Our marketing team just spent a couple of days with our friends at Facebook, and some of our discussions focused specifically on Facebook advertising. As always, advertising is only part of the entire marketing strategy, and Facebook advertising is only a part of the overall advertising program. For this post, I’m focusing on how to match Facebook advertising units to the overall marketing objectives, and ignoring other advertising that may be part of the campaign. I’m also writing from the perspective of a larger advertiser that is not using the self-service ad platform.
Facebook ad units can be effective and cost efficient for all sorts of businesses, and can provide “social context” which can increase the effectiveness and recall even more. As with any advertising, it is critical for the advertiser to begin with a clear understanding of what you are seeking to accomplish, which will guide the decision about whether, and what type, of Facebook advertising is right for your brand.
There are 2 primary questions you want to answer as you plan your Facebook advertising:
- What’s your objective?
- If someone clicks through on your ad, where will they land?
Your answer to these questions will influence the type and content of your ads, and how you will measure your success. Plan for continual optimization during the campaign. Try things; see what works best, then put your full budget to work.
Objective: Building Brand Awareness
- With awareness as your goal, you want ads that will catch the attention of your target consumer, and structure the buy with significant reach and frequency. Click-through is less important, and you can invest less on the landing page, perhaps even linking to an already existing page. Standard ads will be less expensive so could give you more room to buy reach, so use A/B split testing to determine what copy and images generate the most clicks (which is a proxy for telling you which are gaining the most attention). With a sufficient investment, you can put a Nielsen Brand Lift study in place to measure impact on awareness and recall.
- If your brand has a sufficient fan base to make it worthwhile, use Facebook’s “social context” ads that will allow folks to see which of their friends already “like” your brand. If desired, you can narrowly target your ads to only those folks who are connected to those who already “like” your brand on Facebook. The study that Nielsen conducted with Facebook demonstrated significant upside to ads with this social context. http://blog.360i.com/pov/360i-report-on-nielsen-and-facebook-advertising-effectiveness-study
Objective: Increasing the Number of Brand “Likes”
- You will want to make it as easy as possible for folks to like your brand, so you will want EVERY ad unit to incorporate the “like” button. You can test different copy and images to see which work best, and quickly make adjustments to maximize the most effective units.
- Deliver valuable, share-worthy landing page content to the consumer clicks through. Consider investing in some time of incentive that will deliver value back to the consumer in exchange for their “like”. After all, they are giving you access to their newsfeed, and the potential of reaching their network when they share your content.
- The ad should link to your brand, not to an application. Facebook requires that the “like” button be linked to the landing page for the ad, so a “like” button linked to an application tab will only “like” the application, not your brand page.
- Measure not only the number of “likes” that come directly from your ad, but the growth in your overall fan base during the time your ad campaign. Some new fans will come to you by seeing your brand added to a friend’s newsfeed, or by someone who looks you up later.
Objective: Stimulating Engagement
- Engagement is a broad term, so the first thing to think about is the depth of engagement you are seeking. If light engagement is sufficient, to perhaps reinforce something about the brand in the consumer’s mind, create units that allow the consumer to take action (like, poll, rsvp) within the ad. The folks at Facebook told us that polls are very popular with the typical Facebook user, and have the added advantage of providing light engagement plus allowing you to do some quick and easy research.
- If you want the consumer to click through to a deeper engagement with the brand (meaning something that takes more of their time), devote the early part of your campaign to testing copy and images. Identify what combinations generate the most click-through, and then heavy-up on those units.
- Your budget will need to have a relatively larger investment in the landing page content; it needs to be compelling enough to cause others to spend some time with it and share it with their network. If the content is worthwhile, people will be willing to “like” your brand to get that content. The content could be a game, an exclusive video, a chance to participate in a special experience, or a charitable cause.
- Depending on the investment you are making on the landing page content, you may want to build “likes” for the application or other landing page, rather than for the brand itself. This will have the effect of driving more network traffic to that landing page.
Objective: Encouraging User-Generated Video Content
- A campaign to generate user-generated content has two targets: you need to identify those who like to create content (who may or may not be your brand’s consumer target), and you also need to stimulate the viewing and sharing of the best of the content that is developed. You will use different ad units, content and targeting strategies for each.
- For those creating content, you will need a landing page that will incentivize them to participate (some combination of prizing and recognition for the best entries), and provide them the information they need to participate. Ad units targeting these folks will need to focus on click-through, and will use the guidelines noted for stimulating engagement.
- To encourage viewing and sharing of the content that has been created, create video ad units that tease the content, carefully measuring results (number of click, comments, and video completion percentages) so that you can maximize the most successful units.
Objective: Building Consumer Relationships
- Because of the targeting capabilities inherent in Facebook ads, they can be an effective vehicle for customer acquisition for a permission-based relationship marketing program. Since a brand is not able to communicate one-to-one through Facebook, your goal is to encourage the consumer to give you permission to contact them by email, text, phone or direct mail.
- The “tortoise” method: slow and steady wins the race. Build the number of “likes” for your brand using the strategies outlined above, and then use your publishing strategy to build consumer affinity with the brand over time. Periodically publish offers that encourage friends to click through to a registration form or other engagement mechanic within your Facebook page.
- The “hare” approach: Use the engagement strategies outlined above, driving traffic from your add directly to something that will encourage them to register with you.
- Once a consumer has given their permission for one-to-one communications, be sure to say “thank you” right away, ideally through an automated response that is sent immediately. Follow up again within a few days, providing them more information or value, and asking for a bit more information about them in return.
The links below provide more information about Facebook advertising, along with tips for writing copy and targeting.