How to Make Facebook Ads Work for You
March 19, 2013
Occasionally, a newcomer to the field of Facebook marketing poses a fair and honest question, “Are Facebook ads a waste of money?”
The short answer is easy. No, they’re not. The longer answer is…
A recent Marketing Science survey estimated that 0.5% of Facebook users engage with brands that they like on the site. To a potential advertiser this might seem low. But it takes on new and compounding significance when you consider the size of Facebook’s unique and very active audience: 158 million and counting in the USA alone. Some of the biggest Facebook advertisers engage their audience by creating compelling content and online experiences that they promote through paid media. And this has proven to be the winning strategy.
Research from Ipsos found that 20 percent of Facebook users had purchased something because of ads they saw on the site. From a survey of 60 Facebook marketing campaigns, almost half showed a return on investment of more than 500%. Facebook advertising can deliver both strong sales for your brand and a high return on investment. If you know what you’re looking for and the audience that you want to target, you can get strong results from your Facebook campaigns with benefits that can be displayed clearly.
You have to know what you want and what to look for.
Before a company starts with a Facebook campaign it needs to take an inventory. It needs to know its current baseline, what audiences it is targeting and to what desired effect.
With each Facebook campaign, internal analytics make it easy to track exactly how many people are viewing your ad, how many people are clicking on it, what direct actions are coming from this and at what direct cost; terms such as cost per click, cost per impression and click through rate become the vernacular of these discussions. Internal tools let you decide who will see your ad, when they will see it and where on the page it will be.
But a company needs both clear intent and to know where it sits before the campaign commences. Ampush recently worked with Beauty.com, a leading online beauty website, who wanted to increase buzz and visibility around its brand, as well as its online fan base. We designed a solution focusing on friends of existing fans through sponsored posts highlighting key brand messages. This drove a large spike in Likes for the company and doubled the amount of people talking about it. Through tracking the baseline, we could see that because of this approach their brand page was getting 9X as many organic likes than it was beforehand. Our campaign doubled the amount of conversation around the company on Facebook. The impact was clear.
You need to know how your Facebook campaigns fit in with other channels.
Your Facebook campaign has its own results and value but it doesn’t exist in a vacuum. As social media expert Avinash Kaushik outlines, attributing and ascertaining the direct value of your multiple marketing channels and what the deciding factor is in completing each sale is difficult (“multi-channel attribution” as it has come to be labeled), but it is important to keep in mind that your Facebook campaign can also be having offline or unintended benefits that you might not seeing in your tracking. This “multi-channel attribution” takes a few guises, between online marketing and a physical sale in a store, across different screens – desktop, laptop, TV, phone – and across different digital channels.
At Ampush, we deal mostly with one-touch campaigns for our clients, boosting Likes, subscribers or purchases. But we see evidence of multi-channel attribution all the time in what we do. Whenever someone interacts with a brand, it is very likely going to show up in a friend’s News Feed. It creates what we call Referred Intent, which is driven by the social context inherent in these recommendations. People are more motivated to take action when they see through their News Feed that it has been endorsed by a friend. An opinion, gesture or purchase takes on new credibility in this way and the value of this is harder to measure.
A solution Ampush recently designed for LivingSocial exemplifies this. When a Facebook user shared a deal on Facebook, we could promote that post onto their friend’s News Feed, with a click through rate twenty times higher than regular ads. We used Custom Audiences targeting, a relatively new tool from Facebook that can help to deliver strong ROI, and utilized the client’s own data to target current subscribers and recent purchasers from the past. Conversely, we used this same information in certain promotions to focus entirely on new customers. The campaign had three distinct major goals, to drive sales through earned media, obtain new users cost effectively and achieve the best possible value per dollar of net ad spend. By utilizing these different channels we were able to achieve a click through rate 20X higher than Right-Hand Side ads on Facebook, a return on investment of 1.6X and cost per action for the campaign that was 60 percent lower than our competitors.
So when people ask us if Facebook ads are a waste of money and we finish this longer answer, we let them know that a well tailored and thought out Facebook campaign is hard to argue against. But we tell them that if they’re going to do it, they need to do it right. They need to use social context and content to their advantage, make use of the analytics tools available to them and develop a strategy to ensure they get the solutions they’re looking for from Facebook marketing.