What makes an effective Facebook advertisement?

Have you ever been engaged – and then visited Facebook? After changing my FB status last year to engaged, the advertising I was served was ALL related to weddings. Or losing weight. Or wedding dresses. Or wedding accessories. Had I been seriously in need of suppliers, it would have been pretty helpful actually…which I did notice when wearing my “marketing” hat.

(That said, I really enjoyed being able to change the status to married as I looked at a lot of those ads way too many times. Hint: don’t run the same ad for months at a time!).

I’ve yet to have the occasion to run a Facebook advertising campaign for a client, but I’m watching and waiting for the right chance. Why? They currently seem to be an inexpensive – and less cluttered – way to conduct CPC (cost per click) advertising than Google IF you have a product or service that matches the environment.

Why do I make this distinction?

People are searching on Google for information. A huge variety of information. That’s not the case with Facebook. People are on Facebook to catch up with friends and family (or at least find our what they’re doing without even having to speak to them!).

So the Facebook audience are less likely to look at advertising and less likely to respond to certain types of advertising. Yet there’s also less ads on facebook that you’d expect to find. Even if you voluntarily click on “see all” next to “sponsored”, there were only about 20 ads where I “fit” the profile set up by advertisers. These are things like age, gender, education level and where you live.

So if it’s a less cluttered space, and if you have something that you feel will appeal, it’s a cheap marketing test. So if you do have the right product or service, the next thing to consider is what makes an effective Facebook advert. (For the sake of this article, effective just means what I think works, as I’m not privvy to the success of these ads).

These three adverts I’ve grabbed at random because I think two work well, one is uninspired, but there’s something to learn from all of them.

Advert 1 – The “hook” in this advert is the competition side of it. LOTS of people like to win tickets, so it’s a great way to get traffic. The cute little image stands out too. What is less apparent is what’s being advertised – North Coast Holiday Parks. I’m assuming this is a flash way of saying “caravan parks”. When you click on this, you go to their page. The lost opportunity with this great little advert is that you can “enter” without “liking” the page. The opportunity to win should have been traded for a like. And they should have brought you to a special landing page in Facebook, rather than the generic wall. This isn’t as exxy as you might imagine – you can build one for free at places like Lujure. Why do you want a Like? Then you’re actually likely to be able to market – and potentially SELL – in the future.

Advert 2 – The issue with this advert – there’s NO real hook. It’s just shouting at me about vague deals. This could have been great for a “sponsored stories” type of advertisement (in Facebook you can run “facebook ads” or “sponsored stories”). You could run a POLL on your page as a “post” and have this show as the advertisement. The poll could be something like “What place would you most like to travel to..” as the website that’s being advertised seems to be a generic online travel site, not one about Malaysia specifically. So much more can be done with a fun product like travel to sell…

Advert 3 – This ad has such great copy because it draws you in, telling you a story. LOVE that about it. It’s going to hit a pretty small market though – those considering University and possibly already pondering studying to be a pharmacist. As such, I’d question the marketer’s decision to include someone like me in the demographic – that is, almost 40 and already having a University degree. So big ticks for the copy, less so for the targeting, as it means you may be paying more in the CPC auction that necessary (as the wider the market, potentially the greater the CPC bidding competition).

In summary – Facebook advertising can be a pretty good zero budget small business marketing tool, but just because it’s “cheap”, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t think carefully about how to use it. By that, I’m talking ROI (return on investment) – and how to ultimately get a LIKE … and then a SALE!