For marketing purposes, consumer data is an invaluable resource. Utilizing consumer data allows marketers to tailor their strategies to reach and resonate with specific audiences who are most likely to convert. If small businesses could specifically target their audience based on demographics, consumer behavior, income, and even trends in their personal life, could you imagine how much more powerful their marketing efforts could become?
For any business owner with a marketing mind, this idea should sound quite alluring, but it's likely that many small businesses believe that they don't have the budget to mine or utilize these types of highly specific market data for their organization's efforts. Not long ago, only corporate giants had the budget to collect and make use of highly specific consumer data. Most of us have heard of brands like Target, Walmart, and Apple using consumer information to improve and magnify their marketing efforts, but your local financial management company, credit union, or restaurant is likely unaware that resources like this are also available right at their fingertips essentially for free. How? Facebook.
In a lot of ways, Facebook is the ultimate Orwellian "Big Brother”. It is a massive machine that constantly collects personal information about every one of its 2 billion monthly users and then provides this information back to business owners who can then utilize this social media giant along with all of its data as a marketing platform. (And every business should be serious about using Facebook as a marketing platform.) Just imagine how much information Facebook collects about its users on a daily basis; Mary changes her relationship status, John posts about his new car as well as checks into the dealership where he bought it, Frank moves to Philadelphia from New York City; it goes on and on. Everybody on Facebook is providing at least some of their personal information, and many people are providing a significant amount. Facebook's users provide information about their age, where they live, what their interests are, where they were educated, what their activities are, and even who their friends are. From a data and analytics standpoint, this is incredible. Essentially 2 billion people have opted to provide countless pieces of their personal information and behavior, and businesses like yours are able to utilize it at their will for their digital marketing efforts. How can you not be taking full advantage of this?
Facebook aggregates all of its users’ personal information into a database that is connected to its advertising platform. The advertising platform allows you to specifically target your audience based on parameters as broad as age demographics down to an individual's propensity to purchase goods in your price range and industry. Marketers can hand-pick exactly whom they wish to target, and what's more? You don't need to spend tens of thousands of dollars to utilize these powerful data. You can budget essentially whatever amount of money you feel is adequate to reach your target audience. At the conclusion of your ad campaign, you can analyze your results then tweak and improve your strategy to maximize efficacy.
Yet another aspect of Facebook’s advertising platform is that it is able to run sponsored posts on Instagram. Since Facebook acquired Instagram a few years ago, it has provided its advertisers with the ability to target consumers visually through this photo-sharing app, which is a highly effective means to reach an 18 to 30-year old demographic.
Digital networks like Facebook and Instagram have changed the marketing landscape like we have never seen before, and data that have come from these outlets are equally as consequential. Facebook has made it possible for every small business and organization to use powerful consumer data to specifically reach their target audience based on very distinctive criteria. Ten years ago, none of this was possible without a considerably large marketing budget. Today, every business can take advantage of powerful consumer data and develop efficient digital marketing strategies to meet brand goals at an investment that is accommodating to their budget. Moving forward, it will be interesting to see the possibilities that will arise as technology advances, but for now, every business and marketing professional in organizations large and small should get serious about understanding the ins and outs of Facebook as a marketing platform.
For more information, check out our post in the Philadelphia Business Journal.