What started as the original ‘social’ media, turned into a prolific business platform with the most diverse audience in the world. This however, has given rise to another global, yet relatively unknown tech behemoth, Facebook for business.
Clocking over 2 billion users a month, Facebook has the distinct ability to hold it’s audience’s attention and becoming a daily essential for content consumption, this insane statistic forms the basis of the existence of their business solution. A product which holds the attention of over 1/4th of the world’s population is undoubtedly the most effective advertising tool for businesses.Add to that, Facebook’s suite of proprietary ad tech products gives businesses the ability to target audiences with pinpointed precision and create the ultimate marketing funnel.
Businesses, Facebook and their love-hate relationship
While there is loads to talk about in the Facebook business scene, this article is focussed on their newest product, the Canvas and lead generation ads. Until now, Facebook was evolving it’s advertising features to create interactive and less intrusive user experiences, but business are concerned with the end game, which is invariably the leads they generate or the engagement with their brand and products. This is where the discord really began. The idea that ‘Facebook’ is not responsible for what people do once (or if at all) they reach the brand’s website, and the ad impressions inside the Facebook ecosystem is what costs the business. What eventually conspired was that Facebook’s ad performance and cost went on an inversely proportional trajectory. To save this dying relationship with businesses, Facebook invariably made the decisions most designers and marketers were thinking of from the beginning. They basically said, ‘why not create a landing page inside the Facebook ecosystem’.
A Canvas ad is essentially a landing page with interactive plug and play modules like videos, images, carousels and buttons that allows users to experience the brand in all it’s glory, without ever leaving Facebook. It’s practically a win-win, however, Facebook’s ads keep getting more expensive, so to some, it may just seem like too little, too late.
Design’s role in modern social media
Love it or hate it, social media is a part of the standard user experience today. That means the design intervention in this field is crucial now, more than ever. A landing page design is one of the most frequent projects of a typical UI/UX firm. Boasting a quick turnaround time, it can be argued as the ‘easy money’ project that let’s designers flex their creativity and establish a relationship with bigger clients for future business. If one of the world’s tech giant decides to enter that domain, standardise the design process, remove the coding aspect AND guarantee user visits, there’s a clear winner. However, the point most businesses forget is the end user maintains the same objective as they have always maintained, a good user experience. That’s something Facebook cannot bring with a standardised ad product. User experience is still driven by the finesse and creativity that can only be achieved by human intervention, and Facebook recognises that too. If a canvas ad lets you plug and play modules, someone still has to design them and ensure they fit with the brand’s guidelines and user’s expectations.
Facebook has essentially automated the clerical part of the process and let us, as designers focus on the user experience from the get-go. While we are polarised on Facebook’s seedy algorithms and news credibility, we all know that their asset, like any other tech firm’s asset is the user and the user alone. So as long as the product serves the user, their experience is a crucial part of the process and the designers will always be needed.