It’s so common to hear about the successes of tech giants like Google and Facebook, people tend to forget that not everything these companies works as well as they intend (like Google Authorship). A good example of this is Facebook Events. The tool should be very helpful for individual users and marketers to discover, plan and promote events. However, thus far, less than a third of Facebook’s audience uses Facebook Events monthly, and less than a third of the events are from businesses. Facebook isn’t ready to pack it in yet and has announced some changes to breathe life into Facebook Events again. This article will explain the new changes to Facebook Events and their ads, and how marketers can benefit.
According to Facebook, more than 400 million people use Facebook events each month to connect to activities in their community and abroad. Events have been used to promote concerts, sales, parties and more. However, Facebook also says that less than 30 percent of these events come from business pages. This is a very low percentage and suggests that the Facebook Events tool isn’t being used as much by marketers as it can be. The newest changes are Facebook’s attempt to address this disparity.
“To make it easier for businesses to reach even more people for their events, we’re announcing new features that help Pages promote their events and see how they’re performing,” the company stated in a blog post. “In the coming weeks, Pages will be able to create ads for desktop and mobile News Feed that boost awareness of events and drive responses.”
The most important change for marketers is the improvement to paid promotion for events. Marketers could promote a post about an event, but the event only showed as a small ad in the right hand column. This meant that there was no way to use a large image for an ad, show in it in a desktop News Feed, or anywhere on mobile. In the past, the only way to see an event on mobile was to go to the business’s Facebook page and scroll the events manually. Event ads will now go on desktop and mobile News Feeds and will have the large images that links have. This change will greatly increase the effectiveness of using Facebook events since the ads will be much more effective.
There are also some changes to the Events Page for Facebook admins. It’s now easier to see the vital information from a column of Facebook Insights data on the right hand side of the page. Admins can see the number of people who’ve seen the link to the event on Facebook, the number of people who’ve viewed the event (i.e. clicked the link), and the number of joins, saves and maybes the event has received. Being able to easily see this information will let admins know if an event ad isn’t working because it’s not getting enough reach, if the ad isn’t getting people to click, or if the event details page isn’t sealing the deal.
To go along with these enhancements for marketers, Facebook has also changed the way individual users see the events they’ve signed up for through Facebook. Each person’s events page better highlights their upcoming events and showcase new events. Besides the events sent to them by their friends, Facebook will suggest events based on information such as the Pages they like, their location and the day of the week. Presumably, if the suggested events don’t already include promoted events from advertisers, it will almost surely happen in the near future.
Though it will take time to tell, it seems Facebook is headed in the right direction with Facebook Events. The biggest challenges to using the tool was the low visibility. By fixing that problem on the News Feeds of desktop, mobile and ads Facebook has all but guaranteed some improvement in the performance of Facebook Events. Marketers should experiment with these new features to see if using these events can excite their fan base and reach new consumers.
For more news about Facebook that marketers need to know, read this article about Facebook’s plan to penalize pages that use click-baiting tactics.