facebook ads

REAL Teamwork Makes the Social Dream Work

Teamwork

I come from the nightlife industry, which is essentially "Try Anything 101". Those in nightlife spend endless amounts of time and money testing new features and opportunities in social media extensively. Now in most cases, the testing is flawed because they don't have a business background and can't fully understand the delicate balance between advertising and assault but one thing is certain; if you see nightlife people doing something on social media you've never seen before, it's coming to an industry near you.

This is no more evident than in the gratuitous use of staff members in social media marketing. Back in 2008 (yes, 11 years ago) I opened up a nightclub and pretty much banked its entire success on the staff. We made videos, bios, had them post about the club, and featured them in as many pictures as possible. The crazy thing is ... it worked! We were packed.

However, nightlife has—much like they do with everything—taken things too far. Staff are now forced to post on behalf of the club. Yes, forced! I suspect this is because nightlife entrepreneurs generally don't like spending money and because they want to blame failure on their staff "not doing it right". A dirty little secret of the industry is that everyone is planning for failure because it's an industry without a standard.

Staff Buy-In

There is a valuable lesson here though. Staff buy-in is a huge piece of marketing online. It's one thing for you to say you're awesome as a brand, but for the people who work for you to say it is a huge bonus! However, you can't force them to post 2 or 3 times a week, or whatever other ludicrous ideas you have. Consumers are savvier than ever. What you need to do is give your staff reasons to post about your brand, make it easy for them, and reward their dedication.

Here are some key points to get you started:

  1. Get your staff together and ask them for ideas and a media shoot.

  2. Use those ideas in a constructive way.

  3. Advertise those ideas and use the media from the shoot, showing off your staff.

  4. Setup a group on each medium you advertise on with all of your staff. When you have something important to say, make that post easily accessible and ready for sharing.

  5. Each month, at your staff meeting, reward those who made whatever impact you'd like to measure.

  6. Repeat.

To give you an idea of the impact this can have, here's a bit of a case study.

Case Study: Facebook Ads

We represent a real estate brokerage with several dozens of agents. There is a month post that goes out on Facebook with a $1000 spend. The average reach of that post is usually about 218,000. The average interaction is roughly 600. This is with no staff buy-in. When 4 staff members are engaged on $1000 we got 322,049 reach and over 1000 interactions. With 12 staff members engaged on $1000 we got 518,001 reach and over 1500 interactions. See where I'm going with this?

Now, the goal is 200,000 reach and the max spend is $1000. If we had reliable buy-in we could cut that budget by $100 each month and still get the same reach. If all of the staff bought in that $1000 would become $0.

Tell me again why staff buy-in isn't near the top of your priority list?

If you need help with your ads or any digital marketing, let's talk.

Facebook Ads - The Right Way

Facebook Ads

We all have a love/hate relationship with Facebook's advertising platform. As it evolves, from a business standpoint the platform seems to get more convoluted. From a user standpoint, it seems to be more intrusive. What is a marketer to do when the number one ads platform online has lost its way?

Play smarter.

Just because Facebook offers up a new way to advertise doesn't mean you should take them up on it. I'm sure you've seen those video ads that interrupt the user experience. After convenience, the top reason people don't watch TV is related to intrusive commercials. Why Facebook ever thought it would be a good idea to give that same dated experience on a 21st-century platform is beyond me (money isn't everything) so why "do it" just because Facebook "offers it"?

Then you have their suggestions as to how an ad should be run. Who do you think those suggestions benefit? Time-and-time-again we have tried Facebook's ad suggestions against basic common sense in the interest of the business we represent only to find basic common sense winning. Of course, that's because we have an intimate understanding of the platform.

So, with that in mind, here are some tips to get your Facebook Ads on track straight from our cobweb minds and even the desks of Facebook.

