Welcome to the second installment of our Reach Expansion Final Four series for March PPC Madness!  Today’s bracket is all about Facebook.  We all know and love it as the platform that keeps us socially viable and in the loop.  But does it work for marketing and PPC specifically?  Here at Hanapin Marketing we have seen accounts win the game every month and some that at least give its best 3-point attempt in using this social outlet.  Here are some tricks and tips on how to alley-oop your way to a successful advertising win with Facebook.

Facebook was started in February 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg and has become one of, if not the, largest social networking sites in the world.  With the quick expansion of the network and the continued roll out of different ways to share your life online, it is no wonder that advertisers want to get courtside seats.  Facebook provides an outlet to advertise to a fairly captive audience with very succinct targeting options.

Quick Player Stats from the Facebook Press Room:

  • Facebook had 845 million monthly active users at the end of December 2011.
  • Approximately 80% of the monthly active users are outside the U.S. and Canada.
  • Facebook had 483 million daily active users on average in December 2011.
  • Facebook had more than 425 million monthly active users who used Facebook mobile products in December 2011.
  • Facebook is available in more than 70 languages.
  • More than 30 billion pieces of content are shared every month.
  • There are over 70 translations available on Facebook
  • Every month, more than 250 million people engage with Facebook via external websites
  • Over 2.5 million websites have integrated with Facebook, including many of conScore’s top sites
  • More than 200 million active users are currently accessing Facebook through their mobile devices

Winning The Game With Facebook – Success Stories:

In 2011, Erik Whaley with Search Engine Journal experimented with a Facebook PPC campaign. Using the same creative for Facebook, Google search and Google display he saw extraordinary results in just one month. He kept other variables the same targeted the same cities and used the same daily budget.  As seen in the chart below, Facebook ousted out the competition in the first round.  The only metric that had not improved was click-through rate, which can be largely attributed to the large gap between impressions and clicks.

Our Account Managers here at Hanapin have expanded many of their client’s accounts into Facebook over the past several years.  When the Facebook and Google AdWords data was compared side-by-side for one our clients, we found some pretty shocking results.  The Facebook account had spent less than half as much as the Google account, and while the Google account acquired more impressions and clicks, the Facebook account had a higher click-through-rate, more conversions, a higher conversion rate and the CPL was about a third the Adwords CPL. With a results like this, who wouldn’t pick Facebook in the PPC draft!

Breaking the Losing Streak – Benching Facebook?:

On occasion when accounts are expanded into third tier spaces they don’t perform as well as we would like them to.  Recently one of our clients in the publishing vertical has seen decreasing results from Facebook.  The client team has found that the precise targeting has made it very difficult to expand the account based on the client’s goals.

“Our smallest campaign only has 2,471 potential targets.  The good news is that we were able to reach every single one of them, but the bad news is that our frequency is over 35.  We saw conversions drop to almost nothing once we blanketed the target audience and will probably turn the campaign off entirely for a while to let the customers’ eyeballs forget about us for a while.”  – Account Manager, Sean Quadlin

Unless your client is willing to expand their advertising dollar to hit both niche and wider audiences on Facebook, you might find yourself in a similar situation.  With a smaller target, frequency can become a big issue.  If the client still wants to play man-to-man defense it would probably be best to schedule a “buy” month off where your team can take a rest and the audience will love you when you come back again.  Another suggestion would be to rotate in new creative on a monthly basis so that the audiences are seeing something fresh.  This will also help to raise the CTR in the account, which should lead to more conversions in the long run.

So are you ready to start your Facebook campaigns?  In order to get started drafting your team, just follow these simple steps outlined by a fellow PPC Hero.  Just like your favorite basketball team, you win some and you lose some.  The lesson is to not be a fair weather fan and see it out until the end.  The more data you have, the better your case can be to ask for additional funds to support your Facebook accounts.  You are only a slam-dunk away from being your client’s PPC Hero!

Do you think that Facebook is a PPC game changer?  Let us know what you think and make sure you stay tuned for Kayla’s article on LinkedIn tomorrow in bracket three of our Final Four!