Today, we interviewed Facebook advertising expert, Merry Morud, of aimClear. For those of you who recall Merry’s Hero Conf presentation last month, we couldn’t wait to dig into this topic! See the recap below.

PPC Hero: Welcome to today’s Heroview everyone, real-time interviews featuring PPC experts from around the industry! Today, Merry Morud will talk with us about Facebook ads. As a reminder, we’ll have some time at the end to open the floor up for questions, so hang onto those until the end!

PPC Hero: We are really excited to have you with us today, Merry! Thanks for joining PPC Hero!

Merry: Thanks for having me! Stoked to be a part of Heroview!

PPC Hero: Why don’t we start with you giving us a little more info about your background in PPC?

Merry: I’ve been working with @aimClear for 3+ yrs, & got my feet wet with traditional search & display when I fell madly in love with Facebook’s targeting grid & FB ads whilst doing FB ads for Martha Stewart Omni #socool Since, I’ve been working with a range of clients from small start ups to large multi-national B2B – & yes, in Facebook 🙂

PPC Hero: Definitely #socool! Maybe you’ve noticed; Facebook’s been in the news lately. How will their IPO affect advertisers?

Merry: Facebook’s IPO will, IMHO, make FB ads & the targeting options even GREATER. They have to justify the IPO price AND keep growing. So, logically Facebook Ads WILL be getting better from: reporting to the interface to targeting &, *crosses fingers* account reps, who know their stuff, for ALL advertisers. Or, at least a phone # we can call 🙂

PPC Hero: There have been changes aside from going public.  What should people know about the new alternative ad units?

Merry: Alt ad units are all about growth & promo of your page for your fans & most importantly that 1st degree of separation. Paid Organic is the New Black 🙂 3 tips: 1) Market to your fans! They’ve already “bought in” but may miss the post. 2) Market to Friends of Fans & use Precise interests to filter those folks further. 3) Use these alt ad units AFTER there’s already great organic engagement & you can see great growth. In summation- use FB alt ad units to augment Page activities & FB ads.

PPC Hero: When it comes to targeting on Facebook, what tactics do you prefer – category or precise targeting?

Merry: BOTH Broad categories & precise interests. When I saw this, I thought it was a bug b/c it was #2good2Btrue Facebook categories are stunning – Ethnicities, SMB owners, Parents, Expecting parents, people who have recently moved… So I could target women w/ babies 0-3, like fitness magazines & sell ’em personal trainers to shed baby weight!

PPC Hero: Which other targeting options do you most often employ? Demographics? Location? Education?

Merry: I’ll often do M/F because I’ve bought specific ads for each- also age, older ppl want to see folks like them. To target folks who have money: 1) college edu & 2) expensive geos + Job titles & Cha-ching!

PPC Hero: So once you’ve found your audience, how do you get them to click? Do you have any ad writing tips?

Merry: Facebook is a busy A.D.D. place so 1) Image needs to grab attention & evoke emotion 2) TEST ad copy. We have 4+ ppl brainstorms for copy & test from wacky to vanilla. You can’t predict how an audience will respond. The 2 most important elements of a FB Ad: #1 Image #2 Headline – Don’t slack on images. Ever.

PPC Hero: Since we brought up ads, ad length has changed recently in Facebook. Could you remind all of us about the specifics?

Merry: Facebook Ads Parameters: Headline = 25 characters, Body = 90 chars, Image = 110×80(to be reduced to 99×72)

PPC Hero: Have you noticed any differences in performance with the new, shorter ads? What are your results?

Merry: I have not seen a significant up or down tick. The key is standing out from your competition & know what? Drastically short FB ads do work. Why? Cause they LOOK different & there’s intrigue if targeted correctly.

PPC Hero: Facebook optimizes your ads for clicks pretty quickly when A/B testing. Any tips for maintaining testing integrity?

Merry: Launch only a few FB ads at a time, pause, & rotate in fresh ads THEN assess what works. Couple days each should do.

PPC Hero: Back to not slacking on images… Are there colors that you’d recommend? Should people include text in with the image?

Merry: For Facebook images: Orange works across the board. Not as alarming & over-done as red & not as gender-specific as pink. Any image colors that contrast FB’s design are always a good idea. Crank the saturation & contrast to make ’em glow. YES to text in images! Also, get a .png of logos & layer them over FB ad images for extra branding. No wasted characters 🙂

PPC Hero: Perfect! Merry, has advertising on Facebook affected your own profile? Do you “like” fewer things nowadays?

Merry: Knowing how FB works, I am more selective with what I “like.” That said, I’m not a “typical” FB user 🙂 It’s important to remember we are NOT typical users. Things we find dumb or ugly sometimes work. Farmville who’da thunk?

PPC Hero: Oh Farmville! #hangsheadinshame So, the bottom line…is this all worth the trouble? What can people expect in terms of sales/lead quality from Facebook?

Merry: What kind of sales/leads from FB is like asking “how much does a house cost?” It depends what you’re asking of it. We’ve seen FB out perform search for B2B (yes, really). We’ve done direct sales, branding, lead-gen & it just depends.

PPC Hero: Facebook’s customer support is notoriously lacking (save huge spenders). Anything you’d like to publicly gripe about?

Merry: Um. Everything. Nah, the support team is great, albeit a bit laggy. they’re great people. We must remember, Facebook is still a “small start-up” in many terms, this will change post IPO. They’ll get there. #Faith

PPC Hero: That’s very true. #patientlywaiting. Ok, last question: What’s your guiding principle of Facebook? Your words to live by, so to speak.

Merry: Don’t half-ass FB ads just because the plaform is “easy to use” (hard to master). Facebook ads & assets should be as good, if not better, than any other platform you’re advertising on. Last: Test, test, test. FB is such a great sampling of a population, test messaging in FB & bring it to other channels.

PPC Hero: That was great info, Merry! If anyone else has any questions, now would be the time to ask!

@friznanco: Have you experienced any issues w/ fb’s new reporting on ‘page likes’ lately? I’m getting a bunch of innacurate 0’s

Merry: Yes, FB is working on the reporting interface, it’s always been a bit buggy. Are you able to track manually?

@friznanco: It’s a very drawn out process, but yes. Unfortunately ‘Actions’ includes interaction past the ‘connection.’ So you have to expand each ad individually to inspect the stats.

Merry: My condolences, that sounds like a heap of work :\

@friznanco: In terms of Lead Gen – do you see a higher Conversion when sending users to an app on facebook vs sending externally?

Merry: iframed tab = compromise to capture analytics data. I’ve seen it work both ways. Consider when linking ads to FB, you’re essentially paying FB for traffic TO FB… gross. But if it serves your need & works

@twistedlister: Great information. Wondering if you knew if old ads would eventually be forced into smaller body size? Or just new?

Merry: Yes, eventually old ads will be truncated supposedly in May. keep an eye on ’em!

@friznanco: Speaking of analytics data – are their any third party APIs you would recommend to people grinding w/ FB ads everyday?

Merry: Coolest FB Ad tool I’ve seen lately: @adParlor Pulse tool- you can identify which precise interest got the click :O ! Other stellar packages: @Acquisio which will integrate search & display w/ FB. AND great tools for segment building.

@friznanco: Thanks for the heads up, I will definitely check them out! Will you be at the AllFacebook Conference next month?

Merry: I will not, but I believe @aimclear – our fearless leader, will be at the AllFacebook Conf 🙂

PPC Hero: Well, folks, I think that’s about all for today! Thanks for hanging out, and thanks to Merry for bringing her Facebook expertise to the table!

Merry: Thanks for having me, those were some awesome Qs & great follow-up Qs too! 🙂