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Facebook is the foremost leader in online usage, there is no contention that Facebook is a smart advertising choice for anyone—including the military. But, the demographics of Facebook’s users are changing. It used to be said that FB had more online users than Instagram, WhatsApp, and Twitter combined. However, as recent as August 2017, Instagram has surpassed 600 million users (a far cry from FB’s 2.01 billion), but the spike represents a 3x increase in the last 6 months. And that stat is continuing to rise.

What do the Polls Say?

In fact, all the leading polls say 18-24 year olds, the military’s most preferred target audience, prefer Instagram and Snapchat over Facebook. And the reason behind kids leaving Facebook might surprise you. David Ebersman, former CFO for FB, argued the rational was simple; “It’s hard to look cool when you’re hanging out with Mom and Dad.” (Washington Post).

military facebook advertising

So why should the military be advertising on Facebook?

It’s simple really; it’s still the most robust, most cost effective, and has a higher average Click Through Rate (CTR) than Google AdWords. According to Search Engine Journal, “Facebook ads were approximately 88% cheaper than AdWords in 2016…[with] more bang for your buck.” (Joe Castro, SEJ).

With nearly $667 million dollars1 spent on military advertising, it’s not just a frugal state of mind that should drive military to Facebook advertising.

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing has two key facets: high profile individuals and trusted friends/family. The military understands this, and has for a long time. It’s the reason U. S. Army has been so heavy in racing sports. In 2015, an internal audit found the Department of Defense contributed more than $5 million over four years to showcase hometown heroes at NFL games. That number goes up 20x when including NASCAR driver and car sponsorships.

What could be better than your favorite sports team advocating for your recruitment campaign? Mom and Dad advocating for your recruitment campaign, of course.

Minnesota National Guard understands this well, and has capitalized well on their recruiting techniques. In early 2016, MNARNG launched their, ‘In Their Own Words’ video campaign. In the video series, newly enlisted troops share their story of choosing the Guard. It didn’t take long for their video production team to recognize the importance of family the prospects decision.

After the first year of changing their tactics to reflect the growing online community, MNARNG saw 4x higher leads than the years prior. Minnesota coupled their video campaign with PPC, Facebook, and online banner ads for a combined total of 496 new recruits in FY16—top 5 in the nation.

Influencer marketing isn’t just a way to garner approval, however.

47% of online customers use ad block technology. The way to reach them is to provide content they want from people they trust. (Influencer Orchestration Network, 2016)

Facebook, therefore, offers the perfect merriment of influencers and target audience. But there is another reason the military needs to be advertising on Facebook.

It’s where the world is.

As recent as July 27, 2017, a simple mattress startup company signed a $1.1B merger according to Forbes magazine. When you check the link, take note: you can share it via email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+; sorry Instagram and Snapchat, instant sharing not supported.

Another huge reason Facebook makes the most sense for advertising is the social reach extends well beyond the platform. Of course there is the desktop website, FB mobile app, FB page manager, and let’s not forget messenger (now allowing ads, BTW), but you also have hundreds of thousands of business profiles, news sites, social engagement platforms which primarily integrate with Facebook. It simply is not enough to advertise on Instagram and/or Snapchat simply because that’s where a bulk of Gen Z’ers are. Because those same 18-24 year olds will be driven to Facebook where military ads are.

Do you agree? Leave a note below and let’s connect on Facebook,

Are you a recruiter or recruiting agency looking to increase your ROI and satisfy growing demands without blowing your budget? JMC Brands has been helping US Army, ROTC, AMEDD and National Guard recruiting for the last 7 years. We specialize in helping you meet your mission. Reach out today and learn more about digital marketing and the military.