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Benchmarking – How the new Ads & Info section on Facebook can be made to work for your business


In a direct response to the criticism levelled against Facebook regarding fake news, and the lack of transparency of its contributors, Facebook have recently added a new ‘Ads and Info’ section.  It is intended to allow users to check the history of an advertiser, and understand the origin of the information they are receiving.  The new feature allows users to view some of the important basic information such as when the page was set up, and how its name has changed over time.  Perhaps more significantly the second function is that users are able to see all the active advertisements relevant to that contributor – it’s this element that has some interesting potential impacts, and it’s worth looking at a little more closely.

The first thing to consider is to focus on what a user might conclude in looking at the Ads & Info section of your own business page – ask yourself if you can critically appraise your section, and if the answer is no, then choose someone whose opinion you can trust, but as a start, you might wish to ask yourself the following questions:

 

Do your active Ads mutually reinforce each other or are they in conflict?

If a potential customer perceives that your active Ads reinforce each other to represent a cogent and powerful brand with a consistent value proposition and price point, your credibility and attractiveness is enhanced, and they are more likely to come back for more. Conversely, if you are marketing a premium product, with a price point to match, but a potential customer can see you are pushing excess stock on a different add at lower prices, you risk creating a dissonance in their mind, and they are less likely to commit to spend.

 

Does the look and feel of the content represent my business in the way I would wish?

The look and feel of your campaigns should be consistent in order to create a story, and build the relationship that is now so crucial to effective Facebook advertising. Good examples from TV, such as the M&S food ads, demonstrate how, when the Ads have a strong and consistent message and high-quality production style, their effect is amplified, and the customer confers that sense of strength, consistency and quality to your business and your product.

 

How does my business compare to the competition?

Once you have looked at your own page for any initial obvious improvements, take a moment to consider your competition, and perhaps brands in other sectors of the market that you admire – benchmarking is a tried and tested business technique that allows you to analyse your own performance by comparing it against others – the beauty of the Ads & Info section is that Facebook collects a lot of the data for you in a manner that is easy to analyse.

Use the Ads & Info section on their page to see both how a prospective customer might view the page, and critically analyse their content.  What do they do well, and where have they let themselves down?  When looking at their page through a customer’s eyes, which Ads draw your eye, and why?  Is there a gap in their strategy that you might have expected them to exploit?  Once you have come to some conclusions, and really dived into the detail of a selection of your competitors and exemplars of best practice, take the points and go back to your own page.  Apply each one in turn, noting that throughout, you might well find that whilst the direct comparison might not apply, the basic principle may well; particularly when learning from brands you admire outside of your own sector.

 

To conclude, the inadvertent second order consequence of Facebook’s response to criticism has created a new tool in your armoury.  Whilst it could present a threat to your business if you haven’t developed an effective and coherent marketing strategy, for those business who are willing to critically analyse themselves, and learn from their competitors, it presents another useful means to really maximise the incredible opportunities that advertising with Facebook presents.