Leverage Facebook and Grow your Bottom Line

image1.PNGFacebook Ads have gotten a lot of flak from CPC experts for not producing ample conversions. That’s primarily because the Facebook user base is comprised mostly of individuals looking to connect and converse with friends, family and acquaintances. But if you’re in e-Commerce, Facebook Ads could help improve your conversions. Here’s how.

First things first: Why consider Facebook Ads?

Alright, I’ll give it to you straight. If you ask any ordinary PPC expert, they’ll tell you Facebook Ads don’t offer the same ROI as Google AdWords. Of course, I like to lay things on the line, so I’m here to tell you that you CAN achieve an impressive ROI with Facebook Ads – if you do it right.

There are a few different objectives for Facebook Ads: 
• To obtain more likes on an existing Facebook page. 
• To drive traffic to a Facebook event. 
• To enlist new members in a Facebook group. 
• To gain attention for a company through a specific post or event. 
• To direct traffic to a landing page not hosted on Facebook.

Finally, Facebook Ads allow you to target more than 800 million monthly active users who have clear preferences specified by their specific search habits and interests. Sure, AdWords has a larger audience, but it’s not the ultimate number that counts – it’s the targeted number. Ask any internet marketing guru, and they’ll confirm this fact. 

How do Facebook Ads work? 

Facebook Ads, like Google AdWords ads, allow marketers to specify a certain daily budget amount. That means whatever amount you specify won’t ever be exceeded, so you maintain total control over your budget regardless of the amount of exposure you receive in return. Ideally, you’ll throw a few more dollars at the campaigns that offer the most bang for the buck.

Facebook Ads can be targeted to specify: 
• Likes 
• Interests 
• Age 
• Location 
• Gender 
• Relationship status 
• Education 
• WorkTargeting 

Facebook Ads vs. AdWords Ads 
Facebook, as a social network, offers some unique ad targeting options. Because Facebook continues to be (first and foremost) a social network, its user base is specifically inclined to indicate its social preferences. That is, users aren’t necessarily searching Facebook to find the best product to purchase, but they’re logging on to converse with their friends and acquaintances about their daily activities.  

On the contrary, Google+ is the brainchild of a company that’s primarily a search engine. So while Google may be making grand promises with Search, plus Your World and has made incredible strides to encourage (or force) users to participate in its latest foray into social networking, there’s little more than a remote possibility that Google knows as much about our daily lives as Facebook does. At least for now. 

Additionally, Facebook offers some customized targeting tools that enable you to:
 • Target an ad specifically to users who have already “liked” your fan page. 
 • Target an ad to connections of current fans. 
 • Target an ad to connections of visitors to your non-Facebook website. 

Now, let’s get to it. There are two primary ways you can use Facebook ads to drive eCommerce sales. 

Drive traffic to a Facebook brand page 

I’m assuming you already have a Facebook brand page. If you don’t, what the heck are you waiting for? Get to it. 

One of the simplest and most effective ways to utilize a Facebook Ad campaign is to draw attention to your Facebook brand page. This type of ad allows you to encourage like-minded consumers to connect with your company via your Facebook page, enabling you to keep in contact with them and continue to work them through the sales process with regular updates, informative and engaging posts and of course, the occasional special offer or discount. 

The beauty of this strategy is that Facebook Ads make the process painless. They simply display your page’s ad to your target audience, and users simply click the “like this page” text at the bottom of the ad to be instantly connected to your company.When using this tactic, advertisers can choose to: 

• Advertise a specific post on a Facebook brand page. 
• Promote a brand page as a whole. 

Drive traffic directly to a landing page 

Of course, you’re not limited to advertising a Facebook brand page in your ads. You can just as easily direct traffic to a non-Facebook page designed to convert visitors to leads – or better yet, sales. This tactic requires users to leave the Facebook platform and isn’t always as appealing to non-targeted audiences. So, I recommend that if you’re choosing to direct traffic outside of Facebook, make sure your ads are specifically targeted to your ideal prospect. 

Simply choose a Facebook Ad from the options menu under “Create an Ad,” and enter the external URL you’d like to direct ad traffic to. You can then select a title for your ad, an image and enter specific ad copy. Finally, choose your targeting options. 

How do Sponsored Stories work? 
In terms of reach and interaction, Facebook users can actually extend the reach of your ad. This specific method is called a Sponsored Story (instead of a standard “Facebook Ad”). Whether a user clicks to like your ad or clicks to like your page, the story will appear in the user’s news feed, thereby exposing your message to their connections. In this case, you’re paying for your potential increased exposure, not an individual impression or click. 

If you’re using a special type of ad called a “Domain Story” ad, your ad budget will target friends of your current users. Take note: That’s not friends of your current page fans, but visitors who interact with your main company URL. 

For instance, if a visitor likes a page on your main site, their Facebook friends may see an ad for your products or services. 

Tweak, tweak and tweak again 
Any Facebook Ad expert you consult will tell you that there’s no proven equation for a successful Facebook Ad. 

That’s because users differ vastly in their preferences and tendency to engage, so the success of any single campaign is heavily dependent on numerous variables, such as the target audience, the type of ad, messaging and so forth. But that doesn’t mean you should give up if your first campaign is a failure. 

Instead, keep working with the elements of your ad, altering your message, your targets and the types of ads you’re running to determine what offers the biggest bang for your buck.

Switch out your images, alter your targeting options, change your ad copy and continue to work with your campaign to maximize your results. No single campaign is the best across all audiences, so even experts have to toy with the variables to achieve the ideal ROI. The key is to keep at it and be willing to step outside your comfort zone to find what works.

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facebook, social media

About Nii Ahene

Nii Ahene Nii is Co-founder COO of CPC Strategy, a shopping feed management agency. He has been with CPC Strategy since January of 2007. Prior to working with CPC Strategy, Nii was a product manager at eBay working on algorithm merchandising. .... more info about the author