Crowd Views III: Why Is Facebook the Best and Worst for Small Businesses?

G2 Crowd is releasing its third quarterly research report: Crowd Views. The first two focused on “Solving the Talent Crisis” and “Solving Common Enterprise Problems.” This edition is about small business and the technology they use to solve their problems. The goal of this edition of Crowd Views is to help other small businesses understand what their peers are using to solve business problems. This is the eighth blog in our 10-part series about these small-business insights.

The third edition of Crowd Views had small-business employees provide insight into their most and least successful marketing channels in 2016. Unexpectedly, the most and least successful channel was one and the same.

Facebook was named the most successful marketing channel in 2016 by 38 percent of respondents. But Facebook was also named the least successful marketing channel in 2016 by 29 percent of respondents. Eighty percent of overall respondents indicated using Facebook regularly — at least once a month — for marketing purposes.

To make sense of this, we have to understand the variables marketers and other employees consider when determining a channel’s “success.” One of these variables is audience size. Advertisers want to be sure their campaigns can reach a wide scope of consumers. With an average active user base of 1.32 billion people, it’s easy to understand why Facebook would be a natural choice.

On a blog published on BuzzSumo, Facebook marketing expert Mari Smith answers common questions for Facebook marketing strategies. One of these questions is whether it’s worthwhile to develop a Facebook presence even if you’re selling to smaller retailers.

Partnering with and advertising on Facebook can mean more targeted campaigns geared toward users who are more likely to convert.

“Given the absolute prevalence of Facebook in the daily lives of so many people, it makes sense for businesses to have a presence there,” Smith says. “The size and scope of that presence may be dictated by the resources you have available to devote to social marketing and by the ROI you see generated from Facebook. But…entertaining posts for a niche audience is a great place to start.”

In addition to a large audience, marketers want to make sure they’re reaching the right demographics — whether that’s age or generation, marital or parental status or location. Facebook has its own social media advertising network called Audience Network, which allows marketers to customize campaigns specific to Facebook. Having this freedom to build campaigns within the platform that are unique to a company’s target customers is a big incentive to this particular channel.

Additionally, Facebook has a huge database of user information and search history. Partnering with and advertising on Facebook can mean more targeted campaigns geared toward users who are more likely to convert. Tools such as Facebook Analytics exist to provide insight into marketing campaigns on Facebook alone.

The ultimate determiners of whether a marketing strategy is worth continued pursuits are engagement and conversion rates. Are the advertisements placed on that particular website directly leading to conversions and revenue opportunities? This can be measured in clicks, page likes, video views and installations.

It’s possible users viewed Facebook as both a successful and unsuccessful marketing channel because it accomplished some of their goals while failing in others. Perhaps they had a large audience but little engagement. Or the right demographics but a low conversion rate. In order to decide on a marketing channel worth the effort, advertisers should research which channels perform well for like-minded companies.


Click here to download Crowd Views: Small Business report in full for free.