Hi, my name is Tony Cutting I own a digital marketing business here in New Zealand. I have been involved in digital solutions since I setup my first tech business ‘PeopleNet’ in 1999. Most recently I have made the change to focus on digital marketing, not only is it an exciting field to play in but it is also very rewarding.
I have over 120 business (mainly small business) customers across New Zealand and we are building digital marketplaces to help as many small to medium business grow as well as provide a FREE marketing platform for our local community groups.
OK that’s me.
A massive shift
In the last 12 months I have witnessed and experienced the most bizarre (almost self-destructive) move from the biggest digital marketing platform in the world. I can only put this down to American greed and the pressure these US based businesses have to increase their share price. Facebook has been on a 12-month journey to self-destruction and they still do not seem to understand this.
However, they are still the biggest player and I am still advocating to my clients that we use them. We will be looking at alternative solutions to start to take away the risk of Facebook absolutely destroying themselves. This is unlikely but what I have seen over the past 12 months it is very possible.
So what does this all mean.
24-36 months ago
If you had asked me where to invest your marketing funds it was a no brainer. Facebook gave the most value and I loved the fact that a community club or group could use the platform for FREE build a marketing system to help promote their club, events, fundraisers etc.
For small to medium business Facebook was the go-to low cost way to build your brand, promote your website and ultimately grow your business. This has changed.
Two major things have happened in the last 2-3 years with a massive shift in the last 12 months. Facebook has been making changes which are obviously driven by the shareholders greed for more. They have hiked the cost of advertising almost to the point that many small businesses have to rethink their digital marketing strategy and their service to businesses have been very, very poor. I will say in the last 3 months there has been a slight improvement with the introduction for ‘paying clients only’ of a customer support chat service. Secondly, the system keeps failing and annoying the very people who pay them. The constant changes are not well tested and there are errors nearly every week - this will pass once they bed down their ultimate goal - a higher paying advertising system. The product has been exposed to be messy and untidy and the constant changes make it very annoying for everyone. BUt they are still number 1 in terms of following (marketplace) and social media.
The big ace for Facebook Inc is Instagram (Facebook owned) which seems to be more stable and is now dominating in the 18-35-year market for personal use. So, expect this to attract more and more businesses in the next 12 -24 months.
So, here is the real-world example. 36 months ago, if my clients posted in a digital marketplace, we created we could have this small business reach 4000-8000 locals without paying a cent this represented at the time about 150% of the marketplace audience we had built. This has changed in dramatic fashion now they are lucky to reach 2-5% of the marketplace audience and need to spend at least $20 per day to consistently hit 2000+ views of their posts.
In terms of community groups that use to achieve great things for FREE now the reality is they need to start budgeting marketing funds if they want to reach the larger numbers.
Facebook Advertising have most recently also introduced bidding and for businesses this means very shortly they will be almost on level with Googles AdWords in terms of costs. Dumb. Let me explain why soon.
For business users who do not yet pay for advertising there is little support from Facebook.
Facebooks key strength remains (just) - Now it is still the most powerful and affordable way to ‘market’ your business. For $20 per day on average you can achieve some good things with the platform.
Google over the past 36 months
Other than conceding the failure of Google+, the major web player has been pretty stead with the most potent search / advertising system in the world. For some businesses using Google AdWords is very affordable (or at least some key words are) but for many you can be paying up to $50 for one website visit for the most expense keywords e.g. “insurance”
Google support is great and their FREE product Google My Business is a very valuable tool for all businesses. May this continue.
The power play for Google is that it is more of a sales system than a marketing system. This is because people are searching for something in Googvle and when they find it they are more likelyu to buy than someone who has randomly seen your post. The product is stable and is supported by a number of very cool tools like Google Analytics. The Google Advertising team also work hard to help clients get the most from the platform. They are easy to reach.
Google now is a toll most business need to revisit. Best budget is likely to be between $40-$50 per day. In fact, once you hit $50 per day Google assign a system expert to ensure your ads work. Pretty compelling.
So that’s it. If you have not used Google AdWords for some time and you are getting frustrated by Facebook it may be worth taking a new look at Google. Don’t drop Facebook but be smart and cover your bases better.
The irony here is Facebook is becoming the biggest reason people are buying more Google ads and exploring other digital marketing tools. The big question is will they sort their SH%T out before they completely self-destruct? Time will tell.
Have a great weekend. I hope you found this helpful.
About Tony Cutting Digital
Tony Cutting Digital helps businesses of all sizes grow using both digital and sales strategies that work. We build digital marketplaces that enable start up business as well as established businesses accelerate their growth. We work with some of the best digital marketing providers locally and globally to offer a full solution for any sized project.
For more information visit www.tonycuttingdigital.com