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Without further ado, here are tips 4 and 5 from yesterday’s post on prepping your advertising campaigns for Q4…

4. Consider an engagement with Facebook Ads: Facebook is a juggernaut. In 2010, Facebook became the most popular site on the Internet in terms of time spent on site. In 2011, Facebook has continued to widen the gap. Facebook’s dominance isn’t in question by most advertisers, though; the biggest unknown is whether or not Facebook can prove to be a viable medium for direct marketers.

Facebook combines unique targeting options with volume of users to provide an interesting channel for advertisers.

To date, there are several takeaways from advertising in Facebook:

  • It’s incredibly important to keep ad creative fresh.
  • Advertisers concerned with ROI should stick to the cost per click (CPC) model rather than the cost per thousand impressions (CPM) model.
  • Although it can be easy to drive traffic from Facebook, driving conversions is much more difficult.

That said, Q4 may be the exact right time to try your hand at advertising on Facebook. Because of the unprecedented demographic information, Facebook makes targeting and segmenting unbelievably easy. Let’s say you are a retailer and the hottest item this Christmas is a new video game called Widgetworld. If the game is aimed at young adults, an advertiser can quickly create four campaigns aimed at male young adults, female young adults, the fathers of that audience and the mothers of that audience. Using age, gender, interest and other categorized information, an advertiser can tailor ads and bid levels to each group autonomously.

Some advertisers may be aware of this but still wary of Facebook as a medium. After all, people go there to hang out, not make purchases. If that’s what’s keeping you from advertising, think about my recommendations for mobile: start small. Start by advertising only to the exact audience that interests you and bid with the CPC model. If you know that 20-25 year old women who like cheese and are located in Alabama are your target audience, you can start with them! That way, you’ll know exactly the type of people to whom your ads will show and you hedge your potential losses by only paying for traffic. If this goes well, consider expansion and deeper granularity within that group.

Bonus Tips: When running a Facebook campaign, here are a couple of things that we’ve found useful:

  • If your target demographic is broad, have a minimum of four campaigns: 1) older males, 2) younger males, 3) older women, 4) younger women. This provides a good base for further segmentation in the future.
  • If your target demographic is narrow, target them with one campaign. Then, add a second campaign targeting a broader audience at a lower bid level. This allows you to put a premium on the highest value potential customers while still exposing your ad to a larger community.
  • Start with a minimum of six ads per campaign. There are three components to a Facebook ad: 1) headline, 2) description, 3) image. See the image below for reference. Come up with two of each component and mix-and-match the elements to come up with six unique ads. This will help you identify not only which ad works but which elements of which ads work.

Anatomy of a Facebook ad.

5. Don’t forget about Microsoft adCenter: If you’re not advertising in Microsoft adCenter–the platform that serves ads on Bing, Yahoo and partner sites–you should be, especially in Q4. A mistake that many advertisers make is to take their budget of X for AdWords and move a portion of it to adCenter. This is a mistake. Never rob Peter to pay Paul, as they say. If you checked in Google Insights and found that you should expect even a modest surge in traffic over the next three months, I would implore you to add on to your budget of X for AdWords with a budget of Y for adCenter. Your adCenter budget should be between 25%-50% of your budget for AdWords. If you are strapped for resources, use a similar strategy with moving into mobile: advertise first on your best–highest ROI–keywords before committing dollars to broader terms.

Click-for click, an adCenter account can outperform a Google AdWords account.

Even though the volume in adCenter is somewhat dwarfed by the volume that can be found in AdWords, adCenter accounts can often achieve a higher ROI than their AdWords counterparts. Lower competition, different serving policies and similar user behavior on Bing and Yahoo can lead to lower click costs, higher conversion rates and more consistent performance.

For those of you who are already advertising in adCenter, just make sure to give it the same care and attention that you’ll be giving your Google AdWords account this holiday season. Aside from the AdWords Search Network, I would list adCenter as the single most important channel for your online advertising efforts in Q4.

Bonus Tips: For the most part, all tips that apply to AdWords also apply to adCenter:

  • Start your adCenter campaigns on Yahoo and Bing only. The search partners can be more difficult for getting conversions at a reasonable CPA.
  • Revenue tracking is available but not obvious in adCenter and can be difficult to get set up. Ask Wpromote about setting up your revenue tracking if that is applicable to your situation.
  • Negative keywords in adCenter don’t work exactly as they do in AdWords. Ask Wpromote about what these differences are and how they can affect your marketing efforts.

The holiday season has become a three to four month marathon for advertisers but it’s no more trouble than any other season. The keys to making Q4 your best quarter and this year’s Q4 one to celebrate are vigilance, analysis and the confidence to test new things. Whether those new things are higher bids or different ads or taking a shot at a large scale mobile advertising effort, it’s important not to be caught flat-footed. For all the time that you spend standing still, your competitors may be pushing forward.

Just remember, not all new initiatives will succeed, especially not right away. Thomas Edison once said, “Restlessness is discontent and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man and I will show you a failure.” Don’t let a dead guy talk to you like that! Keep on trying new things!

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