Advertisers are using Facebook’s news-feed revamp to get bigger media budgets

Advertisers have talked for years about going all-in on paid Facebook ads, and some believe they are closer than ever to securing larger budgets to do it, following the social network’s announcement that its news feed would prioritize what family and friends share over content from brands. “We’re really trying to get more people [within the wider organization] away from thinking that social media is free,” said Lauren Davey, head of social media and display at Barclaycard, at a We Are Social event on Jan. 31. She added that Facebook’s pruned news feed doesn’t change Barclaycard’s strategy so much as emphasize it. Like Barclaycard’s social media marketers, Audi’s team spent much of 2017 arguing for scrapping an organic strategy for Facebook to focus on paid, targeted ads. Other departments learned that an organic post that reaches 2 to 4 percent of the brand’s organic followers isn’t a “good thing,” when it likely won’t be relevant to most who see it, said Rich Burgess, social media manager at Audi UK, at the same event. He said this has meant declining requests from other departments to post to Facebook at Audi. She added that Barclaycard sees Facebook as “full-funnel tool” that can function at different levels, from driving consideration to direct response, depending on what type of person is targeted. “A lot of what we’re doing is warming people up through the funnel,” she said. A shift of that magnitude is dependent not just on targeting from Audi, but also testing more versions of the same ads, better creative and using its customer data for lookalike modeling on Facebook. “Across all our platforms, the [threshold] for how often we should be targeting the audiences we buy is generally around three or four times, which is tipping people over the edge of the business metrics,” said Burgess.

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Advertisers have talked for years about going all-in on paid Facebook ads, and some believe they are closer than ever to securing larger budgets to do it, following the social network’s announcement that its news feed would prioritize what family and friends share over content from brands.

Prior to Facebook’s latest crackdown on organic branded content, trying to convince senior executives to give more money to the social network was a work in progress, marketers at Audi and Barclaycard said. Now, both brands are realizing they will have to spend more on Facebook ads to compete with treasured friends and family content, which requires creating ads that aren’t forgettable or cheap — and is leading advertisers to push for larger budgets.

“We’re really trying to get more people [within the wider organization] away from thinking that social media is free,” said Lauren Davey, head of social media and display at Barclaycard, at a We Are Social event on Jan. 31. She added that Facebook’s pruned news feed doesn’t change Barclaycard’s strategy so much as emphasize it.

Like Barclaycard’s social media marketers, Audi’s team spent much of 2017 arguing for scrapping an organic strategy for Facebook to focus on paid, targeted ads. Other departments learned that an organic post that reaches 2 to 4 percent of the brand’s organic followers isn’t a “good thing,” when it likely won’t be relevant to most who see it, said Rich Burgess, social media manager at Audi UK, at the same event. He said this has meant declining requests from other departments to post to Facebook at Audi. “Organic reach isn’t something we will be touching for the foreseeable future,” he said. “The [paid ads] that we are talking about doing more of don’t need to go to the masses all of the time.”

A revamped news feed has underscored why Barclaycard’s paid media plans were already leaning toward influencers and away from functional product-based posts in recent months. It’s meant more “inspirational stories” from the financial firm’s influencers, Davey said. Being part of a “big,…

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