If you're a marketing or advertising professional, then lately you've probably been running ads on #Facebook or have heard the phrase â€˜paid social' or â€˜Facebook ads'.
That's because according to eMarketer, social media is the fastest growing digital media channel. As impressive as that is, it doesn't tell the whole story. First, let's consider some statistics:
- "More than half of 25 to 34-year-old social network users say they can't live without their social media sites" – eMarketer 2011
- "9 out of 10 Internet users visited a social networking site each month in 2010"- comScore, February 2011
- "74% of consumers are influenced to buy AFTER soliciting feedback from social media " – comScore, February 2011
- "67% of Twitter users who become followers of a brand are more likely to buy from that brand" – comScore, February 2011
- "60% of Facebook users who become fans of a brand recommend that brand to a friend " – comScore, February 2011
With the demand for social media continuing to skyrocket, it's critical that we, as advertising professionals, hone our craft to leverage this channel on behalf of our clients.
To help you succeed for your clients, I've put together this Top 15 list of â€˜secrets' that will benefit your paid social campaigns. I'm going to focus primarily on Facebook and a bit on LinkedIn. Twitter ads are still in beta and can be rather cost-prohibitive.
1. Automate Your Creative Refresh & Rotate Ads Often
Like Google, Facebook makes its money when a user clicks an ad. As such, it's in their interest to drive CTR. Since Facebook users can easily get banner blindness, the social network values ad freshness above all else.
It is arguably the most critical factor in a successful Facebook paid social campaign. Make sure you rotate your ads often and if possible automate this rotation so it's constantly changing every week.
2. Segment â€˜Bins' & Micro-target
The beauty of Facebook targeting is it allows you to get super-granular. And, as we know, segmentation in any marketing program leads to efficiency. Paid social advertisers should take advantage of this by targeting as many relevant demographic bins as possible and creating ads that specifically speak to those demographics.
3. Use Automated Bid Optimization Based On Conversion Events
With dozens, hundreds or even thousands of bins and ads, it's important to leverage automated bid technology. There are several platforms specifically designed for Facebook ads. Do your homework to determine the best one to help you achieve your campaign goals.
4. Don't Stop At Solely Tracking Engagement, Track Conversions
Some companies and agencies make the mistake of only tracking front-end engagement KPI's, namely Facebook Likes and LinkedIn connections. It is important to track all KPI's including:
5. Leverage Your PPC/SEO Data To Help You Target New Bins
If you're running a paid social account you're probably also running PPC campaigns or managing organic SEO. Don't look at them in silos because the data you have through those channels can translate into paid social gold.
To start, take the keywords that you know drive conversions for your client via PPC and/or SEO and test-target those keywords as an interest. If it shows sufficient reach, create a bin and a targeted ad and you'll see results.
6. Test â€˜Friends Of Connections' Targeting
There is a little known targeting option in Facebook that allows you to target users whose friends are connected to a page, event, group or application:
Think about the potential on this one. The average Facebook user has 130 friends. If you find a page that has 1,000 fans and you target friends of connections to that page, you're going to reach 130,000 users.
7. Test Occupation Targeting
A very powerful but underutilized way to reach specific consumers is through Facebook occupation targeting. CEO of aimClear Marty Weintraub spoke about this at SMX Advanced and touched on this recently in Search Engine Watch.
When discussing the proper ways to conduct occupation targeting, he pointed out that selecting job titles within the Precise Interests and then entering a keyword like â€˜Marketing Manager' would result in the following bin:
You can extrapolate this data to any number of job titles depending on your client's product.
8. Target Decision Makers On LinkedIn
Facebook isn't the only paid social platform that allows you to do occupation targeting. LinkedIn is making a great run at the B2B market and allows for some really sophisticated targeting.
Similar to the powerful testing capabilities recently highlighted by Marty Weintraub, LinkedIn was shown to drive comparable results not only test-targeting job titles but high-level decision makers with a presence on the social network.
9. Test Leading Consumers To Your Fan Page vs. Website
Don't just lead users to your Facebook page. You should test results by rotating your ads to drive users to every part of your online presence. A completely optimized paid program is essential.
Whether you place a higher premium on your social fan page or website, giving your users more choices will encourage brand awareness, loyalty and conversions.
10. Test Leading Users To Multiple Page Landing Tabs
An update launched this past February now directs users to any location on your Facebook page, i.e. wall, info, etc. Rotate your ads to drive users to these various pages and optimize based on the conversion rate.
11. Try Embedding Your Lead Capture Form Within Your Facebook Page
Get the best of both worlds by embedding the same lead capture form on your website within your fan page. Here's an example:
As always, conduct continuous testing to measure which approach is most effective.
12. Don't Use The CPM Option
Facebook CTR's are traditionally very low, even with a great program. As such, don't pay Facebook a CPM to simply show your ads, which in tests have not resulted in any lift in impressions, cost savings, click-throughs or conversion rate.
Always select the CPC pricing option.
13. Try Geo-targeting â€˜Affluent' Areas & Luxury Interests
Have a client selling luxury goods or big ticket items? Try cross-targeting affluent areas of the country with luxury interests. For example, target users in Beverly Hills that like cosmetic enhancement brands or users in New York City that like investor services.
You can also go further by digging into the Facebook interest tool. There, you can target relevant ads to â€˜owners clubs' across a wide range of luxury verticals.
14. Leverage Your Facebook Data To Do Other Media Buys
The great thing about Facebook data is that it can give you insights about your consumer base that you might not have otherwise known. Leveraging, among other things, a user's gender, age and interests can help you make smarter buys across television, display, search and other media channels.
15. Track Every Path To Conversion
If you can get your hands on technology that allows you to conduct cross-channel tracking, its resulting data can be hugely beneficial. It can influence budgeting decisions and help you identify channels that assist the buying process.
Remember – the overriding principle guiding these 15 secrets is if you're going to take the time to segment and execute micro-targeting strategies, make sure you build tightly-themed ads that match the segment. This will increase CTR, lower your cost and give you the best chance at having paid social success.
If you want more info on Facebook ads check out these resources:
- How To Quickly Customize Your Facebook Page To Attract More Fans – Danny Sullivan's guide
- Facebook Advertising – Facebook's dashboard
- Inside Facebook – a Facebook blog for developers and marketers.
- AllFacebook – another Facebook blog for marketers
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