Facebook Ads become even more relevant to your Social Media Strategy

reach

Facebook announced yet another change to how it will handle brand page posts. Beginning in January 2015, people will see less promotional content in their News Feeds. This change aims to increase the relevance and quality of the overall stories  people see in their News Feeds, but will inevitably result in a significant decrease in organic post reach for brand pages.

After surveying hundreds of thousands of people and asking how they feel about the content in their News Feeds, the answer was that people wanted to see more stories from friends and Pages they care about, and less promotional content. According to the people surveyed, there are some consistent traits that make organic posts feel too promotional:

  • Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
  • Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
  • Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads

What this means to you….

  1. You should expect the organic reach of your brand pages to fall significantly over time
  2. You should evaluate your content strategy aiming to maximize unpaid reach through non-promotional content
  3. You should evaluate (by running small inexpensive tests) the impact of adding Facebook Ads to your Facebook strategy to optimize reach of promotional content

Facebook Unveils New Ad Platform: Atlas

Facebook is set to launch an overhauled version of the Atlas Advertiser Suite, an ad-serving platform purchased from Microsoft last year.

Atlas promises to help marketers better target and measure their advertisements online, and to help advertisers better understand which ads influence purchase decisions effectively. Atlas will also provide an automated ad-buying tool known as a “bidder,” which allows other marketers to buy targeted advertising space offered by Facebook.

HATE FACEBOOK CHANGE. Top 3 words used by people commenting on the Newsfeed Redesign

Facebook recently ran an Ad promoting a post in which they talk about the recent Newsfeed redesign.  I personally hate the change so I was curious to see what other people thought.  I took a sample of close to 500 of the actual comments to the post and created a quick Word Cloud and the result is that not surprisingly HATE is the number one word used.  With the top 3 words being HATE FACEBOOK CHANGE.  Yes Facebook! your users have spoken!

Facebook Word Cloud

 

The actual Ad they are using to promote their post looks like this…

 

Facebook Newsfeed update

Facebook Advertising is a waste of money? Nonsense!! @facebookads

There is a new viral video presenting so-called facts about how using Facebook Ads to advertise your page is a waste of money. If you haven’t seen it, here it is: Facebook Fraud.

I won’t even comment on the lack of statistical significance of an example provided with only a handful of data points, or about some other “facts” that mainly highlighted poor leverage of the platform’s capabilities for targeting and optimization. I will just comment on the simple issue of…. What are you doing to optimize the execution of your Facebook Ads?

Facebook Advertising can be a waste of money if….

  • You are blindly creating and running Facebook Ads without proper understanding of which segments of the population on Facebook are truly responding to your message. And by responding I don’t mean just clicking on your ads, I mean helping you reach the objectives you set out to achieve. For example.. app installs, web site conversions, engagement, etc, while minimizing your marketing investment.
  • You are selecting the “Promote your Post” option on your page without selecting proper criteria for ad reach.
  • You are optimizing for CTR, not for highest result at lowest amount of investment
  • Your Facebook Marketing Tactical plan looks like this:

Innefective facebook Ads Execution

Facebook Advertising can be extremely effective if….

  • You start small, creating ads targeting the population within Facebook that you hypothesize is going to be more interested in your offer.
  • You test your hypothesis and verify which segments are in fact providing the highest number of results at a lower investment
  • You drill down into the metrics per country, per age, per gender to understand what is working and what is not working
  • You then refine your ads to target the segments that are working per ad
  • You increase the size of your investment only when the ads have been refined to give you optimal results.
  • Your Facebook Marketing Tactical plan looks like a version of this:

Effective Facebook Ads Execution

And since a picture is worth a thousand words, here is an example… (see chart below). We are looking at the ad effectiveness per country (highest results at lowest investment) and the darker the blue color, the higher the effectiveness of each ad. With this information ads can be refined to optimize execution.

  • CampaignX for example could be optimized by either running only Ad1 or to have Ad1 take a higher % of the budget than Ads2 through Ad5.
  • CampaignY should be ran in Australia as it is more effective than in the other countries

ad effectiveness by country

And another example…. let’s look at Ad effectiveness per gender and age. While these campaigns are targeting almost all age groups, we can clearly see that only specific segments have high effectiveness.  Performance can be optimized by refining the ads to target only those segments where they are being successful:

  • Campaign4 can be optimized by refining Ad6 to focus on Males 13-17 (assuming this is a relevant segment for the business)
  • Campaign5 can be optimized by refining Ad4 to target primarily females 25-34 and 18-24.

facebook Ads Effectiveness per Gender and Ageage

 

So without going as far as saying that Facebook is a perfect platform for marketing execution, the main challenge comes from a lack of analytical tools that would easily allow users to make these decisions. And without proper analysis, you are in essence flying blind and wasting money.

