If your in-house programs for Google, Yahoo and Bing are running like well-oiled machines, it’s time to start poking around for new online marketing channels to test. An option many online marketers report increasing success with is Facebook ads. Facebook advertising doesn’t work quite like a search engine does, so read on for a primer to getting started.
Setting campaign goals
Many in-house marketers are running Facebook ads to promote their Facebook social media marketing efforts by promoting a page, group, or other Facebook feature. There’s nothing wrong with setting a goal related to social media, like number of new fans or friends, but there’s equally nothing wrong with setting more traditional campaign goals (direct sales, site traffic) for your Facebook advertising efforts.
Whatever choice you make, keep the campaigns distinct. Promoting your Facebook social media will necessitate different ad texts, URLs, calls to action and probably spend levels than a more traditional online marketing campaign driving traffic direct to your site. Don’t mix and match them if you decide to market via Facebook ads for both.
Creating Facebook ads
When creating Facebook ads that link to a non-Facebook site, definitely use tracking parameters in URLs (or another method of tracking) as you would for any online marketing. Facebook ads also really benefit from including an image. Click-through rate is much higher for ads with images than those that are text only. Otherwise test ads as you would for any online marketing to see what works best.
The key feature of Facebook advertising is the robust targeting options. Besides location, demographic and language targeting options, there’s a robust set of likes, interests and connections options that are worth exploring.
For Likes and Interests targeting, explore keywords that are relevant to your site, but also explore competitor or related brand names that would also be of interest to your target audience. For example, if advertising for Gap, you might also want to target people who are interested in Old Navy, J Crew, or related brands as well as generic terms like “fashion” or “clothes”. Take note of Facebook’s suggestions as they can provide additional ideas.
Connections on Facebook provides powerful targeting features. You can choose to target profiles that are only connected to a group or page you manage, which is a great way to market to your current audience. The more compelling feature is to exclude this audience by focusing on those Facebook profiles which are not already connected to your group or page. If your campaign is set on generating new customers or fans, this feature will help narrow the focus of your campaign.
Targeting Friends of Connections can also help narrow focus further to those profiles which are friends of people connected to your group or page, therefore possibly a more relevant (like minded) audience for your offering than a broader demographic or likes and interest preference.
One additional element to consider is encouraging people to “like” your Facebook ad. Facebook is vague on what exactly the number of likes determines: “We will then take this feedback into account as we continue to improve our advertising systems for all advertisers and users.” But it could lead to increased ad serving via a measure similar to Quality Score. Therefore, encouraging friends or fans to like the ad, if possible given your targeting, may help the ad’s success.
Facebook ads are a lot more like running a banner or display campaign than search engine marketing; don’t expect a search engine marketing result for direct sales campaigns. Click-through rates are generally lower than search and conversion rates can also be low. That said, some advertisers are a great fit and see wild success via these campaigns, others are disappointed with the results when comparing to other marketing channels.
Branding can be an important element of success measurement for Facebook. There’s no denying it’s a highly trafficked site and one that many online marketers feel they simply need or benefit from a presence on Facebook as part of their competitive strategy. Since CTRs are on the low side and pricing is CPC based, there are a lot of free impressions being generated for an advertiser.