A debate over the effectiveness of Facebook advertising raged recently after an investigation by the BBC’s Rory Cellan-Jones, which suggested that many companies were wasting their marketing budgets on adverts to gain ‘likes’ from members of the social media giant. Miranda Miller, of Search Engine Watch, was quick to fire back – pointing out a number of flaws in the investigation – and, after running a number of Facebook campaigns here at Found, we decided to share some of our insights and give any businesses that are unsure about the channel some food for thought.
Cold Hard Facts
Facebook’s IPO reported that 2011 advertising revenues increased by 69 percent on the previous year, while Google was only valued at a quarter of Facebook’s valuation when it first went public. With a reported 955 million active users as of June 2012, averaging 10.5 billion total minutes per day spent on the site from desktop use alone, the possibilities of exposing any business to the right type of customer must surely be there – the main question is how to engage these prospective customers?
Which Type of Ad?
With the recent release of promoted posts, Facebook has given brand page owners the opportunity to pay for their content to be shown to a wider audience. Not every fan of a page will regularly engage with the brand and receive updates in their news feed. Promoted posts give the page owner the chance to show a recent offer in the news feed of these less engaged fans and also to their friends when they interact with the post.
A sponsored story allows the page owner to promote an ad about social interactions people have had with their brand or organisation. When someone likes your page their friends may see this in their news feed as a story which you can pay to sponsor, making the post more visible and appealing to users to interact with your business.
Web ads are a way of promoting a business outside of Facebook – for example, a restaurant owner may wish to target an ad for their website to everyone that lives in the town they operate in. A social ad encourages people to engage with any Facebook objects you may have such as a Page, App, Event or Place.
Short or long-term strategy?
Many digital marketers agree that to get any success you have to test, test and test some more and this applies to Facebook perhaps more than any other online channel. Ads will fatigue and Facebook recommends changing them every 12 days, testing multiple ads each time. We recently had a travel client approach us to try and help them with bookings for an upcoming Mushroom Foraging Weekend they were running at one of their Hotels.
With the advanced targeting options available we were able to run a short campaign targeted to people who sighted mushroom foraging as an interest and included other associated topics. The ads generated a high click-through rate and the campaign was a resounding success, driving a number of bookings. We also run longer-term strategies for clients built around their Facebook objects which include promoting games and competitions to help engage new and existing customers to their brand and drive leads and sales.
Social media data is now fully integrated into Google Analytics and tools like Qwaya allow you to sync this data and easily track clicks and conversions whilst automatically generating and editing different combinations of ad titles, text, images and targeting.
Like or Dislike?
If you’re looking for a direct response to your business to generate sales or leads then a short term strategy consisting of bursts of fresh ads over a period of time, promoting new offers and testing landing pages would align with your company goals. Brand engagement requires the use of all ad formats to gradually build your likes, visibility and penetration within Facebook over a longer period of time. Leveraging Facebook in this way will allow your business to engage and share unique products and experiences to a whole community of customers.
So, whether it’s a marathon or a sprint, now could be the perfect time for you to try advertising on the world’s largest social network. The Olympics are upon us – why not use the opportunity to promote your great British business to the rest of the world!