Advertising Through Social Media: an Evaluation of Facebook Advertising Programs

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ADVERTISING THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA: AN EVALUATION OF FACEBOOK ADVERTISING PROGRAMS

Keywords
Social media, online advertising, Facebook, online branding, customer relationship Hypothesis
Marketers have longed used the Internet or interactive marketing tactics to share corporate information and perform advertising activities. In contrast, today’s Web 2.0 allows for sharing, linking, collaborating, engaging collectively in the conversation. The purpose of the survey aims at evaluating the effectiveness of Facebook advertising on the customer buying behaviour and consumer engagement strategy, and its potential impact on sales performance for a sample of Mauritian companies currently advertising on Facebook.

Justification of the research
Social media represents an unprecedented marketing opportunity for business that transcends traditional middlemen and connects companies directly with customers (Stelzner 2011, p.2). This is why nearly every business on the planet is exploring social media marketing initiatives. Increasingly, social media is being used for online advertising and will continue to evolve more in the next years to come (Lyngbo 2010, p.5). Social venues like Facebook, Twitter, Wordpress and other powerful social media tools are evolving rapidly. The big question is “Why is everyone doing this?” Is it because it’s easier to communicate a message via social media tools? The relative success of Facebook has built over the years and advances in the provision of Internet access. Facebook is the most popular social media in Mauritius with over 351,340 Mauritians listed as active users of this social network which is over 20% of the local population (Socialbakers, 2012). This shows that if we consider Facebook as a medium, it has an audience just beyond the local press. Facebook as social media encompasses the entire world and is used by individuals at least a few times a week. It has over 950 million active users, and about 20 billion contents being posted by members –including Web links, pages, groups, events and community pages, available on seventy-five languages (Facebook, 2012a, Kirkpatrick 2010, p.20). Just one click of the mouse can be used to send 100,000 potential customers a message (Facebook, 2012b). The opportunity is immense. Social media in tandem with other online advertising methods is the wave of the future and companies can’t ignore it if they hope to tap into larger customer markets (Lyngbo 2010, p.3). Advertising via Facebook is quite simple and at the reach of the average Internet user. Facebook claims to be able to reach a selected target audience, by specifying variables such as location, age and interests (Facebook, 2012c). This form of viral marketing on social networks allows the advertising company to build a community around their business and customers engage mutually to promote advertising campaigns simply with a ‘click’ of a mouse on the ‘Like’ button to participate. Targeted ads appear on the right hand side of every user as soon as they log in to their Facebook account and vary according to their age, location, interests and gender. As social networking sites allow users to share ideas, activities, events, and interests within their individual networks (Wikipedia, 2011), advertising via Facebook is made a lot easier. Connecting to friends allows the user to see notice all the activities of his/ her friends and all that the user has been up to, including marketing activities. This study is performed to evaluate the effectiveness of advertising programmes on social media, more specifically on the Facebook platform. Very few studies have been conducted in regards to what extent the advertising and branding being conducted via social platforms activities is meeting their targeted objectives. It is of particular interest to the researcher as it is new and interesting and it is a new unexploited area of branding via the Internet. Moreover, it meets the aspirations of the researcher...
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