I always find myself in the position with new clients of having to convince them to revisit Facebook as a viable conversion tool. Often they have tried it, found it lacking for bottom-line results, and for that reason, discarded it as a viable option.

like from zombieIt’s sad, really. But, it’s easy to get there – Facebook has so many moving parts, it’s easy to just assume that “if it’s not working as I had hoped, it must just not work for me.”

But it’s also unfair. Most of the digital ad campaigns that I have seen fail do so precisely because the architects of the campaign did not understand clearly what they wanted to get out of it, and did not implement a clear strategy to get that result. In other words, they lacked a clear goal and by extension a clear path to get there.

So what does it take to get Facebook fans to convert to real-world buyers?

1) A Clear Path to Conversion

The biggest mistake people make in developing digital ad campaigns is not understanding the process that the buyer must go through to convert. There is more of a process to purchasing candy than there is to visiting a website; just click on an ad and get to the site. In order to purchase candy, I have to get up out of my desk chair and go across the street to the food mart. There I have to make the choice not to divert my spending toward another product. And on and on it goes.

Understanding the path to conversion helps to build the proper base to get users from the point of interest to conversion. This step is often overlooked, but it may be the most important part of a successful digital ad campaign through any media.

2) An Immersive Platform

In short form, a platform is the stage you stand on to talk to interested consumers. In the case of a successful digital ad campaign, we are speaking of your website, apps, and other digital creations that allow users to see you and hear you above the clamor of the marketplace.

To build a successful immersive platform, you want to focus on creating an experience that bridges the gap between casual interest and conversion.

Many successful digital ad campaigns are successful simply because the product can be sold directly from the click, e.g. things you find on Amazon, apps, or what have you.  However, in the case of products such as candy where the consumer desire is immediate, and fulfillment needs to be faster than UPS shipping, building your platform is more difficult. Or for products like TV shows where Nielsen ratings are the means of profit, the road to PPC success is far more difficult.

The immersive platform gives these brands a tool to achieve conversion from possible PPC.

So what’s a good immersive platform? I’ll give you two examples.

a)   The Walking Dead’s Two-Screen Experience

dual screen walking dead

I love The Walking Dead, but besides that, I love the platform that they have built.  They know who their fans are and what they want. The Walking Dead two-screen experience gives people the chance to give instant feedback on the episode they are watching, and to see in real time the results of others interacting with the page. Additionally, this method puts smart devices in the hands of their most vocal and loyal viewers, thereby enticing them to share via Twitter or Facebook.

The goal here? Kick up Nielsen ratings. Get people to watch the show when it airs, so that the Nielsen numbers are impacted. And while we’re at it, make it highly optimized for smart devices to encourage people to talk while it’s on, thereby inviting their friends to tune in.

Goal met? You betcha.

b)   Skittles

As I mentioned before, candy has an immediacy that many brands can sympathize with. The consumer has to take real-world action to fulfill the desire, and it has to happen within a certain period of time.

Skittles combats this by engaging users on their website with the best of the best social interactions on their brand pages, with real-time updates, and a share-centered culture. Using this platform, Skittles engages fans on every social media channel imaginable, keeping their product top of mind and driving sales through creative action.

The goal here? Sell more Skittles by driving crave-ability and a devoted customer culture. When people go to the store, they engage with the brand that they engage with every day.

Goal met? Yup.

3) The Outreach

Social media is an engagement arm for the digital platform. It also has immense possibilities for reaching highly qualified consumers through advertising and promoted posts.

When the brand understands the conversion process and builds a killer platform for translating interested consumers into actual conversions, social media content becomes a tool in reaching new engaged users and driving those consumers down the funnel and to the platform. From here, Facebook ad campaigns, or really any digital media outlets, have conversion possibilities for any brand.

Too many people are giving up way too soon on social media. I see it all the time. But Facebook advertising can work for any brand, provided you build your brand to get the most from Facebook.

– Cody Vest

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Cody Vest
Cody Vest is the creative director at Vest Advertising in Louisville, KY. A second-generation Ad Man, he bridges the gap between digital data and ad strategy building campaigns across every kind of media outlet from Facebook to broadcast TV. Cody's interests include building easy ways to get key marketing data from the open systems of the social web, and strengthening traditional campaigns with digital insights.