Advertising on Facebook: How to use Facebook Ads as an Effective Marketing Tool
The first contact I had with advertising on Facebook was in early 2009: it wasn't a great experience. The management interface was light years behind Google AdWords (in many ways still is), the publishing process is "unknown" and the approval process of biblical times. The campaign that I was testing was a typical Lead Generation in marketing (AdWords, which generated a conversion rate stable at around 23%). After a couple of weeks the results were disappointing: the average CPC was low but the CPL was much higher than you get with AdWords and the average time on the sites marketed was significantly lower. In layman's terms, my initial trial in early 2009 did not pay off for the amount of money poured into it. At this point I decided to drop advertising on Facebook for good.
In layman's terms, my initial trial in early 2009 did not pay off for the amount of money poured into it.
Months pass and I begin to hear rumours, particularly from overseas, about the possibility of generating unimaginable profits thanks to Facebook Ads. I was not convinced and these statements of "grandiose" and they seemed to contained too much hype for my taste. Though I had become accustomed to other methods of advertising on Facebook I decided at the end of 2009 to spend some time and resources to do a more detailed study of this instrument. And nine months later here I am to give my feedback.
The route I described is experienced by hundreds of entrepreneurs and professionals in the web every day:
A. they think about advertising on Facebook is just another platform of Pay Per Click;
B. investing several hundreds of euros or pounds in a typical year (lead generation or direct sales);
C. when they realize that does not work as expected, accepted the loss and go.
The main problem which came up for those who try advertising on Facebook for the first time, is not understanding that this is a promotional platform which is completely different from any other system with which they have previously managed.
Google user (the ones who are searching for a service or product) are looking for something to solve a problem or need. The keywords they enter come solely from the problem or need they are seeking to resolve.
The trick with advertising on Facebook is that the situation is totally different: people are not looking for the solution to their problems (maybe the boredom, but that's another story ...). This social network is a place where people tell stories for them and where they can participate (virtually) to the stories of their friends and acquaintances.
This difference requires a change in their mindset, or else the money invested in the promotion through Facebook Ads will be thrown to the wind.
Let me create an example. To sell "tents" on Google, you can tap into a pool of about 20,000 searches per month for a specific keyword. When advertising on Facebook you can strike almost 50,000 people who enjoy camping, hiking and tracking. This is not to offer a solution to a problem, but to provide a tool (the tent) to enjoy an experience (go camping) which is then shared with friends through the same means (the social network ).
Any reason I should start advertising on Facebook? Good question, let's see:
- Advertising on Facebook provides 27 different ways-targeted ads on their socio / demographic (geographic location, age, sex, interests, education, profession, etc.).
- As of August 2010 the UK alone had about 22.2 million users (source: Facebook Ads), 82.5% of all UK inhabitants are on the Internet (source Audiweb).
- On average, each user on Facebook is online 44 minutes per day. This is a very high average and rather frightening if you think about it :)
- Facebook Advertising is a great promotional tool, in some ways more complex and specific than Google AdWords. But to be able to get results is important to start with the right foot. Here are some useful tips and tricks to promote your products and services on this social network.
Research the INTERESTS of people (not the keyword)
Remember when you first signed up for facebook? (maybe you don't) Well when you did, you filled in several sections about interests, music, films and activities. You are now a prime candidate for someone out there!
Facebook Ads allow targeted ads based on "interests" that users have filled into their profile. Where a particular interest (eg "Star Trek") reaches a certain level of "popularity", it is then inserted in the database of interests that you will find when creating your ad (see below image). This means that facebook is already suggesting popular interests to you.
Since the database is structured to "related interests" it is very simple to expand the number of users that we will hit with your ad. You start by putting the main keyword (e.g. "Marketing") and then slowly be adding individual letters (eg, b, c, d, etc.).. Whenever working on the keyword, Facebook updates the list of suggestions by offering additional interests related to the main keyword. This way you can create ads with a sufficient user base for the niche sector.