1. Choose an objective that drives business value

Facebook offers a wide range of advertising objectives which can help brands reach their business goals. We no longer live in a world where Facebook ads success is only achieved by running 'Page Likes', 'Website Clicks', or 'Engagement' campaigns - in addition to these, Facebook now offers advertising objectives which include 'Awareness', 'Consideration', and 'Conversions'.

These categories each offer different ad units which are geared towards achieving specialized results.

Awareness

Objectives which generate interest in your product or service.

Brand Awareness - Reach people more likely to recall your ads and increase awareness for your brand

Reach - Show your ad to the maximum number of people in your audience.

Consideration

Objectives that get people to start thinking about your business, and look for more information about it.

Traffic - Increase the number of visits to your website

Engagement - Get more people to see and engage with your post or Page

App Installs - Send people to an app store where they can download your app

Video Views - Promote videos that show behind-the-scenes footage, product launches or customer stories to raise awareness about your brand

Lead Generation - Collect lead information, such as email addresses, from people interested in your business

Messages - Get more people to have conversations with your business to generate leads, drive transactions, answer questions or offer support.

Conversion

Objectives which encourage people interested in your business to purchase or use your product or service.

Conversions - Get more people to use your website, Facebook app, or mobile app. To track and measure conversions, use the Facebook pixel or app events

Catalog Sales - Show products from your catalog based on your target audience

Store Traffic - Promote multiple business locations to people who are nearby.

Don’t be overwhelmed. Yes, there are a lot of options, but choosing the right objective which is aligned to your broader strategy, and drives true value for your business, will make all the difference.

2. Using Placement Optimization

We often get asked which Facebook ad placements are the best. To clarify, a Facebook ad placement is anywhere that an ad is eligible to be served—this includes in the Facebook News Feed, Instagram feed, Stories, Audience Network, and even in Messenger.

According to Facebook, the best way to run campaigns is to activate all placements. This enables the Facebook Ad platform to optimize against which placements are achieving your desired objective at the most cost-effective rate. While we mostly agree, we don't recommend turning on Instagram placement. Instead, promote natively on Instagram. The boost feature is currently the best type of ad on Instagram because it also helps bolster your followers.

Facebook calls this 'Placement Optimization'. The logic here is that the more placements you use, the more data the Facebook Ad platform has to learn from. The more it can learn, the better your campaigns can perform.

But even though this is one of Facebook’s own recommended best practices for Facebook Ads, it is important to consider where you, as the advertiser, want your ads to be shown.

For example, ad placements on Audience Network won’t generate engagements. If you care about that metric, you might want to omit Audience Network from your efforts. We recommend going to market utilizing Placement Optimization and nurturing what performs the best.

3. Embrace Campaign Budget Optimization

Facebook's Campaign Budget Optimization process is a way of optimizing how a campaign uses budget across ad sets.

Typically, an advertiser would set budgets at the ad set level, however with Campaign Budget Optimization, Facebook will continuously and automatically find the best opportunities to achieve your designated objective across your ad sets, and prioritize budget to the ad sets that are performing best. This gives you less control as an advertiser but gives the system more control to use your budget efficiently.

The one thing to be cautious of here is that if there are campaigns that you need to get a certain level of attention, you will not want to use Campaign Budget Optimization. You'll want to set the budget at the ad set level to ensure visibility. Otherwise, this is one of those automation tools you can use with confidence.

4. Use mobile-first creative

It's no secret that social media has rapidly become a predominantly mobile-first experience. Keep this in mind when it comes to creating your Facebook ad campaigns.

You'll want to ensure that your ad creative is attractive, engaging and looks great on the small screen. Consider bright visuals for banners, and be sure that your video ads are under 60 seconds.

Focusing on mobile first creative will enable you to activate more users into your marketing funnels, at a more cost-effective rate. Make sure your ads look awesome on mobile.

5. Understand the value of broad vs specific targeting

In conversations with our partners at Facebook, this best practice surprised me personally.