Facebook Ads CTR Skyrockets – Good or Bad for Facebook Advertisers?

According to Adobe’s Social Intelligence Report  published in October, 2013 and based on consumer data (2012-2013) analyzing 131 billion Facebook ad impressions, the following changes have occurred year over year:

  • CTR has increased by 275%
  • CPC has decreased by 40%
  • CPM has increased by 120%

While it is wonderful that CTR has increased so significantly, it is important to understand what this means to you as an advertiser, and what it means for your optimization efforts.

1- Evaluate CTR in the context of conversion costs.  A High CTR by itself is NOT a good metric.  If you don’t account for actual conversion costs, you may be wasting a significant amount of your marketing investment.  I still find clients optimizing the performance of their Ads for CTR only. Unfortunately CTR only tells you if your prospects liked your ad. It doesn’t tell you if there were any conversions.  See example below for 2 Ads driving installs of an app:

fb ctr

 

Although Ad2 has a higher CTR, the fact that the conversion (# of Installs) is so much lower than for Ad1, it makes it a nonperforming Ad with CPIs (Cost per install) of $67 instead of $5 for Ad1.  In this case Ad1 is a much better Ad as it reaches its goal at much lower costs.

2- Optimize your Ads selecting CPM or CPC for lower Conversion Costs. Should you run your ads using CPC or CPM? the answer is it depends.  CPC and CPM will vary depending on the audience you are trying to reach (geographies, gender, age). There is no way around it but to test it.  For a specific audience run similar ads using CPC and CPM. Once you have sufficient data, compare conversion costs and keep the ones that give lower conversion costs.

 

Facebook Mobile Ads- From Installs to Engagement and Conversion

When Facebook launched its Mobile Ads platform, the main focus was to drive installs. When an ad was created the default call-to-action was to “install” the app. And the results have been significant, with Facebook being responsible for a total 145 million app installs through Apple‘s App Store and Google Play.  But user acquisition (installs) is only one of the challenges faced by app advertisers, most also struggle with low engagement and low conversion rates. (According to a study by Localytics, 66% of app users only open apps between one and 10 times).  To help advertisers address these issues, this week Facebook announced a new way to use mobile app ads to drive engagement and conversions.  

Now mobile app ads can keep existing users active within an app, even after they install. Deep-links can now be used in the ads to direct users to customized specific locations inside an app, such as a sale, promotion or specific content. And there are now seven call to action choices to help increase engagement and conversions:

  • Open link
  • Use app
  • Shop now
  • Play game
  • Book now
  • Listen now
  • Watch video

To start using these new features in your Facebook Mobile Ads, follow the following steps:

  1. Use Power Editor – to set up your campaign
  2. Identify your existing app users. Upload a list of your existing app users into Power Editor using the various custom audiences options. These include Mobile Advertiser IDs, email addresses, phone numbers, or Facebook User IDs. You can also target by demographics, interests, and mobile device type
  3. Track and measure results

Optimize Images for Link Page Posts on #facebook #socialmediamarketing #socialmedia

Facebook has increased the size of images in link page posts by 4x on mobile and 8x on desktop to help you drive better fan engagement.

To optimize your images for this new format:

  • Use images that are 1200 x 630px or greater for the best display on high-resolution devices. At the minimum you should use images that are 600 x 315px to display link page posts with larger images.
  • Use images that have an aspect ratio of 1.91:1. Try to keep your images as close to this aspect ratio as possible to avoid any cropping in News Feed.
  • Use the og:image tag to choose the image that you want shared when users share your link. If you don’t use the og:image tag, users can choose the image they want to post, giving them a chance to select an image that is poor quality. To do this, add  the meta tag to your source page:

       <meta property="og:image" content="http://yourimage.png"/>

Facebook Newsfeed Algorithm Update – What this means for FB Page Managers

Over the next few weeks Facebook will be rolling out an update to the newsfeed algorithm.  This update has as an objective to show more people higher quality content and more interesting stories from the Pages they are connected to.

