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How-To Make Facebook Ads Work for Your Business

Dramatically increase the response rates from you Facebook ads using this advice from Marty Weintraub, author of Killer Facebook Ads. This video contains clips and insights from Marty's presentation at SES Toronto in June 2011.

How-To Make Facebook Ads Work for Your Business Transcript


At the Search Engine Strategies Conference in June, Marty Weintraub did a fabulous presentation on killer Facebook targeting. CanadaOne has pulled together highlights of his presentation to bring to you. The ideas that you are about to hear are simple but powerful. In a nutshell, Marty explains how marketers can use the information that people provide about themselves son their Facebook pages to deeply target their advertisements to connect with people’s interests, passion and even the things they hate. Marty’s ideas are not only interesting but we can tell you from firsthand experience, they work. CanadaOne put a few of his strategies in place and on two of our test ads, we saw an increase response rate of over 300% compared to previous ads we have done for CanadaOne on Facebook. If you like this presentation, and we are sure you will, you will want to pick up a copy of Marty’s brand new book – Killer Facebook Ads that was just released this August.

This is called a Killer Facebook Targeting. We will talk about three essential types of targeting – literal, competitive and inferred. The concept of contextual targeting that I am going to offer you today is all about drawing an analogy between the physical world – you and me. Facebook’s social graph is so good, and the concentration of human beings approaching nearly 700 million people is so dense that you can draw analogies to the physical world.

The question is how far are you willing to go as a marketer into the “creep parade”. Are you willing to really get into people’s heads? Are you going to sell valley vacations to upper crust gays because there is a lot of really awesome dancing there? My favorite is that for years we sold sugar coupon downloads to people in the UK who sold pot. Are you more candy coated? It is not a very big reach to find people interested in tennis – oh yes, I am going to sell them fuzzy wrist bands!

Those three targeting fundamentals that I discussed – literal targeting. Remember in Facebook, we are targeting what people are interested in, if the precise interest segment includes the keyword (for example, if they are interested in Bocce ball, you can sell them bocce balls!), this is literal. Totally literal. This could be a really focused search. You could do direct response marketing with these people, you could do “get your red hot bocce ball”. The bad news about this is that those types of literal relationships don’t always exist. To be a great contextual marketer you have to be a little sideways, or a lot sideways.

My grandmother always used to tell me that you can’t have two asses on the same chair at the same time. That is competition. That is competitive contextual targeting. If you know that there are 30,000 people in the United States that are interested in Dell Inspiron and you sell Apple, which is arguably a better product even when you yare running windows, it is not very hard to think about going to poach people in that community. If General Mills who make Cheerios is willing to spend the time and money to organize their little friends about Banana Nut Cheerios and I am another cereal brand, I am going to go meet those people and become one and make friends with them. The more a competitive brand spends on organizing their people in a social media community, the more organized they are for you to get to know and ultimately earn their trust, friendship, loyalty… and poach them.

The wquestion is, are you a good enough marketer to sell porsches to people who like Rolex’s. See that sideways thing? Sideways. Competitive inferred. Some people called it behavioral targeting. Now it starts to get fun. Obviously we’ve got a sentiment towards competitors, but how about negative competitor sentiment. That is a very powerful thing. These are unsatisfied competitors that you can prove consume a specific brand. They are using your competitors’ products but you know that they’re not happy. Of course they are susceptible to alternatives in some cases. Go to the Facebook page and type in words like “horrible” or whatever.

It gets really colorful when you start looking at interests. By the way, in demographic targeting, don’t get confused by saying it’s “Likes” and “interests”, it is different in different places where facebook says it. All through the UI they say it different. They make changes in the terminology they use week to week without making it even. When we say “like” it doesn’t mean they like the page, it means they’re interested in it. But “interested in it” might mean they like the page, get it?

If you boycott Wal-Mart but people need to buy things and there are people with such a socioeconomic status that they need to use this store. Are you going to market to these people? There are lots of different ways to handle this. In Facebook ads, you can go “Rice Crispies alternative”, that works great because you know they hate Rice Krispies! You can get really aggressive – “you hate their brand? You will love our brand!” but that could get you sued. Or “10% discount if you think Blah Blah Blah isn’t good”.

You have to be really careful with negative sentiment. For one thing, it is the Wild West. There is no case law, at least in the United States about marketing to sentiment either positive or negative and I think its safe to say there is going to be radical litigation against it. Remember when Google quyit enforcing trademarks and said we are not going to be the ones that say no? They said we would like to host the fight and get paid for it, but we won’t be the referee. Facebook is like that too. The rule is, if you wouldn’t stand outside their store and yell to the crowd, then it might not be a good idea to do it in Facebook. We tell our clients what the risks are, we are not opposed to doing it, but this is a decision you need to make for your own brand. You don’t necessarily want to be the case study where someone sues you. Facebook is not the law! The law is the law! Facebook is a social media platform and if they allow it that doesn’t mean it is legal wherever you are. Think about the rules of the jurisdiction wherever you are marketing from and wherever you are marketing to.

