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8 Reasons Facebook Will Beat All Other Digital Marketing Channels This Year Why entrepreneurs should select Facebook as your primary digital marketing channel.

By Manish Dudharejia Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

JaysonPhotography / Shutterstock.com

Marketing is the key to success for any business. If you're already an entrepreneur or planning to launch your startup this year, it's crucial to have your marketing strategy in place right away.

It's very important that you set a budget and try one marketing channel at a time to see the ROI and decide whether to keep at it or move on. I believe Facebook advertisements will surpass all other digital marketing channels in 2017.

Here are the 8 reasons why it makes the most sense for businesses to use the social media giant to advertise their products.

Related: How to Create a Facebook Messenger Chatbot For Free Without Coding

1. Custom-targeted audience

Facebook advertising campaigns are built around (and for) specific audiences. For this reason, the Facebook Custom Audience Tool can work magic. This tool enables marketers to upload lists of contacts such as emails, UIDs, and phone numbers so you can target them with certain ads.

This is perfect for everyone from entrepreneurs with only a few hundred contacts to giant enterprises with hundreds of thousands.

Take this past election for example. Donald Trump won the Election with $150 million dollars of Facebook and Instagram advertisements in the final weeks of the campaign. Trump's team took its custom database (Project Alamo) containing identity profiles of 220 million Americans. With time running out, Trump's digital operation executed a last ditch strategy with targeted Facebook ads discouraging Americans from voting for Hillary Clinton.

On November 8, there ended up being record low numbers of voters in the polls in Democrat strongholds. A good chunk of this can be attributed to Trump's Alamo Project effort.

2. Maximum visibility at minimum cost

If you're planning to launch a business online, you want to build where the people are. Currently, Facebook is at #3 for the most populated online platform with 1.79 billion active monthly users.

Advertising on Facebook is comparatively cheaper than on Google. Also, Facebook video views are cheaper than YouTube.

Research shows that consumers spend 90% of time spent on mobile is on apps and Facebook leads the way as the most downloaded platform of the first half of 2016.

Although you shouldn't be spending all your money on Facebook advertising, these numbers are simply too big to ignore.

Related: How Your Business Can Capitalize on Facebook Live

3. Early-stage brand awareness

Facebook can work a lot like PR if managed strategically. The Brand Awareness ad objective uses a combination of real-time proxy metrics with both the reach and attention users give to a campaign to provide brands with maximum exposure.

Getting started with this early on is critical so that later campaigns can have a bigger audience. The goal is capture attention across the board to get in front of people most likely to be interested in your brand.

4. Facebook Live

Video is the undisputed champion of customer engagement and sharing. Facebook Live was introduced within the last year and has taken the internet by storm. It allows any user to record live videos and share them with friends.

Businesses can use this to their advantage in several ways.

  • Provide a behind-the-scenes experience to customers.
  • Show sneak previews of new products or updates.
  • Promote events.
  • Answer questions.

People spend 3x longer watching live video than native content. With this in mind, it's becoming a requirement to include it in Facebook marketing.

5. Chatbots

Ever since Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook's 10-year roadmap, every business is trying to utilize Facebook Messenger to communicate with their customers. For a good reason: it now has a billion monthly active users.

A while back, Shopify announced they will let their stores sell directly on Facebook messenger. This is a game changer. When more and more businesses start selling on Facebook, user engagement and hours spent on the platform will continue to increase.

With more consumers interacting with brands on Facebook, the use of chatbots will inevitably become a necessity. With chatbots, you will able to create structured messages including images, links, and call to action buttons.

Brands will be able to design bots so that conversation with customers and purchasing can be instantaneous.

6. Quick feedback

In the old days, when businesses wanted to reach out their customer base for feedback on products or services, they would have to do things like direct-mail voting polls or cold call surveys. Luckily, those days are over and brands need to look no further than social media.

Facebook makes it easy for businesses to simply post a question on their status and sit back and watch for the comments.

Time is perhaps the most valuable asset in business. Facebook is great for companies looking to get an impression of their image and product quickly so they can see what works and what doesn't without hassle.

7. Consumer psychology

One of the biggest advantages of Facebook (or social media in general) is that it gives everyone a voice that will be heard.

In addition to providing the ability to share opinions on products or services, Facebook enables users to endorse businesses within their own community by simply hitting the "Like" button.

Companies can leverage this phenomenon and turn everyday users into brand influencers. 9 in 10 consumers take the words of their peers into account during the buying process. Why not let your customers do the talking for you?

8. Growth

Facebook is improving by the day. In the last four years, the number of users has almost doubled. The future is looking very bright. There will be more users to show your content to and advertising will likely keep getting better and cheaper.

In the last year alone, Facebook has launched a number of new features such as:

  1. Facebook Live Video
  2. Facebook Professional Services
  3. Facebook at Work
  4. Improved Search
  5. Uber/Lyft integration
  6. Facebook Shopping Tab
  7. Instant Articles
  8. Facebook Events
  9. Non-profit crowdfunding
  10. Music Stores

This is a very exciting time for Facebook. Business owners and entrepreneurs should brace themselves and prepare to make these features a significant part of their marketing strategies.

There is no denying that Facebook is here to stay. It's amazing to think that what started as a simple way to stay in touch with friends has turned into a platform that connects people and brands all across the world. Keep your ears open for new developments about how Facebook can help build your business for the future.

If you are newbie to Facebook advertising, here is a step-by-step guide to learn about Facebook Advertising.

Manish Dudharejia

Founder and president of E2M Solutions Inc.

Manish Dudharejia is the founder and president of E2M Solutions, a full service digital agency specialized in website design and development, ecommerce, SEO and content marketing. Dudharejia is passionate about technology, marketing and startups.

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