Facebook Ads for $1.07? It's Possible!

By Jenna Lebel

According to a whitepaper published by social marketing and analytics firm Webtrends, acquiring a fan through Facebook’s advertising platform costs a brand about $1.07. In their research, which studied 11,000 Facebook ad campaigns, the firm not only discovered the average cost, but they also uncovered a few trends.

Webtrends also found that the rates at which U.S. users are clicking on Facebook ads are on the decline. In 2010, the average click-through rate (CTR) for Facebook ads was .051%, down from .063% the year before. Another trend spotted was that Facebook ads are getting more expensive over time, rising in cost per 1,000 impressions (CPM) from 17 cents in 2009 to 25 cents in 2010. Justin Kistner, senior manager of product marketing at Webtrends, shared a few theories here.

I think that users have just become a bit more savvy and selective in what they are clicking. Separately, many companies are also becoming savvy and learning how to leverage Facebook ads, thus creating more clutter, or competition, in the Facebook ads marketplace. Fewer users clicking and more advertisers in the system will inevitably drive up the cost. Kistner closes out his theories by saying that the lesson here is that the companies that have successfully built a community of masses (“double-digit millions of fans” as he states) are going to spend much less than others. In other words, the little guys and those slow to market stand to lose. But they don’t have to. Here are some tips for optimizing and making the most of your Facebook ads, despite some environmental threats.

Before you start running ads, make sure you have some clear goals and objectives in place. What are you hoping to achieve? If it’s important for you to generate awareness, CPM is probably a better route for you. If you want to jumpstart your fan base, stick to CPC. When it comes to setup and optimization, follow these best practices.

Choose images wisely

Remember that old saying, ‘a picture is worth 1,000 words?’ It couldn’t be truer here. The image you choose plays a critical role in grabbing the attention of your audience. When selecting images, you need to be mindful of a few things. If you don’t have a lot of brand recognition (and probably a good tip even if you do), you may want to opt for photos that are relevant to your product or service versus using a logo or less focused, centralized photos. Since images are only 110 pixels wide x 80 pixels tall be sure to select ones that allow users to easily identify who you are and what you do. Another thing to be mindful of is that images with text in them tend not to perform as well as images without text.

Rotate often

One of Kistner’s theories is that users are bored. If that is in fact the case, rotating your ads often is critical. A good rule of thumb is to switch out copy and imagery every couple of days. Otherwise, people will in fact get bored and your ad could have an adverse effect.

Less really IS more

Since we’ve already identified that users are savvy and that the ad marketplace is cluttered, it’s important to make sure your copy stands out in that congested space. While you get 135 characters to work with, you really only need between 80-100 to get your point across.

Keep it simple

Create ads that are simple and easy to read. Avoid long, complex sentences with several forms of punctuation. The ad should serve as a teaser to get them to click and head over to your page to learn all about you. Don’t try to fit in every detail about your product or service into the ad. Save the details for your landing page. Instead, use the ad to convey a strong call-to-action highlighting the benefits of your product of service, essentially telling the user WHY they should click “Like” (this is important now more than ever, since we’re dealing with very savvy consumers). A call-to-action can come in many forms. Some examples are: unlock a special offer, get a discount code, enter a contest, buy something exclusive, get sneak peeks or inside information, etc.

Leverage social context

Everyone knows that the best form of recommendation is one you get from a friend. A great way to get fans is to leverage the ones you already have. Facebook ads allow you to target ‘Friends of Connections’ meaning the friends of those who are already connected to (or “Like”) your page. It’s the ultimate social endorsement!

Optimize Daily

There is no magic formula to Facebook ads. Some ads perform better than expected and some less. We only know once we start running them. But before you go ahead and delete those underperformers, take a step back, dissect what went wrong, and optimize. Maybe your ad is misleading (giving information in the ad that cannot be found easily when users click). Maybe you’re not targeting the right people. Maybe your audience is too small.

For additional Best Practices in Facebook Advertising, click here.

What are your tips and secrets to successful Facebook advertising? Share your thoughts in the comments below!