By Lottie Ison-Hobday

Find out how Facebook advertising works and how you could apply this to your business. The first in a series of blogs on Facebook advertising, beginning with how to get started, and Facebook strategies.

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Social media platforms including Google+, Twitter and Facebook provide fantastic ways to increase your brand awareness and utilise peer endorsement to boost your brand’s profile. Studies have shown that in Britain, around 62 million hours a day are spent on social media but still the benefits and importance of social media for a brand are often overlooked. Many clients will feel comfortable with image and text ads on the display network for brand promotion but shy away from using social media. But why? Social media can be a very successful advertising platform for many businesses and should definitely be tested!

Those first steps into social media can be confusing, so we have given you a case study below which outlines how you could start using social media, in this case Facebook. But do keep in touch with us for future blogs on other social media platforms including Twitter and Google+.

Facebook advertising

So to start, why should you be considering Facebook?

Facebook is a constantly evolving and growing marketing platform with a lot of potential just waiting to be exploited. Facebook has around 1 billion users a month, with many using mobile devices to access the interface and returning multiple times during the day.

Facebook reckons it has around 90% targeting accuracy which is much higher than the demographic accuracy offered by Google and Yahoo/Bing. The reason this may be the case is because Facebook uses the data which is inputted by the user themselves, including their relationship status, age, sex, education etc. At present there are two main types of targeting;

  1. Facebook’s interest audiences are compiled using information they have added to their timeline, including details on the types of pages they like and apps they have used. The # interest targets allows you to reach people who are interested in a closely related term; Facebook’s example is #Cooking, which will target people interested in cooking, cooking tips, eating. Facebook also provides you with suggested likes and interests which are common to those people you are already targeting. Adding multiple interest categories creates “OR” requirements, so you can target people interested in #cooking OR #gardening.
  1. Broad category audiences are collated using the information people put on their timelines. Broader category targeting can be used with precise interest targeting to narrow audiences down even further through creating “AND” requirements. So you could target people who like “Food and dining” AND #cooking.

The Little Dog Coat Company

I would like to introduce the Little Dog Coat Company, a business that sells ‘fashion’ and ‘practical’ attire for distinguished pooches. They have been established online for around 6 years but have recently found that there are new competitors in the marketplace where previously there were none. They are planning to launch new ranges of practical coats which are tailored to specific breeds; in this example Dachshund coats, giving themselves some unique selling points compared to their competitors. Currently, they offer free delivery but only deliver within the UK.

At present they specifically want to focus on pushing their ‘practical’ attire to a new (and possibly uninitiated in the world of pet fashion) audience and also promote the launch of the new Dachshund coat range, as they have had a lot of enquiries about products for these particularly amazing dogs.

Target audience

It’s probably a given but their target market is owners of all dog breeds and more specifically owners of dachshunds.

The majority of ‘fashion' coat purchases are made by women (although not exclusively!); they are either single or in a relationship and have no children. They are generally between the ages of 25 and 45.

The ‘practical’ coats are purchased by both men and women. These customers are not necessarily in a relationship and may have children. They are generally over the age of 30.

Their current online marketing platforms

They have a Facebook page set up with a business account, the fan base for the page currently stands at 150 ‘likes’ (also known as fans). They post news, images and offers on a regular basis on their Facebook Page, generally not more than once a day.

What do they want to achieve with Facebook?

The Little Dog Coat Company (LDCC) want to achieve five things using Facebook;

  1. Boost their Facebook fan base
  2. Increase exposure to posts on their page and increase interaction with thier FB page
  3. Increase overall website traffic
  4. Drive incremental sales through their website
  5. Help drive awareness of the new range of Dachshund coats

Facebook advertising opportunities available

So, where to start? There are several Facebook advertising options available to the LDCC that in combination will help them to achieve all of their objectives. These include;

  • Premium Ads
  • Adverts can direct traffic to a Facebook page or to a website
  • These adverts can now appear down the side of your Facebook page and in the news feed, therefore your ads will be eligible to show on mobile devices
  • These ads can be extended to anyone who is on Facebook, not just those someway connected to your page

This may or may not be an excuse to get photos of my Dachshund on the website

Sponsored Stories

  • Adverts can direct traffic to a Facebook page
  • Adverts are created from the interaction of fans with a Facebook page; adverts appear in the news feed
  • Great for generating Facebook Page Fans (people who ‘like’ a page)
  • These ads will only show to those who are connected to a fan

Facebook sponsored story example

Promoted Posts

  • An advert created from a post on a Facebook page; adverts appear in the news feed
  • Post can contain a link to a website, but traffic clicking on the ad itself goes to the Facebook page
  • Extends the reach of posts placed on a Facebook page, but requires 400 page likes (fans)
  • These ads will only show to people who are Fans of your page, and their friends

Facebook offer ad example

Offer Ads

  • Promotional adverts offering a discount or offer; appear in the news feed
  • Encourages people to redeem a voucher and drive sales
  • These ads can be extended to anyone who is on Facebook, not just those connected to your page in some way

App Ads

  • Promote the download of your iOS or Android app through Facebook
  • These ads can be extended to anyone who is on Facebook, not just those connected to your page in some way

Our strategy

First things first: Boost their Facebook fan base

To start with we want to use a combination of Premium Ads and Sponsored Stories to increase the number of likes to their Facebook page. Using Facebook’s targeting options we can tailor Premium Ads to specific groups. We can also focus our marketing on specific groups of people and therefore exclude any we do not feel are relevant.

