Facebook Social Ads - How to Drive Highly Targeted Traffic to Your Website
Facebook Social Ads work virally, but rather than being spread in a random fashion, they are placed on Facebook members’ pages, based on their profile data – which can make them a powerful sales aid for marketers – especially in this current decade, where mobile devices are now replacing personal computers at the rate of 4:1.
However, like any data system spread via the net, there are rules, restrictions and random factors that can greatly inhibit or enhance their success. In this article, we will explore the ins and outs of Facebook Social Ads.
Marion loves horseback riding, and publicly says so in her Facebook profile. A successful Equestrian Center wants to promote its children’s summer camp, so it purchases a Facebook Ad.
Facebook uses Insight, a powerful demographics tool, to place the Ad via a feed on Marion’s profile, after extracting the information that she has 3 children, is passionate about all things equestrian and lives within a close geographical radius of the Equestrian Center, so is a likely candidate to view the ad.
Since it’s her passion, Marion always pays attention whenever there’s a picture of a horse in an ad – and she also notices the Equestrian Center provides riding for those with Special Needs (a cause dear to her heart) so she clicks the “Like This” button and views the Ad.
Facebook then finds more ads using this specialized search data – voluntarily provided by Marion – to place other equestrian offerings in her Ad feed. (It also adds special needs-related ads, since this was one of the keywords the ad used.)
But there’s more: Marion has 97 friends on Facebook. 23 of these friends are also connected to her via equestrian activities.
They read that Marion “likes” our mythical Equestrian Center and has become its Facebook Fan. Trusting her judgment and recommendation, they click on the link…
You can see instantly by this example that the combination of becoming a fan and having ads served by profile-targeted feed considerably increases your chances, as an Advertiser, of having your ads read by the right people.
Even with this hypothetical example, you can instantly see the potential for our mythical but well-marketed equestrian center to spread virally… all within a highly focused group more likely to buy.
Before you know it, our mythical equestrian center has a real following.
A Case Study : Zynga’s “Farmville”
Now the previous example dealt with a highly specialized niche. It might have been a broad one, but the mention in the ad of riding for special needs people and equestrian summer camp in a specific geographic area narrowed it down to reach its ideal target market – Marion and her friends.
But if you have a site that has the potential to go viral on a more global basis – such as Zynga network’s “Farmville” game – your success might be capable of reaping in millions of dollars, in a comparatively short time.
1. Created a simple but addictive game
2. Included an application for retrieving game components (animals, flowers, vehicles, buildings, etc.)
3. Included both free and paid options (a “market” in which you purchase items either with game-supplied free coins or literally purchasing special “Farmville Dollars” via credit card or PayPal. This allowed players to buy limited-time specialty virtual items; or send them to friends)
4. Allowed an option for others to “Add Neighbors” – and “invite” them to Farmville
5. Made sure neighbor interactivity was an almost-essential component of the game
But note what they didn’t do...
When Farmville initially placed their Ads via Facebook Ads, they said nothing about purchasing actual Farmville Dollars via credit card or PayPal :
They just invited people whose profiles indicated they liked online games (or farming, or graphics puzzles) to play the game.
The initial core group who tried it loved it so much, they had no hesitation splurging on actual Farmville dollars to purchase the virtual highly-prized items obtainable only through real-world payment.
In addition, players were able to eagerly invite Farmville “neighbors” from their own select group of friends – neighbors these players themselves automatically pre-screened for Zynga – and these neighbors all enjoyed sending each other “gifts”; some “free”, some purchased with Farmville dollars.
Today, as of this writing, Farmville has 23,029,163 fans.
23 million… That’s a lot of “fans”!
Zynga didn’t stop there in their game development, however : They made sure that those who did not have a lot of friends, or who had ethical objections to spreading items virally, would be unable to expand without either (a) inviting friends to be their “Farmville neighbor” or (b) literally purchasing “Farmville Dollars”.
Either way, Zynga wins !
Paying hard cash for virtual items has caught on like wildfire, all across the net. PayPal processed “about $500 million in virtual goods payments last year”, according to Citi analyst Mark Mahaney’s estimate. And, according to: Inside Facebook, Zynga was “PayPal’s second largest merchant in 2009”!
A Farmville blog
A weekly Podcast
A steady stream of limited time “special items”
A press release campaign
Interviews granted to magazines and websites
Entries in contests such as Escapist Magazine’s yearly game development competition
Special, additional “Farmville Fan” feed, so that the games players will be aware of its promotions, and take actions such as voting for them in website competitions
Alternate web access information, in case Facebook is down… and to convert hard-core players over to their own dedicated website, which provides even more neighbor feed
Promotional information to create a buzz about “new” animals and features about to be introduced
Multiple areas you can click to access all of the above
The Importance of Planning... and Facebook Users
Zynga’s Farmville (and its wildly-popular subsequent offerings) could serve as the ultimate model for using Facebook Social Ads to the max.
It’s not enough just to create and pay for the actual Ad, of course – you have to thoroughly research your competition and your market, plan for expansion and publicity, and maximize every advantage sitting waiting for you on Facebook’s powerful social-oriented platform.
You also have to realize that people are finding these type of products not by typing a long-tailed key phrase into Google’s search engine… but by going onto Facebook and waiting to see what Facebook serves up specially suited to their preferences.
1. They were “invited” by friends to become Farmville neighbors
2. They “finally” succumbed to repeated Facebook Ads
Not one of them said they went out and deliberately looked for a farming game to play. (That’s the difference between your Facebook users and Google searchers.)