Ah, Facebook. Oh how I love you…and despise you…I think I’d rather Google+. Or wait, maybe I should go and update my LinkedIn business page. Better yet, I think I’m going to focus on Foursquare now. No I got it! I’ll pay Groupon 50% of all my sales to offer my products at 50% off (and they’re still losing millions…go figure) But I digress…
As many small and even large businesses are finding out, where to spend marketing dollars these days can be overwhelming. AdWords advertising continues to offer amazing returns (when managed right…hint hint), but the fact of the matter is, given the millions of users on sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, with the right tools and oversight, these sites do provide businesses to reach very targeted audiences.
We here at Point It have been managing more and more Facebook PPC advertising campaigns for clients recently, which means we’re constantly testing whatever new capabilities arrive. Over the past few months, the team at Facebook has released some updates that should really help advertisers. Here they are:
Zip Code targeting
This one speaks for itself and could potentially be a major boon for small, local shops to market to audiences very close to their stores. Every retail outfit should at least be testing this. In addition to Country, State & City, Facebook’s location targeting capabilities could be huge even without everything else.
Broad Category Targeting
Sure, being able to target users by the interests they put in their profile is one of the main reasons for using Facebook advertising, but there are limitations. First, I don’t know a single person who, after creating their Facebook account, has changed and/or updated their interests. Have you? Yes, I’m interested in backcountry skiing and added this to my profile years ago, but I’m also interested in tech, sustainability, cars…but these aren’t in my profile. This means there are businesses out there who could/should be showing me ads, but don’t know I exist. These are missed opportunities in my opinion. Broad category targeting takes some of the guessing work (and time) out of trying to consider all relevant users (plus the tedious task of adding interests in the UI.) BEWARE though, broad is broad…you’re going to see more, a lot more in some cases, impressions. And if you aren’t careful, your budget could go bye-bye quickly. Like all forms of online testing though, TEST TEST TEST
This one is interesting and also one of Facebook’s most recent updates. As defined by Facebook, it “let’s you target everyone who has expressed interest closely related to the terms you select.” For those of you who use AdWords advertising, consider this like modified broad match. As you type in keywords, you’ll see a hashtag with an estimated reach. Pretty cool. We’re testing this right now with a few clients, so no conclusions yet on performance. Regardless, I think it’s a very interesting targeting method and, depending on performance, could end up being a powerful, and time-saving option to expand campaign reach.
Facebook advertising has huge potential, but we’re still baffled by how difficult it is to use their platform. In some cases, it almost makes running ads here not worth the effort. We’re also testing some Facebook ad management tools for our clients. We’ll have an update on those in the near future