Wed, 21 Apr 2010 22:03
Will Your Facebook Ad be Approved?
It's incredibly easy to create a Facebook ad, to help promote your website. However, the approval process may prove to be something of a challenging surprise, judging by all the complaints on the net by people whose ads are not approved on the first try.
But don't waste time poring through Facebook's fine-print guideline, to see what strange, obscure marketing prohibition you've inadvertently flouted: The reason is likely to be as plain as the nose on Squidward's face.
In a word, formatting.
You'll be told the reason, anyway, in your "Disapproval Letter". (This term always makes me think of stern lady schoolteachers wearing buns and glasses, circa 1960.) They just might not (pardon the pun) spell it out quite clearly...
The most common problems seem to be with:
- Unapproved fonts
(In other words, if you were hoping to sneak past the proofreader with a cleverly deliberate keyword in the form of a misspelling - forget it!)
Some marketers are used to being a little sloppy with grammar, spelling and formatting. There's usually no one to correct you - particularly when you are happily planning to pull the above sneakily-optimized keyword stunt. But one marketer I know almost had a coronary, trying to figure out the error that kept getting his Facebook ad rejected. He cross-checked his spelling "16 times over" and couldn't find a thing.
He had his mother check it, his sister, his girlfriend. Even his dog.
Eventually, he realized he had entitled his ad: "Arborists In The Attic", instead of "Arborists in the Attic". They nailed him on the capitalization. (Of course, the title has been changed here to protect the guilty.)
So before you dash off that incredibly easy Facebook ad and submit it... might be worth your while to bone up on your grammar.
And dig out your old Webster's Dictionary!
Wed, 21 Apr 2010 22:02
Using Facebook Ads for Market Research
There's been heavy buzz about Facebook ads - and with good reason. Created properly, they can be an effective tool in rocketing your popularity like a meteor, or branding your business.
But almost no one talks about using Facebook ads in reverse - as a source of valid ideas for market research.
Think about it. If a subject is on Facebook, and it's got an ad, it's likely viable. Are there groups? Fans? Often you can find out exactly how many Facebook fans a strong group or website in your niche actually has.
You can also see if people are actually interested in a particular product; how passionate they are about the subject; and what age group, gender, education background and more its members display in their profile.
That's instant targeting! No more fumbling around in Alexa, trying to figure out what the actual human demographic is likely to be. Right there on Facebook you can see:
What the fans are talking about
If the niche is actively "hot"
If it is growing
You can also get an idea of its size from the number of fans. Fans in the millions? It may be too broad for your purposes. Only 6 fans? Watch that niche to see if it grows - perhaps even join the Facebook Group, if it's something you're particularly passionate about. But don't invest any ad money yet.
Once you've found a likely niche on Facebook, set up a profile page for yourself using highly specific keywords. Pay attention to the ads served up to you and you're spying on your competition. Click on their ads, visit their sites, view their source pages and see what keywords they use in their META tags (if any).
Using Facebook ads for market research is one of the best ways to see if a niche is really on fire!
Wed, 21 Apr 2010 22:00
Facebook Lexicon - Where did it Go?
Facebook's Lexicon was, until very recently, a secret goldmine for Facebook ad developers. But now all you will see is a sign that the Lexicon has been removed from Facebook "for the time being".
While this is aggravating to those who had gotten into the habit of using it for market research, it may signal good news for internet marketers. Why?
Well, Facebook is apparently going to focus development on their "analytics tools for Page owners, advertisers and Platform developers".
This means they are perfectly savvy to the uses people were putting Lexicon to. And that it might be brought back as a more tightly-focused commercial version for marketers.
What was the Lexicon, anyway? (You ask, out of idle curiosity.)
It was a short-lived tool, launched in October 2009, which used to track the number of occurrences of Facebook wall "words and phrases". Think "long-tailed keywords" for phrases, and you'll see why marketers found it so exciting.
In other words, it measured the buzz...
..And the mood - its "Gross National Happiness Tracking Index" measured words on Facebook walls to see if people used positive or negative keywords daily. It's similar to a tool created years ago that did the same thing, right across the net. (There was even a television program about this type of internet sociometric recently, in which the show's producers attempted to "prove" that the words we collectively use mean that Nostradamus' apocalyptic prophecies are coming true).