If somebody is interested in Alcoholics Anonymous on Facebook, I can tell you from serving 30 billion impressions throughout the last couple of years, they actually are interested in AA. But here is the deal, you don’t just meet the person and go “hey, can I please put my tongue in your mouth”. You just don’t do that, that’s just not how you sell. Most people who are in social media are going “try my product”. Be with the people. If you are marketing to people who are physical therapists, say “if you can only relieve the pain of the car accident”. Don’t take a hard sales position and offer valuable things. Speak in their languages with inside jokes, both with your community management travels and your facebook ad targeting. For goodness sake, if you are going to use Facebook ads, use your local half the time.

So now we did literal, which is tight semantic relationship between the interest and what you are marketing. We did competitive, which speaks to positive and negative sentiment. We have already drawn the analogy. Why are we doing this? We are doing this because you could use Facebook ads to create an ad user interface to figure out social media campaigns the very same way you could use Adwords keyword tool to figure our SEO.

Infer targeting, I’ve called this different things at different times. Aggressive targeting and predatory targeting. It is all of those things. Depending on how good at marketing you are, it is either a badass advantage or you are such a Loser. I can close my eyes and I can feel you people in this room and I just know that you guys are 70% freak. Because everybody is. There is stuff you do when you take off the lights. There is stuff you do when you take off your clothes. There is stuff you do when you run around in the woods late at night or whatever it is you do. There are so many different versions of freakish human beings, that is what makes it such a blessing to be alive. So my question is, how am I going to leverage that as a marketer? When users use Facebook’s free tools, they are giving you their soul because that is how good the social graph on Facebook is. This is not new – we didn’t make this ip. People have been taking advantage of people for different reasons for the history of human kind. The real question is are you going to to be a good witch or a bad witch. How many have heard the expression “love junkie”? Or “Ex-whipped” or “slave to something”. The bottom line is that human beings are charismatic, driven, lovely beings who are many shades of complexities.

A lot of human nature is centered around reindeer games. You know, Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer. Think about lacrosse, my daughter plays lacrosse – they beat the crap out of each other. When I was a kick, I played these rock-em sock-em robot things until I needed surgery on my thumbs pretty much. They teach us violent metaphors and Facebook is just amazing. There are 7,200 13 year old kids are interested in either killing terrorists, killing probation workers or killing legal. Do you think I could sell them Mortal Kombat downloads?

Medical targeting is all over the place. Pregnant people – the man and the woman – it is a very passionate time. If the ad says “she glows with pride at the beauty of your seed” or something like that. If you can speak to a lady or speak right to these people and sell them minivans.

So what do you think you could sell somebody who is interested in diazepam or valium? I understand! It doesn’t work this way, you don’t go ‘oh, here is a segment, what can I market to them’. It goes the other way – ‘oh, I’ve got self help books, who can I sell them to?’ Well, I think I could sell them to people who are uptight or wound or stressed or challenged. Well, how can I find evidence of people who are completely wound on Facebook? Great, they’re into valium…

So LinkedIn gets all the credit for being the big business platform but I just want to point out that LinkedIn has about 100 million people, but Facebook has almost 700 million people anecdotally even though they claim 500. Facebook ads in almost every country add up to almost 700 million people. They’re all the same people! There are 7 times more people on Facebook and they all have jobs! Even though there is no occupation targeting per se, we have made a meal of occupation targeting at our company. Real professionals are never off duty! The more fanatically driven and therefore targetable any professional is, the more likely that they are never off duty. Cops are always cops and molecular biologists are always molecular biologists. I learned this the harder way. We market a lot of conferences or other industry things like this. We were marketing one of our clients on Facebook and it was like 3 in the morning and I couldn’t sleep and I was up on Facebook and chatting with my sister and I saw this Ad and I went “wow” and it pushed my buttons and it was our ad! Because I am always a marketer.

I’m probably ruining this by speaking about it a lot that there is so little occupation targeting in Facebook that for early adaptors you can make a meal of it. Because being professional is a huge part of our makeup. It is one of the three most important parts of our makeup and lots of times it is arguably the most important part of our makeup.

