Facebook Advertising Tips & Strategies

I just completed my two weeks experiment with facebook advertising. As I did not manage to get a Facebook ad coupon, I prepared myself to spend money from my pocket but at the end of it I was not too excited about the outcome.

What I tried to do with the facebook ad was to kind of promote my affiliate links without making it sound like one. In the process, I also figured out that Facebook advertising is not meant for direct sales or affiliate marketing but more a mechanism to build your brand. The following are my findings based on which you can derive your advertising strategy as well.

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Facebook Advertising Basics

Advertisement on Facebook essentially refers to the the campaign that targets facebook profiles (users). These ad blocks – a picture, a heading and short description text underneath – appear on the right side panel of the targeted facebook pages.

One can easily kick start with a Facebook advertisement by just uploading an image (standard image size for Facebook ad is 110 x 80 pixels), and adding a heading and description of your ad. You have to provide a Credit Card number up front and there is no support for paying via PayPal etc.

However, it takes 10-12 hours (sometimes even a day) before your facebook ad is approved! This is something that they need to really improve. Basically, the image approval process is what takes time. They will make sure that the image that you uploaded is very relevant to your advertised product, do not contain rated stuff and also not violating any copyrighted, trademark protected product or service. In addition, they are very strict on the rated stuff itself – perhaps even stricter than PG13 norms. For example, the % of skin that can be shown on the image is highly restricted – even if it’s a (normally) publicly exposed part of the body like face or hand. The approval process is really the biggest disappointment and it is nowhere near to the satisfaction levels of Google AdWords campaign for example.

There is a possibility for you to pay for impressions (CPM) or clicks (CPC).

Good and Bad about Facebook advertising

I targeted my Facebook ad for the US region alone and for the grown up audience. After a couple of rejections, finally my ad got approved and as of today it has created 1617 impressions in the US and absolutely no clicks. Fortunately, I opted for the Pay-Per-Click model and hence no money spent on it so far.

So what’s good and bad about facebook ads?

Advantages
  • Facebook allows your ads to be targeted at very specific audience (As their punchline goes ‘Reach your exact audience and connect real customers to your business’). For example, it is possible for you to target all male audiences with a particular hobby, in a particular age group from a particular state in the US or any other country with your facebook ad
  • Simple and easy to use ad design screen
  • Allows CPC and CPM models
  • Extremely good for brand building at a very low cost
  • May be suitable for building on your fan pages etc for low cost
  • Facebook has overtaken Google in terms of traffic and hence you can create millions of impressions in a matter of seconds
Disadvantages

In fact, I found that the Facebook advertising solution has a lot more shortcomings than plus points and here are some of them:

  • Only one type of ad blocks – There are no different sizes and shapes of ads. Also they appear only on the side panel and not in content
  • Limited keywords: Though ad serving is done based on the profiles there’s an additional possibility of keyword based filtering. In Facebook ads, this is done as tag filtering but there’re only very limited number of tags
  • Low CTR – Click-through-rate is very bad mainly due to poor ad visibility
  • Very slow approval process
  • Ad tracking & reporting modules are not up to the mark
  • CPC costing and pricing functionality is not there – basically we do not get a feel of how much should we pay for a click

Tips for Facebook advertising

Overall, I got a feeling that the Facebook Advertising is still an immature product that they still continue to experiment. However, it is still a reasonably good ad medium for certain type of advertising. The following are my general guidance to those who want to experiment with facebook ads.

  • Use it more for indirect marketing (like building patronage or fan base). You may keep running it permanently on a lower CPC basis and that works out really cheap
  • Never opt for CPM (Paid per impressions) model initially
  • Use it a mechanism to highlight your brand via the image
  • You might want to keep experimenting with tags based on targeted audience’ hobbies and tastes
  • Start with a restricted audience (e.g. age group, sex, location, marital status etc) and then slowly broaden the scope

And the best thing really is to build your brand and patronage with a nicely built Facebook fan page (Read facebook fan page create).

Happy Facebook Marketing!

