How Search Marketers are Reaching Local Customers on Facebook – Q&A with G5’s Devin Davis

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devin_davis_01As Facebook’s audience continues to grow, more marketing agencies that have traditionally focused on search are beginning to experiment with Facebook. Earlier this week, we spoke with Tim Kendall, Facebook’s Director of Monetization, about the direction Facebook is going with its performance advertising solutions.

Today, we speak with Devin Davis, the Director of Marketing at G5 Search Marketing, a search agency that focuses primarily on the local market in the US. Below, Devin compares his experience on Facebook to SEM and shares examples of campaign tactics that have performed well on Facebook.

Thanks for your time today Devin. Could you give a quick summary of the type of clients G5 works with and the types of campaigns you run?

G5 has been working with Facebook on traditional Facebook ads (which, I realize, is a fairly fluid term) for quite some time now. We have clients in the self storage industry, the medical industry and the salon industry who have all seen fantastic results from their campaigns. Being able to target a specific audience has been key to this success.

How does the ROI your clients see on Facebook compare to search?

The CPC has been virtually the same across all the verticals.   The total amount spent has varied depending on the campaign, of course.  We have some clients in very rural areas so we have typically seen less total spend there when compared to areas with higher population density.  Our cost per conversion has also been similar across verticals.

We have typically seen a CPC of $1.25 or less. This has led to a $10.25 cost per lead. We have also been able to nail down a 10% conversion rate from visits originating from Facebook Ads, which is quite high. We attribute this to the granularity that Facebook provides us in targeting the users we’re reaching.

How do the results you’ve seen on Facebook compare across your storage, medical, and salon industry campaigns?

g5storageSo far we have seen the best results in the storage industry.  The ability to target students at particular universities was a huge win for us since a huge percentage of customers who use self storage facilities are students storing their stuff during breaks.

The salon industry saw the next best results because we could target women in areas around the salons.  The medical industry saw the lowest return of the three because of their specific practice.  In fact, we started the medical campaign with the intention of using it as much as a branding tool as anything else. In that regard, it has been quite successful.

What targeting and timing strategies have worked well for you so far?

Within the Facebook Ads realm, both targeting and timing have been key. An example: we have a self storage client who has facilities in numerous college towns (such as Berkeley and Flagstaff). Toward the end of the school year last year, we ran a campaign for them that focused on students of specific schools. This took advantage of both timing and targeting. As a direct result of that campaign, that client added more college students to their facilities than ever before.

What do you think Facebook could do to improve its performance advertising offering?

It would be great to have the ability to handle multiple clients under one login.  Right now, we are using the same login for multiple clients and just separating them out into different campaigns.  If we could have a “My Client List” that allows us to have one login and multiple clients, that would be extremely beneficial.

Also, the reporting piece is a bit lacking.  So far you can only download campaign or ad data in very specific time frames. We would like to see more freedom to choose specific date ranges.  Also, we would like the ability to pull reports further back in time than three months.  This does not allow enough time to really run sufficient tests.

More advanced targeting regarding locations where the user is and the ability to target a radius around a city would also be very helpful.  We have clients that are in more remote areas of the country and their city does not show up in the City field for targeting.  Right now we would have to target an entire state to reach our users.  If we had a radius targeting, we then might be able to get a more highly targeted campaign without going after an entire state. This would, obviously, also be markedly more cost effective which, for us, is always the ultimate goal.

Thanks Devin. Any final thoughts?

We have found Facebook ads to be a solid and easily measurable, positive addition to our offering for our clients looking to reach their local customers online. We look forward to their next additions as well.