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Thanks Facebook, but we’ll take it from here

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Laurence Cresswell, Paid Media Product Manager at Summit Media, challenges the notion that Facebook is the ‘one stop shop’ to success in paid social – based off the findings of the company’s recent ‘Voice of the Customer’ survey.

If I had a pound for every time I’ve heard a Facebook rep recommend increasing budget in a dynamic product ad to improve performance, I wouldn’t have to work for a living.

I get it, their job is to get clients to spend more money on Facebook and increasing DPA spend is normally a good way of rinsing a few extra pennies out of customers at the bottom of the funnel. My fear comes when clients start taking the word according to Facebook as gospel.

A private meeting here, a tour of Facebook London there, and suddenly brands start to lose sight of the bigger picture – they start to believe the Facebook preachers when they say the only option for success is to spend more money on Facebook. 

It’s safe to say there’s been a lot of controversy about performance metrics on Facebook. Yet brands are happy to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds for a Facebook lift study.

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Since when did we allow students to mark their own homework? Top marks all round, Facebook take the win and your paid social manager gets a standing ovation as they enter the office. There is no denying the power of Facebook as a marketing tool, with great access to highly engaged audiences.

But as soon as a marketer trusts blindly the tool they are using, they themselves become the tool.

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Juddering to a halt

Even if a brand uses third-party measurement and attribution to get a clearer idea of the impact Facebook has on their business, they still run the risk of juddering to a halt at the mere suggestion of expanding beyond the Facebook ecosystem. The myth that “if a customer isn’t on Facebook, they’re on Instagram” is an easy win for marketers too lazy to think about how potential customers use social media. 

Summit’s recent Voice of the Customer Survey looked at social media users in the UK as they went through a purchase journey. 70% of participants regularly used Facebook, 67% used Instagram – but a Facebook user was more likely to use YouTube than Instagram, and an Instagram user was only 6% more likely to use Facebook than Snapchat or TikTok. Social media users aren’t betrothed to just one platform – in fact, on average they use 3.8 different platforms regularly. 

An Analytics Partners study is often quoted when discussing multichannel marketing, and for good reason. It highlights that the highest ROI comes from having a combined approach and that there is a need to move away from channel strategies back to marketing strategies.

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The same logic can be applied in the social ecosystem. If you use Facebook alone, you run the risk of only reaching 59% of users under the age of 34 (according to the Voice of the Customer Survey), and this missed opportunity can become even wider when brands consider their audience make-up.

The need to go beyond just Facebook is clear. Segmenting why a shopper might use each platform further reinforces the point.

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Facebook and Instagram were the social platforms 42% of customers used to complete a purchase but, 47% more participants used Pinterest to get inspiration before a purchase than Facebook, despite a much smaller regular userbase.  21% more participants used YouTube to research a product they were considering buying than Instagram – increasing to 48% when you look at Facebook vs. YouTube – and users who already had TikTok were just as likely to make a purchase from that platform as users with Instagram or Facebook were to purchase directly from them.

We as marketers have a duty to think beyond just one channel, but this is often easier said than done. Directly comparing social platforms is hard, and requires a deep understanding of how customers use social, but it is also unique to each retailer.

WHSmiths do not have the same social challenges as Game, yet they both sell Xboxes online. Facebook ‘wins’ any direct comparison if marketers focus on scale and use Facebook’s own measurement metrics. As soon as you take a step back, consider your audience and your business objectives, you can go beyond cobbling together a quick Facebook campaign because you saw a competitor’s ad, or setting every objective as sales because “revenue is all that matters”.

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While Facebook might drive the most social sales for a retailer, wider-encompassing metrics such as store visits, cost per new customer acquisition and share of voice are brilliant in holding Facebook to account against other social platforms. 

So why is Facebook still the first social port of call for many retailers? It often comes down to ease and scale. It is too easy to run a Facebook campaign, the platform is master of convenience – from the little boost button under a page post to Budget Optimiser, the ad platform has been made to cut time.

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There’s also no denying a large number of potential customers are on Facebook, so reaching an engaged audience on Facebook can sometimes feel like shooting fish in a barrel. But the easiest option is not always the best. 

As marketers trying to support our clients, we need to go back to putting the customer at the heart of planning. Budget fluidity should not be reliant on the contracts you have with certain platforms or the kickbacks you get. A fancy dinner should not be all it costs for you to look the other way as platforms like Facebook lie to your clients and you should never take an advertising platforms word on the performance of a campaign.

No more repeating last year’s plan, no more ad sets without audiences, and no more using Facebook just because it’s the easy option.

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Summit is hosting a webinar later this month titled ‘Are you too social distanced from your customers?’ Learn more here.

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Facebook-Meta Earns the ‘Worst Company of 2021’ Title in This Survey

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Facebook has had its share of controversies this year. The company was under more scrutiny after whistleblower Frances Haugen leaked a series of internal documents.

Facebook parent Meta has been named the Worst Company of the Year (2021) by Yahoo Finance respondents. According to the publication, an “open-ended” survey was published on Yahoo Finance on December 4 and 5, where 1,541 respondents participated. Facebook received 8 percent of the write-in vote, but respondents were seemingly mad about the Robinhood trading app as well. Electric truck startup Nikola, which was named last year’s worst company by the same publication also faced respondents ire.

