The online world is saturated with likes, comments, shares, etc. Consumers have developed a habit of "liking"content as a form of engagement, especially with brands. This type of engagement has become the norm, a digital nod of approval or, in some cases, disapproval. But what do those metrics actually mean for your bottom line? More than you might think.
Engagement metrics (number of likes, comments, shares) have long been questioned in terms of their value. In fact, the term transitioned from engagement metrics to a more negative term, "vanity metrics." The idea behind vanity metrics lies in the underwhelming assumption that those metrics make a brand look good, but mean nothing.
Due to recent developments on Facebook and Instagram, those metrics can now be used for more than just appearances. The new re-targeting tool, Facebook Engagement Custom Audiences, allows brands to re-target people who have engaged with their content via likes, comments, and shares, plus a myriad of other options. Now, you can take that "warm" form of engagement and nurture it into tangible sales.
Cold Leads vs. Warm Leads
Before diving deeper into the importance of Facebook's tool, let's take a closer look into the reason why consumers are "liking" like crazy and how important their habits are for brands.
To start, there's a psychology behind those "likes." According to one study, "there is a strong connection between Facebook and the brain’s reward center. That area of the brain processes rewarding feelings about things like food, sex, money and social acceptance. This is what's happening as people engage on social media."
When a consumer interacts with content from a brand, he or she goes through the process of: "I see this, I like it, I must engage with it." In a sense, social engagement is irresistible. This is great news for brands because it gives purpose to your efforts on social media. For brands, consumer engagement should be equally irresistible.
The process of "I like this" to "I must engage with" is a conversation consumers are starting with your brand. It's a conversion from passive "cold" lead to active "warm" lead. By engaging with your brand, even through a Facebook Like, consumers are telling you that they're interested in your product.
Consider this: is it better to sell to cold leads who have showed zero interest in what you're selling? Or is it better to sell to warm leads who have showed you minimal interest? The answer is simple.
Warm leads can more easily be converted to qualified leads in the sales funnel. And there are studies to prove the connection between social media leads and sales. One study found that Facebook users who "liked" a particular brand's Facebook Page made 131% more visits to that brand's online store than did Facebook users who did not "Like" the brand.
As true as that might be, the fact remains that you can't gather a lead's contact information from a Facebook Like. But, Facebook has made up for that with their Engagement Custom Audience tool which allows you to follow up with those leads through re-targeting.
The Power of Re-Targeting
Re-targeting is the process by which ads are presented to a consumer based on that consumer's previous interaction with you brand, though social media, website, etc. The key to re-targeting is that you must first have initial engagement from you consumer (for our purposes, consider this initial engagement a Facebook Like).
Zappos does an excellent job in re-targeting their website visitors. When people visit the Zappo's site to look at a pair of shoes, they will start seeing ads for those shoes on many of the other sites they visit (including Facebook). Here's an example of a re-targeting ad on the Facebook sidebar.
Zappos captures consumers's engagement through “tracking cookies” on browsers. Over a 30-90 day period, Zappos re-targets consumers through related ads on various sites consumers visit. This strategy turns those warm leads into qualified leads and eventually into buyers. Generally, 2% of shoppers convert on the first visit to an online store. Retargeting brings back the other 98%.
Now, take the idea of re-targeting and apply it to Facebook, where millions of consumers live. Facebook's Engagement Custom Audience is the same, except it uses Facebook Likes, Shares, and Comments to track and re-target on Facebook. It works the same as the Custom Audience tool, but includes a variety of options for using your "vanity" metrics to nurture people through your funnel.
Options For Re-Targeting and How to Choose
There are several options for re-targeting on Facebook. Here's a list of what's available in the Engagement Custome Audience tool.
- Everyone who has engaged with your page
- People who have visited your page - a more narrow audience.
- People who engaged with any post or Ad - This includes reactions (like, love, haha, wow, sad, or angry), shares, comments, link clicks, and carousel swipes. These are people in the middle of your funnel and are one step closer to your brand.
- People who clicked on any call-to-action button - These people are further in the sales funnel. Consider them like people who put something in their cart and then never check out.
- People who sent a message to your page
- People who saved your page or any post
Connecting Re-Targeting To Your Marketing Budget
Fortunately 46% of search engine marketing professionals believe retargeting is the most underused online marketing technology. That means there's a great opportunity for brands to take advantage and drive sales.
Think about it from a psychological standpoint. When people interact with your brand on Facebook, they have your brand at the top of their minds. They are “open” to your brand. Put your dollars in the right place by nurturing those warm leads. You’ll get a lot further than cold, disruptive marketing and you'll nurture long-lasting customers.
If you're sinking time and money into cold advertising on Facebook, take a step back and consider the benefits of nurturing warm leads. Look at your vanity metrics. Are the numbers good? If so, consider using that success for your benefit. Re-target those people with Facebook's Engagement tool and watch your sales funnel increase.