The WSJ this morning reported that Proctor & Gamble is rethinking its Facebook advertising. The article sighted lack of effectiveness as the reason.
Electronic Advertising Provides Precise Information
The more you look at the possibilities for electronic advertising and marketing, the more attractive it seems in theory. For businesses it’s the equivalent of being able to test magazine advertising in real-time. Push an ad out and immediately know how many people could have been exposed to it. How many people clicked. What path they followed when they reached your web site, etc.
Audience targeting is very precise. Age, gender, interests, geographic area, etc. can be controlled very precisely. You can display your advertisement only to men between the ages of 25 and 45 who live in Jackson, MS or Memphis, TN. And you can control your spending down to a limit of only a few dollars per day.
With a tad more effort, it’s possible to track what was clicked on the web site, and how far down the page the user scrolled. In short, all the things that we have guessed at for many years can be measured down to the mouse click.
Down Side of Advertising
First, getting the best results requires knowledge and effort. That’s another way to say that if you do it yourself (and there are plenty of resources out there to help you), you’ll spend time. Otherwise, you need to pay someone to do it. The other down side is that without this type of ability, you’ll spend a lot of money potentially without any result.
Second, as the P&G announcement actually reveals, some advertising venues are not right for all products. P&G would do well to check their customer base and particularly the purchase cycle for their products. I glance at Facebook. No matter how low my inventory is, I’m not likely to think as I scan the dog pictures, personal stories, etc., “I think I’ll run out and buy some Charmin…or Gain…or Febreeze.” And it doesn’t matter how bad the laundry, dog, or sofa smell as I’m thinking it. It’s the same reason that I don’t intend to buy the Dash button for any of these type products. For cat litter (I don’t have a cat) or baby food, I see the value. If they ever come out with a way to offer a button you can press to refill your wine cellar or beer fridge, I bet they’ll sell a million of them. If you have a Dash button and use it, I’d love to hear about it.
Conclusion: Get Educated
If you don’t know anything about Facebook, Amazon, or Google advertising, you should. This doesn’t mean that your brand or company should spend money on it. These advertising venues are much like billboards: other options for your toolkit.