Yahoo Finance notes, “Facebook has had its share of controversies this year.” Starting in January, Meta-owned WhatsApp got caught up in a huge controversy after the messaging app announced a new privacy policy (Terms of Service). WhatsApp said it would collect user information and share it with third-party apps for a better user experience. However, the app gave users no choice but later made modifications to the policy under pressure. Similarly, the company was under more scrutiny after whistleblower and former Facebook employee Frances Haugen leaked a series of internal documents showing the company’s problematic practices. It was revealed that Meta-owned Instagram had a negative impact on teenage girls, but the company did almost nothing to rectify the problem.

Yahoo Finance even highlights, “At the same time, some critics, including conservatives, say Facebook over-policed the platform’s speech and stifled their voices.” Critics also blame Facebook and other social media platforms for not curbing hate speech that led to Capitol Building riots.

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However, around 30 percent of Yahoo Finance readers said that Facebook or Meta could redeem itself. One respondent suggested that the company could issue a formal apology for negligence and donate a sizable amount of its profits to a foundation to help reverse its harm.

On the other hand, respondents chose Microsoft as the Company of the Year (2021). The Satya Nadella-led company touched the trillion-mark this year and introduced notable upgrades. The most notable is the Windows 11 OS update that succeeds Windows 10.

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Facebook pays 1.7 Cr fine to Russia after failing to delete content Moscow deems illegal

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In the latest legal tussle with Russia over controversial social media regulation laws, Facebook paid 17 million roubles (Rs 1.7 Crore) for failing to remove content deemed illegal by Moscow. With a threat of potential larger fines looming, Facebook parent company Meta, owned by Mark Zuckerberg, is scheduled to face court next week over repeated violations of Russian legislation on content, Interfax News Agency reported. As per the latest updates, the social media giant could be fined a percentage of its annual revenue.

In October, Moscow sent state bailiffs to enforce the collection of 17 million roubles. Meanwhile, as per Interfax report citing a federal bailiffs’ database, on Sunday, there were more enforcement proceedings against the company. Apart from the popular social media app, Telegram has also paid 15 million roubles in fines for failing to comply with the Russian social media legislations that came into force in 2016.

Facebook pays $53k to Russia for refusing controversial social media laws

It is pertinent to mention that Facebook has locked horns with Moscow earlier in November, resulting in it paying 4 million roubles ($53,000) over its refusal to adhere to Russian data localisation laws, the Moscow Times reported. The Moscow court on November 25 had said that Facebook paid the fine levied in February, following which all proceedings against the US-based social media giant. The payment comes against the litigation filed against the company in 2018, alongside Twitter. The tech companies were also forced to pay an additional 3000 rubles ($40) for failing to comply with user data sharing rules as per the law. The Russian authorities have also previously blocked LinkedIn, owned by Microsoft, for failing to abide by the laws.

See also  Facebook may have vastly overpaid in data privacy settlement: court filing

Russian social media laws

As per Moscow Times, under the Russian social media regulation laws, all foreign technology companies are required to store data related to Russian customers and users on servers located in Russia. Additionally, the Russian tech companies will also have to share encryption data with the federal authorities as well as record user calls, messages and civil society group conversation records. The apparatus is said to be a severe breach of privacy rights and unfettered back-door access to personal data that could be used to harass Kremlin critics.

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Facebook Messenger Is Launching a Split Payments Feature for Users to Quickly Share Expenses

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Facebook Messenger Is Launching a Split Payments Feature for Users to Quickly Share Expenses

Meta has announced the arrival of a new Split Payments feature in Facebook Messenger. This feature, as the name suggests, will let you calculate and split expenses with others right from Facebook Messenger. This feature essentially looks to bring an easier method to share the cost of bills and expenses — for example, splitting a dinner bill with friends. Using this new Split Payment feature, Facebook Messenger users will be able to split bills evenly or modify the contribution for each individual, including their own.

The company took to its blog post to announce the new Split Payment feature in Facebook Messenger. 9to5Mac reports that this new bill splitting feature is still in beta and will be exclusive to US users at first. The rollout will begin early next week. As mentioned, it will help users share the cost of bills, expenses, and payments. This feature is especially useful for those who share an apartment and need to split the monthly rent and other expenses with their mates. It could also come handy at a group dinner with many people.

With Split Payments, users can add the number of people the expense needs to be divided with and, by default, the amount entered will be divided in equal parts. A user can also modify each person’s contribution including their own. To use Split Payments, click the Get Started button in a group chat or the Payments Hub in Messenger. Users can modify the contribution in the Split Payments option and send a notification to all the users who need to make payments. After entering a personalised message and confirming your Facebook Pay details, the request will be sent and viewable in the group chat thread.

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Once someone has made the payment, you can mark their transaction as ‘completed’. The Split Payment feature will automatically take into account your share as well and calculate the amount owed accordingly.


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Tasneem Akolawala is a Senior Reporter for Gadgets 360. Her reporting expertise encompasses smartphones, wearables, apps, social media, and the overall tech industry. She reports out of Mumbai, and also writes about the ups and downs in the Indian telecom sector. Tasneem can be reached on Twitter at @MuteRiot, and leads, tips, and releases can be sent to tasneema@ndtv.com.

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