So, this is what you don’t do when you are occupation targeting. You see people that are interested in real estate agencies – No! These could be fans. I don’t know that these people are realtors; I just know they are interested. However, if they are interested in building real estate careers, maybe. But if they are interested in hailing a realtor, this could be fans. And the only ways to know is go check out the Facebook presence and see if the targeting reach matches. This is what you do. They say they work in realty but in reality, realtors have very little support staff – they run their own little businesses. You can find 98,000 realtors in America. So if you are the person who makes the magnetic signs for the car, or sells snow plowing or restaurant coupons that they could sell at half price to give to their customers, or computers, or easy upload video cameras – you can sell all these to realtors. Occupation targeting for B2B and both B2C is extremely powerful. There are two ways to do it. You can go to the Facebook Create an Ad UI, you can go to the education and work bucket and go “where do they work?” Oh, they work at IBM or Seimens or 3M. This shows workplaces, not what their job is but where they work. But if you go up to their likes and interests, which is now called “precise interest” which they changed in the last 10 days, going to Facebook ads create an ad UI now or when you get home and go to the precise interest bucket, and type in the word “manager space any letter”. So if somebody is interested in “manager business development”, do you think someone is liking the manager business development fan page? I don’t really think so – I think that’s what their job is. And heading all the way back to that explanation I showed you, Facebook just says that is one of the variables that comprise precise interests. Experiment with how many letters because the more or less letters you type, the more it filters it in different ways. You can literally run tests where you compare this with LinkedIn. Now, if you go to that bottom area I showed you first where you show what company they work for and you type in a big enough company like Seimens or IBM or very large companies, yes you will find all of the molecular biologists that work for Seimens. Well not that exact example. One word of caution – small companies don’t work, the sampling is not big enough even with 700 million people. Also, remember that it’s not just targeting occupations. If someone is interested in the restaurant association, you have a fair idea of where they are coming from.

Facebook is so vertically granular in the wine space that you can find 25,000 people who look for things like cabernet sauvignon. Most normal people don’t even know what this is and yet you have a concentration of people who like it. Motorcycles are an awesome category for selling concert tickets or leather. I love ladies who are into power tools, that is a do it yourself marketer’s fantasy. There are so many product verticals. People who are interested in fabric and sewing or gay travel or tons of thousands of more. You can sell vacation adventures to people who are interested in Sir Richard Branson because he is a well known adventurer. It goes from wild to mild; you can find little old men who are interested in baking from scratch or fantastic teenage girls who are interested in star gazing. Or middle aged whatever who are interested in making soap or bocce ball or pool or horseshoes or tanning. This is the coolest time to be in marketing I think in the history of the planet.

Politics – oh my! People who are radical enough politically to show up as an extreme in the social graph of Facebook are good to sell things. From philanthropic things to save the babies or the whales or the rainforest. Find cause type stuff in Facebook. People who are pro-life or pro-choice – or euthanasia! Anybody that is intense enough to trigger the social graph for specific religion is probably susceptible to icon imagery from their religion. They’re susceptible to value and commitment pitches – these are beautiful, committed people right? We tested ads where we watermarked “Christ” over it where you wouldn’t even notice it and it bumps the click through rate for ads where you are marketing to fanatical Christians. You have to be careful because companies have been caught doing that and it is not pretty.

Sports is crazy! Look at these numbers – 161,800 people who are into field hockey. Tide detergent – get those grass stains out! You can get downright creepy about how you refer to interesting new sports and by the way it works. Serve these people a big-ass picture of a Bocce ball. My favorite one I’ve seen in sports is poaching Michael Jordan fans for  year shingles so the more that somebody has invested making a sports star an icon to where people associate not just the product, but the product category with that icon, the more rich that segment is for you to poach fans.

So family roles. Family just recently rolled out something called “broad targeting” where they just give up family roles but that isn’t the best family targeting that we found in Facebook. If somebody is interested in “my son plays baseball”, not only do you know it is a dude of a certain age range, but you also know that he is emotional about baseball. So when you speak to “You with your son forever”, show a big picture of a baseball! You can find highly granular family role interests in Facebook.

There are plenty of people on Facebook who just say they are interested in Once again, you can take other company’s efforts financially and logistically to organize people on Facebook and turn it against them by networking their people. Social media is the ultimate double edged sword which is why when I market in social media I like it to be a one way parade where the Facebook coffers of engagement are always filled with everyone else’s fans as a buffer while I channel them to close loot systems like email or phone calling or more traditional marketing mechanisms. I know that the longer I have them in Facebook, the more people like me can poach them. So, I like to have all that engagement. I even like to bring our fans out from behind the curtain for our clients and stuff, but just keep this in mind.

Finally, don’t forget to leverage Google and Bing. Search is your friend. Here I am selling a big-ass table saw, I don’t know what woodworking magazines there are. So I search woodworking magazines – I find them on Facebook and there are the 4,760 people I can serve ads to. Remember that you can find websites too – Amazon – you can find books! Use search to find them, otherwise I wouldn’t know!

How many people here ever tried to create anything that they would like to go viral? Who knows what is? It is sort of a time-wasting, low brow, humor video site. So, if you interact with users who are on Facebook who you know are fanatically devoted to Cracked magazine, aren’t those the people that take stuff viral all the time? These are people that you want to know.

Just ask yourself how deep you are willing to go. This concept is more important than Facebook. Look around this room and look inside your own mind and your own heart and think about what you are. Think about your sexual predilections; think about how much you love your kids. Not in the same sentence or paragraph of course. Think about the magazines you read and the sports you are interested in – everything. This applies not just to Facebook. This applies to the upcoming revolution in contextual targeting. This thinking works in LinkedIn ads. This thinking will work in the contextual platforms to come – anywhere there is a social graph!

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