I attended a seminar recently on Facebook advertising. The seminar was run by Nigel Botteril, a well-known entrepreneur who has used this media effectively in all his businesses. I wanted to know if Facebook advertising was relevant to a B2B business like my company, Boson, and/or how it could help our customers.
There are 2 types of Facebook ad – ‘Sponsored Stories’ and ‘Facebook Adverts’. The latter is the more conventional ad, and that’s what I want to concentrate on for this post.
As I said in my last post, I’m not a social media expert. The seminar highlighted some key points to me, which I wanted to share. If you’re considering Facebook advertising, what do you need to know and what should expect from it? Here are just a few thoughts and insights…
What do you want to achieve with Facebook advertising?
Do you want to increase awareness of your product/service? Increase your Facebook Likes? Build your database of prospective customers? Promote a special offer? Sell more stock?
There are different approaches. For example, on my News feed yesterday there was an ad from Sky which took me straight to a promotion on their website – they were trying to sell a promotion. Today, there was an ad from Fosters which played a short video and promoted their YouTube Channel – they were relationship building and promoting awareness.
Nigel uses Facebook to build his database for future marketing. The next few insights concentrate on using Facebook to do just that, capture contact details, but the principles are relevant for many approaches.
Profiling your audience is essential, and that’s what Facebook is ideal for
With Facebook you can be really specific about WHO you want to reach. That is by far its most valuable attribute. While you build your ad, Facebook’s ‘Estimated reach’ calculator will tell you the number of people who meet your criteria – and this changes in real time as you edit that criteria – so you can immediately see the size of your potential market.
So, before you start you need to have a clear picture of who you want to target (that applies to all marketing of course). Age, sex, relationship status, interests, location etc. ‘Precise Interest targeting’ is a useful feature on Facebook, which allows you to use keywords to find niche interests. You might think that your ideal customer is a reader of a certain magazine, or a fan of a particular TV Show. Personas really help with this – describe an imaginary person who exemplifies your perfect customer. Give them a name. e.g. Richard, 39 years old, likes gadgets (especially anything by Apple), rugby and lifting weights in the gym. He reads T3 magazine, watches the Gadget Show, is in a relationship, no kids and enjoys a pint with friends whenever he can get away with it, etc., etc. And if you haven’t guessed, that’s me, but I hope you get the idea!
Create a compelling message
So you know who you want to attract, and you’ve accepted that your goal is to get contact details. How do you get people to give you them? Think about what you can offer your audience that will make it worth their while. Perhaps a free ‘insider tip’, a discount voucher, or a ‘free with your next visit’ offer?
Get a ‘Like‘
Rather than diving in, trying to capture contact details straight away, the first aim is to get a ‘Like’.
Why are‘Likes‘valuable? Once someone ‘Likes’ you, they will see your updates in their news feed – and their friends will see that they ‘Like’ you, therefore putting you in front of other, presumably like-minded, potential customers. It takes no effort for your prospect to ‘Like’ you (it’s a simple click on the ‘Like’ button) so even if you’re not successful at capturing their contact details, at least you have some way of starting a relationship with that potential customer.
You could simply direct visitors to your Facebook page and ask for a ‘Like’ but it’s more effective to give the visitor something in return, so when they click ‘Like’, the offer is revealed. You can do this with a Facebook app – Nigel called it a ‘Fan Gate‘. A ‘Fan Gate’ app looks like a page and is designed to get a single action – a ‘Like’, which is attributed to your main Facebook page. Once the ‘Fan Gate’ app is created and installed against your Facebook account, you select it as the ‘Destination’ when you create your ad – it’s where the clicks will go.
When a visitor arrives on your Fan Gate app, they see the offer – e.g. ‘Like us to reveal your free offer’, they click the Like button, and the offer is revealed – which is typically a secret link to an online resource (but it could be a promotional code or something else if you wish).
I won’t go into exactly how you create a ‘Fan Gate’ app here, but it’s not something you can do yourself on Facebook. There are low-cost, online services that can provide them, e.g. www.fanpageengine.com or www.doubleyourlikes.com, and a good web application developer can create a bespoke Facebook app if you need something out-of-the-ordinary.