In the past, the goal of Facebook ad targeting was to be as specific as possible. However, due to increased competition and the evolution of the Facebook Ad platform, being super specific in targeting can sometimes lead to more costly results.

When you go with super-specific targeting, you're telling the system that you want to serve ads to a certain amount of people no matter what. The Facebook ad system then goes after those people, and you, as the advertiser, are battling budgets for a presumably small amount of people who are also being targeted by other advertisers.

This can drive costs up, and Facebook doesn’t have much to learn from. When you go a little broader with your targeting, however, Facebook has more touch points to learn from, and will automatically optimize to serve your ad to the people in your target audience who are most likely to take your desired objective action.

While doing this, the system also looks for the best use of budget in an attempt to drive more results for lower cost. We recommend testing this for yourself - specific targeting always seems great, but consider going a little broader when trying to stretch your budget.

Conclusion

Some times Facebook is helpful and their automation can give you the insights you need to realize success. But, don't rely on Facebook's direction solely. Think about your business and what you want to achieve. Set it and forget it doesn't work.

I hope this has helped you in your pursuit of Facebook Ads supremacy. If you need help with your ads or any digital marketing, let’s talk.

Is Facebook the New Big Brother?

facebook_ear.jpg

Facebook has once again publicly denied that they are the new big brother. Now, I'll assume that you're not a huge conspiracy theorist and try to explain why you—yes you—might actually believe they.

I'm sure you've questioned whether Facebook is listening to your real world conversations. Otherwise, how might one explain talking to your friends about organic soy tea and then seeing an ad for that very obscure product on Facebook within days, sometimes hours?

You quickly consider whether you've ever spoken on Facebook about the liquid deliciousness ... nope. Have you commented on someone's status about it? Probably not. So then, the natural conclusion is that Mark Zuckerberg has a secret facility somewhere in the mountains of Russia live recording all Facebook user's conversations through their phone's microphone, right? Oh, so terribly wrong.

In theory, it is possible. iPhone apps can turn on the microphone at any time without informing you, as a researcher pointed out last week. However, it can only do this when the app is open, and this would also break App Store guidelines. Given that Facebook is the biggest app in the world, it probably receives plenty of scrutiny from Apple and Google.

 Why does Facebook Want Access to my the Microphone?

On both Android and iOS, Facebook and Instagram do use the phone's microphone—like any other app, however the user must explicitly opt in to give the apps permission.

The main reason it does this is so it can record videos, such as Facebook Live or Instagram Stories. However, this is only activated when a person (ie: you or me) has the Facebook app open and deliberately typing a status update. Facebook has denied it is used for listening to conversations and that it does not "tag" your profile with the data, only using it to build up a chart of the most listened to songs.

So, you understand the theoretically it's possible that Zucks and his crew might be evil because as I'm sure you're aware, tapping into conversations to make ad revenue but not stopping the many attacks that have been planned over Facebook is pretty damn sinister.

But, enough stalling. Let's assume that Facebook isn't listening.

What on earth is going on with Facebooks Ads?

You're imagining things, and so many people do it that there's a name for your condition. It's called the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, also known as the frequency illusion, and it's a concept that existed long before Facebook came around. If you've ever noticed that you learn a new word or cultural reference, only to then see it used constantly, it's the same feeling. It's a form of cognitive bias—our tendency to assign more importance to things than they deserve. Have you ever bought a new car then noticed so many others driving it? Same shite different pile.

There is another possibility. Online advertisements are targeted based on many different factors: your browsing history, your Facebook interests and so on. Even if you don't feel that you've given Facebook enough data to target an ad about renal failure without it eavesdropping on you, its algorithms may well be sophisticated enough, based on a number of data points, to suggest that you might be the kind of person that's worried about your kidneys.

In layman's terms, you see a thousands ads per day in all likelihood, and you search for all kinds of associative data; of course there will be a link from time-to-time. But, just think of all the times that there weren't a link. You can take your tinfoil hat off now.