Short, simple and to the point. For years now, Ryan and I have been talking Facebook, Facebook, Facebook. Millions of dollars in advertising, hundreds of thousands of leads and countless hours of researching, optimizing and scaling has lead us down many avenues of opportunity with Facebook. As we blast into Q2 now, I wanted to quickly reflect and touch on one of my favorite topics.
You see, it’s one of the top traffic sources I recommend even to newbies to get started. See I think their is a lot of mis-consumptions and dis-information floating around the Internet. I think when we see people talking in marketing forums about getting banned by Facebook, or ” I need to buy accounts.” You see, just like every traffic source on the planet who cares about its user-base, Facebook doesn’t want you promoting shit on their site or to their users. You gotta pay, to play and not just with your wallet.
Before delving into the various advertising options available on Facebook and how you can utilize them, it’s helpful to understand how Facebook interfaces with advertisers.
Facebook has three sales channels: Direct, Inside and Online.
- Direct sales deals with the largest global brands, for which Facebook has dedicated account teams to manage the relationship directly with the advertiser and their agencies. These are generally referred to as managed accounts. The first important point to note is that certain products, specifically Premium (discussed later), are only available to managed accounts.
- Inside sales handles the next tier of clients, who may be spending in the hundreds of thousands of dollars per year on Facebook. These clients will have a sales rep whom they deal with directly to buy advertising, but they don’t have quite the same level of strategic support as managed accounts.
- That means the rest of us interact with Facebook sales via the Online, or self-serve, channel. There are companies developing products on top of Facebook’s Marketing/Ads APIs to facilitate the buying process for self-serve advertisers. Platforms such as Ad Parlor, Blinq, TBG Digital and others can be beneficial to those spending enough to justify an investment in automation and optimization.
Note: But when it comes to the type of advertising available, these platforms don’t provide access to anything that you can’t do yourself through the Facebook self-serve interface.
Gear Up, Get Ready…
Unlike other forms of social media marketing and display advertising, Facebook’s advertising platform enables strategic demographic targeting by age, gender, and interests. For marketing matchmakers, this type of data is invaluable. Still, far too often for many brands, Facebook ads fall short in delivering results. Especially for marketers on a tight budget, every advertising dollar spent needs to translate into concrete returns in the form of lead generation, new clients, or revenue.
Planning to advertise on Facebook? Here’s what brands need to know to generate substantive results:
Do: Define Goals Up Front
As with any well-crafted marketing campaign, brands need to pinpoint objectives ahead of time. For instance, a brand may want to increase its Facebook fan base or promote a new product.
After identifying these types of goals, marketers can customize campaigns to reach ideal audiences, and most importantly, decision-makers will be able to gauge a campaign’s success by knowing exactly what to measure. How many leads did a campaign produce? How many of these leads generated sales?
Do: Study Successes and Weaknesses of Other Brands
Who says that marketers need to go in blind? The Internet is overflowing with case studies from brands who have run similar campaigns. Learn from others’ strengths and weaknesses for a custom-tailored and effective approach.
Do: Be Personable and Relevant
Social interactions build the heart and soul of Facebook. Keeping this in mind, brands should humanize their campaigns to build legitimate connections with audiences. When building a campaign, select audiences that make sense. Provide incentives. Focus on creating visually appealing and eye-catching designs that are relevant to that market.
Don’t Suck Like Most “Wanna-Be” Advertisers
I get an absolute ton of questions regarding Facebook Ads daily. I’ve posted countless threads in the forums and answered thousands of questions at trade shows. I would like to some up something that applies to a lot of failing facebook marketers. Quite simply:
Tip: Always drive traffic to a landing page to capturing leads.
YOU MUST DO THIS. You’re literally throwing money down the tubes if you don’t have a converting lading page to funnel the targeted Facebook traffic.
Far too many businesses pay for traffic only to let everyone look at their page for 2 seconds then bounce off. There should be a blatantly obvious (and irresistible) offer on the landing page that clearly tells the visitor what to do next.
