Facebook ads - focus on growing and engaging your fan base

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General Motors Facebook adsFacebook has been very much in the spotlight, with a great amount of press attention on the run-up to last week’s IPO and the company’s recent stock performance.

One big headline was the announcement that General Motors was pulling its $10million Facebook ads account. This has clearly rocked confidence in the effectiveness of advertising on Facebook, but may not come as a surprise to many, as a social media setting is not necessarily the prime location for people seeking product information on a car.

It is important to note that while GM may be pulling its advertising, it will continue to develop its large Facebook presence across its brand pages, and keep a focus on engagement.

Here at FreshNetworks we take the approach that Facebook ads need to be aimed at growing the audience and engagement level of a page or app. By keeping ads within Facebook itself, the barrier to entry for a prospective fan is much lower than sending them to an external site.  Having said that, there are some important steps to consider when planning a Facebook ad campaign:

Testing the effectiveness of a Facebook ad

As with any marketing activity, you need to test and evaluate various approaches before committing a large outlay to a campaign.

What metrics should you be looking at?

While the click-through-rate is an important measurement, we’ve found that optimisation should be focussed on Facebook’s “Connections” metric, which measures activity in terms of engagement (likes, comments, app use etc.) so that the effective reach of your ad is maximised.

Optimising your Facebook ads

Splitting your adverts into campaigns makes it much easier to segment them according to target audience and content. We’ve found that breaking your ads up into campaigns of five ads each makes it much easier to manage and measure the effectiveness of particular ads.

Selection and formatting of images is vital. The imagery used obviously has to be eye-catching, but also something that is personalised and relevant to your target audience.

Following up a Facebook ad campaign

Once you have tested, optimised, and run your Facebook ad campaign, it’s important to carry the momentum and keep your new audience engaged. As with any social media activity, it is important to keep a clear strategy in mind, and determine why a new fan will want to come back to your page or engage with you.

4 tips for successful Facebook advertising

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Here’s a quick, simple guide to the 4 things we’ve found to be extremely effective when building a successful Facebook Advertising campaign:

1. Get access to Facebook’s ‘Power Editor’

This neat little tool is an extension for Google Chrome which allows you to manage ads and campaigns in bulk. You can quickly change the images, targeting and demographics for large numbers of adverts. It’s a tool which is currently in Beta, but accessible through Facebook’s advertising program.

2. Ad images are critical

Our experience has shown that ad images need to be refreshed frequently - often as much as once every 24 hours. The more relevant your image to your target market, the higher your click through rate will be. This is one of the reason why splitting up your ads to tighten targeting really helps.

3. Optimise for Likes, not clicks

When monitoring your ads, keep an eye on the rate of conversions to clicks.

Facebook tracks a conversion as someone who likes your page and installs your app or RSVP’s to your event within 24 hours of seeing your ad. Getting users to complete these actions is like gold dust when building your page audience. Think about how you could make it easier for people to do so.

4. Build a ‘pre-like’ page with a clear call to action

If you’re building a campaign to increase fan engagement on your page, don’t just direct people to your wall. Instead, build a bespoke tab page which has a clear call to action (liking the page, clicking a tab app or something else). Give your new audience something clear and simple to do when they first come to your page.