Facebook Marketing: Beyond The Like

By David Cohen 

Repeat after us: Facebook marketing is about more than just likes. Motivity Marketing CEO Kevin Ryan, AgoraPulse Founder and CEO Emeric Ernoult, and AdParlor CEO Hussein Fazal offered specific examples of campaigns that worked for their specific firms in a panel at the AllFacebook Marketing Conference in New York Tuesday, “Facebook Ads: Can They Promote More Than Just Likes?,” moderated by Fang Digital Marketing CEO Jeff Ferguson.

Ryan offered his seven rules of Facebook, which were as follows:

  1. Always start with friends and friends of friends, with Ryan saying, “It seems like a really basic thing to do, but it’s not.”
  2. Expand to fans of related brands. Ryan added, “People who are interested in Ann Taylor might be interested in Victoria’s Secret.
  3. Use keyword stemming to find interests. Ryan said, “This is something that makes a whole lot of sense, even though Facebook is trying to distance itself from search results.”
  4. Micro-segment your audience. Ryan said of failed Facebook campaigns, “They target to a very narrow segment, and then they don’t adjust the creative for the audience.”
  5. Test images before copy.
  6. Keep ads fresh. “How long will creative survive?,” Ryan asked. “The answer is not long at all. Advertisers fall short by not switching out creative enough — rotation and optimization.”
  7. Maintain the Facebook experience. Ryan urged marketers to maintain the consistency of that experience through ads and media buys.

He concluded:

Think of the brand first before you think of the rules of Facebook. Likes are absolutely spectacular, but it’s hard to draw a line between likes and revenue. Three essentials: Focus on learning while earning, prep for smart online media at scale, no device is an island We’re not mobile marketing anymore — we’re device marketing.

Ernoult discussed two campaigns run by AgoraPulse: one for a company that specializes in vacation clubs, and the other for a nonprofit organization aimed at improving housing conditions in France.

He stressed “creativity that leverages all of the available Facebook tactics, not just ads,” and said his company’s client owns 35 to 40 vacation clubs, and it ran twice-yearly contests aimed at acquiring more likes, aiming for a better cost per like. His advice to that company: “You don’t need a better cost per like: You need more clients and more exposure for your actual products.”

AgoraPulse took all of the company’s destinations and used open graphto embed them in the sweepstakes, asking visitors which club they would like to visit if they won the contest.

The results were: more than 13 million impressions, more than 16,000 click-throughs, more than 93,000 new likes, and, as a bonus, 1.7 million views of embedded YouTubevideos featuring tours of the vacation clubs.

Ernoult added that within three months, nearly $59,000 of sales were directly attributable to Facebook.

As for the nonprofit in France, it spent approximately $1.70 per signature in using traditional media (magazines, billboards, TV) to coax citizens to sign its petition, and Ernoult’s advice to the group was, “Leverage Facebook’s viral power and the news feed as a free interactive communication channel.”

AgoraPulse created a Sign the Petition tab, which encouraged users who signed the petition to invite their friends to do so and share the activity on their walls.

The company also created a Flash application directly within the news feed, which promoted its newsletter to users who clocked on it.

AgoraPulse found that many users got more than 100 friends apiece to sign the petition, and the group collected some 155,000 total signatures, attributing 75,000 of them directly to Facebook, at a total cost of just under $1 each.

Last but certainly not least, Fazal discussed a campaign for Groupon in which AdParlor combined the Groupon deals application-programming interface, an XML feed that lists all of its deals in real-time, with the Facebook Ads API, leading to the creation of deal-specific Facebook ads within a few minutes. Fazal said the campaign resulted in “tens of billions of impressions and millions of new signups.”

He also discussed Facebook’s recently introduced custom audiences advertising option, which enables marketers to target users on the social network by their Facebook IDs, their email addresses, or their phone numbers. Fazal said advertisers can either buy ads specifically targeting users who have given them their email addresses, or take the opposite tack and exclude those users in the hopes of gaining new customers.

Fazal offered the example of a travel company that targeted Facebook users who frequently stayed at its hotels, saying that the ads took them directly to room-booking pages, and the campaign resulted in a return on investment of 25 times.

He also discussed a car company that acquired likes using ZIP code targeting, aiming at high household-income areas located near its dealerships, and saying that those fans were retargeted with ads prompting them to request brochures.

Finally, in terms of page post ads, Fazal’s advice was: “Drive users off Facebook with links and photo posts, go after fans and find friends of fans, get prime news feed delivery.”