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The Evolution of Facebook Advertising

Tracie Biggerstaff

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New Strategies Featured at fMC

Facebook employees and marketers from around the country attended the first annual Facebook Marketing Conference (fMC) in New York City on Feb. 29th. There, current and potential Facebook advertisers sat eagerly in their chair waiting to hear the announcement of Facebook’s newest and most powerful marketing products. Top employees and industry leaders discussed marketing solutions and success stories including actionable insights and strategies to drive business growth using social technology.

Some of the featured and most impactful strategies discussed at fMC were:

  • Premium Ad Buys
  • Achieving an Effective Integration
  • Page Post Advertising
  • Introduction of the New Offers App
  • Importance of Ad Quality for User Engagement

Premium Ads Building Essential Connections

Advertising on Facebook may be known for Marketplace, or ads a user has on the right side of their profile page. These are more basic that include an image with a few lines of text that can direct a user to a specific Facebook page or to an external website. But now, they are going above and beyond the basics.

Premium Ads will run on areas of the Facebook page that encourage the most engagement, such as news feed (home page), user profile and even the log-out page (by request). These are called Premium Locations within Facebook because it’s where users spend the majority of their time and are most active. Premium Ads appear above-the-fold and allow seamless integration of the advertising message into the Facebook user experience.

Premium Ads come at a premium price; a minimum of $25k per month. However, with this budget an advertiser will not only receive a prime location, but Facebook representatives will help create the advertisements, target and engage the desired audience as well as assist in managing the campaign. There is also the promise of guaranteed impressions to help ensure quality and brand awareness.

Facebook Advertising Representative Lauren Stoll said, “Premium is the most impactful way to distribute your content on Facebook.” Stoll provided seven reasons why it’s most impactful:

  1. 1. Drives 3X ROI (3rd-party data)
  2. 2ol Drives 5-10X higher engagement (CTR) compared to the rest of Facebook
  3. 3ol Best way to get into a news feed and reach our mobile and tablet users
  4. 4ol Forty percent more engaging (CTR) than our prior Premium product
  5. 5ol Gets customized targeting clusters and access to measurement products
  6. 6ol View through conversation tracking
  7. 7ol Receive Insights on news feed impressions vs. sidebar impressions only

Achieving an Effective Integration

Facebook has said, “The best ads are those that are tailored to individuals based on how they and their friends interact and affiliate with businesses they care about.” It can be effective in meeting social marketing goals when done correctly. Here are some things that should be done to ensure high engagement levels and ROI:

  • Mimic the nature of the site by using images that feature people or faces.
  • Brand your image, but avoid logo-only images. From an engagement rate standpoint, these rarely perform as well as “people” images unless the brand is extremely iconic.
  • Be clear about the action you’d like to user to take. Include strong call-to-action “Click like” or “watch now!”
  • Copy that is short, simple and witty is the most successful at attracting users’ attention.
  • Be conversational and engage the user by asking questions.

Page Post Engagement

Another way to utilize Premium Ad buys within Facebook is with Page Post Ads. This is publishing posts a page administrator has made onto the Facebook news feed section in the form of an advertisement and directs users straight to that post. Social context about friends who have either “liked” or interacted with the page will be listed at the top of the ad unit. This combines what was previously two separate ad types — Page Like Sponsored Stories and Sponsored Page Post Ads, creating a taller, more compelling ad unit that includes the trusted recommendation of a Facebook friend.

This type of ad unit could become a powerful tool for pages looking to gain fans, as Facebook studies show social context makes viewers 68 percent more likely to recall an ad, twice as likely to remember its message, and four times as likely to make a purchase.

Offers Tab - The New Check-In Deal

Facebook announced that Offers will be replacing Check-In Deals.. But wait…what are Check-In Deals again? This free application was based on people’s Facebook check-ins to a business. When users “checked-in”, they would have the opportunity to view a deal that the business owner has posted, specifically for Facebook users to bring into their store and use. Using them was a little more complicated; a user had to open the Facebook app and “check-in” to the business. Once checked-in, the user had to click on the business and see if they were offering a deal. If a deal was offered, the user could claim it by following the redemption instructions.

In the near future, Offers will replace Check-In Deals., Offers is a new free application that allows businesses, brands and organizations to share discounts with their customers by posting an offer on their Facebook Page. This can be done with anything from free trials to an online coupon. Unlike Check-In Deals, which required users to first visit a physical location, offers can be redeemed in-store or online. Also, Offers can be created directly from the page and do not require approval from Facebook before appearing in the app. To help spread the news about a new posted offer, a page owner can pay to boost the unit into a Sponsored Story by using the self-serve ad tool or turn it into a premium homepage ad by working directly with Facebook.

The user experience with Offers will be much better than Check-In Deals. After viewing the offer, the user simply clicks one time and the voucher is sent directly to their email. This voucher can be used directly from their email or a coupon code can be entered into an e-commerce site. When users get an offer, the story is published on their timeline and in their friends’ news feeds, increasing the viral reach of the promotion.

Create Engaging Ad Content

Provide a Clear Action — Sometimes, users simply just need to be told what to do. Because of this, Facebook recommends a very clear call-to-action, or action the advertiser wants their audience to take. It can be anything from “click here” to “like this page” or even “download now,” as long as it is clear and to the point then the ad has more opportunities to be successful in achieving its goals. It also helps to highlight the benefits the users will receive when following through on the action.

Success Stories in Facebook Advertising

Huggies - The Hong Kong location of Huggies asked fans to upload their favorite baby snapshots to its Huggies HK Facebook Page. The 60 photos receiving the most fan votes would appear on buses around the city. By using Facebook ads to help drive campaign awareness, Huggies received an overwhelming response of over 4,000 uploaded photos in just three weeks.

As a thank-you to the users who participated in the campaign, Huggies mounted a 30-foot-long billboard featuring the entire photo collection in one of Hong Kong’s busiest subway stations. This instantly turned into one of the city’s cutest and most beloved attractions.

P.F. Chang’s - When P.F. Chang’s 18th birthday rolled around, the company wanted to celebrate by giving back to its Facebook fans with free orders of its signature Lettuce Wraps. To help spread the word about the offer, the brand turned to Facebook advertising.

P.F. Chang’s ran a three-week campaign of Facebook ads and sponsored stories to drive current and new fans to a coupon app. The campaign targeted fans, friends of fans and geographic locations where the chain had a lot of restaurants. All in all, the campaign reached about 9.1 million people. Sponsored stories assisted in increasing visibility and user engagement with the brand.

The results were outstanding! P.F. Chang’s saw about a 3,000 percent increase in engagement on its page during the campaign and saw its fan base grow to 420,000 — more than double its previous number of fans.

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