But we are getting distracted and beginning to veer off topic: Something we Facebook users do a lot, particularly when just browsing. To return to our main point...
Alas. Facebook apparently got wise to Lexicon's money-making potential, and realized they had a Wonder Tool in the making - one they can no doubt monetize and make income from (as good business people should). Or else perhaps they had received forceful letters from the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) lawyers about plagiarism. We'll never know.
Farewell, Lexicon. Facebook has hinted they will bring back "some components" in an unspecified future... but in what form will we see this once-handy tool?
Wed, 21 Apr 2010 21:52
Facebook Ad Headlines - The Formula
Drop everything you ever learned about writing long sales copy or blog headlines - Facebook ad headlines are different, yet again.
For one thing, you only have a rigid 25-characters for your Facebook ad headlines (no exceptions), so they must be short, punchy and eye-catching.
The best format is either something so off-the-wall your reader just has to click, to see what on earth you're talking about... or that old standby, the question format.
"Ready to Make Six Figures?"
"Which Type are You?"
"Want a Virtual Horse?"
The advantage of a question format is that the "you" is implicit. You're already speaking directly to the reader, just by adding that question mark. (Every time you eliminate the "you" that's 3 whole characters you don't have to include.)
Keep It Simple
Another way is to go for simplicity - and use action verbs such as.
"Play Farm Wars" - accompanied by your signature branding graphic or a screen shot from the game, and your 125 character body text - does the trick nicely. Your reader will either play (and the chances are the ad's being served to her because she already plays several games)... or not play. All the eloquence and clever keywords in the world aren't going to change that.
Condense, Condense, Condense
Another way to make the most of your headlines? See where you can eliminate unnecessary words. (This will make your writing feel "tighter", anyway.) "Do You Love Chocolate?" can easily be shortened to "Love Chocolate?"
Finally, there's a difference between being enigmatic and being vague. "Love Chocolate?" - accompanied by an appropriate photo and a brief explanation ("Learn to make your own gourmet truffles!" and a link) - gets your message across much better than "Try this" (accompanied by no graphic and "For a thrilling experience click here" and a link).
In other words, the latter example didn't pique curiosity, gave not even a hint about the subject... and appealed to no one.
Most inexperienced marketers dash through creating their Facebook headlines, but this is your most important component - the one that makes people either click... or not. Take your time, and really pay attention to the message you want to send.
And don't forget that split-testing!
Wed, 21 Apr 2010 21:47
3 Hidden Secrets and your Facebook Ad Strategy
You've done thorough market research, and read all Facebook's rules and prohibitions... you're all ready to start your Facebook ad campaign. Before you do, however, you may need to stop and consider some little-known factors that could affect your market research conclusions.
1. You may know that Facebook allows users to search the web from Facebook: What you may not realize is that Facebook separated itself from Google. Now when you search the web via Facebook, results are returned from Bing.
2. You can link your Facebook Ad to your Facebook group... but if you change your mind and decide a Facebook Page would work better than a group instead, you cannot transfer your group members over.
3. According to the New York Times, Microsoft has a 1.6% stake in Facebook. (That translates out to $240 million dollars!)
Now, the news about Bing may alert you to the need to keep cultivating Google SEO too; and the news about Microsoft's big Facebook investment may only serve to confirm your belief that Facebook is worth its weight (unless you are a confirmed Microphobe; in which case you'll be convinced that Microsoft is about to Take Over Facebook and seriously mess it up)... but the point about member lists not being transferrable from Facebook groups to pages is one that has caught many new advertisers by surprise, and caused some grief.
So think carefully about which option - group or page - is better, before you decide to create one or the other specifically to link with your ad.
And 1 Hidden Benefit
But Facebook has one big hidden benefit not mentioned ahead of time in its Ad Creation process - one which you won't find anywhere else on a social site...
...it tells you to "wait" if a large company is about to initiate a competing campaign that day - one which would severely hurt your results.
Many people agree that feature alone is worth its weight in gold. Do you agree... or are you too busy nervously watching for those Microsoft Facebook announcements to appear in your inbox?
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