Bloody Facebook! It’s a long time since a month went by without Facebook implementing a new policy that completely destroys the ability to market across their platforms effectively. (Although to be fair we can also blame Apple a little for that as well). Whether it’s the IOS 14 changes, the ability to no longer market properly on third-party platforms like Eventbrite, the reduction in reach for custom audiences or conversion tracking, marketing for clinics and MSK providers both on Facebook and Instagram has turned into a mess.
Fortunately, we’ve been able to keep ahead of the curve each time. we’ve been able to use technologies to alleviate issues, clever tracking implementations and our own knowledge of the industry and Facebook to keep ROI for all of our clients as it was before.
So why write this quick blog now? Facebook is at it again and this time a LOT of businesses are going to find the changes disastrous and completely stifle their ability to use Facebook and Instagram as marketing platforms. There simply won’t be any point as the returns won’t be there. (If you’re reading this and a client of ours, don’t panic! We’re all good and you’ll see from your results over the past week that nothing has changed for you, indeed today has been a particularly good day, more on that later…)
So what’s happened?
In the past, it was possible to select various interests and target people according to those interests. On a basic level imagine creating an ad for a patella CPD product and then pushing that ad to people who ‘are interested in patella’.
This is no longer possible. Facebook has taken away the ability to target any health interest. This includes the CSP, physiotherapy, knee, shoulder, any type of condition and even treatment types and, for those who used to piggyback on Adam Meakins‘ The Sports Physio interest option which was one of the major interest targets, that’s gone too! Good luck to you all!
If you’re running campaigns now you’ll have very few options for physio or MSK at all. There’s a couple left but so insignificant that it’s not worth using them, One set of interests that are left are Chiro, chiro owner, chiro techniques, DC and so on. Unfortunately for you chiros out there, if you thought you saw a lot of ads before then think again!
To those of you who constantly get irrelevant ads like “Book your free physio appt here” or “We’re chiropractors get a free spine check worth £500,” you’ll be relieved. These will stop pretty soon! A lot of agencies and clinicians DIYing their ads would just pick an interest like physio and hit everyone, wasting their money and annoying the crap out of the rest of us with irrelevant ads.
So what now? Well if you have a LOT of money, and when I saw a lot think £30k ad spend then you’ll be fine. You can go shotgun and just serve everyone your ads and eventually Facebook will learn from that data. If you don’t have the money then your results will decline.
In some ways (especially patient marketing) this is a great thing. I wrote an article a while back about how Facebook marketing was ruining MSK, see this link here and this change has possibly solved it.
However, if you’re a legitimate business then this isn’t going to be fun. Want to sell CPD to MSK clinicians? Everything has changed.
Facebook’s suggestion is to run custom engagement audiences which is all fine and well except they actually stopped that from working 6 months ago!!!
So what next? At HMDG we’ve already found a way around it. This isn’t all down to us being brilliant (although we obviously are and I’m not bias!), but working with as many people as we do in the sector gives us an advantage in three ways which essentially mitigates everything to do with these changes. Unfortunately, I’m not giving away trade secrets or saying why, perhaps it wouldn’t matter given that no one else can do it but we’ll keep our lips sealed for now.
Shameless plug, if you’re running or looking to do Facebook or Instagram marketing give us a shout. We’re totally full at the moment and have been for almost 2 months but we do have a waiting list and we’ll open up to new clients again soon.
For everyone else, I think it’s a case of going back to the old days, getting likes and engagement with your page and then running ads at custom audiences! There’s also 75% thru play targetting but given those thru plays will now only come from people that already know you I don’t think that’s going to be all that effective.
Finally, it does mean that maybe people will start investing in new channels. Google, YouTube, TikTok and some old ones like Twitter. We already run ads everywhere other than Twitter but it’ll be interesting to see who else starts exploiting new channels!
Founder – HMDG