I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about online advertising, especially on Facebook, so I thought I’d share a little behind-the-scenes on how we make it happen at ictQATAR. These days, it seems everyone has a Facebook page. In Qatar about 200,000 users over the age of 18 flock the network every day and many business owners and organizations are shifting their advertising dollars to take advantage of being able to deliver corporate messages in an extraordinary precise fashion at a low cost. In fact, according to ComScore, Facebook serves on average 91.1 billion ads every month, that’s double the number of Yahoo’s ads. We have also embarked on the brand advertising journey on Facebook and learned a thing or two over the past year.
Decide On Ad Type And Cost Structure
In order to grow your fan base through advertising you have a couple of choices – you can use standard marketplace ads, or invest in sponsored stories. Standard ads are your bread and butter – they will point to your page and will allow users to “like” it. “Sponsored Stories” will show up on the right hand side of the screen and will be shown exclusively to friends of your fans. The idea is, if one of my good friends likes a page, I should consider it too. This ad method leverages frequent posting to your fan page and is created when one of your fans likes your post. The key to success here is keeping your posts regular and engaging.
The goal of your advertising campaign should be to drive as many fans as possible at the lowest available cost. Even though there are two ways to manage your ad spend: Cost Per Click (CPC), or Cost Per Impression. Most of the times CPC will work out better as your marketing objective is likely to be tied to the number of “likes” your acquire, not just an increased brand recognition.
Create Ads That Pop
Marketplace ads require an image not greater than 110 pixels wide by 80 pixels tall and it should have an aspect ratio of 4:3 or 16:9. The system will automatically upload your page’s image unless you supply something else. Whatever your image is, it should be less than 5 megabytes. In my experience, design savvy, yet not very complicated images work best and they have to be scalable as the ad real estate is limited. Here is one of the design explorations by our own very talented graphic designer, Samar Semaan.
When writing your ad copy, keep in mind that there are limitations of 25 characters for the title and 135 characters for the body. If this is an ad to promote specifically your page, the title will appear as your Page Name. We found that an ad copy in Arabic is about 3 times more effective than the same in English, even though the same users are capable of reading both. Combination of the two languages work well too, but it limits what you can say. Ideally, give the user the reason to like your page, “By liking us, you will hear about the latest in technology before everyone else.”
One of the many helpful features of the Facebook advertising platform is the ability to target your advertising to specific segments. On Facebook, it’s possible to target by location, age, keywords and many other criteria. What’s great about Facebook advertising is that it is incredibly inexpensive to run tests. Through testing we found that an ad targeting women with a feminine touch performed better than an ad targeting both genders.
Optimize Your Resources
Posting relevant and engaging content while you are running your brand advertising campaign is an important part of your strategy and will give you the maximum return on the investment. Post regularly – at least once a day, ask questions, make controversial statements and above all, remember that social media is not a monologue, it’s a community discussion. Some strategies that work for us include posting when the audience is available and that often means on weekends and after 3 PM and keeping posts brief and using photos when possible. In fact, photos generate the highest level of interactions, and we attribute it to the fact that they are easy to relate to. Many of our posts end with questions, people like sharing their opinions and that typically drives higher engagement.
As with any marketing campaign, the key to success lies within testing and measurement. Monitoring daily traffic, impressions, and click-through rates is only half the battle. To actually make timely tweaks is what will get you the most out of your online advertising dollar.
What are your online advertising tactics? How do you boost interaction with your fans?