Comments

  1. Ryan :

    I have friends that I met at Affiliate Summit West in Vegas this year, they make their living on facebook and make $1,000+/day NET.

    Few things they mentioned for success.

    2.5% CTR
    If you have a poor CTR it may be due to the following.
    Poor CTR can be due to poor ad copy or poor choice of target audience.

    Once you’ve managed a 2.5% CTR
    It’s time to work on your conversions.
    Usually you want about 40% NET on a campaign.

    This means, if the conversion/sale pays $10. You can spend up to $6 in clicks in order to make that conversion. So if your average price per click is $0.75 you need to convert 1 out of every 8 clicks. This can be quite difficult.

    A good method to attempt is to convert every visitor in to a email subscriber. GET THEIR EMAIL! Then you can market them indefinitely until you make your $0.75 back… which you can typically do within 30 days if you have a creative email strategy.

    • Ryan,
      Thanks for your detailed comment on how to get good ROI on facebook ads. I am still experimenting and hope to make the best out of it. However, I am not going to collect the email addresses of those who lands on my pages :)

  2. Kurt :

    I never tried Facebook advertising, but I am not too keen to try Fb, simply because IMO, most people on FB are there to “fart”.

    They are not really prospective customers but rather one to click out of curiosity. I prefer Google search adwords display for targeted customers.

    Fb, as you said is better to build and recruit fans lol.

    • Kurt, there seems to be a lot of cases where the facebook traffic results in indirect conversion. And obviously majority of the people are there to do what you said 😀 Basically to share pics and generally gossip.

  3. Jess :

    Using Facebook as your Ad choice, I don’t think it is a right place.Maybe somehow to those interested in clicking Ad.

  4. No offense, but your article is way off the mark.

    There are thousands of affiliates running facebook ads with great success. Individual affiliates are easily spending 4 and 5 figures a day on facebook ads and making a killing, all with affiliate offers (CPA offers mostly, not as much CPS)

    And your advice to never use CPM bidding is just flat out wrong. CPM is the only way to get tons of CHEAP clicks. You just have to have good CTR.

    The only thing that matters with their ads is CTR. Good CTR (anything greater than 0.10% is good) and you should be able to kill it.

    • newjersey, Thanks for your constructive feedback. I am yet to try CPA model and on your advise let me give CPM ads a shot as well.

      Do you think that the same ad, when moved from CPC to CPM is going to make some difference? I am wondering if facebook is doing anything differently here.

  5. today if you are not using Facebook as a method of marketing your business or niche, then you are absolutely missing out on a great opportunity to reach out to hundreds of millions of active users because Facebook has become one of the most popular online social networking websites

  6. Rahul :

    Thanks ajith for this post. I will surely jump in affiliate advertising later. Because facebook is no.. 2 in world and surely have some potential.

  7. Thanks newjersey. I was starting to feel a little ashamed of the .16% click through rates.

    There is no question that you’ll get a higher conversion percentage with Google PPC than Facebook PPC, but that’s why the Facebook clicks are so much cheaper.

    Google is still a giant, but lots of people hit the back button rather than sign up to get your emails. Facebook fan pages, or like pages, or whatever Facebook is going to decide they are, turn clickers into fans, or more recently “likers”, at a high rate giving the advertiser future opportunities to complete the conversion.

  8. moserw :

    Hmmm. Anyone mind sharing what kinds of ads FB even approves? I’ve tried a couple and both got rejected.

    I make a killing on AdWords with the very same ads. FB does not even approve them and that too after taking 2-3 days over the approval process.

    I got a 50 USD coupon that I want to use and check out FB before going that route, but it seems FB does not want my ads or my money!!!

    • @Rajiv, it’s really hard to get some ads approved. The major problem is with the delay before it gets approved/rejected – most of the time the rejection is due to image quality/content issues.

      • moserw :

        No images, it was content. Not even make money online or other such scams. It was a recipes cookbook. Guess FB does not want direct linking from affiliates and like AdWords we will need to write a separate blog/page entry in an already established platform.

        At the end of the day, blogging is more pleasant and profitable it seems.

