Live from #SMX Social: Successful Targeting Strategies For Facebook Ad Campaigns

By Janet Driscoll Miller | Dec 5, 2011
More Articles by Janet


Next up we had a panel featuring Addie Conner, the VP of Advertising for SocialCode, Matt Lawson, the VP of Marketing for Marin Software, and the incomparable Marty Weintraub, President of AimClear.

Matt Lawson

Matt Lawson from Marin Software kicked off the panel with seven strategies to successfully target on Facebook. Matt started by comparing Facebook advertising to Google advertising. Facebook surpassed Google in traffic in March 2010.

There are a few facts you should know in transitioning from search marketing to Facebook advertising:

  • There are more impressions on Facebook.
  • There are lower click through rates on Facebook. He said Marin customers are currently seeing an average CTR of about 0.9%.
  • There’s a lower average cost per click on Facebook.
  • It’s tough to pin down conversion rates. Different companies use Facebook differently with different success metrics. Determine your goals first.
Social, however, does influence search. Consumers exposed to a brand’s social media are 50% more likely to click on paid search ads.
Matt’s seven strategies:
1. Always start with friends.  Friends and friends of friends are most likely to convert off of your Facebook ads.
2. Expand to related brands. Matt gave the example of their client, Victoria’s Secret, who targeted ads on Ann Taylor, Anthropologie and others who matched the demographic of their clientele.
3. Use keyword streaming to find interests. Try typing in the interests that you’re targeting, hit the space bar, then another letter (like “a”) to see what else is coming up so you can get more niche.
4. Micro-segment your audience. Subsegment your campaigns. For instance, if you are targeting people interested in biking, granulate the campaigns by segmenting by demographics like geography, gender, etc.

5. Test images before copy.
Draw attention to ads with contrasting colors. For instance, Facebook uses a lot of blue and gray — try to use a color that contrasts those colors so the ad doesn’t blend in. Also link images to the audience. Pictures of faces often convert better than other photos. When in doubt, test a cute animal. (Picture included for Sarah Lokitis.)
6. Keep your ads fresh. A finely targeted audience x 4/hours/week on Facebook = Ad Blindness. Rotate your ads every 2-3 days.
7. Maintain the Facebook experience. Try to keep people on Facebook, but if you have to take folks off of Facebook, keep it social. Incorporate the like button and incorporate reviews.
Addie Conner
Next up was Addie Conner from SocialCode. She started with a slide featuring the differences between search and Facebook. She said that the biggest difference is that search is about a demand fulfillment experience — they search, you provide a website. Facebook, however, allows you to create the demand.
So when you think about Facebook, it’s a whole ecosystem unto itself. You want to build targeted fan bases, engage fans, and monetize fans in a cycle.
Facebook ads provide ad elements, demographics, interests, and location. You can then analyze the data by these segments, learn from it and use it in other types of campaigns — for instance, if you know how an audience is responding, you can place media more effectively, like with TV. Also look at timing — do you want to take advantage of TV ads when you know people are interacting online as well?
In 2011, they did a lot of research to prove why companies need Facebook. She shared some interesting data about the cost fans vs. non-fans converting (CPA). In one case, for app downloads, non-fans converted at a rate of 10%, but fans converted at a rate of 28%! Fans convert more and cost less to convert. The true ROI then is the marginal benefit of being a fan minus the cost to acquire a fan.
Another way folks look at value is by looking at earned media through newsfeed impressions. Many brands didn’t understand this year what Facebook was doing with its Edgerank score, which puts you in the newsfeed. If you don’t have active fans, your Edgerank score is negatively effected.
Addie shared a case study around social responsibility and the power of giving. It ended being cheaper to continue a campaign of $1/new fan in giving to a charity to gain the new fans and to meet the 1M fan mark.
Marty Weintraub
Last but certainly not least was Marty Weintraub of AimClear. I’m going to try to keep up here, so bear with me! He’s fast and furious with great info… You can download Chapter 5 of Marty’s book at AimClear’s Facebook page.  You can also download Marty’s full presentation here.
Marty got worked up and frustrated about how Facebook has given then taken away. For instance, they have removed birthday targeting, mine user names, and reporting clarity. But it’s all about what you do with what you have now!
There are other real world things you can target:
  • occupations/employment
  • groups/affiliations
  • publications online and off
  • product categories
  • classic mainstream interests
  • competitors
If you organize it into three buckets, they would likely be: literal, competitive and inferred. Literal is where the person directly says what they like. For instance hockey players buy hockey sticks.
Competitive is qualifying by the other brands they like or don’t like. So far, there’s no litigation for Facebook ads targeting by page fans. Use qualifiers like gender, age, etc. Marty suggested using Google for research. If you don’t know who the brands are, do a Google keyword search and see who pops up…. those are the brands to target on Facebook. Also look at negative sentiment for the competition, like “sucks”, “hate”, etc. Or look for people who like pages that are anti-competitor.  You need to be careful… follow the laws of jurisdictions of trademark and copyright.
Inferred deeply targets the personality traits of users. You can do a lot of occupational targeting by personality traits. For instance, real estate agents are go getters, up early, etc. Target professional organizations.
For now, your toolkit is:
  • figureheads
  • causes
  • political issues and orientations
  • and many more.

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