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Three Cool Facebook Ad Approaches You’ve Never Thought Of

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Facebook advertising is powerful and affordable. It reaches more people, enables more specific targeting, and is cheaper than AdWords. But even good Facebook advertisers may not be using these advanced methods. In this article, marketing expert Brian Carter shows you how to build brand awareness, get media coverage, and make your Facebook ads significantly more affordable.
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I always say that Facebook advertising is not only the most fascinating and fun type of online advertising, but also the most powerful. The ability to reach out to 800 million people at about one-fifth the cost per click (CPC) of AdWords and then segment your audience targeting by four times as many criteria as AdWords is why Facebook ads are such an important tool in the modern marketer’s arsenal.

Much has been written about Facebook advertising by me and others. Best practices include using attention-grabbing images, writing simple ad copy, using calls to action (“click here” or “click like”) and creating new ads to beat the ad burn-out phenomenon and maintain high click-through rates. But there are a few other approaches you should know about that will help you get even more benefit from the ad platform.

The Bus-Stop Advertisement

Most online advertising is focused on getting clicks. But much advertising—including TV and radio—is actually focused on building awareness about brands. Think about how many realtors, chiropractors, and accident attorneys advertise on bus-stop benches and bus shelters. Both national and local brands use these opportunities to get into the mind of the consumer as a valid choice for their needs.

You can do a similar thing with Facebook ads by focusing on getting impressions rather than clicks.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Create a new ad that’s intentionally boring. If your business is local, just target the area geographically and don’t use precise interests. If you’re targeting a niche, target entire countries and use precise interests to target the niche.
  2. Use your photo as the image and be informative in the ad copy. Include a phone number. Don’t use a call to action that includes clicking or liking.
  3. Choose CPC pricing. You will only pay when there are clicks, but the ad shouldn’t get very many. You might get phone calls, but these won’t cost anything.
  4. Create three to five versions of this, and after a few days, pause the ones with the highest click-through rate (CTR).
  5. If an ad stops getting impressions, create a new, slightly different version of it.

When Are Impressions Better Than Clicks?

Impressions (ad views) are better than clicks when they meet your marketing goal at an incredibly affordable rate. Most people also run ads that are meant to get clicks to their website or likes for their business page. But you can run awareness-building ads at the same time.

Some uses of these include:

  • When I’ve spoken at industry conferences, I’ve run ads to make attendees more aware of the sessions I’m speaking in.
  • Almost any local businesses—including realtors, chiropractors, dry cleaners, dentists—can build more awareness of their services in their city with this type of ad.

How Affordable Is It?

I ran a test campaign in my area for a real estate agent and got 30,085 impressions in just a few weeks at a cost of only $14.42. That’s 48 cents per 1,000 impressions (ad views). Would you pay 50 cents to make 1,000 people in your area or industry aware of you?

In June 2011, I ran ads to build awareness around my presentations at the AllFacebook Expo in San Francisco. I spent $94.08 and got 408,688 ad views. I reached 35,800 people, who each saw my ad about 11 times. It cost me only 23 cents per 1,000 ad views. Figure 1 shows the ad that got the most impressions.

What Are the Limitations of This Method?

Like much brand-building advertising, it will be difficult or impossible to attribute new business specifically to this technique. All web analytics that tells you where business came from relies on clicks. However, if this happens to be the only marketing you’re doing, an uptick in business is probably from this method.

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