Since it’s currently the largest social network in the world, Facebook is one of the most attractive platforms out there for advertising. Its massive user-base encompasses virtually every demographic imaginable, and the organization behind the platform has a very marketing-friendly stance. Like any other campaign, however, an advertising strategy based on Facebook isn’t something you can just dive headlong into. There are a few things you’ll need to know, first.
1. Forget Adwords, Target Interests
Google Adwords have long been one of the most important elements of any online advertising effort, since Google essentially encompasses the entire Internet. Where social media is concerned, however, there’s a massive paradigm shift which marketers need to be aware of if they’re to be successful.
“With Google,” writes Matthew Mothner of Inc, “users go there specifically to find information, products, or services–their intention is to immediately leave Google and find what they are seeking. With Facebook, however, you are reaching users that are on Facebook to be on Facebook. Removing them from that experience and trying to get them to take action is a whole different ballgame.”
In other words, you should be focused on likes and interests, not on adwords or keywords. While you should still pay adwords some mind, you shouldn’t view them as solely responsible for your ad traffic.
2. Appearances are Everything
Like most of you, when I was younger, I had the adage “you can’t judge a book by its cover” drilled into my head more times than I can remember. While there certainly might be isolated instances in which the cliche holds true, where advertising is concerned, it is completely and in-arguably false. Users can, and will judge your marketing campaign based on how it looks; be it your thumbnail images, the design of your advertisement, or the frontman/frontwoman you choose to represent your brand. Particularly where static ads are concerned, the right images can make or break a campaign, because, as Mothner notes, “users on Facebook are trained to scan for pictures.”
3. Keep it Short and Simple
We’re living in an increasingly visual society. People don’t enjoy reading as much as they used to, and everybody’s got a hundred million different things on the go – we’re busy, if only because of the sheer volume of information and data we sift through on a day-to-day basis. As a result, if we’re confronted with a piece of information that appears to be too cumbersome or obtuse, we’re very likely to skim it over and forget it within a matter of minutes. Due to this trend, you’ll want to keep your advertising copy extremely concise – don’t beat around the bush. Get straight to the point, and try to nail down the quickest possible means of portraying your message.
4. The Metrics for Measuring Success
The world of enterprise has what some might term an unhealthy obsession with metrics. This extends into the advertising world, as well. It’s understandable, of course. As with any endeavor, you’ll want some means of measuring success. Before you launch your advertising campaign, read up on the most important Facebook metrics, to enable yourself to better measure whether or not your efforts were successful. If they’re not, you’ll want to figure out why, then adjust them (more on that in a moment).
5. Facebook’s Ad Design Process
As with any platform, you’ll need to understand the design process for Facebook advertisements. What tools are available to you? What rules and regulations must you follow through the design process and life-cycle of your campaign? What best practices should you follow in order to ensure success? It’s a pretty basic facet of marketing, but that doesn’t make it any less important, or vital to your efforts.
6. Know Your Choices
If you’re on Facebook as an advertiser, you have a number of different choices available to you concerning what your ad will look like, and where it will appear. There are two primary classes of Facebook advertisement, with a few sub-classes under each heading. Adverts are more traditional advertisements, targeted towards users who are likely to find the information helpful or interesting based on location or a number of other demographic qualifiers. Sponsored Stories, meanwhile, are based on user activity – for example, liking a page or product – and are moved higher up the news-feed of that user’s friends through a payment from the organization involved.
7. Should You Ask Questions?
When designing a headline, it’s best to structure it as a question addressed to the user – for example “Looking for a new Graphics Card?” For the reasoning behind this one, we’re going to yet again defer to Matt Mothner, who writes that “punctuation in general draws attention…but when people see a question, their brain tends to process an answer. So when a user’s eyes pass over a headline structured in such a way, it’s almost impossible for them not to answer that question.”
If that answer is a yes, congratulations – you’ve probably got yourself a click.
8. Keep Things Creative
This one doesn’t apply to Facebook, specifically, but it’s still worth noting: the best advertising campaigns are the most creative. I’m not talking about anything absurd, post-modern, or completely out of left field (see Sony’s Playstation 3 marketing campaigns for such examples). You just need to ensure that, once you’ve gotten through with the design process, you’ve got something which grabs the attention of users in a positive way.
9. Stay on Target
As we established earlier, Facebook allows you to target your advertisements to people based on a number of factors, including likes and interests. The trick here is that you need to choose a focus that isn’t so broad that you’ll end up wasting money, nor so narrow that you’ll be unable to reach any of your consumers. You need to find that middle ground and use your best judgement.
10. Always Monitor, Always Improve
Facebook advertising, like all social advertising, isn’t a once-off thing: It’s a continuous, active process. As such, you should always monitor your content. Switch things up every now and then, and don’t expect instant success from your campaign. Essentially, you’ll need to keep striving to improve your campaign and refine your ads. That’s all there is to it.