When Facebook launched it was only available to college students. In the last year things have changed dramatically. People of all ages are finding Facebook and quickly realizing that it is a great way to connect with friends, both old and new. Facebook makes it easy to keep friends abreast of what is going on in your life. Facebook users love to specify information about themselves such as interests, employment, where they went to school, and even their current relationship status. This amounts to a marketers dream!
Other online marketing channels offer some level of demographic targeting preference, but not nearly to the degree of Facebook. Let’s say that I am an online wine retailer. I can specify that I want my ad to show only to people that specify that they have an interest in “wine tasting” or “drinking wine”. Better yet, let’s say that you find most of your customers are over the age of 30. No problem! You can also have your ads show up just to people over the age of 30. Demographic preferences can also be set based on location. If you are selling sun protective products, you might not want to display your ad in the state of Washington during the winter months. If you sell purses, no problem! You can have your ad display only to women. Never before has a marketer had so much control over who sees their ads.
Facebook also gives advertisers the option of paying per click or paying per view. Unless your sole purpose is branding, pay per click probably makes more sense. You only pay when someone clicks your ad and is directed to your landing page (similar to Google Adwords). As with all online marketing channels, it’s important that you have tracking code in place so that you can measure your return on investment from each ad campaign.
Setting up an advertisement in Facebook is easy. Advertisers can specify quite a few lines of copy in their ad (135 Characters) and even include a 110 x 80 pixel image. These ads give you more real estate than your typical Google Adword. Another nice feature is that as you change your audience preferences during the ad creation process, Facebook will show you how many people fit into that particular demographic.
The only frustration you might come across when creating an ad is that not all interests are available and there doesn’t seem to be a suggestion tool. For example, if you tried to create an ad for people interested in “ecommerce” but not enough people have specified “ecommerce” as an interest, you are out of luck. Consequently, it can take some time and brainstorming to come up with interests that are available.
Most online retailers are not yet advertising on social networks. However, that is likely to change soon as people realize the potential opportunity. When you put a compelling ad in front of the right targeted audience, good things are going to happen.