Advertising on Facebook

AdvertisingIn recent months, the efficacy of advertising on Facebook has been called into question by some who doubt the ability of the platform to deliver an Adwords-style ROI to clients. General Motors pulled their ads due to their perceived dubious impact on the purchasing decisions of customers when it comes to their automobiles. Regardless, many companies continue to advertise on Facebook because of the massive potential benefits of doing so. Facebook ads haven’t worked for every business that’s tried them, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t work for yours if you know how to do it.

Facebook Advertising 101

Facebook is hands-down the number one social media leader when it comes to the sheer variety of advertising options available. Fan Pages, direct advertisements and group forums can be used to funnel traffic to target sites. Though their advertising ecosystem isn’t as mature as Google’s flagship AdWords program, they do have the advantage of social momentum. With 900 million users and counting, there’s a ton of potential for stealth marketing that delivers results. Oftentimes, the best approach is to take the indirect route. With a bit of finesse, any advertiser can leverage a large following for increased sales and revenue.

The Main Advantages of Facebook Ads

There are so many reasons why advertising on Facebook is a good idea that ticking them all off would take forever. Nevertheless, the greatest benefit of the Facebook platform for promoting your business is the ability to reach out to any demographic on the market thanks to Facebook’s deep penetration in every major industrialised country. In addition, the ability to precisely target those demographics based on their preferences, buying habits and social circles should not be underestimated. In order to get the most out of Facebook ads, you’ll need to be a bit creative and think “outside the box”.

Getting Started

If you’re at a loss as to how you should get started, the general path is to build a Pagecreate some ads, and drive traffic to your chosen location. Facebook promotions are also a quick shortcut to increased interest from consumers. Also, don’t forget the power of ‘free’! Everybody loves a contest, and the chance of winning a prize is definitely reason enough for the average user to follow your page. You’ll need to be careful to follow Facebook’s guidelines and use an app (which you can create yourself but I’d advise saving yourself a load of time and money by utilising a service like OfferPop.

Maximising ROI & Tweaking Campaigns

Much like any other form of online advertising, and something I’ve learnt through my role at Calverton Finance, is that Facebook marketing requires some experimenting throughout the process to ensure that a positive outcome is achieved. Some in-depth market research of your potential clientele on Facebook is a must if you want to avoid wasting money on users who won’t respond positively. Furthermore, some basic split or A/B testing is crucial to ensure a viable click-through rate on your ads and promotions that will guarantee success. If your initial efforts don’t pan out, you’ll have to go back to the drawing board and reassess your strategy.

Parting Thoughts

While Facebook’s IPO was a touch overblown, the truth is that the company is going to be a substantial player in online advertising in the near future. If you want to be truly successful on Facebook, take a page from Ford’s play book and tell stories rather than pitching mere ads. Thanks to innovations like Open Graph and the EdgeRank algorithm, there’s never been a better platform for reaching potential customers online if you know how to roll with the punches and use the system to your advantage.

Nicola Byrne is responsible for the online marketing efforts of Calverton Finance – a UK based finance business specialising in working with SMEs and Startups.

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