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3 Ways Your Brand Can Win the Newest Facebook Advertising Game

On Facebook, the key is to create great page content that teaches people something, entertains them, makes them think, or in some other way adds value to their lives, and supplement the content plan with advertising.

On Facebook, the key is to create great page content that teaches people something, entertains them, makes them think, or in some other way adds value to their lives, and supplement the content plan with advertising.

As marketers our brands’ ads have just 2.7 seconds to capture a Facebook user’s attention in their News Feed—and that’s if they don’t scroll over your ad entirely. With last month’s Facebook’s announcement about the launch of its ad preferences tool that allows users to opt out of  targeted ads, marketers have to overcome people’s natural aversion to News Feed advertising. Can we create an ad so compelling, so interesting, so pertinent, that no one would ever imagine opting out of receiving it?

But wait; let’s think about this for a sec—or 2.7 seconds. From a marketer’s standpoint, Facebook’s new opt out option is actually good news for our brands. This challenges us to be the brand that consumers don’t want to live without  while reaching even more of our target audience through our Facebook marketing.

So how do marketers do that? Your brand’s page content, your brand’s paid Facebook advertisements, and how well you understand your audience all are interrelated and impact whether or not your brand is one that customers want to hear from on a regular basis, through posts or ads.

ExactTarget released a report about how consumers want to interact with brands through Facebook. Among the interesting stats: •The company posted too frequently (Facebook 44%, Twitter 39%) •Too much marketing posts and I needed to get rid of some of it (Facebook 43%, Twitter 41%) •The content became repetitive or boring over time (Facebook 38%, Twitter 52%) (http://www.dreamgrow.com/why-people-unlike-on-facebook/)

ExactTarget released a report about how consumers want to interact with brands through Facebook. The results, above.

#1: Overall content strategy

First, work with your marketing agency to develop an overall content strategy. Remember, your Facebook fans will not share a post just because they see it the News Feed. They share it because it’s useful and interesting to them. The same thing is true with an ad. They will not click on something that comes across as self-serving or inauthentic. It has to have significance.

Another thing to keep in mind: how often you post new info. The rule of thumb for new postings is two per day, but again, it is very important that whatever you post is relevant and useful. Be genuine! Otherwise, you run the risk of being perceived as a spammer.

When your fans post to your brand’s page or make a comment, it is very important—vital, really—to respond right away to keep that relationship going. Here’s something else that will make a good impression on your fans: when you respond to their comment or post, be sure to tag them in your reply. It shows genuine interest in keeping the conversation going by addressing your fans by their name.

The name of the game is engagement: when you are consistently delivering information that changes your fans’ lives for the better, they will be more receptive to your ads, particularly if it is highly targeted and relevant to their lives at that moment.

#2: Create the most effective Facebook ads

Always split test your ad images. Webtrends has a great set of slides that they present on Facebook ads. They ask the audience to choose the Facebook ad image that performed the best out of a group of 12 images. It turns out, for this specific example, the ad that outperformed everything else by far, was the festive image of decorations, not of a smiling woman as the marketers originally assumed.

Always split test your ad images. Webtrends has a great set of slides that they present on Facebook ads. They ask the audience to choose the Facebook ad image that performed the best out of a group of 12 images. It turns out, for this specific example, the ad that outperformed everything else by far, was the festive image of decorations, not of a smiling woman as the marketers originally assumed.

Now, on to your paid Facebook advertisements. One of the advantages of buying Facebook ads is that Facebook has already done the heavy lifting for you: they know what your user is already interested in and shares that info with your marketing agency so they can craft appealing communications to support your brand. In 2013, Facebook created a Custom Audiences option which enables advertisers to easily target and retarget Facebook users not only by the type of person they are but also by the type of potential buyer they are.

You don’t want to create an ad for everyone—you want to create an ad specifically for your target audience. On Facebook, the smaller and more relevant the target audience for an ad, the better it performs. Also, you want to carefully select the image that is in the ad. Most companies, it turns out, pick a photo and go with it. Don’t make that mistake. Do your research: understand what images in your ads are most appealing and why, and be intentional.

#3: Get to know your audience

And of course, knowing your audience’s habits, preferences, and interests is of utmost importance. Facebook essentially tracks users’ online activity over all platforms to determine their interests, which is how Facebook “knows” who to target your ad to. Facebook explains it this way on their website:

“Let’s say that you’re thinking about buying a new TV and you start researching TVs on the web and in mobile apps. We may show you ads for deals on a TV to help you get the best price or other brands to consider. And because we think you’re interested in electronics, we may show you ads for other electronics in the future, like speakers or a game console to go with your new TV.”

When you see an ad you don’t like, click on it to get a menu with multiple options that explain why you’re seeing this ad. If you choose, you can remove this ad topic from your ad preference list and Facebook won’t show you these ads again.

From the Facebook website: When you see an ad you don’t like, click on it to get a menu with multiple options that explain why you’re seeing this ad. If you choose, you can remove this ad topic from your ad preference list and Facebook won’t show you these ads again.

