Facebook and Search: A Match Made in Heaven

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cherubs_smallADOTAS – Facebook’s 400 million active users are an advertiser’s dream audience: engaged, targeted and self-segmented. Facebook is the number one website in the world, surpassing Google in monthly page views this year, and people spend more time on the platform than any other website in the world, according to Nielsen. And most important to advertisers, Facebook users share detailed information on their likes, dislikes and preferences.

As Facebook Ads are relatively new, no one is sure how effective they will be compared to other forms of online advertising, such as paid search and display. However, most advertisers have high hopes for Facebook Ads based on the ability to ultra-target ads based on users’ self-reported preferences — which Facebook has labeled “Likes” and “Interests.”

Facebook offers another benefit: its targeting platform is similar to paid search in several ways, giving smart search marketers a leg up in mastering the Facebook Ads platform. In addition, paid search and Facebook Ads can be optimized to work in tandem, increasing clickthrough and conversion across both programs.

According to a recent study by Group M, consumers who interact with a company’s brand through social media are 2.8 times more likely to search for that company’s products and 1.7 times more likely to search with the intent of making a purchase.

The good news is, you can leverage most of the skills and techniques you’ve developed as a successful search marketer to build winning campaigns on Facebook. With a large set of potential “keywords” (what Facebook calls “Likes” and “Interests”) to explore, Facebook marketers, like search marketers, succeed when they expand their audience while constantly measuring and refining traffic quality.

So what concrete steps can marketers take to integrate Facebook Ads into their paid search programs? Below are some rules of the road when it comes to Facebook advertising.

A Picture Is Worth More Than Words

Facebook allows you to include a photo with every ad. While search ads rely on creative use of punchy text, a Facebook ad must have a compelling visual. Think about it; a Facebook Ad is competing with photos of high school boyfriends, cute babies, and your best friend’s vacation to Tahiti.

Ad copy containing a relevant value proposition and the a strong call to action is vital, but the right image can can make or break whether your ad gets a second glance or a click. Test images early and often, and try adding borders to your photos in colors like orange or yellow, which contrast with the blue and white Facebook interface.

We often find that winning images are not necessarily the most aesthetically pleasing; rather they are the ones that grab the most attention.

Micro-Target Audiences to Improve Campaign ROI

On Facebook, just as in paid search, breaking audiences down into sub-segments is an important method for refining traffic quality and improving campaign ROI. Typically, advertisers will start with a campaign targeting a broadly defined audience, and then break that audience down by age, gender, location, and/or additional likes and interests.

Measure the performance for each subsegment separately so you can increase bids on high-value audiences and pause or delete campaigns targeting audiences that don’t convert. With the right level of segmentation, you can understand patterns in customer behavior that can be applied across campaigns.

For example, you may find that women convert better than men on Facebook for your brand, allowing you to invest more time and money on converting this audience segment.

Keep Your Ads Fresh

Each month, more than 25 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) are shared on Facebook. Users spend, on average, more than seven hours a month on the site. But because your ads target users, rather than specific queries, that means users are seeing your Facebook ads much more frequently that they see your search ads.

Facebook Ads can be served to the same user multiple times, so it’s fairly easy for users to develop ad blindness. Make sure to frequently update ad images and copy so they remain fresh and maintain a high click-through rate. The better the click-through rate, the lower the cost-per-click, resulting in real cost savings for marketers who rotate ads effectively.

Facebook advertising is in its early days. But by applying your hard-earned paid search marketing skills to the Facebook Ads platform, you’re well on your way to succeeding with this new advertising channel. If all goes well, you will definitely “like” the results Facebook Ads deliver to your company’s bottom line.

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