The power and popularity of Facebook as an advertising tool is inarguable. In August, an eMarketer study showed that 93 percent of the two thirds of marketers currently running social media ad campaigns do so on Facebook.
With more than 800 million active members, Facebook is where the people are; no other network can touch their ability to target and reach consumers... yet. Facebook knows this and they’re trying to make their platform as attractive as possible to marketers. Former Googler Sheryl Sandberg is currently heading up a program offering $50 advertising credits to as many as 200,000 small businesses in an effort to get them on board.
While Facebook’s low barrier to entry and free Pages are great for small businesses, display ads can greatly increase a marketer’s reach and expose the brand to new audiences. Bigger companies have the challenge of needing efficient, effective ways to set up and test numerous combinations of target, image and text to find those that resonate well with their market.
We talked to Max Kalehoff and Jordan Franklin at Clickable to see what tips they have to offer marketers trying to build scalable Facebook ads campaigns. Primarily a software company, Clickable also offers consulting, training and campaign management. They’ve been building semi-automatic account management tools for years and just released their Social ActEngine - more on that below.
First, they shared some tips to help brands better hone in on their target market and make campaigns overall more efficient.
Connect Ads to the Native Experience
The Challenge: Understanding how Facebook differs from the search ads a company may be used to and adjusting expectations.
Clickable: Keep a tight connection between ads and the native experience inside the Facebook network. We can drive people to your website and track back to campaigns and see which text, images and targets worked best. But the future of advertising on this channel is keeping people within the Facebook ecosystem.
You need to have a tight grasp of the Pages experience and understand what’s happening in your environment. You can send people to your website, but our customers find the most success when they’re keeping the activity and engagement on Facebook. Say you’re a book publisher, we target people who we think will be interested in your book, we get them to your fanpage, they get the first few chapters free, they Like the page so now that they’re a fan, you can promote your next book. It creates this community and this level of engagement and interaction and that’s where the magic happens with Facebook ads.
Get Past the Direct Response Mentality
The Challenge: Executives or decision makers possibly don’t understand that direct response isn’t the only (or most important) metric and sometimes the goal isn’t even to drive sales with the ads, but to build relationships.
Clickable: People on Facebook are there to consume social media and produce social media. We don’t want to show a “Buy This Now” ad, we want them to connect with this brand. Once those people are advocates of the brand, it’s much easier to get them to buy things later on. Now you are able to connect more often without the ad and they actually want to hear from you. There’s a fundamental difference.
At the Same Time, Use Search Ad Principles That Work
The Challenge: Facebook Ads is like chess: it’s easy to learn the rules, but difficult to become very good at the game.
Clickable: Evaluate campaigns regularly, reallocating budget from less effective ads to top performers. Ensure images do not become saturated or stale. Look to tools to automate the activities that take away from your efficiency. Put that time into other areas of growing your business.
In each campaign, ask yourself, what is the target audience? What image do I want to show them? Which ad text best goes with that? What message do I want to share with these people to attract them? You’re going to need to set up a lot of target audiences and test out a lot of combinations of target, image and text that all resonate well within the market you’re trying to reach. Semi-automated or automated tools make this a lot easier and more effective.
Know Your Bottom Line
The Challenge: Having the people and/or systems in place to accurately measure campaigns and components to determine which are truly effective.
Clickable: If you can treat the target, image and ad text as separate entities, it opens a lot of doors as far as split testing. You need to be able to separate and test your data efficiently. Cost per install and cost per fan is measurable. The same methodology we’re using with the Social ActEngine is effective is improving your efficiency. You need to be able to look to the most current data, prioritize, and reallocate as necessary. You know you need to be in the space, but it has to be treated as other marketing channels; you must know your costs and how effective your efforts are.
Clickable’s Social ActEngine Released; Automates Bidding and Budget Allocation
Clickable CEO David S. Kidder announced the release of the Social ActEngine, a proprietary analytics engine for scalable Facebook ad campaigns, at the OMMA Social conference this week. Part of Clickable’s Facebook Advertising Suite, it tests and prioritizes ads, reallocates budgets, and sets bids for optimal ad performance.
Digging a bit deeper, the Social ActEngine treats the different components of the ads - text, image, target - separately, so marketers and agencies can test large quantities of data more efficiently. Cost per install and cost per fan become measurable, allowing marketers to better manage and target campaings.
Once the Facebook account is connected to the Clickable platform, it syncs up with Facebook through their API every hour to get the most recent and relevant data. The system then makes decisions based on a set of algorithms that evaluate each component of the campaign. Users retain control and can turn off the engine to make manual tweaks and override its decisions, if necessary.
Max and Jordan showed us what this looks like:
Facebook Ads Before vs. After
Facebook Ads campaign performance can degrade significantly within days of launch. Unless the total number of connections grows steadily over the early life of the campaign, Cost Per “Like” (CPL) will increase, and the total number of connections quickly falls.
The trends are extremely common. On day two, an incremental improvement in connection volume immediately leads to a slight drop in CPL. But a dip in CTR day three causes a rapid increase in CPL. Within a week, connection volume has dropped below its initial levels, and falling CTRs make a reversal of these trends extremely unlikely.
With Clickable’s Social ActEngine, the trend is dramatically different. By optimizing ad creative, imagery, and target audiences, the ActEngine increases connection volume by more than 60 percent on day two, while bringing down CPLs. Within a week, connection volume is nearly three times its initial level, and CPL has been cut in half.
Clickable offers the tool on its own for $499 per month or 5 percent of ad spend. Many of their clients also look to them for campaign management, ad copywriting, training, or strategizing. For those clients, they do offer quotes based on the complexity, level, and volume of the campaign.