Facebook's Advertising Is All Grown Up, Are You?

Author: Lyndsey Tyhosky on 02/06/2015

My first memory of Facebook was in the summer of 2005. My high school BFF nonchalantly told me she was going to use this thing called “Facebook”. I had no idea what she was talking about. She described it as, “a yearbook for college” and explained that she was using it to meet new people at her college before she started school in the fall.

My response? “That sounds so weird!” in my teenage, “I’m too cool for anything” voice.

I didn’t join Facebook until September 2005 when my college roommate told me that I could use it to lookup that cute guy in our Algebra class.

Fast-forward over 9 years and you’ll see that Facebook is definitely no longer simply a “yearbook for college.” It is also no longer considered “weird.” As a marketing manager it’s actually one of the favorite parts of my job. So how did it go from being “weird” to being one of my favorite advertising platforms?

It's simple, I grew up, and so did Facebook.

In 2004, Facebook advertising started with what was called “flyers.” Facebook flyer advertising, used mostly by college organizations to advertise social events, was based upon a pay per view pricing model with very limited targeting options-age, gender or geographic location. At that time there were 400,000 Facebook users and they were making advertising revenue of $382,000.

After various changes to the advertising platform and targeting options throughout the years (a full Facebook advertising history can be found here) Facebook now has more than 1.35 billion monthly active Facebook users and makes more than $3.2 billion in revenue. Read more about Facebook revenue and user growth here.

As you can see, a lot can change in 10 years…

2004 Facebook Ad 2014 Facebook Ad
FacebookFlyer-(2).jpg AdExampleNOW.jpg

And for your reading pleasure...

Me in 2005 Me in 2015
Then.jpg Now.jpg

My favorite part about the growth in Facebook is the increased targeting options. You can fine-tune your targeting and messages to SPEAK RIGHT TO YOUR CUSTOMER!

  • Are you a local gym looking to advertise to potential new members? Use Facebook to target people within 10 miles of your city that have shown interest in things like “fitness" and "wellness.”
  • Wedding planner? Advertise to people who got engaged in the past 6 months.
  • Las Vegas hotel? Target people planning to travel to Las Vegas.
  • Real estate agent? Target people whose behavior makes them “likely to move” in your area of coverage.

The possibilities are endless!!

Knowing which audience to target absolutely depends on who you are and what your field is, a full list of Facebook Targeting options can be found here

Locations-Countries, states, cities, or postal codes
Gender-Any gender, male only, female only
Age-Ages from 13-65+
Language-Reach only users who understand any of the specified languages
Relationship-Interested in or relationship status
Education-Education level, field of study, schools, undergrad years
Work-Employers, job titles, industries, office type
Financial-Income or net worth
Home-Home type, home ownership, household composition
Ethnic Affinity-People who are likely to have an affinity or interest in a specific ethnicity
Generations-Baby boomers, Generation X, Millennials
Parents-All parents or mothers
Politics-Target those with certain political affiliations
Life events-Events ranging from anniversaries, people living away from home, new jobs, new relationships, upcoming birthday, etc.
Interests-Range of interests based on activities, page likes, and similar interests
Behaviors-Based on purchase behaviors or intents including those who watch certain TV shows, casual football fans, online spenders, recent homebuyers and more
Connections-Reach those with connections to your page, app or event
Custom Audience-Use email addresses, phone numbers and more to create a custom audience

Quite the extensive list right? But as marketing professionals implementing new strategies is just half the battle, proving how well those strategies succeed is a whole different story. Well the data to prove the success is there too!

We’ve seen the results for clients who run targeted Facebook campaigns achieve high time on site, low bounce rates, an increase in Facebook followers and engagement, and most importantly, conversions. One particular client of ours saw 75% of their digital leads come from Facebook advertisements alone and plan to continue using this model for all future events.

So whether you’ve never used Facebook advertising, or you’ve tried it in the past with little success, give it another try. Just as I’ve grown from the confused college freshman with bleach blonde highlights to a confident marketing professional, Facebook has grown from its days of “Facebook Flyers” for college students to one of the biggest advertising platforms available.

Cheers to growing up!