Social networking companies like Facebook are allowing businesses to utilize their popularity with young adults to reach their demographic.
Brooke Ward, regional college relations manager for IES Abroad who advertises on Facebook, said there are three reasons why IES Abroad advertises on the Web site.
“Obviously, it’s one of the most used applications online by our target demographic, which is college students,” Ward said. “Cell phones, texting, calling and e-mail after all that, Facebook is one of the top applications.”
Ward said another reason the company uses Facebook is it allows them to categorize students by colleges, so they can create unique advertisements for students who go to certain schools. For example, she said they can create advertisements geared toward just Auburn students, instead of a general one for all college students.
“We are able to segment the audience down to colleges and universities that they attend,” Ward said. “After we do that we’re able to create specialized advertisements.”
Ward said the third reason why IES uses Facebook, is the amount of people who are affected by the advertisement can be tracked.
“Facebook has excellent reporting tools that allow you to see how many times students click on it, so we know indeed that it is a very effective method of advertising,” Ward said.
According to a Facebook press release, the Web site has Social Ads, which incorporates friends reviewing a restaurant or buying products, which is helpful to advertisers.
“This enables advertisers to deliver more tailored and relevant ads to Facebook users that now include information from their friends so they can make more informed decisions,” according to the release.
Also, according to the release, Facebook allows its members to become fans of certain businesses and to spread the word about what they like to their friends.
“Facebook users can interact directly with the business through its Facebook Page by adding reviews, writing on that business’ Wall, uploading photos and in any other ways that a business may want to enable,” according to the release. “These actions could appear in users’ Mini-Feed and News Feed, Facebook’s popular products that allow users to share information more efficiently with their friends.”
Avery Abernethy, a business professor, said whether or not companies like Facebook which have a lot of online advertisers are profitable with the state of the economy would have to be determined on a company by company basis.
“If they get enough advertising cash flow from people who they think can see the ads there, then they can make money at it,” Abernethy said. “The majority of many businesses that really make money by selling advertising to other businesses on the Web, with most Web advertising, is type specific ads to individual companies. The biggest company in terms of Web revenue right now is Google, which is a Web search engine.”
Abernethy said it also depends on the type of advertising a company is trying to do. Using direct response advertising where they are directly selling products on the Web is a lot easier to track than brand advertising.
“If you’re talking about brand advertising, where we’re just trying to make brand name familiarity and give people more information about it, but we don’t actually close the deal on the Web, then there’s a lot less of that that’s out there, because it’s a lot harder to track,” Abernethy said.
Ward said she thinks advertising on Facebook is effective advertising because it brings the ads to the customers and the results are trackable.
“It’s a way for us to know that it’s really working,” Ward said. “We’re able to see the number of students that click on the advertisement and it gets the word out there in an environment that their in everyday.”