Welcome back to the second instalment in our two-part series.
We’re looking at how the current Facebook boycott is affecting high-risk merchants. If you haven’t read part one, click this link to read it now.
In part two, we are going to look more closely at how you can get the most out of your Facebook ads. We’ll also explore whether now is the time to move away from the platform. Diversifying your marketing strategies to ensure your sales don’t suffer if there is a policy change at Facebook.
So let’s look at this in a little more detail.
How high-risk merchants can get the most out of advertising on Facebook
As mentioned, the best place to start is with revisiting your target audiences. Have you gone into enough detail when describing your target market? Remember, the platform knows how much we earn. How we like to spend our money. The last website we visited. Where we like to eat. What our hobbies are. You name it, they probably know it. This is the data gathering that has many individuals concerned about privacy. But it also provides marketers with the best advertising targeting there is.
Once your target audiences are revisited, look at split testing your ads. Perhaps set up multiple ads, and monitor their respective performances. Facebook allows merchants to split test across five parameters. This includes audiences, the ad text, ad placements, and the method in which they’re delivered to audiences. Examine your results. If you find a winning combination, focus your resources that particular advert to drive up your revenues.
The Facebook boycott will help to lower competition based on their auction format and also the compliance department may give you a break and allow more aggressive ads to make the cut. But moves made during the pandemic could help your business even more. As mentioned in part one, Facebook understands that their main customers are small businesses. Not household brand names. That’s why they’ve launched a small business grants program. As part of the scheme they’re offering eligible businesses ad credits. If you’re unsure about experimenting with Facebook ads during the boycott. Why not apply to the free ad credits scheme take a risk-free shot?
Why the Facebook boycott may spark a rethink of your marketing strategy
Many high-risk merchants we’ve spoken to feel a little in between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, the boycott presents an opportunity to advertise with reduced competition and perhaps scrutiny. On the other, changes may come as a result of pressure from the boycott. Those alterations to policies may act as the final nail in the coffin for restricted categories trying advertise on the platform.
So what can you do if you rely on Facebook advertising to drive your sales? Even if you manage to stay on the right side of ad compliance policies, Facebook can shut down a profitable campaign without warning. The platform realizes that they need to move away from their reliance on advertising income. That means investment into their advertising capabilities may decrease. Lower investment could lead to worse-performing ads. You may need to rethink your marketing strategy sooner than desired.
As is the case for your merchant account or payment gateway, relying on one method is a recipe for disaster. If you’re entirely dependent on your Facebook ads for revenue, your income is at risk. The best method to mitigate this is always diversification. The boycott may give you the nudge you need to explore other online advertising avenues. By decreasing your reliance on Facebook ads, as profitable as they may be, you can lower the risk to your business.
Are you a supplements or nootropics merchant reliant on just one payment gateway? Learn more about why advertising isn’t the only aspect of your business that requires diversification.
Best-performing online advertising channels for high-risk merchants
It’s vital to remember there’s a world outside of Facebook when it comes to online marketing. In fact, several competitors have emulated Facebook’s targeting advantage. Giving merchants a similar experience. First on the list of competitors is Google. If you thought Facebook’s $69.65 billion in ad revenue last year was impressive, Google’s came in at more than double that figure. During 2019, advertisers spent a collective $134.81 billion on the Google Ads platform.
Putting YouTube aside for a moment, Google is revolutionizing the way in which consumers search and buy products online. Herein lies Google’s biggest advantage for advertisers over Facebook. By investing advertising budgets into Google placements, merchants can target users with commercial intent. That is to say, they can present the products that the user is already searching for.
Get creative and never leave display ads dormant
Ad fatigue is a big problem with Facebook ads. You have to show your ad multiple times to cold prospects and convince them to buy your products or services. That could be as many as seven times, “fatiguing” the customer and putting them off. Whereas with Google, you can advertise to customers already looking to buy products and services you sell. With the advent of Google Display ads, merchants can now display beautiful visual imagery of their products. Within a few clicks, the customer can graduate from a search for a product to your checkout page.
