Facebook ads vs. Mobile app – what to choose for your restaurant?
Since Facebook’s launch almost 15 years ago it has become the synonym of “social media”. It comes to our minds when we think about social media and with over 2 billion active users and Facebook ads it might seem as a great place to promote your restaurant. Does it?
The golden age of Facebook has passed, especially if you own small or mid-sized business. Facebook, with its latest updates, tries to go back to people and punishes business by emptying their pockets for Facebook ads and making it harder to be recognised.
You may ask why Facebook is bad for your business? We can answer that.
- It’s not cheap. To reach broader audience you could purchase Facebook ads, right? Maybe. But even if you choose this way, only 1% to 5% of your fans will see your updates. To reach more people (not only your fans) you might have to spend $5 to $300 to reach 500 to 50,000 Facebook users, but it still doesn’t guarantee that they will click on it or even notice it.
- You need vivid and colorful content. In this modern age you need to be distinguishable from all your competitors. It’s not enough to post status updates or photos to be noticed – you have to draw users’ attention by videos. They instantly pop up out of the sea of still pictures and text-only posts. Unfortunately, these videos may be expensive to make and they are not the option for small or mid-sized businesses.
- Facebook’s algorithms don’t favor brands. Even if you have spent a bunch of money for Facebook ads and posting creative content, it doesn’t mean you will be seen. As mentioned before, Facebook wants to get back to people – cheap advertisement, high organic reach made Facebook to be more like yellow pages. That is the reason why Facebook decided to aim its latest update to brands that aren’t creating useful content. In other words, Facebook prioritizes your friends in order to get back to its main idea. Also, Facebook tries to gain more money from businesses to get advertisment. Facebook is huge company and the costs of maintaining its recources are insanely expensive. So by trying to solve one problem, they will solve two – clean feeds from businesses and increase their income.
- Facebook changes all the time. Even if you manage to overcome all problems and reaching the top of the mountain (top of the Facebook feed) all the time, it can change anytime and you will come tumbling down in no time.
- Fewer people use Facebook. Facebook is not the go-to social media platform anymore. Even if it has most active users of all platforms, this number is declining. Here are some numbers:
- 40% of active users regularly browsed but never posted anything.
- 50% said they spent just 1-5 hours a week on Facebook (compared to 37.5% the previous year).
- Only 43.1% could see themselves using Facebook more in the future.
When we look into the numbers concerning promoting a business on Facebook, over 80% of users said that they either rarely or never click Facebook ads, while 32% said that promoted posts should not exist.
There’s no denying that Facebook is shrinking and more and more people are looking for other ways to socialize. So why shouldn’t you?
In today’s market business apps are growing rapidly. In 2016, global app downloads surpassed 90 billion across iOS and Google Play. This represents 15 percent annual growth — an annual increase of more than 13 billion. In the U.S., consumers downloaded 12 billion apps last year, an average of roughly six per month, according to App Annie data.
Besides, you might be thinking that Facebook or Snapchat are the most used apps. Wrong. Recent “comScore” study shows, that this is not the case between 18-34 year old americans. It’s Amazon app. So you can see that people use apps not for fun, but for convenience. 34% of all respondents prefered Amazon app, while Facebook messenger are preferred by only 18% of all respondents. This shows that people are using apps not for fun, but also for convenience. Not enough convincing? There are plenty of app benefits, even for small and mid-sized businesses.
- Opposite to Facebook ads, apps can be cheap. Sure, huge brands invest thousands of dollars to have their individual apps, but there are many affordable ways to have your own individual app in your clients’ device.
- You can be visible for your customers at all times. App offers you an opportunity to send push notifications straight to your clients’ device screen at any time, even if the app is not open. Open rates of push notification can max out at 99%. Why spend money on Facebook ads, if you can’t reach these numbers? And don’t forget subconscious thinking – by seeing your logo and your name couple of times per day, your client will think about you next time they will be looking for a place to eat.
- You will stand out from your competitors. Who doesn’t like innovation? Apps in small businesses are still a rare thing, but why you shouldn’t be first to do so? Clients’ will be pleased to have your app, especially when they can get various discounts, offers and prizes by using it.
- Your customers will feel valued. Talking about on-hand information, how about digitalizing that loyalty program you have in place? Instead of sticking to the old point-collection card, make it possible for your customers to collect their rewards via your mobile app. The result? More downloads and more return customers.
- Only you will decide what is on your app. You control the information you provide, you decide what you can give to your loyal customers and what special things you offer for those, who have your app.
Of course, you can still work with Facebook ads – we are not forbidding that. But if you want to make your business bigger and be independent from constantly changing Facebook’s, Instagram’s and Google’s algorithms, we recommend you to think about having your own app. By offering app for your customers, you will be free from companies that are relying on income from selling advertisement. Upcoming changes will increase the need of paying for advertisement and the costs for that will grow more and more.