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Thinking about advertising your business on Facebook, but not sure how to do it successfully? With over 800 million active users worldwide, half of whom log on daily, Facebook is a huge venue with great potential for generating a profit. Through a combination of targeting and ad testing, Facebook advertising could be a valuable medium for your business.

What makes Facebook so impressive, beyond the pure reach, is its amazing targeting ability. The key to Facebook Advertising is finding out how to successfully reach and capture the attention of potential clients who are in a place where they are not necessarily searching for ads. Inside Facebook’s advertising system, you have the ability to target your demographic based on their age, gender, language preferences, education, relationship status, location, workplace, interests, and connections. How does Facebook find your desired target audience? They use the information that people have entered into their profiles, including interests and activities, as well as things that were mentioned in their status updates. Also, every time someone selects the “Like” button, whether it is on a Facebook fan page or an article on an outside site, they are feeding this information to Facebook, which is used to target ads to each user specifically. Once your target audience is selected, only those people see the ads, reducing excess advertising costs and increasing the effectiveness of the advertising campaign.

An important thing to remember is that you cannot apply what works when advertising on Google or Bing to advertising on Facebook. The difference between these two venues is that the people viewing your ad on Facebook aren’t showing intent and actively searching for your product or service. In the search engines, your ads are shown to people who are specifically seeking out information related to what you are offering. Even though Facebook advertising gives you the capability to find potential clients specifically with targeting, they aren’t necessarily looking to find your product or service at that time. Because of this, you have to take a fundamentally different approach to advertising on Facebook and start fresh.

A key decision to make in the campaign is where to send the user after they have clicked on the Facebook ad. When users search on Google, they are going there with the expectation to be connected with another resource and immediately leave Google. When users login to Facebook, they are there to post status updates and photos, and to find out what their friends have been up to. They aren’t necessarily there to click on an ad and be taken away from that environment. However, some companies choose to send the user directly to their website because the website is their best medium designed to push conversions. The problem with doing that is that it can be off-putting for a user to be thrown away from the Facebook experience. Because of this, users will just immediately close that tab/window when it pops up causing a really high bounce rate. The second option is to send the user to your company’s Facebook fan page. However, you might not be satisfied with just driving fans because you are selling something and you are looking for a lead or a sale. The third option, which we have found to be very successful with our clients’ ads, is to create an interim step. This halfway point is a tab on your Facebook page with an action, like a “Buy It Now” button. This gives the users the ability to select the button and commit to making a purchase before leaving Facebook, because once they select the button they will be redirected to the shopping cart on your website. This creates a slightly better transition and experience.

Once you’ve decided on your approach, it all comes down to testing. One of the biggest issues with Facebook advertising is that ads get stale very quickly. The clickthrough rate of ads tends to fall off a cliff fast because your ads are being shown to the same targeted demographic. It is vital to mix up the ads and always test different images. Some may work better than others; however, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the winning one will last forever. It is important to keep the creative fresh and visually different for the people in your audience that log on to Facebook every single day.

Once a campaign has been established, continuing testing and optimizing to ensure that you are maximizing every dollar spent and keeping your campaign effective.

Check out the video below to see specific examples of how to successfully advertise on Facebook!

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