It is no secret that Facebook has become an important information source today. Or perhaps the most important one, given the amount of time users (2 billion of them) spend on the platform. Traditional media is today fighting with Facebook for a slice of audience attention. A Buzzfeed News report claims that businesses have now identified this, and are paying Facebook to promote positive stories about them or advertise their products and services through sponsored content. Also Read - Facebook smartwatch to feature cameras alongside fitness functions: Yes, detachable cameras!Also Read - What happens to your Facebook account after you die?
And this is coming at the cost of companies’ traditional advertising spends. Dollars earlier earmarked for print and television are now being pumped into Facebook. Businesses are pressing for quick, viral marketing as opposed to a gradual trickle-down of information. The report claims that companies are paying Facebook to “promote a favorable review of their services.” While this is not new, it is definitely growing; more services are now valuing Facebook over traditional advertising. ALSO READ: US newspapers plan to strike Google, Facebook over ad revenue Also Read - WhatsApp Multi-device support confirmed, public beta rollout begins in two months: Mark Zuckerberg
A dating app startup that utilized Facebook to promote a positive article on it saw traffic surge and engagement skyrocket. Its head of US operations told Buzzfeed News, “It s probably the best form of awareness building, community building, and user acquisition there is.” A lot of Silicon Valley startups are following this path for quick traction. It’s not only better bang for the buck, but also allows businesses to reach a focused demographic riding on Facebook’s elaborate marketing tools. There is less spillage compared to that on traditional media. Plus, there’s real-time feedback from consumers.
Facebook knows it well. In a blog on the importance of Facebook Marketing, it says, “The newspaper as a traditional communication tool provides news to the public only in one direction without a mechanism to collect feedback. In a two-way communication mode like through Facebook, people can acquire information as well as convey their own comments at the same time. This can make a big difference in social impact.” ALSO READ: Google, Facebook dominate digital ads in 2017: Report
Moreover, with consumers increasingly skipping ads and installing adblockers, chances of a advertising getting ignored are high. On Facebook, however, as users scroll through their Newsfeed, even promoted or ‘sponsored’ content is displayed as normal updates. That increases the likelihood of them clicking, consuming (and commenting on) it. Facebook is clearly delivering more value to businesses as a result of which more and more advertisers are splurging on it. The social networking giant’s ad revenues crossed $27 billion in 2016, making it the second-biggest digital ad sales-generator after Google.