To better understand what high quality means, thousands of people were surveyed to understand what factors make posts from Pages high quality. The results of this survey were used to build a new machine learning system to detect content defined as high quality. The system uses over a thousand different factors, such as how frequently content from a certain Page is reported as low quality (e.g., hiding a Page post), how complete the Page profile is, and whether the fan base for a particular Page overlaps with the fan base of other known high quality Pages.

This algorithm has already been tested with a small segment of users by showing these high quality posts higher up in the News Feed and the 2 main results observed were:

  • A significant increase in interactions (likes, comments, shares) with this content
  • People in the test group also hid fewer stories overall
What should you expect?
For most Pages the impact should be relatively small, but Pages that are seeing good engagement on their posts could see further increases in reach.
How should your strategy change?
The bottom line is that your Page strategy should still stay the same: produce high quality content and optimize for engagement and reach.
  • Make sure your page profile is complete
  • Monitor more closely the negative feedback received (hides, hide alls, unlikes, spam)
  • Monitor more closely the positive feedback received (likes, shares and comments)
  • Make your posts timely and relevant
  • Build credibility and trust with your audience
  • Ask yourself, “Would people share this with their friends or recommend it to others?”
  • Think about, “Would my audience want to see this in their News Feeds?”

What is more relevant in Social Media? Engagement or Conversions?

A very typical debate in social media revolves around the idea of What is the most important metric to measure success?. There are usually two main camps: those who think engagement is the most important metric and those who think conversions should be the goal.  My personal opinion is that both are highly relevant metrics but depending on which platform we are dealing with, one may be more likely than the other to occur.

For instance, if you have an ecommerce site and one of your social media platforms is Pinterest you will probably experience higher conversion rates on that platform than on Twitter.  If you are a B2B business you may find that your conversion rates for lead generation are higher on Linkedin.  Still, although the end result of a business is to generate revenue, engagement on a social network is extremely important. It allows you to tap into people’s networks without additional expenditures and it gives you an opportunity to get referals with a lot of weight as it is the case with friend recommendations. Yes, a lot of times you won’t be able to attribute a conversion to a specific social network as someone may ask for a recommendation from a friend but then call or go to the web site directly without leaving a digital trail to determine that the network was the source of that conversion.  But if you have solidly established a multi-channel sales and marketing strategy, even if your attribution model is not perfect, you will have derived great value from it.

So it is important to fully embrace the fact that a multi-channel strategy will have different performance level for different metrics. Keep an eye on all the metrics but specially on both engagement and conversions and understand that you can’t use the same benchmark for every one of your channels (social or not).

Now that was my opinion, what does the research tell us? Below is the result of a study asking social media executives what they think is the most important metric.  The “winner” is engagement over increased sales for social media overall.  And the most interesting thing is that only a year ago the “winner” was increased sales.  What is happening is that as more people are fully leveraging social media they are understanding that not all activities will lead directly to revenue and that there is value to be derived from those activities that may indirectly lead to revenue and that in addition can be directly linked to other measures of success.

 

social media marketing 2012 2013

Mobile Game Developers.. Is it time to reconsider using Facebook Ads?

facebook ads mobile

Using Facebook Ads for user acquisition in the mobile game space was until very recently a very ineffective strategy.  Only a year ago ads were still being shown mainly to Facebook web users where even if the ad helped to raise awareness about the game, it was impossible to install the game directly from the ad.

With Facebook’s new strategy of “mobile first” things have certainly changed, which brings a whole world of new opportunities for mobile game developers.  There are more than enough platforms for User Acquisition in the mobile space, but no platform comes even close to Facebook in their targeting capabilities.  No one really has as much information about what we do, and what we like than Facebook.  So if you are not using Facebook Ads to increase installs of your game, this may be a good time to evaluate your options.

There are mainly 2 ways to create mobile ads on Facebook:

1- Creating an Ad “the old way”.  This is the same process you follow to create any Ads.

  • Go to Ads Manager
  • Create Ad
  • Select the URL to your game in the App Store or Google Play as destination
  • Define the criteria for your audience making sure you select as part of the criteria, users on mobile platform

2- Creating a Mobile App Install Ad. This is a little bit more complex but the ads are integrated seamlessly into the users’ newsfeeds with a very clear call to action to install the game which tends to result in better conversion rates.  See some video testimonials

  • Register your app with facebook.  This does not mean you have to implement Facebook Login or integrate your app with Facebook; you need an app on Facebook to get an app ID. If you already have one, you can skip this step
  • Use the App Dashboard to add details and images
  • Build and launch your ads

 Confused? Facebook has a simple tutorial to help you.

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