PUBLISHED: Oct 18, 2010 4 min read

A few notes from the Facebook PPC session at SMX East

James Connell

James Connell

Group Director, Media + Analytics

There Are Significant Similarities Between Facebook Ads and Paid Search

Though Facebook PPC is typically more top of the funnel, and paid search PPC is more bottom of the funnel, there are a number of similarities between the two:
1) Demographic/interest targeting on Facebook is akin to selecting keywords on paid search.  The more specific you get, the smaller your potential audience.  Also, as you get more specific, you typically have to pay a higher cost per click.
2) If you’re running direct response campaigns, you want to keep your demographic/interest Facebook targets pretty tight, Just like you want to keep adgroups tight in paid search.  Also, make sure you avoid grouping related but dissimilar groups together. For instance, if someone is interested in sustainable energy, they might be thinking wind energy, not biofuels.  Keep those sorts of interests separated.
3) Just like you want to write ads specific to each Ad Group for paid search, optimize your ad copy for the demographic/interest that you’re targeting.

Landing Pages – Where Should You Send Your Facebook PPC Ad Traffic?
Most people would say it’s best to send Facebook ads to your Facebook page (preferably a custom tab), thinking that they’ll be happier staying in the same environment.  However, that may not necessarily be the best way to achieve your goal.  Sending them off of Facebook means you can better control the environment they end up in, which can be especially important for direct response marketers.  Also, you can avoid having them see (and possibly click on) a competitor’s ad just after they clicked on your ad.

Typical Facebook PPC Click Through Rate
Marin Search Marketing, a third-party paid search management system, states that their clients who advertise on Facebook typically see a .02% to .04% click through rate (CTR).  This has proven to be the case for most of our clients as well, although we have seen CTRs as high as 0.12%.

Swap Ads As Soon As The CTR Starts Its Decline
Ad blindness sets in very quickly on Facebook.  You’ve probably experienced this yourself: the same ad follows you around, and you get sick of seeing it after the 3rd or 4th time.  The result of this is that ads typically start off with a decent CTR, often around 0.03%, but the CTR quickly plummets.  Depending on the size of the audience you’re targeting, this CTR decline continues steadily until it gets low enough that Facebook stops showing the ad.  The way to get around this is to change the ad as soon as you see the CTR decline begin.  This can mean you need to change the ad multiple times per day, depending on the size of your audience.

Swap The Image First
The most effective part of the ad to change is the image, because that’s the part of the ad that first attracts the eye.  Images should pop: they should contrast with Facebook’s blue and white color scheme.  Make sure the images are nicely saturated.  Amsive Digital typically plugs at least 10 images per ad into our automated Facebook PPC ad management system, and we program the tool to swap the image after a 5% decline in CTR.  Our clients’ CTRs have jumped nicely since we began this practice.

Not Sure If Your Company Should Be Running Facebook PPC Ads?
Here are some stats from GroupM Search that may change your mind.  Consumers exposed to a company’s social media are:
1) 2.8 times more likely to search on brand terms
2) 50% more likely to click on that company’s PPC ads
3) 1.7 times more likely to purchase from search.

The Bottom Line
Facebook PPC is relatively new, but the targeting options have become sophisticated enough to justify adding Facebook to many types of existing PPC campaigns, especially in light of the GroupM stats.  You should consider adding it to your marketing mix.