Paul Thornton - Tuesday 18th October 2011

Facebook Ads

To many of you, Facebook may be seen as only a social media network – keeping up to date with your friend’s lives, posting new developments on your own life etc. However, Facebook is the biggest online marketplace for businesses today.

Have you noticed when you click “like” for anything you enjoy, join a group or page, even updating your status, you will instantly see ads on the side related to what you just liked! It seems scary and some may debate that it is an invasion of privacy and there shouldn’t be a place for it on such social media networks. But with 750 million members worldwide and 2,069,480 in NZ alone (#56 in the world), there’s a large audience to reach and target. Such ads also benefit consumers – sales, deals, exclusive Facebook offers – the ads basically come to you! You don’t have to do any research yourself!

Here is an example of where these ads show up no matter where you are on Facebook.

Image showing how Facebook adverts appear on your profile page

Facebook Ads offer another powerful marketing tool to Google Adwords, a lot of businesses use both in tandem to cover both bases and maximise your reach. Facebook Ads work in a similar way to Adwords but the main objective is to focus on “likes”, interests, page/group members, activities, education and job titles rather than targeting keywords or search phrases.

Here are some key tips to keep in mind when creating your first ad campaign:

The first step is understanding what you want to achieve with your ad. Are you looking to building awareness for your company, drive traffic to your web site, promote a specific event or generate sales?

1. Determining Ad Type: Depending on your marketing objective, Facebook Ads offer a specific ad type to promote an external website, Facebook Application, Facebook Page or Facebook Event. These ad types are determined when first creating your ad and when you choose the destination of your ad.

Promoting your website

Image showing a Facebook post

Promoting your Facebook Page

Image showing a Facebook advert on right hand side

Promoting a Facebook event

Image of an example of an event advert on Facebook

2. Targeting: Facebook has the added feature of targeting very specific audiences – here, less is more! You can target by the usual demographics and geographic area but you can also go into specific interests and likes (“Precise Interest Targeting”). If you already have a company facebook page, you would be targeting all your “fans” which is called “Connection Targeting”! You can go one step further by using “Friends Of Connections Targeting” allowing you to target friends of users already connected to you on Facebook in some way.

3. Ads that grab attention and contain a strong ‘call to action’: With Facebook, you have to keep in mind that people are not actively looking for sales, deals, offers through ads. The ads are targeted based on their activity on Facebook (likes, interests etc). The exception would be those who have chosen to like, for example, “Flight Centre” and receive all content from them in the form of status updates, upcoming events and ads. Use small and concise ads that speak directly to the audience you will reach. Special offers or unique features that differentiate you from the competition are also effective. Remember to include something that encourages users to click on your ad and explains to the user exactly what you expect them to do when they reach your landing page (your website or Facebook page).

4. Test Multiple Ads: Even the smallest change in the words you choose or the image you use can have a large impact on the clickthrough rate for your ad, so it’s best to create multiple versions of your ad and test them to see which ad gets the best response. Facebook makes this process easy: once an ad has been created, you have the option to “Create a Similar Ad” and simply swap in a new picture or text! Rule of thumb suggests creating four different ads for the same campaign, running them for x no of days and then viewing your ad statistics on Facebook to discover which ad performed the best.

5. Landing Page: Keep the user experience in mind. Direct them to the most relevant landing page. You need to be clear where they will be directed after clicking or what the benefit of clicking your ad would be.

6. Capitilise on Traffic: This applies to those who also have a company Facebook page. You ads are only as good as your wall! Remember that most people don’t click through to your Facebook page, they click “like” right in the ad. Have status updates or special offers planned that follow up on the messages in your ads, and get people to connect more than once! Think of a click as the beginning of the campaign, not the end!

7. Monitor your campaigns closely: Essentially, Facebook judges the success of your ad on the ad’s ability to get a relatively high percentage of people to click. Facebook rewards successful ads with a lower cost per click or cost per impression and more visibility. The trick is to watch the CTR (Click Through Rate), the higher the click through rate, the lower your CPC (Cost Per Click) drops. Facebook rewards you with lower prices if your ads are more targeted and effective.

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