ads
Overview: Businesses now have the option of targeting their Facebook ads to individuals located near one of their brick-and-mortar stores.
Details: Driving foot traffic that leads to sales is now a reality via Facebook. Advertisers can set a radius as small as a mile, and the Facebook ads will show up on the phones or web browsers of anyone who lives or was recently within that distance of a store. Businesses can even include directions in their ad, via a button that launches a map app on a consumer’s phone.
Retailer Opportunities: Instead of broadly targeting your ads to an entire city, you can now reach people within a mile of your store.
What You Should Know: This new geotargeting feature is really only beneficial to those online retailers that also have a brick-and-mortar presence. Also, these ads aren’t served in real-time, meaning that someone walking past your business won’t immediately see your store’s ad. Local awareness ads are available only for US business owners.
2. New Design for Facebook Page Video Section
Overview: The video section of a Facebook page now looks and feels like a YouTube channel. Business page owners are now able to create playlists and choose a featured video to be displayed extra-large at the top of their page, along with a live comment feed.
Details: Facebook is attempting to turn pages into destinations that businesses link to and that people want to visit.
Retailer Opportunities: Video creation is a time-consuming process. Now you can give your videos the Facebook love they deserve! This new feature turns the video section of your page into valuable real estate for promoting sales, company news, contests and more.
What You Should Know: Pages will get the new design automatically. If you don’t select a featured video or make playlists, your videos will show up in a chronological list, with titles, length, Like counts and view counts visible.
3. Facebook Combines Atlas, Audience Network and LiveRail
Overview: The past two years of Facebook launches and acquisitions have now come together to show ads across the internet and track purchases they inspire both online and offline.
Details: In February 2013, Facebook acquired Microsoft’s Atlas, a suite of tools for online ad measurement. Facebook is using Atlas as part of its push to measure across devices and platforms, and to leverage display targeting capabilities. In July 2014, Facebook acquired LiveRail, a video platform. Meanwhile, Facebook had built and launched Audience Network, a mobile ad network that lets advertisers easily extend their Facebook ad campaigns to appear in other mobile apps. The combo of Atlas, LiveRail and Audience Network now gives Facebook the connectivity to tie each of these pieces together.
Retailer Opportunities: Advertisers on Atlas can buy ads on Facebook or use Audience Network to extend their campaigns to LiveRail and mobile apps.
What You Should Know: Facebook understands its users’ identities in a way most platforms don’t. And the company’s wealth of user data means it can target ads more accurately.
TOP 25 FACEBOOK PAGES
Top 25 online retailers by total fan count at the end of Q4.
TOP 25 PAGES WITH THE MOST GROWTH
Online retailers that added the most absolute fans during Q4.
TOP 25 PAGES WITH THE MOST GROWTH BY PERCENTAGE
Finally, let’s take a look at fan percentage growth for online retailers with more than 2,000 fans during Q4.
Social networking sites trigger a person’s dopamine release and the pleasure centers of the brain. Successful social media content must provide the same value and emotional benefits that consumers seek when they come to the platform in the first place. A Facebook business page isn’t something that a retailer can glance at every once in a while — it demands continuous attention and updated content. A well-managed page can be an impressive platform for introducing, promoting and growing your brand.
As always, be on the lookout next quarter where we’ll announce the top 25 retailers of Q1 2015 that have successfully grown their business page audience.
Blog post by Jordan Nowlin, social media and blog manager, ChannelAdvisor