Facebook Advertising - How to Connect with 750 Million Potential Customers
Facebook users report liking the feel of control they have over Ads that appear in their right-hand sidebar. If a particular subject or Ad annoys them, they can choose not receive similar ones.
They can “Like” your Ad (leading to more – and to its repetition)… or “Report” it, if they deem it misleading or inappropriate (or even if they’re just in a cranky mood that day!)
Remembering this should help you target your audience even more carefully.
Keep 3 things always in mind, however, when you prepare to create your Ads...
Facebook also allows you to announce and promote events, create a Group Page or create a company, business or personal Fan Page.
You can link your Facebook Ads very easily to any of the above – and therein lies one of Facebook Ads’ biggest advantages !
And now let’s have a quick look at the process...
Facebook Ad Creation – The Process
The actual ad creation itself is an incredibly simple, 3-step process. Facebook virtually walks you through it every step of the way, and even a beginner can quickly get the hang of it : However, it always pays to know how Facebook ads work in the real world, as well as familiarizing yourself with all the factors that affect Facebook Advertising success or failure, so you can plan your Advertising campaign wisely, well in advance.
The basic process runs like this : You either visit Facebook Advertising directly – or click on the “Create an Ad” link that will appear regularly in your Facebook page right-hand sidebar (along with all the other Ads targeted to your preference that you usually see).
It’s so simple that it would be redundant to repeat the whole process here, but it helps to know some additional factors affecting the Ads, as well as tips for producing the best-converting ones. Let’s answer some common (and not-so-common) questions...
Are They Free ?
No. But Facebook Social Ads are a less expensive option than Google AdWords – and if you want to reach that segment of your potential niche market who operate solely on mobiles, or who spend all their days on Facebook, they are essential.
Don’t forget that Facebook Mobile is going to play a huge part in displaying your ads ! You can choose either pay-per-click (PPC) or pay-per-impression (PPM).
You are charged a pre-arranged amount for your PPC ad every time someone clicks on it.
With PPM, you are charged per impression (an `impression’ being the number of times your ad appears). You pay lump sums in advance by purchasing “credits”.
Your clicks or impressions are then deducted from these credits. (You can purchase credits in as small an increment as $20.) Your ad will run as long as you still have credits remaining.
You can top up your credits to keep it running, or let it run out and edit/tweak your Ad further.
There are no fixed costs for Ads, but Facebook actually helps you determine what a good rate to set would be, based on criteria you enter in their targeting formula. (You can also set your Ad to end at a specific point… or run continuously.)
When calculating your ROI (return on investment) on your Facebook Ads, you would do it the same way as for any other advertising venue.
How Do You Track Your Facebook Social Ads ?
Without the ability to track an Ad, its effectiveness drops dramatically.
Fortunately, Facebook has a platform named Facebook Insights, which allows you to view the number of clicks and impressions your Ad receives in real time.
How Should I Target my Facebook Ads ?
There’s no cut-and-dried answer to this, except to make sure your keywords are actually suited for the way Facebook operates.. and the way it dispenses ads (based on keywords in user profiles).
Here are some solid elements to start with, directly from Facebook’s Ad creation site...
Start with targeting by country – other options will be presented to you, based on the country you select (and you can actually select up to 25, though this will preclude you from being specific as to city).
You always have to keep in mind that this is a social network: Find Groups or Fan Pages similar to your own interests, and see what keywords they seem to be using... But remember, above all, Facebook for its users is all about easy entertainment – not concentrated searches.
Are Facebook Ads Automatically Approved ?
No. All Ads have to be submitted for approval. Facebook states: “We do reserve the right to choose what advertising we accept, and may prohibit additional content from being advertised on the site based on user feedback or other information.”
If your Ad is not approved, not only will you receive an official “Disapproval Email”, but you’ll also be able to see this information in your Ads Manager, beside a copy of the disapproved Ad.
What’s the Deal with Facebook Beacon ?
