Facebook Ads 101

After reading a very interesting article on Facebook Advertising by Larry Dignan I started to think of using Facebook’s advertising platform for B2B lead-generation.

The Audience

With more than 130 million active users, Facebook is the defacto personal social networking site in the English speaking world for Generation X and Y. This includes a very influential group – young business individuals in highly developed economies. Bingo! Talk about an advertisers’ bonanza!

The Setup

Most can agree that Facebook is good for B2C advertising, but can it work in the B2B environment? Can you see yourself clicking on an Facebook ad from SAP or Oracle? To test this theory, I first set out to see if the Facebook platform can even target B2B audience. After playing with the Facebook Ads dashboard, I could create a new ad with the following characteristics:

  • Maximum 25 characters Headline
  • Body text limited to 135 characters
  • Enclose a 110 x 80 pixel image file

The interface lets me to set a max CPC, daily budgets and schedule dates (in fact the features were reminiscent of Google AdWords from yesteryears.) What’s cool about Facebook is that it lets you target ads to:

  • Geographic Location (But only one country at a time!?)
  • Gender and Age
  • Keywords in profile (i.e. snowboarding, engineering, computers, etc)
  • Company (Cisco, Nortel Networks, Alcatel-Lucent, etc)

Once I select the target audience, Facebook gives an indication of the market size (very cool number to know when I do my number crunching.) Then I set my maximum CPC for the ad. This is nice, because I don’t pay for the impressions but the click thrus (Unlike LinkedIn’s CPM Model.)

Sample Ads and a Run

To see the flexibility of the system, I made some sample ads for different marketing purposes (Branding, Lead Generation and Informational) just to see what issues I would come across. These ads are shown below:

Lead Generation Facebook Ads

Visitor Behavior

Out of the ads above, I only ran the last one to drive traffic to my site. I advertised my Facebook poll and asked visitors to express their opinion. From my visitor stats I saw the following trends:

  • Length of Stay: Around half of the visitors left within 5 seconds. I think Facebook visitors are preoccupied with social interactions at Facebook. They are very likely to leave quickly if they don’t see a good fit.
  • Facebook Referring page: If visitors came from a Profile/Home page in Facebook then they were likely to spend more time . Visitors coming from Application pages (ex. Video, Mafia,  Texas Holdem, Superwall, Flirtable, Scrabble, etc) usually left very quickly. Probably because they were already preoccupied with the application.
  • Day/Night Visitors: Day time visitors spend on average less time on the site than Night time visitors.
  • Corporate/Home Networks: Visitors surfing from corporate networks tend to spend more time reading Target Info Labs. Corporate visitors are more likely to vote on the poll than home users.

Big Brother is Watching

A big “No-No” is the lack of anonymity of visitors. If profiles were kept public, I could see the visitor Facebook page through the referral url. I think Facebook should offer the ability to make your clicks anonymous (I’m not sure if they already do.)

Conclusion

The Facebook platform can be used to leverage to a B2B community. But as an advertizer, you may need to overcome the mindset of visitors that are used to consumer centric Facebook ads. Also Facebook visitors are preoccupied with Facebook (big surprise?) So you have a very limited timeframe to convey your message. Keeping the message simple and tight should help there.Whether this would make the conversions good B2B leads, I dont know. That’s something I am trying to answer myself. If nothing else, I think it can be a good platform for social broadcasting of corporate messages.

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Zaki Usman

Hello, I'm the founder and CEO at ShoutEx. I like to blog about marketing, mobile and web topics. Feel free to connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Comments (4)

  • Avatar

    Batman19

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    Facebook is for fun ads… not for serious B2B.

    Reply

  • Avatar

    HowtoFacebook?

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    Can you change image files to Flash files on Facebook? I find that google content is great when you’ve animation/flash in the banners.

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Filippa

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    Facebook works well for my clients to create new channels. I recommend it better than Twitter, LinkedIn, Myspace, etc.

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Andrew Numis Murray

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    I’ve experimented with Facebook ads and been impressed with them for marketing home businesses and information products.

    These are, of course, more of a B2C marketplace.

    Reply

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