The Most Powerful Secret In Facebook Ads

Yesterday we discussed the trick to growing a Facebook fan base — to place the like button everywhere, get folks to like everything, as treat your fan base like an email list. Now that you have the initial set of fans, here’s where the fun begins.

Facebook has 3 types of connection targeting: users who are fans, users who aren’t fans, and friends of fans. It’s this last option that is amazing– so awesome that I’m afraid public mention of it may cause Facebook to remove it. And that’s why we keep testing, plus don’t reveal all our tips, but I digress.

Let’s consider a poker site– the National League of Poker. When we target only fans of the page, Facebook gives us an audience of 2,060 people:

The actual fan count is 2,894, but that’s because Facebook’s estimate are delayed and we’re automatically filtering by US 18+. By using the first connection targeting option, we can continue to nurture those folks who have become fans. As a marketer, you know that you want to say something different to folks who already know you versus those who don’t, right? So why is it that Facebook advertisers treat everyone the same? When you use the first connection option, you’re trying to move people from the interest stage to either desire or action. You should not be trying to generate awareness with these folks who are already fans. Note that how our messaging is quite different than “Learn how to play poker!”

If you already are a fan of the page, the like button won’t show up, by the way. It will just say “You like this ad/page”– and if you have other friends who like it, they’ll show up, too. Sometimes the unlike button shows- not sure what governs when it shows. There are so few advertisers that are sending traffic to Facebook pages and also using connection targeting that it’s hard to tell.

Finally, this is what you’ve been waiting for. The average Facebook user has 130 friends. So the 2,060 fans allow us to reach 304,800 people.

This particular example works out to 148 friends per fan. The larger the base, the smaller the number of friends per user. It’s partly that your initial users are more likely to be early adopters and have more fans in general. But it’s also that the more fans you have, the greater the chance of overlap between them, such that the unduplicated audience decreases. When you have over 500,000 fans, then your factor of reach vs fans may be only low double digits. While decreased reach may appear bad, this is actually VERY good, since it means that each time you show the ad, it’s showing MULTIPLE people below providing endorsements. Awesomeness on Facebook = maximizing PEER PRESSURE!

Consider an ad for a pizza restaurant that says they have the best pizza in town. Yawn. That’s what 99% of advertising is about– in fact, pretty much all advertising outside of Facebook is like this– we just tune it out. Now imagine the same ad, but below it, your friend says they like it. Might you trust the claim a bit more– perhaps even be more likely to drop in and order pizza the next time you drive by the place?

How do you think this may affect the CTR as well as the conversion rates?

What if we could say this to 304,800 people– showing each of them an ad that had their particular friend’s endorsement below it?

What if you got clever with your ad copy to make outrageous claims?

By the way, these are fake examples– you’ll have to see what you can get by Facebook’s ad review team. The winning psychology: if you’re doing retargeting (remarketing) on Google, then you can use similar ads in your direct fan and friends of fans (FOF) targeting. For example, if someone has abandoned their shopping cart, you can say “Hey, why didn’t you buy? Here’s 10% off now to make it worth your while!” And you can put a retargeting pixel on your Facebook page, but that’s something to discuss in a post by itself.

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