Will Facebook Advertising Work for Me?

Before joining Compete Now, I spent a year as the lead consultant on a rebranding and e-marketing campaign for one of the leading online flower retailers. During my time in that position, I learned a thing or two about social media marketing that I will gladly share our followers in upcoming posts. A lot of questions from our customers involve the subject of Facebook advertising, so I will address this issue in my first blog post.

Here are a few Facebook statistics for those of you who are big on numbers:

-More than 500 million active users
-50% (or 250 million) users log in any given day
-People spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook

Do you know how many of those people are actively looking to purchase something on Facebook? Not very many people. So when should you put your ads on Facebook, if at all?

Remember, Facebook is a recreational activity and when it becomes an actual occupation, myself and many others will finally get paid for the long hours we’ve put in.  When we have “nothing better to do” or want to get away from work or class for a bit, we find ourselves catching up with family and friends or planning our Friday nights.  We’re not shopping or looking for any substantial information, other than whether or not Biff and Trixie actually broke up (it’s not official until Facebook says so). 99.9% of the time our searches are directed to finding people or social events and not products or services.

With that, if your product or service can’t be categorized as a recreational activity, the likelihood you’re going to get any clicks/conversions is fairly low.  Be sure to take a close look at the image below of three targeted campaigns we ran in March for flowers. You’ll see exactly what I mean.

Why such low conversion rates? Is it the lame titles? Perhaps. But people are not actively looking for flowers on Facebook. It’s more of a coincidence if someone were to purchase these flowers from a targeted ad on a social network. Birthdays might be a good example of this.

Even though the bouquets were advertised at an extremely low price ($9.99), there was no need to purchase them on the spot. I will be honest and tell you that we didn’t sell one bouquet from any of the above campaigns.

The mentality is similar to the following: “It’s Mom’s birthday. I need flowers so I’ll do a Google search to find the best quality for the lowest price. I will then go on Facebook to invite some family friends to the gathering we’re going to have for her.”  There’s the balance between online shopping and social media.

On the other hand, companies selling activities and coupon sites advertising local deals have extremely high click through rates. Why is that? Because when we’re on Facebook it’s time to socialize. This thought process is quite different than the one above. It goes a little something like this: “Hmm…there’s a local fresh water turtle charity event advertised for Saturday morning. I’m free Saturday morning and I bet my friend Bart from zoology class would like to go with me.”

The ad revolves around a social activity and is targeted to a certain locale, which is more likely to gain your audience’s attention than products. Take a look at the campaign results below for a Ghost Hunting and Milkshakes social. Again, remember it’s a recreational activity that we’re talking about here and compare the impression to click ratio with the flower campaign above.

Take a look at some of these other marketing campaigns listed below that have high click through rates but may not be for you:

-Contests and freebies (“Win a free Light Saber…”)
-Activist groups (“Don’t shower! The only things that are truly “green” come from dirt.”)
-Facebook Pages (The OFFICIAL Lhasa Apso Fan Club – Like This)
-Discounts (“15% off anything and everything in the world.”)

**Statistics were taken directly from Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/press/info.php?statistics)