You see there is a huge misconception in this Industry. A lot of people will say that “affiliate marketing” is a sustainable revenue model. Maybe for a select few, however most of the large affiliates I know of how still gone off and done other things. So I don’t entirely agree on affiliate marketing being a sustainable revenue model. There’s just too many variables to consider and discuss. However, I will praise the very valuable insight gained as an affiliate and even today I am one. So constricted thoughts engaged. More on that later.
You quite simply suck at Facebook ads because you treat affiliate marketing as more like a hobby instead of a business. At the very least, a branch of your business. So many people jump into this with their heads up their ass and I get that, there’s a lot of people out there born backwards. I wasn’t, but I understand. When your in the “affiliate” mindset, you are in that “drive traffic to other people’s website” mode and don’t understand the concept of monetizing the leads yourself in the process of handing them off to an advertiser.
CTR IS “KING”
CTR Is And Will Always Be The Deciding Factor – Anyone who has ever advertised on Facebook knows that to get cheap clicks, you have to achieve a high CTR. This obviously comes from not only the two tips stressed above but also your headline and ad text. CTR is the determining factor on Facebook on who sticks around and who doesn’t. No ad service wants to serve ads that their users don’t want to click on. You should just plan on having plenty of ads lined up and ready to go and once you start advertising, just set a new goal on how many more ads you want to keep creating. This is called “chaining” and trust me, by keeping a consistent pace, you won’t have to pause/restart as much and you will have a less of a headache on batch approvals of ads.
Here are some benchmarks that you can use based on very broad/aggregated targeting and campaign types. There are outliers well above the “Optimal Range” but most advertisers cannot achieve them due to their various constraints.
- Optimal CTR: 0.11%-0.16%
- Above Avg CTR: 0.07%-0.09%
- Average CTR: 0.04%-0.05%
- Below Avg CTR: 0.02%-0.03%
- Poor CTR: 0.01%
NOTE: It depends – what do you consider good?
I find that with an 0.08 – 0.12 CTR you can get lots of cheap traffic that converts well.
Most ads on Facebook probably get 0.02-0.06 CTRs (this is not verified information, just what I hear), and some people are very satisfied with the results even with those low CTR’s.
Some marketers can optimize Facebook ads and get CTR’s as hight as 0.2, 0.3 or even in the 1.0 area, which makes clicks very very cheap.
Note: That CTR’s can be extremely high or low during the first hours of running an ad, which does not necessarily represent the true overall performance. You need at least 5-10 clicks on an ad to determine how it really performs. Also note that CTR tends to drop once your ad starts to get hundreds of clicks.
Images Will Still Reign Supreme – By far the most important factor in your ad-copy is images. Images are what divert the eyes of Facebook users and get them to divert their attention over to your ad. It’s essential that you choose one that reflects your landing page, product, service, or offer. You want to make sure that it’s relevant to what you have to sell. However, don’t be afraid to step outside the box here and split test some random/generic/wacky images. I’ve seen crazy things with just totally unrelated images and if you want my opinion, the funnier-looking they are, the better. To keep images going, make sure to have at least 10 ready to go behind them and once you establish yourself a little formula for what’s working and what’s not, just take the ones that are working and submit them for approval. Once they’re approved, then you can pause, start, restart, test and split-test the best ones against each other. Once you have an ad that is achieving much higher than the Facebook minimum (the Facebook average CTR at the moment is 0.02%), then you’ll start up a couple of more ads and see if they beat it. If they can beat it, that’s awesome. Just pause the first one and keep testing against the next best one.
Critical Factors To Consider
Freshness Remains King – With Social Media Advertising especially on Facebook I’ve found that good campaign ad images typically last around 3-5 days before I have to really start dwelling down and switching them up. Depending on the campaign, your time will vary but if you’re like me and you plan for worst case scenarios in advertising, then you Facebook ad campaigns should be bundled up and ready to go with image assets weighing heavily on your mind. Keep your images fresh will keep your ads from becoming stale and hopefully your CTR from falling.
Demographics Remain Critical For Laser Targeting Your Ads:
Picture your ideal customer:
- How old is he/she?
- What does he/she like to do in her free time?
- Where does he/she work?
- In what city does he/she live?
