Advertising on Facebook for South Africans – Advanced Ad Formats

No matter how awesome your products are, you won’t be able to sell of them if you or someone else does not bring them in front of consumers’ faces. Marketing the foremost role in doing this, and as a digital marketing agency, we definitely have a bias towards marketing products on the Internet. In this post, we look at advertising on Facebook for South Africans.

Facebook has over 10-million monthly active users (MAUs) in South Africa or just fewer than 25% of the population. It is the largest social media platform in the country, as it is in almost everywhere in the world except most notably in China. Along with its sister services, e.g. Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp, Facebook’s ecosystem suddenly rivals television, radio and print – what we know as traditional or old media.

What we like about Facebook is its various ad formats, which are listed on the image below. I briefly take a turn at explaining the more advanced options and their merits below.

Facebook Carousal

This appears in the form of cards that are swipable left and right. Each card has an image, some text and a destination URL that can be any URL that you choose. The ability to add different URLs on each card in the carousal is the best part because you can direct people to the best performing pages of your website or app, where they are likely to convert or perform whatever action you deem as a success metric. Or you this can be a way to prop up pages/screens that are poorly performing and social media traffic could level things with the other pages/screens that receive a lot of traffic from other sources such as organic search.

Facebook Canvas

Creatives love Facebook Canvas because they can let their imagination come to life in the most interesting ways. From my experience, Canvas is a bit of Meh, we don’t want to do it, drag for developers, but it’s really something to invest in. On average, users spend more time engaged with Canvas than on other formats, which afford your brand the ability to introduce, educate and capture new audiences significantly better than the other formats.

Facebook Product Collection

If you search for most products for sale on Google Search, you will be shown a carousal of the product with price information from different suppliers. Similarly, Facebook Product Collect is an ad format similar to the Google Search feature shown below for iphones for sale.

Facebook Carousal vs. Facebook Collection

You might be thinking: Why have this option when there’s already the Facebook Carousal?

You’d be correct in that each of these use the carousal format, however, the beauty of the Product Collection is that you can define it to pull product information straight from your database or some form of feed that can pass information between Facebook and your product list. Whenever changes are made to that feed, this will be recorded on Facebook as well. For example, if a product is out of stock, then Facebook will not show it in the product collection carousal, whereas if you had used the ordinary carousal for your product list, you would have to manually edit and remove that particular product when it is no longer available.

That may not put you out of business, however, consider that each click on the ordinary carousal is billed when you advertise, and if the user is presented with a SOLD OUT notice only once they’ve navigated to the website, that’s not a great user experience. That person may never come back to your website again. Now that becomes the loss. Using a Product Collection feed eliminates that possibility.

So why exactly have I taken the time to detail all the above? It’s simple really: I want to show you the power of Facebook as a very viable advertising option for your business. With so many millions of South Africans active on the platform (and its sister networks), the merits of spending as little as a few hundred rands a month on Facebook advertising should be appealing and make financial sense.

Friends of Brands can help you with you manage your entire social media marketing – from developing strategies to help your brand grow and attract and retain customers from social, to creating the actual creative to be shown to users and the media buying which will take your brand to the next level of online success.

Of course, buying ads on Facebook, or any other social media network for that matter, is only one consideration your business should be making. There are many other ways to get in front of those almost 10 million monthly active users, and we can help you do exactly just that.

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A Case Study on the Impact of Multivariate Testing on a Financial Services Website

One of our websites aggregates financial services for various South African providers, and when we got the opportunity to work with a new client, a debt consolidation agency, we proposed a strategy whose components where the following:

Leverage existing traffic in the Loans and Credit Cards section of the website to generate traffic for the Debt Consolidation offer.

Convert that traffic in (1) using 4 different options, a) expand the original Loans and Credit Cards forms to include information about the Debt Consolidation, b) only present the Debt Consolidation offer on the Thank You page in the form of a banner to another website, and c) present a Debt Consolidation form on the Thank You page itself instead directing to another website.

Tactic #2 is a classic example of A/B testing, something that many marketers do not know of, and if they do know of, grossly neglect to use.

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Easy Tactic to Grow Search Traffic – Optimise High Impression Pages with Low Click-Through Rate

There are some great sources on the internet about how to improve your organic search rankings from Google, Bing and other search engines. However, my though leader in terms of everything search is Neil Patel, whose extensive list of blog posts over the years has helped me create some awesome personal websites, helped build Friends of Brands, and helped me in my previous work as an Analyst for big brands such as General Motors.

Why would you want your organic search rankings to go up? You probably know the answer, but if you’re new to online marketing, you want your organic rankings on search engines to go up because that [can] constitute a direct increase in the overall visits (or sessions as Google calls them) on your website – and everyone should aim to get more visits – but carefully so, and that is an article for another day.

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The Problem with Influencer Marketing in South Africa

This post is an opinion [commentary] following Lelo (@lelowhatsgood) and Afro (@Afro_M)’s first podcast which you can listen to below.

When the concept and subsequent incorporation of Friends of Brands in late 2014 came about, I had built a strong interest in influencer marketing, thus, my then aim to build a platform that would aggregate social media (and web) personalities who had large followings, high interaction rates and resonated well with their audiences. At the time, only Webfluential existed in South Africa; it was also barely a year old. It still exists, but only as a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and no longer offers agency services, which is the area on which Friends of Brands has pivoted.

Key to Lelo and Afro’s podcast is the saturation of a few individuals who have (in the past 2 years or so) received the lion’s share of the work that brands have put out there. The podcast highlights the following 2 points about these individuals (and possibly others who will follow in their footsteps):

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If You’re Not Gonna Love It, Don’t Invest In It!

If you’re not going to put your time in it, don’t invest in it. Part of our audit process for clients is to look at online assets that they’ve invested in, but aren’t giving much love to. A couple of these don’t really deserve the love, but some actually do. We definitely don’t blame clients for reconsidering their online investments only after investing in them, but ideally, if you’re not going to nurture it into something that provides positive ROI (of whatever manner), then don’t invest in it at all.

The most common example of this is social media. How many social networks does your business have a presence on? In our clients’ case, it’s an average of 4 – the main ones being Facebook, Twitter and some degree Instagram and shockingly in 2017 still is Google Plus.


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How to Convert Leads into Paying Customers

In 2016, Friends of Brands helped acquire over 25,000 business leads for our clients in insurance, banking, entertainment and education. Although that looks like a decent number, not everyone of those leads where of the quality that we always strive to push to our clients! I’ll definitely admit that, but above all we always try to improve that quality as much as possible. So what exactly does a quality lead look like and how can you convert that person/business into a paying, repeat customer? We explore some ideas we’ve found to work below.

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5 Major Digital Marketing Trends for 2017: What South Africans and Emerging Marketers Need to Know

This is the first blog post from tihe Friends of Brands team. Without going into much detail of what this platform is all about (you can read about the purpose of the overall blog in the category section), we aim to share our knowledge and insights as thought leaders in our areas of business. With this and other posts, you should be able to gain much understanding about what we do and how our focus areas can help you as a professional, student or business.

  1. Renewed Focus on UX/UI
  2. Bigger Social Media Budgets
  3. Influencer Marketing in South Africa Becomes a Thing
  4. Better Defined Digital and ATL Strategies by Brands
  5. Renewed Relevance of Local Search

Defining Marketing Strategies

I’ll start with my favourite topic, Strategy. My commerce (academic) background sort of dictates that with every project, I (and the team) require an understanding of the overall strategy whose ultimate goals are the things we will work towards.

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