Facebook Advertising: Beyond the Click



In the last 12 months Facebook has pushed past Fox media and Yahoo! Sites to serve the most display ads on its website to US users, according to new data from comScore. Even with the privacy issues Facebook is still THE social network for the majority of users and will hit 500 million users sometime in the next few weeks (See: CEO Zuckerberg's Post). A few months back I posted about what information advertisers receive about users from Facebook.
Monthly Unique Visitors -comscore.com
Facebook's new developments (Open Graph API, like buttons and recommendations: check the right hand sidebar for examples) cost money. Why do people continue to wonder why their information is less private and why Facebook continues to make the changes it does (See: Facebook does what's good for Facebook). Facebook is a business providing a free service to users it has to make money somehow. Your data is a major part of that.

eMarketer has predicted a 39%increase in ad spend on Facebook in 2010. This maybe an underestimate considering the vast increase in users globally engaged with Facebook. I believe in Facebook advertising for a few reasons:

  • It offers unparalleled targeting for niche advertising
  • It provides rich data about audience behaviour 
  • It builds brand awareness
  • It offers reasonable CPC rates and measurable CTR
For advertisers Facebook ads provide a lot of market intelligence about the size of the target market on Facebook even before an ad order is placed. In my opinion the real value in Facebook advertising isn't the click throughs. The more I look into Facebook advertising the more diverse benefits I have discovered for advertisers beyond the click.

5 Reasons to use Facebook Advertising
Advertising on the web is growing increasingly complex and diverse. From pre-roll ad spots on WebTV to Interactive web overlays, Facebook campaigns and social experiments the landscape of advertising on the web is changing quickly. Attention is the new currency but what are the new billboards on the social web? Facebook ads of course. Here are my top five reasons to put up yours:


Incredible Targeting
Facebook's targeting system is good and getting better. It recently added more cities and broke down large cities into their suburban parts. You can also target 'friends of fans' if you have a page. This posts your ad with a reference to someone who the target knows who already 'likes' (this is the new word for being a fan) your page.


Exposure is 'Free' with CPC
On Facebook you can choose between cost-per-click (CPC) advertising or cost-per-mille (CPM) or a thousand impressions. When you choose CPC there are many things you can do to improve the value you receive from the ads. If you are a known brand use a logo and not a picture, this will leverage your brand power and cut through the spammy ads. If you are advertising an event be sure to include all pertinent info: what, when, where and how much to ensure that people who can't or won't attend don't click the ad, more on that another time. 

I also recommend adding a custom shortened link to the end of your ad copy so that people can check your link later if they want, this will not cost you anything. I have never used CPM as I don't believe it provides enough value for brands that aren't huge. I have heard evidence both ways on CPM.


Great Information about clickers
Facebook will tell you the age and sex of the people who saw your ad and clicked it as well. They also provide information about what clickers favourite Books, TV, Music and Movies are as you can see in another post. If you use bit.ly or j.mp to shorten your destination link it will tell you what Facebook app, page or profile people were browsing when they clicked your ad. This includes more information than Facebook would like to give advertisers. Take a look: 






This is a tiny portion of that list and if you have the chance check out someone else's campaign results to get the full picture. You can see the data for anyone's j.mp or bit.ly link by adding + to the end of it (IE: http://j.mp/kmay20 > http://j.mp/kmay20+).


Build Brand Awareness
Facebook ads (CPC) increase brand awareness even when people don't click. When I talk to students I often ask how many of them have read a Facebook ad and not clicked it and the vast majority put up their hands. Ask yourself the same question and don't ask yourself if you ever read one ask yourself if you've even 'seen' one. This is how Facebook ads operate like a social billboard. When people see just your brand or logo on Facebook that increases awareness in the minds of the audience. This is key because people aren't in a buying frame of mind when they use Facebook but you still want your brand to remain top of mind when that audience turns to Google when they're ready to buy.


Leverage your Page "Friends of Fans"
I talked about this a little off the top but this may be one of the most effective tools for leveraging your brand's connections. Check Facebook Ad reports which can give you audience and responder information that offer insights both into general user tendencies(the younger they are the more often they click) and the specific tendencies of your market. For example when my ads target 'friends of fans' Men 35-44 have a click through ratio (CTR) that is five times higher when not targeting 'friends of fans'.


Make sure you are using Google Analytics or other web analytics to track the behaviour of the people you drive from Facebook to your website. A great easy way to do that is to build a Google URL then shorten it then use it in your FB ad and finally track visitors with j.mp and Google Analytics.

I wanted to add some final insights from my Facebook advertising experiences. Sending someone from an ad to a Facebook page or event is more successful than sending them to a generic webpage. Create a custom landing page on your site if you are planning to spend $1000+. Try Facebook advertising with variations in ad copy, ad image and targeting and you can discover a lot of information about your target audience habits, likes and dislikes.
On Facebook targeting younger users will raise long term awareness but cost a lot in the short term as younger consumers often lack the MAD(Money, authority, desire) to buy or convert. When this group makes up 40% of impressions and clicks things can get costly. Easily try a fix by adjusting the ad targeting to an older demographic. 

Join competitors Fan pages, the bigger the better. Then take note of which items receive the most community engagement. Is it deals? Ideas? Advice? Use this and test what works on your page by watching to see what types of content your audience engages with. 

Lastly, by searching through the sea of public data on facebook for brand, competitor and market chatter valuable market and competitive intelligence can be found. All of this takes time and experience. Analysts of consumer behaviour and people who understand how to read the rich data that is delivered by Facebook and others will find major benefits. What do you think? Should this have been more than one blog post?

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