Capture the contact details
Once you fulfil your promise for the ‘Like’, you can then offer something of further value in return for completing a contact form. In Nigel’s case, he offered access to part 1 of an exclusive video series for a ‘Like’, and access to part 2 in return for contact details. Visitors left the ‘Fan Gate’ page to watch the video series and enter their contact details – that functionality is provided on Nigel’s website. Once the contact form was submitted, access to part 2 was revealed – and that’s how Nigel used Facebook to capture details.
Stay in Facebook
So why go to the bother of creating a ‘Fan Gate’ app? Why not just point visitors to a page on your website? Firstly, it’s necessary if you want to get ‘Likes’ against your Facebook page. Secondly, although there are no statistics to prove this, the perception is that ads that direct people to a Facebook page, rather than an external website, will be favoured by Facebook and are more likely to get seen, more often. Or put another way, you’ll get higher impressions. Nigel argues that it’s also good manners to keep visitors in Facebook. Personally I’d prefer to send prospects to a page on my website that I have more control over, but as I said, that wouldn’t help ‘Likes’.
What should you expect to pay?
There are 2 different ways to pay for your ads; ‘impressions’ and ‘clicks’.
If you choose impressions (CPM), you pay each time your ad is displayed. If you choose ‘Pay for clicks’ (CPC), you pay only when someone clicks your ad. Facebook asks you to bid a maximum amount per click/impression. It suggests a range – typically that’s between 20p-40p per click, impressions are roughly a third of that. Bid around a mid level. (I’m not entirely sure how Facebook calculates what to charge you, but you’ll never be charged more than your maximum and it’s often less). If you bid too little, then there’s less chance of your ad being displayed.
Opt for clicks rather than impressions. ‘Impressions’ may work if you‘re simply trying to promote awareness, but with no direct action from your target audience, it’s far more difficult to evaluate success than ‘clicks’.
You can choose how much you want to pay for your ad. Either setting a lifetime total, or a daily maximum over a timeframe you set. Start small, so you can evaluate results and make changes if necessary. You can re-use a previous ad later if you wish.
What results should you expect?
Typically impressions-to-clicks (that is the number of times the ad appears to the number of clicks) will be low, less than 0.5%. A good offer on your ‘fan gate’ page should deliver 50% ‘Likes‘ from ‘clicks’, and of those, around 50% should give you their contact details. Then of course, it’s down to your sales & marketing and your prospect-to-customer conversion rate.
How do you measure performance?
Facebook provides statistics on impressions and clicks for your ad and your Facebook page will tell you how many likes you have. If you’ve created a ‘landing page’ on your website to direct visitors to, from the ad (rather than a ‘Fan Gate’ app), you can track visitors using Google Analytics*. A ‘landing page’ is a hidden page on your site that you direct people to by sharing a link (URL). Google Analytics will tell you how many visitors you’ve had to a given page in a certain time period, so if you correlate that information with your Facebook ad schedule, you can see how many visitors you‘re generating from the ad.
If you’ve decided that your objective is to capture customer details, then track where a prospect came from, including the specific ad, in your database. If you use a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system, get regular reports on this. Ultimately, you hope that these contacts will become customers, and if you record this information, you can work out your cost-per-acquisition.
*If you don’t have Google Analytics, ask your web developer to install it on your website.
Is Facebook advertising right for me?
For me? Probably not – not at the moment anyway. I can see it working for some B2B companies that are targeting a wide variety/high number of business clients. Boson want to work with a small number of large organisations in niche sectors (e.g. Manufacturing, Logistics, Tourism) and although Facebook advertising could provide a route to those clients, our energies would be better put elsewhere.
However, I think it’s well worth considering for our B2C clients. The ability to target a precise customer profile is very powerful. For example, we have a client with one particular product line that is very popular with war game enthusiasts. As they ship worldwide, Facebook advertising is a great way to target that niche on a large scale.