Facebook lets you target these specifics and more. Use keywords, age, gender, location, sexual preference, marital status, employer to pre-qualify your audience and target them specifically. Keywords here are not the same as they are in Google AdWords. You need to use keywords that people might add to their profile to explain their interests, hobbies, etc.
Always Be Testing – The key to keeping any advertising campaign alive is to always be testing. Testing will allow you to “daisy-chain” newer, fresh ads behind lower performing, stale ads. This is the best way I’ve found to keep a campaign live. It’s not easy, it’s work. Testing separates the good affiliates from the great ones and it keeps the great ones in line with consistent campaigns always bringing in the revenue. I would suggest A/B Split Testing first before getting too aggressive with making changes to your campaigns. A/B testing is where you make very subtle changes to the ad, image, and headline on Facebook. You would also make very small changes on your landing page and have visitors rotated between the two pages. This option takes longer but gives you more specific results.
If frustration occurs, or you just feel the need to switch it up then other testing option is making more radical changes to your campaign. Examples of this would be to use an entirely different type of image with the headline and copy you are running or vice versa, you could switch out the headline and copy with the current image. This option for testing is supposed to help you get faster results as you take the one that has the best results and then try something else. However, it’s nearly a 360 turn in the way you are advertising so it can go south on you really quick. The important thing is that you keep testing.
Dare To Different, Go International
Being a narrow-minded publisher is going to get you nowhere in the affiliate marketing space. You have to be able to “think above and beyond the norm” and tackle areas that are not near as saturated with brand advertisers and go after offers that the “average n00b” won’t. For whatever reason I notice that a TON of affiliates are not only timid but somewhat nervous to promote International offers. I’m not sure why, as most-countries have similar cultures as the United States. The US has really “set the standard” when it comes to innovation, advertising, and marketing so it’s likely what works in the US will work Internationally.
Now with all that said, I want to show you some interesting data with Facebook users:
OK by looking at the top 10 most popular countries I want you to look how many Facebook campaigns you have live RIGHT NOW in Indonesia, Turkey, India, Mexico, Philippines, France, Brazil, and Italy. If you’re not hitting these countries hard I have to ask WHY NOT?!? According to this data, which was compiled by SocialBakers.com, Indonesia has the second amount of users right behind the US. Get on Wikipedia to learn more about their culture, get with your affiliate manager, and figure out some offers to monetize this MASSIVE user-base.
Just recently many publishers realized how lucrative the market is in India by direct-linking to Facebook Application Installs. Publishers were doing $X,XXX in this country alone (profit not revenue) DAILY!
If you get nothing else out of this post, I want you to get this… THINK OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES. I too have been a “hard headed” publisher, but once I started to branch out Internationally, I was able to watch my monthly profits nearly triple. You can also use this data to think outside the scope of Facebook. If these people are on Facebook, chances are, they’re on Google/MSN as well! So many options to monetize and in areas where the “brand advertisers” haven’t flooded the platforms with high click costs and competitive advertisements.
There is really no way to provide a prescription for how to advertise on Facebook because each organization is unique and will have different objectives. However, I think it’s important for anyone not yet advertising on Facebook to think about the following, and for anyone currently advertising to take a second look at their campaigns with these points in mind:
- In general, advertising on Facebook is more effective at driving behavior on Facebook. Another new feature Facebook recently announced will help advertisers measure this effectiveness even more precisely by enabling the tracking of various actions (Liking a Page, installing an app, RSVPing to an Event) a user may take after interacting with an ad.
- Conversely, how can you utilize advertising to support your broader goals on Facebook? Page Like Ads can be a great way to build audience size and Page Post Ads can drive deeper engagement. If you’re utilizing apps on your page, you can use ads to drive traffic directly to the app.
- One of the most powerful opportunities on Facebook is to reach friends of fans. Rather than targeting anonymous users with a traditional ad, you are likely to get a much greater response from someone one degree removed who sees that their friend interacted with your brand through a Sponsored Story.
It’s important to be clear on your goals and to be able to measure your effectiveness in reaching those goals. I’m a huge fan of tons of testing!