The key to designing an effective campaign is to create ads that are highly consistent with the interests of the user even if this means creating many ads that hit a few thousand users at a time.
When Advertising on Facebook, A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
With Google AdWords the ad copy is key: find the perfect headline, push on the just benefits, include a call to action effectively.
With advertising on Facebook the key is the image of a persuasive ad. It must be able to pause the conversation that the user is doing in his mind and draw your attention just enough to push it to click on your ad. The selection of a correction image is the most crucial and creative step in creating how your ad appears.
The right image can generate significantly higher than average Click-Through-Rate. It is therefore useful to test different ads with the same headline and description but with a different image.
Images must be compelling: people's faces, logos, images and "strange" (funny, mysterious, etc.).. Trying to understand in advance which image will work better is pointless, better to test. There are dozens of sites from which to draw Royalty Free images. iStockphoto.com is my favourite because of the extensive database and excellent indexing of images.
Facebook Ads makes available (currently in beta) a simple function of tracking conversions. Personally I prefer to trust and create a Google Analytics tracking code for each ad. That way I can track visits, bounce rate, time spent on the site and conversion rates. Tracking conversions with Google Analytics allows you to identify the best ads and where to invest your budget.
The key is trust
With advertising on Facebook it you will get less results directly pushing the sale. It is important to first build trust and then only to promote and products and services. A very underrated maneuver is to keep the user within facebook such as a FBML Static tab using a landing page campaign. (In simple terms, building a strong presence within facebook by using their application interface). Facebook is so rich with possibilities in design and user interaction. Did you know you can even build a full e-commerce store right into facebook?
When a Facebook user is sent to an external site he begins to worry about the safety of the environment of where it is.
A method of increasing confidence even more is the so-called Match Landing Page. The landing page must be consistent with the announcement, with the same or similar headline and even better, using the same image (larger and above the fold). As a viewer you should have no doubt that you have arrived at the right place. This applies to the landing page within Facebook for those using external sites to market.
For each of your trial runs when advertising on Facebook try different ranges of offerings. These values, especially at the beginning, should be taken very seriously otherwise you risk not getting any impressions and therefore no clicks.
During the first 24/48 hours of the announcement one should constantly monitor his/her proposed bid and suggested values. There are various ways to optimize the offers during the initial phase, many proven methods are:
1. Make an offer of 2 cents/pence above the minimum;
2. Or if you are feeling a little more flush, propose the average value between the two suggestions.
An interesting study of facebook ad bidding shows that though the competitive "highest bid" may show one figure, if you bid a little below it and let it run for 15-30 mins, it then tends to "settle down" and you can change your mid to a lower range without any effect on your statistics.With careful control of the various offers and CPM ads can reach a CPC of 10 cents/pence or less in most markets.
When advertising on Facebook, the power of images to attract attention is consumed rather quickly because of "over exposure" ads. This is especially true when our target market is very small (in order of only tens of thousands of users). A simple way to avoid this degradation is to rotate ads with regular activities and pause for several consecutive days. This will avoid the habit which makes ads get subconsciously ignored and look invisible to the user.
Understand your target
To create effective ads it is important to understand your target. After a few days the ads are active, you can run a report on users who clicked on your ads. These reports provide useful information to improve the demographic targeting of your campaigns.
For example if we note that a sector of the population (i.e. men aged 35 to 44) has a high CTR, you can create another campaign and apply the technique Peel & Stick to "extract" the best performing ads. In doing so we have a new campaign which is highly optimized with a high CTR and low CPC.
In addition to demographic data, the reports given in Facebook Ads offer the interests of our target which can be used for further adjustments to your campaign.
Advertising on Facebook is a unique promotional tool with many possibilities. The above will give you some ideas to start with and with a little trial and error and investing even a small budget you will find that it will not be difficult to generate quality traffic at low cost. For professional advertising on Facebook, contact our London SEO team. Professional facebook advertisers use high-end platforms for advertising on Facebook to get excellent results every time.