For years now brands have used Facebook’s native advertising to promote themselves. And it has helped them. Facebook has over 2 billion monthly active users. It provides the largest set of audiences for your content. As of late, other platforms have taken over. Brands are now experimenting with newer concepts like influencer marketing. This trend of marketing has gained popularity in no time. Is the popularity justified? Does influencer marketing score over Facebook’s native advertising?
Native Facebook Advertising vs. Influencer Marketing
Native advertisements on Facebook are ads or paid promotions exclusive to the platform. There’s an option to integrate other contents like photos, images or text directly into the user’s news feed. Such promotional material is also tagged as “sponsored” or “promotional” to help users distinguish them from regular content.
For influencer marketing, influencers create sponsored content and promote it via their personal accounts. Their content is mainly targeted towards family, friends and other followers. And unlike Facebook’s native ads, influencer marketing content is not tagged as “sponsored”.
Both these options may seem similar and viable, yet they have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. We tried listing them out to help brands identify a suitable option for their needs.
Content marketing, social media analytics, social listening for better customer care, and influencer marketing are some of the top marketing trends right now. But that does not mean you will have to try out each category. Just pick a strategy which is most suited to your business model.
- Authenticity: Users follow influencers willingly. They want to know about the products influencers use. So a product-placement or brand shout-out on their feed is readily believed. Especially as influencers mix this information up with authentic posts about their daily activities, family, friends et cetera.
- Lesser Restrictions: Compared to advertising on Facebook, influencer marketing has lesser restrictions. Facebook is also strict in terms of what you can publish in an ad. It restricts the word limit, use of certain pictures, format et cetera.
- Content Creation becomes Easier: As a marketer, you already have a lot on your hands. With influencer marketing, you can relax a little. The task of content creation becomes the influencer’s responsibility. Sure, you will have to cast around and find the right influencer for your brand but social listening and databases can help you with that. The more tough tasks of ideation, creation, and implementation are taken care of by the influencer.
- Niche Audience: Reaching niche audiences becomes easier with influencer marketing. Approaching micro-influencers instead of celebrity influencers is the way to go for this. Most micro-influencers produce industry-specific content. They are popular with the audience that follows that niche. @thecurvyrebel, for instance, is quite popular for promoting fashion and body positivity tips. If you are a brand in the plus-sized clothing industry, collaborating with her helps you reach the audience you have also been targeting.
- Influencer Management: Most brands worry about the task of finding the right influencer for their product. It is quite a tough task. Brands that do want to work with influencers will have to find the right talent, develop an understanding with them, define goals and expectations et cetera. This can take quite some research and effort on their part.
- Accounts with Fake Followers: Social media users look for authentic content, but social media is also a place where it is easy to fake things. Also, the aspiration to become an influencer has grown among the younger generation. Some of these users even employ unethical ways to grow their network. It is crucial for brands to avoid such accounts. They need to thoroughly research the influencers they want to work with.
- Measuring ROI: You would want to know if your investment reaped the expected returns. Here’s where there’s a slight glitch. There’s no definitive way to measure the results of influencer marketing. It can be assessed in many different ways – the KPIs you should look for include engagement and conversion rates.
Facebook’s Native Advertising
Having looked at the pros and cons of influencer marketing, it is time to move on to Facebook’s advertising options.
- Format: The best part of Facebook’s advertising is that it offers a wide variety of formats for you to display your content. You can choose from a variety of styles of displaying text or photos, videos, and carousels et cetera.
- Measure Performance: When you use Facebook’s native advertising options, you also get help to measure the success rate. You get data on how your post is performing. They even let you A/B test different ads and features.
- Budget Flexibility: Facebook allows marketers to adjust their spending when they are on a tight budget. Marketers can thus test things out. They can move their dollars around and scale up if only when they find something which works.
- Overt: As I mentioned earlier, Facebook advertisements would be marked “advertised” or “sponsored”. People tend to be wary of such ad banners and would avoid them. This is called “banner blindness”.
- Lacks Engagement: People would rarely opt-in voluntarily to view ads. They also tend to skip ads. This only results in lesser engagement rates. People are less likely to like, share and comment on a Facebook ad.
- Inorganic Audience: Native advertising runs on the algorithm created by Facebook. So, the audience may be too broad or too narrow or miss the niche you are trying to reach. Capturing the attention of the exact audience is a gamble with native advertising.
How can Facebook Advertising and Influencer Marketing Work Together?
By now it must be clear that both these formats clearly have their own sets of benefits. And they are not mutually exclusive forms. If you really want to scale up your business, you can have the best of both worlds. Marketers can choose to use the facilities in loop and in a complementary manner.
Brand scan collaborates with influencers. The content created reaches the followers of a particular influencer. This content can then be repurposed to reach other audience members via Facebook native advertising. This way the ad also acts as a testimonial from a well-known influencer.
Whichever method you choose to employ, market research and social media monitoring should be a part of your strategy. Use these insights and strategies to inform your campaign and enjoy better results.