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Today’s post is by Chris Knoch, VP of Client Services for the Kenshoo Social platform. Kenshoo is a digital marketing software company that engineers technology solutions for search marketing, social media and online advertising. Chris has over 12 years of online marketing experience.
It’s somewhat appropriate that I’m doing my first social blog post this week. Why? Well, this is my one-year anniversary in a role that is 100% dedicated to the social marketing space. My previous dozen years or so in online marketing had a strong emphasis on search. Like many of my peers, search and its ROI-intensive results played a big part in my early success and opportunities.
Now, about a decade or so from running my first paid search campaigns on Google and Overture (actually, GoTo.com is the first ad account I opened if we want to accurately date me), I am working to duplicate that magic with Facebook. It wasn’t an easy transition, but I can assure you it has been worth it.
So in the spirit of that transition, I would like to focus on a quick guide to Facebook for the paid search marketer. Each of these items is probably worthy of its own blog post, but in the spirit of keeping this short and informative (as well as delivering this post by deadline), I’ll keep it somewhat pithy. I also hope that this will ring true with any veteran search marketers looking to get into Facebook ads. Most of all, I hope they will save you some time.
1. Paid search optimization is like steering a boat, and Facebook ads optimization is like steering a drag racer. What do I mean by this? Paid search optimization is general done by tweaking an always-on campaign over time. We’re talking small changes in bids and budgets to find that sweet-spot average position for each of your tens of thousands of keywords that will get you the ideal yield. Paid social optimization is about turning on ads and targets to find if they work – and if they don’t, you quickly turn them off. If they do work, you quickly allocate more of your budget to them and maximize the opportunity before your ad decays. Speaking of ads decaying…
2. Ad Decay/Rotation/Refreshing is key. Ads can decay quickly on Facebook. So you can even have a well-performing ad that just stops delivering based on Facebook’s ad delivery technology. In some cases, that ad just isn’t working any more and should be replaced with a new ad; however, in other cases it could keep working if you “refresh it” by simply creating a copy and running it again. Some marketers keep it as simple as copying and pasting a decayed ad just to see if they can get it to work again. Ad optimization is a crucial component of Facebook optimization and requires constant attention and quick changes, unlike the always-on text ads of search (is the previous analogy making starting to make sense?). And that’s not the only challenge with Facebook’s ad delivery system.
3. Facebook picks ad “winners” quickly. What does that even mean? Unlike the AdWords text ad optimization option that tests your text ads for the best CTR over time, and picks a winner after an appropriate sample size of clicks is established, Facebook’s system is currently picking a winner very aggressively based on the best CTR after a short period of time (we can get into this in more detail later). This means that if you are testing 2-3 ad variations within one campaign, you will not be able to get a true A/B test result. Instead, many Facebook marketers are duplicating Facebook campaigns (e.g. targeting, budgets, etc.) and only changing the ads to find which ad is better performing. Once confident in the results, they pick the winner and push budgets to that ad. I should note that this could get very unwieldy very quickly. But if you believe that you need to test for the best ad and have a platform or method that makes it scalable, it may be worth looking into. As for the topic of creating winning ads…
4. Don’t use search copy or company logos in your ads. Here’s a bit of advice on ads on Facebook: think of Facebook advertising as you would if you were trying to get your brand some attention in a crowded bar. Why? Because Facebook, much like a bar, is a social hangout. People are there to socialize and catch up with friends, and if you’re going to break through that noise you need the equivalent of the Jagermeister Girls giving away free shots. Well, maybe not that far, but you do need to break through the noise with attention-getting images (e.g. babies, puppies, kittens, and attractive people). As for the ad text, keep it short with a hook to get the click (for example, asking quick questions, making bold statements, making ads contextual with your demographic targeting, etc.).
5. Bid are important, but so are budgets, ads, and targeting. Look, I work at one of the top search platforms, where “bid management” is a key conversation starter. Many search marketers getting started on Facebook tend to fixate on the bid to the detriment of quickly allocating budgets, keeping ads optimized, and really tuning in the right targeting. Save yourself some time and don’t make this mistake. In fact, here’s one key piece of advice: with Facebook ads, you should just turn the ad off if it’s not working. It’s not search, where you can take the time to find the right bid for a keyword if it’s not really working right away. Try something new rather than trying to hone in on the perfect bid.
That’s enough for now. There’s probably another dozen or so tips we could get to, but I’m closing in on a 1,000 words, and that’s already a bit long for a short blog post. I’ve just changed the title of this post to include the phrase “Part 1,” so if this sparks any interest perhaps we can get back together for Parts 2 and 3. I also will endeavor to keep the sequels up to the originals standards. Good luck.
– Chris Knoch