This is how it has worked—until last month, when Facebook launched that new ad preference tool. But remember, it is an opt out option—meaning, a Facebook user has to go through steps to stop seeing ads. Many users won’t bother with this, which works to your advantage as a marketer. You still have an opportunity to capture their attention. That’s why understanding your audience is so vital. You need to understand when your fans are online, how long they stay online, and how long they spend engaged with your brand. Facebook’s Insights provides this information and can help your ads perform better.

Ultimately, your marketing agency will have the very best insights on your Facebook fans because they know not just how often fans are interacting with your page, but also what they are actually saying when they make comments or post to your brand’s page. This information is vital to crafting Facebook ads that are truly effective.

“Opt out” option is good for Facebook users and brands

Facebook is constantly changing as it navigates the social media landscape. As marketers, we need to be nimble as well and see the opportunities in change.

So now it’s your turn: what are your thoughts? What are the opportunities you see in Facebook’s ad preferences tool? Share the Facebook ads that have worked the best for your brand. Let us know your insights in the comments.

 

Brought to you by Vertical Marketing Network, a Leading Integrated Marketing Agency.

Screen captures intended as illustrative examples only. Registered trademarks and logos are the property of their respective owners.

 

 

 

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7 comments on “3 Ways Your Brand Can Win the Newest Facebook Advertising Game

  1. joannemhilton
    July 14, 2014

    I’m glad Facebook provided an “opt out”. I don’t mind the ads … but I don’t like being barraged by ads that tell me “if you’re interested in this … then you might be interested in this other item”. I get it – I might be interested in “that” but I don’t want to be led. I want the lead. I don’t always opt out, as there are a lot of things I do want to explore that are available to me.

    Like

  2. Philip
    July 9, 2014

    Every since Facebook shifted its algorithms in December 2013, businesses are seeing a dramatic drop in organic engagements with fans seeing their posts. This has stimulated brands and businesses to engage “sponsored” Facebook ads. As a Facebook user, you may or may not like these ads in your newsfeed, but the Pay-to-Play targeted ads are simply here to stay. These ads provide businesses with amazing abilities to reach out to prospects and current fans of their products and services. Even with opt-out options, the newsfeed ads are over-deliverying to our client’s expectations and remain one of the most effective vehicles to market today.

    Like

    • Kim Haman
      July 10, 2014

      Hi Phillip,

      Great observation! LinkedIn has also rolled out sponsored ads, similar to the ones on FB, for the same reason. LIke on FB, the ads can be highly targeted to meet very specific people.

      And since FB is one of the top mobile apps, advertisers can reach potential customers and existing clients no matter where they are, or when–unlike traditional advertising on TV or other similar medium.

      Thanks for your insights

      Like

  3. karen
    July 9, 2014

    I personally can’t stand “sponsored” Facebook ads. That is one of the reasons I started spending less time on Facebook until the “opt out” preference was created. Serving up ads in my personal space based on my likes, search behavior and preferences has never worked for me. Inevitably I am going to be served up ads that have nothing to do with my interests. Not to mention the fact that I am already skeptical of advertising. The beauty of Facebook and Twitter is that I choose the brands I want to engage with not the other way around. Facebook was smart to add the “opt out” feature.

    Like

    • Kim Haman
      July 9, 2014

      Hi Karen,

      Your comment is spot on! I would venture to guess that nearly everyone who uses FB feels just as you do (myself included). The opt out feature was a good call. As marketers, though, it does add a new challenge for us–and that’s why we need to think of FB advertising not as advertising, per se, but as “customer engagement.” We have to go outside the “look at us, aren’t we awesome” tact taken in traditional advertising (think magazine ads, commercials, etc.) and really look at FB as an opportunity to provide real value to people.

      I’m an amateur chef (glorified home cook, really) but i could care less about seeing a company brag about how great their cookware is. I get it–cookware is important, I’ve already got good stuff. However! If the cookware company was advertising or posting something like “How to use leftovers to make a gourmet meal” then I would definitely check it out. And over time, when I need to replace my current cookware, I’d probably consider the cookware by the company that has spent time engaging me with interesting and useful recipes and tips, rather than inundate me with ads for their pots and pans.

      Thanks for stopping by!!

      Like

  4. tommmcatt
    July 9, 2014

    Really good article on the way a company can engage their target audience through Facebook. I know from my perspective that brands that create a dialogue (of sorts) between the reader and the site are far more likely to get a “like” or even a “share” from me. The point about being genuine really registers as well – the last thing you want to create is a situation where a member of your target audience feels manipulated – or worse, ineptly or clumsily manipulated.

    Like

    • Kim Haman
      July 9, 2014

      Thanks, Tommmcatt!

      Also, on FB ads, the image should be the focus, not the text. Text should take up 20% or less of the ad space.

      I didn’t get into the costs of FB advertising in this post, but if you’re looking to keep those expenses down, one way is to customize your bidding options. You can bid for clicks, impressions, or your desired objective (e.g., Facebook page likes). That way, you pay just for what you really want.

      Have a terrific day, Tommmcatt!

      Like

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