UK Government Spend 100K On Facebook Advertising

07/09/2012

Businesses large and small – and governments it would appear – are ploughing thousands of pounds into Facebook advertising. As marketing professionals slowly start putting their faith into Facebook as an advertising platform, we ask, does social media advertising really work?

A recent freedom of information request by the BBC has found that the UK government has recently spent almost £100,000 on Facebook advertising to bolster its tourist marketing this summer.  In fact the UK’s ‘Great’ Facebook ad campaign had 472 million ad impressions, leading to 782,000 ad clicks and 583,000 likes across their 13 pages. On the face of it it seems like quite a good result and out of the ‘Great’ £37m marketing budget, £100k is a drop in the ocean.

But is it effective? Could the ‘Great’ Facebook pages have amassed this many likes without paying Facebook advertising fees, and do these Facebook ‘likes’ mean the campaign is a success? I’ll come back to these in a moment.

So, what do these ‘likes’ mean? Well it’s brand awareness primarily but to get the highest ROI you need to think smarter than just getting visitors to the Facebook page. As with your website we want visitors to land and STAY on your website until they have done what we want them to do. Well the same applies to Facebook. Liking a page isn’t enough on its own, we want visitors to interact with the page, sharing posts and photos with their friends and spreading the word. After all, that is what social media is all about. However, this is only scratching the surface of Facebook’s true potential.

Although Facebook isn’t as open to development as your website is, it is still a powerful online marketing tool. For example take our client Love Invited, a great new creative wedding stationery business who have really embraced social media and online marketing. They have a targeted Facebook ad campaign (targeting local, engaged women) driving traffic towards their branded Facebook page, pretty straight forward so far I think you’ll agree. We then created a custom app which allows visitors to browse the invitation design collections and order all while still in Facebook. Several orders later we know that the Love Invited’s Facebook page has been a success and provided a decent return on investment for the company.

To go back to my questions earlier could the ‘Great’ Facebook pages have amassed this many likes without paying Facebook advertising fees? Well I doubt it very much, but with such a large budget spent on a wider integrated marketing campaign it is very hard to tell. I’m sure the ‘likes’ would still be high due with visitors attracted by the Queen’s Jubilee and Olympics buzz.  And do ‘likes’ count as a campaign success? This all depends on the criteria you set at the start of your campaign. I guess the ‘Great’ campaign is hoping for a greater brand awareness and ultimately an increase in tourism revenue over the coming years. Love Invited saw a great success with relatively few likes and resulted in several orders in just a few weeks. If used wisely Facebook can play a big part in most businesses online marketing strategy. If you want to find out how a strategic Facebook campaign could help your business get in touch on 0161 883 0043.