October 08, 2010

Facebook Ad Tactics for Search Marketers

By Li Evans

Reporting from Search Marketing Expo (SMX) East

DSC_8727 The "Facebook At Tactics for Search Marketers" panel at SMX East was a pretty insightful panel, from looking at how to manage your advertising in Facebook more easily to how to use it as a research tool, this panel was also full of great tips fromt he presenters.

First up was Matt Lawson from Marin Software who pointed out that Facebook just has a sheer amount of traffic, it's now crested and eclipsed google in page views.  They pages visisted are also more per session, 12+ in Facebook is an oustanding number to figure into your strategies.

Understanding that people are visiting more pages during their sessions in Facebook, you will naturally get more impressions than you can in paid search in the search engines (Google, Bing).  That only makes sense.  More impressions however, does mean lower click through rates, but this is o.k. when you also factor in you will have lower CPC rates that range anywhere from 12 to 15%.

Conversion rates are really all over the map for Facebook ads.  It really depends on how you are targeting your ads and your creatives.  Images are much more important with Facebook Ads.  Marketers need to be careful of having their ads "blending in" so choose colors that draw out.  If you also tailor your images to your audience it will increase their relevance as well.  You also need to keep the ads fresh because users on Facebook become ad blind

Matt also pointed out that maintaining the Facebook experience is important, especially for conversions.  Most succeful campaigns tend to be those who built their ads and campaigns into the Facebook tabs.

Matt rounded out his presentation by pointing out for marketers to remember that (according to: "The Influecened:  Social media, search and the interplay of consideration and consumption"  by Group M) social influences search.  Consumers who are exposed to a brand's social meda ads are:

  • 2.8 times as likely to search on brand terms
  • 50% more likely to click on paid search ads
  • 1.7 times morelikely to purchase from search


DSC_8723 Kevin Ryan from Motivity Marketing was up next at the podium and started off with pointing out how Facebook ads are really easy to set up, in just 5 minutes you can set them up.  He also pointed out that Facebook can become bigger in 5 yrs than Google is today (he pointed out a good piece on TechCrunch that speaks to this).

When marketers are working with Facebook ads, they need to look beyond just the keywords to things like tidal changes, early stage - creative shelf life, transitions, and just because you can doesn't mean you should (especially when it comes to bidding against your competition).  Marketers need to be more geographically relevant with Facebook and understand the collective interest.

Merry Morud from AimClear was up after Kevin Ryan and focused on how she runs campaigns in Facebook.  When you start a new account either start it from an admin account or create a new destination account on Facebook.  If you start a new account Facebook will at first limit you to $50, put in a request to buy more and they will work to get that removed.

When it comes to Facebook ads they are still a lot like PPC ads in the search engines in that you still need to create Landing Pages, whether they are landing pages that are on your site or a Facebook tab, you should still perform small audits on there.  Marketers should also be testing the verbiage in their copy, but an easy way to start is to grab your Search PPC copy that is working.  Also understanding how much freedom you have is important because in Facebook langauge that appeals to a certain segment (slang) can make your ads more successful.

Merry also pointed out how important images are to Facebook ads.  You need to get pictures - you need them, lots of them -  and you also need to make the images pop.  Merry uses IrfranView and cranks up both the contrast & saturation to make normal images stand out more.

Some best practices to keep in mind for creating your Facebook ads are: no symbols, full healdine, full sentice in body, no excessive punctuation, no eccesive capitlaize, real urls, bid daily budget must start at least $1.  She also suggested using some alternative tools:  Word's Thesaurus, Wikipedia, VisuWords, WordStream, OneLook Reverse Dictionary and your own noggin'.

Merry really had a ton more of great stuff in her presentation so if you were at SMX and didn't get to see this panel, download her presentation when they put them up and you can get the full information.  She really did have a lot of awesome tips and insights.

Finally Tyler Calder from Search Engine People rounded out this panel.  Tyler focuse on how marketers can use Facebook ads for market research.  Facebook is a researchers dream, so much data to get into about your customers can be found on Facebook.  If you want to  know how a certain groups people respond to a message an image or a question - Facebook can help with that.

Marketers can take these findings and apply to other offline and online intiatives such as TV, Radio and Print. If you start to use Facebook Advertising as a starting point for your marketing research, follow the Scientific Method.  Tyler outlined what marketers can test with Facebook ads:

  • Blog Titles
  • Email Subject Lines
  • Existing Message in New Market
  • Value Propositions
  • Proof Points

Benefits of using Facebook as a marketing research tool are huge: cost effective, fast, targeting, data collection, and flexibitilty.

Tyler presented two case studies in how they effectively used Facebook ads to research and test for their clients.  The first involved TV ads for a medical client that specialized in lap band procedures.  The client had a clearly defined geographic area and demographic but has a very high cost per conversion and they needed insights into how to produce a commercial that would be relevant.  They question they needed to answer for the client was what type of TV does their audience watch.  By using Facebook ads they were able to effectively answer that question and help the client with the campaign and making it much more affective and the results were 6% increase in calls, 11% increase in online consultation bookings.