In 2007, Facebook launched “Beacon”, a program that tracked Facebook users (even when they weren’t logged in) and published user activity, without permission, as part of deals with Advertisers.
What it meant, in real world terms, was that you could find your online purchases and activities publicized on Facebook for all to see – and you had no say in the matter.
A class action lawsuit was launched against Facebook and other major companies participating in this type of activity, and in 2009 Facebook yielded to pressure and shut Beacon down, allocating $9.5 million dollars to settlement fees.
Prior to that, however, Beacon partners such as The New York Times and Coca-Cola had already voluntarily dropped Beacon, because their own users’ information was appearing on the pages of “controversial individuals and groups”, according to Wikipedia.
Beacon was a complete fiasco – for Facebook and Advertisers alike. Perhaps it’s a stretch to say it’s been “replaced” by Facebook Fans, but that too places user photos and information on Facebook, without specifically asking permission.
Facebook has learned from Beacon, however, and now as a user, you have to specifically opt-in before any data is used.
This brings us to...
Involuntary user endorsement is now strictly an opt-in procedure, via Facebook Fans. For example, Farmville users who click “become a fan” can expect to occasionally see their name and photograph published in Farmville’s feed (along with a random daily sampling of other fans)… unless they specifically veto this in their Settings.
Usually, people aren’t bothered by seeing their photos appear within select groups because :
1. That user chose to “become a fan”
2. The information typically appears within the Farmville “group” only
Where it gets really sticky: When your users’ photos appear on “outside” sites – though a major portion of this problem has been corrected.
Do Keywords Still Matter ?
Yes. Not in the traditional SEO sense, but for targeting Facebook user profiles. A good way to get a feel for this is to survey the Facebook profiles of people who like similar sites, products or pages to yours.
If your business is a physical location you want people in your area to visit, you will particularly want to make sure you include your city and state/province in your Ad text.
You can also find and research more targeted keywords by studying those Facebook profiles and seeing which keywords they have in common that relate to your potential Ad.
What Type of Events or Items Can I Advertise ?
You can Advertise :
Facebook pages created by you
Facebook groups which you administrate
Events publicized on Facebook
Facebook Ads probably should not be your first choice for straight business advertising or direct product promotion – Google SEO is better for that purpose – but yes, you can use Facebook Ads to help promote your business indirectly and definitely for creating a buzz about it (for example, promoting a Facebook Page that popularizes some aspect of your business, to help you firmly establish a branded presence).
(An ideal combination for many businesses would be a “double whammy” sandwich of both Facebook Social Ads and traditional Google SEO-based ones.)
When deciding how to use Facebook Ads for your business, just think “social” and “random entertainment”, and if you can see a way to make your business fit, you’re on the right track.
Can I Advertise an Affiliate Product with Facebook ?
If you are creative and read the guidelines thoroughly – yes, you can promote an affiliate product. Just keep in mind that any link you provide has to go directly to the destination URL.
Your Ad should not be a direct sales pitch for that product (remember, “social”) but should provide incentive for the user to visit the site.
Should Facebook Ads Replace Google AdWords ?
We’ve already dealt with the whole business-versus-social issue between Google SEO and Facebook : The same principles apply for Google AdWords.
If you want to aggressively promote a product or business directly, use AdWords. If you want to expand it’s popularity, create a buzz or you feel it’s particularly suited to Facebook’s resources, use Facebook Ads.
One thing you can do with Facebook Ads that makes it a good choice for beginners wary of losing major money on AdWords: You can easily set the Ad to terminate after the amount of credits you purchase is depleted.
This makes it a safer bet than finding yourself with a massive credit card bill at the end of the month (something beginners often get caught by with AdWords).
The bottom line, however, should be related to the best use of your Ad dollars.
If Facebook Ads is your choice solely because you are seriously strapped for cash, don’t expect over-the-moon results, since you’re operating with only a small part of the whole picture.