For instance, if you’re selling libido or weight loss supplements, you don’t have to resort to sensationalist language. Nor do you need the cliché before and after photos. There’s no need to try and persuade prospective clients in this way. They’re already convinced because they are searching for your specific type of product or service.
All you have to do is list the specific benefits alongside a picture (or video) of your product in action. If you target the right keywords, the customer already knows what they’re looking for when they arrive at the Google search page. So all you have to do is tell them why they should buy your product or service over a competitor. Targeting ‘warm’ or ‘hot’ leads in this way will drive up your conversions and revenues.
What about other social media platforms?
As touched upon above, YouTube represents another great social platform for advertisers. After all it benefits from all the same advantages Google search ads have. But to secure excellent conversion rates, you need to produce a video ad. While the similar in nature to Facebook, YouTube’s advertising guidelines are less stringent. For instance, let’s go back to an example used in part one. Prepper and survival kit merchants could shoot a video showing camping and hunting knives in action. Something that would not be permitted on Facebook.
It might also be time to target fast-growing video-based social media platforms such as TikTok. Which allow you to show off your personality and capture consumer interest. Their advertising guidelines are very similar to Facebook’s regarding making exaggerated or unfounded claims about your products and services.
Thus, if you sell info products for example, consider not speaking about your product on your ads. By making an engaging or funny video with a musical background, you could go viral. Attracting both attention and sales for your brand that way instead. The number of daily active TikTok users exploded in 2020. So now could be the best time for high-risk merchants to capitalize on lower competition for ad spaces. Particularly for those aiming at younger demographics.
But moving away from text and advertising copy isn’t something trending on social media. It’s right across the internet.
The rise of visual and mobile search
Two huge trends are underway in the advertising space. One is visual search, the other is the increasing prevalence of smartphone usage. Combined, they are set to reshape the e-commerce landscape.
Let’s tackle mobile marketing first. Almost three quarters of the world will use only use their smartphones to access the internet by 2025. That’s 3.7 billion people. Which means if you’re not targeting mobile search marketing, you’ll get left behind by those that are.
But it’s not only search. Apps (including social media) will account for many of those individuals accessing the internet via their smartphone. Customer spending within apps has already reached $101 billion globally. So it’s something you can no longer ignore as a high-risk merchant. To grow and scale in the 2020s, you’re going to need to heavily focus your advertising on handheld devices. Also, you have to ensure that you make your mobile checkout page easy and quick to navigate for users. Here are some tips to help you.
Pioneered by Google, Pinterest, Amazon, and Bing, visual search is another key advertising trend to get acquainted with. As highlighted above, the way people search is moving away from keywords, and towards visuals, including videos. In fact, 70% of millennials and Gen Z consumers have admitted that if all visual content was shopable, their rate of online purchasing would increase. The stats appear to back that up. As much as 10% of all visual searches convert to sales for products less than $200. High-risk merchants that appreciate the power of visual search first, will benefit the most. So get out that camera and start filming and photographing your products!
An interesting platform to look into for advertising is native. Native ad platforms such as Taboola and RevContent allow you to target users at the bottom of a website they are visiting, thus resulting in more targeted traffic. Say your customer is browsing an article about male pattern baldness, this might be a good opportunity to offer supplements geared toward male enhancement or other male targeted products. Native ads allow you to select your customers interests and then place your ads strategically on articles and websites that your target audience visit.
The Facebook boycott presents an opportunity for experimentation and diversification
The Facebook boycott means different things to different high-risk merchants. Some of you should use this as an opportunity to try and push boundaries in a less competitive space. Others may look at the bigger picture and start to look at where advertising strategies will be focused ten years from now.
Obviously, no one knows the final outcome of the Facebook boycott. The best line of defence right now is to protect your business. It’s always wise to diversify your marketing, regardless of whether you increase or decrease Facebook ad budgets. Having all eggs in one basket is never a successful long-term business strategy. Even if it’s payment processing or advertising.