I’ve been working with Facebook Advertising since late 2008 — 10/19/2008 to be exact. My first ads went to a Facebook Fan Page in order to increase my fan base and be able to market to those fans over the long term.
Since then, I’ve done a lot of testing and figured out a few tricks and things that do and don’t work.
It’s not super easy to get a direct sale via Facebook ads, although I have had success selling affiliate products via Facebook. I’ve found, for most of my products and advertisers, that Facebook is best for promoting your brand to a very targeted audience, capturing their data via a Facebook Fan Page “like,” email list or newsletter, or as a lead in general (subscribe to RSS feed/enter a contest and capture email/etc), and then keeping them updated with relevant content and promoting your product/service through your sites or newsletter/email list.
Create Multiple Versions of Ads
When I start off with a new campaign, I always make multiple versions of each ad in order to test different variables. First, I create 5-10 ads with the same headline, ad copy, and targeting but different images. After I run those ads for a day or two, I pause the under performing images. Next, I’ll take the 2 or 3 best performing images and create multiple versions of those, keeping the ad copy and targeting the same but with different headlines. After that, I”ll start testing ad copy, and finally, targeting. With targeting, I usually start off really general (location and age range) then start narrowing it down (cities, specific ages, interests, etc).
Start With CPC
I’ve found that it’s best to usually start with CPC ads. With CPC, you’re pretty much guaranteed clicks (unless your ad or targeting is horrible), which is great for testing. Once you have an ad and targeting that you know is getting a great CTR and converting well (whether your conversions are leads or sales), you can then change your ads to CPM. You really have to keep an eye on CPM campaigns, however — if you don’t, you can end up spending your daily budget without a single click. Shoemoney discusses this, and more, in his free video, Facebook Advertising Soup to Nuts Guide.
Test Images and Make Them Stand Out
Your image will have a lot of white space around it, is going to be 110×80, and will be grouped into a pack of 3 or 4 ads on the right side of someone’s Facebook page. Real photos, images with borders, photoshopped/edited photos — those stand out and tend to get clicked over images that are stock photos or bland. You’ll have to change out your images fairly often, though — once your image/ad is shown to your target audience (inventory) a number of times, you’ll see your clicks starting to go down. The easiest way to refresh your CTR (for a limited time before having to change out your targets) is to change out your image on your best performing ads.
Note: According to a study (shown in Shoemoney’s Facebook Advertising Soup to Nuts Guide), top images clicked on had either cleavage, a recognizable brand name, or were blended images.
Make Use of The Reporting Features
Facebook ads have a reporting tool that you can make use of. One of the the reports I run frequently is “Responder Demographics.” In this report, it will break down the demographics, sex, age group, and location of the people that clicked on your ad. From one of my ads that was just in the beginning testing stages and was being served to both men and women, all ages over 18, and in the U.S., the reporting tool told me that the majority of people who clicked on those ads were males, 18-24, who lived in California, New York, or Illinois. I also found from the reporting that males over 45 made up less than.1% of the click thrus. From that data, I created a sub-campaign that was targeted only to males, split up into age groups of 18-24, 35-34, and 34-44, and ran in the states that had the highest CTR. I still ran the general campaign to test out different items, but I put a larger budget towards the new, targeted campaign and was able to spend a lower cost per click for more clicks (the campaign eventually switched to CPM once I was confident in my targeting). Without that reporting data, I may have continued to paid a higher cpc, targeting to age groups and locations that weren’t clicking and were costing me more, for a longer time before figuring out via testing who my specific target should be.
With any ad copy, testing the body copy and headline is usually a given. With Facebook Ads, however, I’ve found that different techniques work for each demographic you’re targeting. Some headlines that have performed well for me include:
Questions: One ad that performed extremely well for me asked “Are You Fun?” The ad asked a question but also spoke to the product I was selling (bachelorette party goods). I tested the headline by creating another ad, with the same body copy and image, asking “Are You Boring?” Turns out, “Are You Boring?” worked better than “Are You Fun?”, but I would have never known that if I had been content with the CTR of my first ad.
Speak to a Timely Matter: I’ve run ads that were associated with movies, holidays, and events that had a great CTR — for a limited time. When the movie Sex and the City 2 was about to come out, I ran an ad to a cocktail related site that provided recipes relevant to the movie.
Be Totally Vague: This one is my favorite. It works. It’s annoying, but it works. For a poker site, I ran a headline with a quote that said “I’m Not The Sucker.” The ad copy read a quote from the Poker movie “Rounders.” If you target the right people, they’ll get the idea of what the ad is supposed to be about (poker in this instance), but you’re not directly telling them WHY you want them to click on the ad, or what you’re even promoting, and that gets some people’s attention. You have to be careful with this one…
Link Ads To A Facebook Page Customized Tab
Facebook is always switching things up when it comes to advertising. They recently removed the “Estimated Impressions” counter that used to appear on the bottom of the advertising page once you entered in all of your targeting information, and in the past few weeks, they’ve made the “Like” button appear only under ads that go to a Facebook Fan page, while ads that take a person off Facebook have the URL mentioned underneath the ad.
You’ll have to do testing based on your conversion goals, but with a custom Facebook tab, you can still collect email addresses for leads (newsletters, follow ups, etc), or count a lead as a “Like.”