Wednesday, December 22, 2010

9 Tips to Know When You Should be Using Facebook / LinkedIn Direct Ads

After efficiently using Adwords, I just thought how could Facebook and LinkedIn direct ads be different or how could these be more effective. Like Adwords, I did not get any free ad money to experiment my campaigns. I usually get free credit for Adwords but, I have to prepare myself to spend on Facebook and LinkedIn.

  1. As matter of fact, Facebook and LinkedIn use almost the same algorithm of relevance and CTR to show the ads. The daily budget mechanism or setting of time to show your ads or the frequency is same. One major advantage of these networking sites is that you can target the exact age group, industry type, job function, title…based on the demographic profile you want to target. Google uses the ‘search’ mechanism while Facebook and LinkedIn use the ‘profile’ of the user to show the ads.
  2. Unlike Google or Adwords, Facebook and LinkedIn target the profiles that are on Facebook and LinkedIn respectively. If your target audience are not on Facebook or LinkedIn then it is of no use of using these channels for your campaigns.
  3. In Facebook you have to upload only a banner of standard size 110 x 80 pixels. Where as LinkedIn has 50 x 50 pixel image with the title and text. These banner sizes are pretty small and they are pretty strict with the image approval process for the banners. I really do not find major advantage of having such small images associated with the ad as the advertiser can hardly convey anything through these images.
  4. Unlike Adwords, here you have an option to pay either as per CPC or CPM. And they really have a reason to have the CPM model as well. These sites are particularly for sharing knowledge or connect with your friends. Hardly, folks come here to see the banners and click them or in search of something as people do in Google. So, to start with you better go with CPC model as you pay only for clicks and do shell out money for unnecessary impressions.
  5. If you are really looking at building a brand in particular country or segment or age group then you can do it on Facebook and LinkedIn and use the CPC model as it will really cost you very less. If you are not getting the required impressions then you can switch to CPM. Facebook has crossed Google in terms of traffic and you can really build lot of impressions in a short time.
  6. Though Facebook and LinkedIn target as per the profiles, these sites also provide very limited amount of keywords to use to target. In Facebook this is called as tag filtering. But, one cannot estimate the amount of traffic these keywords can generate and the cost it will incur. Adwords clearly provides you with the estimates and it really helps in setting the daily budget. Still you can try using the filtering tags in Facebook for your audience hobbies, interests and tastes.
  7. I found out that these sites really give you a poor CTR. Thus, you can use it for directing traffic to your blog or fan page or other social networking account. It is always better to use CPC model as it will not burn your budget unnecessarily. If you ads are not generating the required CTR, then expand the demographic scope slowly and find the optimum level that is really converting for you. Start with very specific target audience and slowly increase the scope depending on the required CTR and conversions.
  8. The reporting system of clicks and costs is not as great as Adwords. The direct ads system is still new and in nascent stage and we may see improvements in the reporting and tracking mechanisms.
  9. We can use content targeting for Adwords where we can show our ads on other sites which are in Google’s content network. While in Facebook and LinkedIn it is limited to the sites.
Bottom-line is there is nothing like Adwords. Facebook and LinkedIn do provide specific audience to your landing page, but it is difficult to get those clicks and to convert them. Unlike Adwords, visitors are looking / searching for the required info and it is easy to convert them. Adwords identifies the users’ instant needs and has the mechanism to show the relevant ads to them.

I would like to suggest that you need to decide where your target audience is and act accordingly. You may have your target audience on Facebook and it may help you in tapping the missing traffic from these channels. For example if you have a dating or matrimonial website, then social networking sites may work well for you as you can target as per the gender, age, marital status and interest. To add more if you have gaming sites similar to Farmville or the Mafia then Facebook can be the better choice as compared to Adwords not only in targeting the right interest group but you may get economical CPC as well.

Do let me know your experiences as well and would like to read your comments.


Arun Kumar said...

I have a question. It is to do with intent. For e.g. Adwords for a search keyword is accepted and infact sought after by the searcher as a means of reaching the right information for him. But the same display ads in gmail is frowned upon and viewed as invasion to privacy esp. as my intent is something else. Similarly, display on Facebook/LinkedIn, dont you think the intent is something else, except for may be things of aspirational value wherein the user(whose profile we are showing) want to be part of. In case of new brand building or trial, wont it either be viewed negatively or at best neutral when shown in the profile??

Aashish Malve said...

@Arun - One of the main advantage of Adwords is right targetting as per the searched keyword. FB and LinkedIn helps advertisers when they want to target as per the profile and/or interests of the user. The narrow your choice the better. But, it may attract few clicks. One needs to optimize it. In FB you can target as per age, marital status, education, languages known... The narrow the TG it is better to build the brand. On the second note - direct the visitors to the business profile page - so that they can click the 'like' button and not to a landing page asking them to register or the business home page.

Social ads in FB helps in showing friends in the ads. Thus, helping the visitor to know which of his friends like that brand and the curiosity increases.

This may help in building the brand / awareness. Considering the vast audience and the time they spend on these networking sites helps in building brand can be more than people considering the brand neutral or viewing it negatively.

Negative discussions will always be there. But, organizations need to do their home work well in advance to cope up with such comments, and respond to them before it becomes too big to handle.