The second case study Tyler highlighted was for a company who had a mobile application.  The app itself had strong reviews and a high retention rate however it could not break into the top 25.  The problem was that their app icon was seriously ugly and sucked.  Tylers team used Facebook ads to test the new icon images, the one that performed the best in the ads was what was chosen for the new application icon. The results - app downloads steady rate/sustained of downloads, with first ugly app icon, it was 69% drop off after the initial release.

Just like the Facebook (SEO) Optimization panel before this one, this session was really full of a lot of great tips, insights and information.  If you attended SMX East and missed this panel make sure to download the presentations.  If you didn't attend SMX East, make sure you put SMX West on your agenda!

 

October 07, 2010

Facebook (SEO) Optimization: Free Ways to Be Found on Facebook

By Li Evans

Reporting from Search Marketing Expo (SMX)

Marty-weintraub Lately Facebook marketing has become all the rage, especially for online marketers.  With that in mind I sat down in the Facebook SEO:  Free Ways to be Found on Facebook panel at SMX East 2010.  The panel was moderated by Elizabeth Osmesloski the editor for Search Engine Land and presenters were Marty Weintraub, Gregg Finn and Chris Silversmith

First to the stage was Marty, who had a deck that was just packed with data, so much so that I'll have to go back and digest that presentation to fully comprehend everything Marty was trying to relate in such a small amount of time.  Some key facts, tips and information I gleened from Marty's presentation were truly insightful.

When it comes to the "SERPs" of Facebook (if we want to call them that as search engine marketers) and mature Facebook accounts different factors like personalization and likes matter in what's brought back when a user searches in the Facebook environment.  There's a few things that affect personalization: you "like it", your friends "like it", you've got 2nd degree friends (not quite as relevant), you've been invited to things, you've visited the page before, and you've listed it as an interest on your profile.

Marty outlined 9 important ranking factors to consider when you are setting up your profile or pages/groups on Facebook, if you want them to rank in Facebook's search results.
  1. Your Name
  2. Events You Are Invited To
  3. Friend with Keyword in Name
  4. 2nd Degree Friend with Keyword in Name
  5. Questions w/ keyword in it & # of Answers
  6. App you have used
  7. Page Friend Likes
  8. Groups you have joined
  9. Internal external page & Interest You Have on a Profile
The one place that seems to be the most "spammy" on Facebook that programmers are hacking and exploiting is Events.  Events are not geographically based, nor based on if your friends are attend, nor the invites and not really keyword based.  Spammers are using events to send emails to everyone on the attendee lists whether they've RSVP'd or not.  This is why people are ignoring events anymore.

The key to successfully marketing with the events is to get people to RSVP as ATTENDING and get people to the page at least once.  Don't forget to make your primary keyword the first word of the event and don't make that name too long.

Marty had so much more great information, if you are interested in it, follow him on twitter he's @aimclear.

Greg Finn was up next with another treasure trove of great tips for marketing in Facebook.  The key to making your pages rank is relevancy of the page name, the fans you have and also the conversations that are going on within those pages, according to Greg.  Greg also highlighted Facebook's Page Browser feature and how those factors affect what appears in the page browser.

When you are trying to boost your fans he pointed out some rather simple things marketers can do like making sure you have a "Become a Fan" button on your main website.  He also suggested running promotions, however you do need to consult Facebook's guidelines on promotions before you launch to avoid having Facebook shut down your promotion.

The best promotions that work are charitable donations.  This is where companies say "for every fan we acquire" within a certain time frame, they will donate a certain amount of money to a charity.  Greg suggested that companies can alter this and encourage more conversation because in order to comment on a fan page wall, you have to like it first.  So by running the promotion focusing on "for every comment on this post, we'll donate", you are getting both fans and conversation.

Open-graph Chris Silversmith rounded out this panel with some other great insights, primarily utilizing your status updates in more effective ways.  If you utilize tagging, you can really improve your chances of increasing the number of people who see it.  For example utilizing people's names, groups, businesses, and locations can actually place your status updates on their walls, exposing that information to their fans/friends. 

You do want to be careful with this though because it can appear spammy and get ignored and also be ineffective if a group, fan page or community page only shows "their" updates and doesn't allow fans updates to be seen.  Remember as well, you can only use 6 tags in a status update.

Chris also gave some great tips about optimizing fan page code for facebook by using the Open Graph.  Open Graph code is based on RDFa and Chris pointed out that marketers should make sure to use the meta tags outlined in the Open Graph outline by creating special html pages on their own sites and synching them with the Facebook Fanpage.  You really only get one shot at this as once 10 or more people like it, Facebook won't change the information on the page you've synched.  To get Facebook to recognize your Open Graph coded page put the like button on the page and click it as the administrator of the fan page from that page.

This panel was so packed with great information, there's a lot more that I didn't cover here, as actually sitting in the panel is where you get the true benefit!  If you are interested in learning more, tweet to the presenters, they might help you out, or better yet attend SMX West in February 2011.

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