Facebook's Demographic Change Impacts Marketing Campaigns

Marketing is inherently tricky. But digital marketing? It’s a whole other beast.

You have to deal with viewability. And reaching the right audience. And ever-changing online landscapes.

More and more people are spending time on social media, but that doesn’t mean that your marketing campaigns are reaching more people. What that means is that more people don’t necessarily equal the right people.

Facebook is home base for more than a billion people. But they’re not necessarily the same people as before, which is news that marketers need to be aware of.

Even though Facebook still has a relatively young user base, the 45-to-56-year-old age bracket has grown 46% since the end of 2012.  As social media demographics change, businesses need to find new and different ways to brand themselves on social media.

Introducing video ads

Technically, video ads launched on Facebook at the end of 2013, albeit in a very limited capacity (they don’t even have sound – yet). But the fact that Facebook is integrating videos, coupled with an older demographic, means that marketing campaigns need to change.

  1. Marketing campaigns have to be purposeful. That sounds like a no-brainer, but it should be the basis for any campaign. Take Ford back in 2011. They picked a product that was showy – the release of the new Explorer. And then, they  chose to use Facebook as a medium to reveal it – not just to share it after the fact.
  2. Make it clear and concise. You don’t have a lot of time to appeal to an audience on social media. That’s why Facebook keeps tabs on character and word counts in news feed ads. And video ads aren’t going to be any different. Younger Facebook users  have short attention spans – and older users grow weary of advertisements. You need to say what you have to say fast, and if it’s through video, you need to make it clear. You have limited space, and don’t want to crowd consumers’ news feeds with too many images or complicated text.
  3. Speak to your audience. We know that the Facebook demographic is changing – so how do you speak to a varied audience? Easy – tell a story. Teenagers, parents, grandparents – they all want to be entertained and captivated by a moving story. Make it funny, sentimental or endearing. Use familiar faces or animals – but whatever you do, produce a marketing campaign that speaks to multiple different age brackets.
  4. Different demographics use different devices. One of the most important things to remember when creating a marketing campaign – especially today? You need to be prepared to market to all types of devices: smartphones, tablets, laptops and PCs. People accessing social media on mobile devices are using a smaller screen – and therefore need to see ads that fit that mold.

So, what can you expect marketing campaigns to look like on Facebook this year? It’s not clear yet – but you can expect them to cost anywhere from $1 to 2.5 million.

In November, an Analytic Partners survey found that 83% of users said that they would find a Facebook video advertisement “intrusive and as such would likely ignore them.”

Depending on the first wave of marketing campaigns to land on Facebook in 2014, we’ll see if that 83% shrinks, or grows.

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