Guest Post: Is Facebook More Innovative Than Google With Online Advertising?

Chris AmosThis is a guest post by Ampush co-founder and CMO Chris Amos. Ampush is a Facebook Preferred Marketing Developer qualified in ads.

The recent expansion of Facebook’s Custom Audiences, a targeting mechanism that enables marketers to reach their offline audiences on Facebook, now includes options for businesses to use third-party customer behavior data to pinpoint the ads they run on the social network.

By offering more options for marketers to target their audiences, Facebook is gaining ground in its ongoing innovation battle with Google, and marketing budgets should follow.

Facebook’s partnerships with Datalogix, Epsilon, Acxiom and BlueKai allow enterprises to create predefined or custom first-party targeting categories, so now businesses of all sizes can target categories like “soda drinkers” or “people who browsed for a specific make/model of car on my website” and reach those consumers on Facebook.

Multi-channel marketing is taking off, and with Facebook providing advertisers access to a consistent and engaging user experience across mobile and desktop News Feeds, Facebook is solidifying its position as the ideal platform to spend ad dollars. The social platform is catalyzing three major paradigm shifts that have changed consumer expectations and opened up new possibilities for advertisers — personalization, virality and mobile/multi-device proliferation.

1. Personalization
The social web of today is on an unstoppable path toward hyper-personalization. Communication between business and consumer has gone from “anonymous” mass marketing to “relevant” targeted messages to “personalized” social experiences. Facebook, being the web’s most ubiquitous identity network, has access to authentic attributes, interests and actions (captured via Open Graph) for over 1 billion users worldwide. This advantage alone best positions enterprises to deliver high-quality, personalized experiences to users, on and off Facebook.

2. Virality
The rise of social has given users a megaphone, which has dramatically reduced the time it takes to advance through the traditional product marketing funnel. Typically a lead matures over time from awareness to consideration and ultimately to conversion, which in a non-social world can take several months. But with Facebook, when a story appears in my News Feed that my friend Jason read “The Devil in the White City,” I immediately progress from awareness to consideration, and might even click through to buy the book on the spot, all because of the power of social context. Facebook, capturing 39 percent of time spent on the top 10 global websites and 23 percent of time spent on all apps in the U.S., is arguably best equipped to catalyze this viral potential.

3. Mobile and Multi-Device Proliferation
As consumers increasingly adopt multiple mobile devices, users expect a personalized and consistent experience across platforms. To meet these expectations, enterprises are best off leveraging an authentic social identifier such as Facebook Login, as opposed to relying on less precise, less reliable browser cookies. Because many users are logged into Facebook all the time, especially via mobile, Facebook is once again uniquely positioned to deliver value. Furthermore, Facebook’s recent redesign of News Feed has created a consistent user experience across its desktop and mobile interfaces, while providing advertisers access to its most engaging placement.

With the integration of third-party data sources, coupled with Facebook’s acquisition of Atlas, the social platform is making major moves toward providing an end-to-end solution for enterprises to construct intelligent audiences, engage users with personalized experiences, and measure the downstream impact of their advertising campaigns. Ampush is a social technology company helping enterprises navigate these trends, and unlock the viral potential of Facebook ads.

LivingSocial recently partnered with Ampush on an initiative to drive new users and repeat purchases for their daily deals via News Feed. Powered by Ampush’s Referred Intent amplification technology, LivingSocial used a combination of Sponsored Stories with Custom Audience targeting to deliver more personalized messaging while amplifying the voice of actual customers to acquire new users and drive purchases. This approach enabled LivingSocial to obtain new users cost efficiently, leading to CPAs 60 percent lower than other Facebook ad platforms. By utilizing a News Feed targeted strategy, LivingSocial saw a 20X higher CTR than right hand side ads.

Facebook is taking big steps to make its ads platform more robust and quantify the value it provides to enterprises. While Google still owns the world’s largest online display advertising network, Facebook is on the fast-track to developing new and better ways to deliver personalized advertising experiences to its massive user base. It will be fascinating to see how this arms race progresses, to say the least.

Chris Amos is the Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer at Ampush. Prior to Ampush, Chris worked as an investment professional at The Carlyle Group and an investment banker at Morgan Stanley. While not exploring innovation in social technology, Chris can be found rooting for Chicago sports teams, learning to box, and attempting to surf and snowboard. Follow him on Twitter @chrisAmos.

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