The Rise and Evolution of Facebook Ads
When considering how and where to allocate advertising spend in the current digital economy, there is only one player that truly stands head and shoulders above the rest – Facebook. As a platform and network of its own Facebook Ads has come a long way since its conception in 2004; when the social media giant launched early versions of what would become arguably one of the most extensive and complex advertising networks the world has ever seen. 2018 saw a 32% increase in global social media advertising budgets, and more online advertisements produced across the digital landscape than ever before. Facebook currently accounts for 23% of total digital ad spending in the US and one in every four Facebook Pages now use paid advertising as part of their digital strategies, with these numbers set to increase in 2019.
Facebook’s prolific ad infrastructureBut, where did it all begin? Originating as a social network and messaging tool specifically created for Harvard Business School students, Facebook’s first iteration of its now prolific advertising infrastructure were simple banners displayed on the website’s homepage, purchased by students and local businesses and controlled by Facebook. 2007 would see the launch of Facebook’s first mobile version, along with the unveiling of Facebook Business pages, an environment where advertisers could be found easily, engage with and advertise to potential customers. Facebook would quickly evolve into the veritable networking and sales platform we know today, developing functionality that would allow businesses and brands to connect with and target their ideal audiences based on highly specific personal data, behaviours and trends.
Facebook’s acquisitionsFacebook goes on to introduce Facebook Connect in 2008 – a service designed to make it easy for the then-130 million active users to combine their Facebook experiences with any participating website, desktop application or mobile device. From an advertising perspective, this is key, as these partnerships would begin to exponentially grow the reach and magnitude of Facebook’s network into new markets, audiences and consumers. In 2012, Facebook acquires photo and video-sharing social networking service, Instagram, but holds off on adding advertising to Instagram’s newsfeed until late 2015. In 2014, Facebook acquires messaging service Whatsapp for a groundbreaking $19 billion, which it currently plans to move, along with its entire family of apps (Messenger, Whatsapp, Instagram and Facebook) to a common technology foundation, potentially paving the way for advertisers to access user networks across multiple platforms, although the outcome of this potential move by Facebook remains to be seen.
New Facebook ad formatsIn conclusion, relentless innovation and iteration coupled with deep insights into user behaviour and trends have established Facebook Ads as the world’s most compelling advertising offering; while Facebook’s market penetration and user adoption mean that it has no parallel in terms of cost-effectiveness and speed. If you’re looking at creating your own Facebook ads, take the time to understand your target audience, and endeavour to create compelling content that is both personalised and entertaining, rather than just banner ads squeezed into a news feed. Define how you’re going to determine the success of your ads upfront and take advantage of innovation like new ad formats and optimisation for different devices.
- If you’d like to know more about how you can use Facebook advertising to boost your business, pop in for a chat with the team from The Social Lamb. xxx