LDCC want to target dog lovers & owners; at present they sell a lot of coats for Chihuahuas, so we will target people who like (own) these dogs.

We could start by focusing on targeting;

  • General dog lovers who are between 25 and 45 with two ads: one targeting women, and another targeting men so we can gauge any difference in response according to gender. We could also then try a different image in the ad copy.
  • We could also use the same demographic targeting above but choose to target those who like ‘Chihuahuas’ and use images of Chihuahua coats. Because of their new product launch we could think about doing the same for people who like Dachshunds.

We can run Sponsored Story ads in conjunction with Premium Ads which will help to boost the fan base of the page. These will ads will use the same targeting criteria associated with the Premium Ads but will only be shown to friends of the Fans of your Facebook page.

Then we can look at increasing their website traffic to drive sales

The Premium Ads can direct traffic to a website instead of a Facebook page; Facebook has conversion tracking which can be placed on your site to track sales. Facebook tracks conversions that have happened within 1 day, 7 days, and 28 day window after a someone has clicked on an advert, plus they track conversions 1 day, 7 days, and 28 days after viewing an advert. We could use the same target audiences that we have outlined above, with more of a drive to buy rather than an incentive to like the message. When driving traffic out of Facebook it is important to ensure your advert URLs are tagged so that you can track the traffic’s interaction with your site when it comes from Facebook. Then you can look at how long people in this category spend on your site in Google Analytics, and answer questions like “what is the bounce rate like”?

Finally, they also want to increase exposure to posts on their page and help to launch their new range of Dachshund coats

Once the number of likes to the Facebook page has reached 400 through use of Premium ads and sponsored stories, we can then use promoted posts. By promoting the new range of coats in a post on their Facebook page this gives you material to create adverts based on the post. If you post something on your Facebook page, not everyone connected will see that post. Using ‘Promoted Posts’ extends the reach of your post beyond the audience size of a non promoted post.

We could use a combination of promoting posts about the new range of coats and also use an offer ad to promote a 10% discount off all Dachshund coats for a limited period whilst the products are being launched.

Expected Results

The Facebook Page directed Premium Ads may generate some ‘Likes’ (fans) and traffic to the Facebook Page, but we would expect the sponsored stories associated with these ads to generate more ‘fans’ of the page. We would expect over time these ads to boost the fan base to over 400. The Website directed Premium Ads could drive traffic to the website; the conversion tracking code available to Facebook ads allows us to see the occurrence of a sale. With advert and target testing we could then identify target groups which are open to purchasing products from Facebook and focus predominantly on those groups of people.

The combination of Premium ads and promoted posts should increase traffic to their Facebook page and their website, and hopefully increase brand awareness. We would also hope that the combined launch of their new coat ranges on Facebook, as well as on other media would help boost interest and sales in their new ranges of Dachshund coats.

With a fan base over 400 we would be able to use the promoted post feature of Facebook and increase the exposure of the Dachshund Coat launch to their followers.

In Summary

  1. Boost their Facebook fan base
    a. Premium Ads Campaign with sponsored stories
    i. Increase Fan base (likes to the page)
  2. Increase exposure to posts on their page and increase interaction with FB page.
    a. Promote post to increase exposurei. More of their audience will see posts on the Facebook page
  3. Increase overall website traffic
    a. Sponsored Stories
    i. Extend brand awareness along with endorsement from friends
  4. Drive incremental sales through their website
    a. Premium Ads Campaign
    i. Send traffic directly to the site which has conversion tracking code in place (and tagged URLs)
  5. Help drive awareness of the new range of dachshund coats
    a. Offer ads and promoted posts
    i. Publicise the launch of new products with special offers

B2B Businesses

Although I have given an e-commerce example in this blog, Facebook do stress that it can be a useful platform for B2B clients as well. You could promote your new features to people interested in your particular business; you might be surprised with what people publicise they are interested in on Facebook. You can even target people interested in small business.

Facebook Top Tips

  • Update your Facebook page regularly to keep people engaged however do not update too much.
  • Over engagement could put people off and they may choose to remove you from their Timeline although they are still your fan. This is a wasted fan!
  • Use engaging material in posts, ask questions and encourage people to interact with you
  • Promote your posts to ensure they reach as many people as possible
  • Tag any URLS in your posts which direct traffic to your website so you can track these in your Google Analytics account
  • Consider Facebook as more like a display medium than search

If you are interested in getting involved in Facebook advertising, or would like more information then get in touch, you know where we are! (Particularly if you have a Dachshund)

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