  9. ritche :

    I am surprised to ready why a lot of ads got disapproved or even got banned.

    I ran a several test campaigns from March to 1st week of May for the same product/service, using different ad copies, different images, tweaked the bids for both CPM & CPC, daily budget, etc but never once got my ad banned or was requested to be changed. Our Director who tried to put up some ads, strangely got his ads — even his ad account banned!

    IMHO, I think the ad copy has a lot to do with the any disapprovals and they also check where the URLs. Maybe FB doesn’t like too salesy ads (its an advert & of course, it should be sales oriented but up to what, I have no idea) or too in your face or perhaps the targeting doesn’t meet their requirements. Who knows.

    Ok, to give you an idea what kind of ads I put on FB, here’s a sample ad copy for the All In Business System we are selling:

    Title: “All In 1 Website System”

    Ad Copy: “Build your online business with 1 system: Website,CMS, CRM, Leads,eCommerce, Forums,Email Marketing. No code skill needed. Free to try.”

    Photo: An image/graphic shown on our home page (all the features, etc.)

    I ran this ad several times but never got banned. Did also variations (“why use many when you can use only 1 platform…”) and got them approved quickly (fastest was 4hours, the longest was 12hours..maybe its the time zones or something,again…who knows).

  10. ritche :

    Btw, I initially used the CPM model but has since switched to the CPC mode. The reason is that Facebook has made some advertisement policy changes.

    If you are doing CPM, very soon they will be giving your ads fewer clicks (as to how they do that…I have no idea). And if you are doing CPC, they are giving your ad more clicks (again, I have no idea and they didn’t say how or what what the mechanism they have in place to make that happen).

    For conversion, we had several sign ups for the free trial mode for a very low budget (its a test campaign after all) . CPM is good if you are after cheaper clicks. CPC more expensive but then given the recent changes, you cannot pull off the CPM mode for long.

  11. Susan :

    Facebook advertising it not simple as it needs some tips and tricks which needs to be taken care as what geographies and which age segment you want to target.

  12. Adam :

    Thanks for sharing this helpful article on FB advertising. I was about to take this up but after reading your article has really made me think twice.

  13. David :

    Facebook is a nice place to advertise next to google adsense because of the targeting it provides. Facebook collects a lot of information about user including their likes and interests, so that helps advertisers targeting their products or service. I went for it already.

  14. Thanks for the article, have been looking into Facebook Ads and was thinking about using it, but now i don’t really know what to do.

  15. sunil kohli :

    plzzz send to me the Facebook Advertising Tips & Strategie(summary for each)

  16. I use all 3 ads -Google, FaceBook and LinkedIn.

    I still get more business through Google then others. However, Facebook has increased by Brand world wide in short terms.

    Facebook should be use to collect information from passive but potential client. These clients are not actively looking to buy anything but in the future they may be interested or recommend others.

    After no result with FB, I decided to use it for branding only. I use it for feedback, recommendation

    Use Facebook alone I was able to get 400+ Recommendation from IT professional on my products. now they are visible in LinkedIn which I hope one day will serve huge. I run a small company and my biggest competitor, had only 18 recommendation of their products. I got 400 thanks to Facebook.

    Unless you have insanse type of deal where for example $4000 product you can get it for $999 within 2 days, Facebook is not going to generate what Google can for now.

    LinkedIn I am not much happy with it because it cost $2 and quit honestly I have not seen much of ROI. I have spent over $2000 on linkedin without any result.

    However I use facebook to build my FaceBook fan and collect LinkedIn Feedback on my product/services.

    Google Adwords still rocks but becoming very slow in ad approval.

    Cheers…
    Faisal Khan
    http://www.linkedin.com/company/voicebootcamp-inc

Trackbacks

  1. […] Help!If you’ve been considering advertising on Facebook, you might want to read Ajith Prasad’s Facebook Advertising Tips and Strategies and while you’re @ it, peruse his tips on finding blog post ideas that people are actually […]

  2. […] Further reading: Facebook advertising strategy. […]

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