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September 22, 2011

Must-Read Info on Facebook Ads with Marty Weintraub ━ SEM Synergy Extras

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You’ve heard about how Facebook is the closest stop to Mecca on the Internet marketing train these days. With user segment targeting that surpasses all other channels and a drool-worthy potential for engagement, businesses of all stripes are interested in creating or maintaining a lively presence on the social networking site.

Just as Facebook made major changes to the site today (many of them encouraging users to remain on-site longer) this week’s SEM Synergy features an interview with dynamic Facebook Advertising genius Marty Weintraub.

Marty, @aimclear, got deep with me about Facebook Advertising and some of the contents of his book, Killer Facebook Ads. In our interview he shares insights that illuminate practical Facebook advertising practices that can help with your marketing today, and a look into the promise-filled future of Facebook, including:

Facebook customers
  • An extensive collection of targeted user segments
  • A productivity hack for demographic research
  • Using Facebook as a direct response channel and as a branding channel for a multi-channel campaign
  • Facebook’s wealth of user data via lateral stemming semantic data
  • And keeping up with Facebook as it evolves.

I’ve transcribed our interview, for the benefit of the bots as well as those of us who enjoy dissecting text.

On available Facebook targeting segments, the supplemental segments he’s made available as a companion online, and how these buckets are what Marty and his team at his consultancy aimClear go back to on a daily basis:

There’s a great back story to this appendix in this book, which is essentially a great big bucket, 30 pages of pre-set targeting segments. There’s an accompanying website for this and you can go to killerfbads.com […] if you go to there and you have the book and the secret, lucky astrology decoder password that is in the book, then you […] can copy the actual text for the segments.

If you go into Facebook’s Power Editor, which is their recent build out for Facebook Ads construction, you can literally paste these in. So they’re copy and paste segments. They range from every Fortune 5000 company to all the marketers in the world, the people who do bodybuilding ━ like there’s 30 pages of segments there.

The back story is that was the book I wanted to write first. When we first started talking to Cybex I said, “Oh yeah, lets just do 300 pages of targeting segments, because at aimClear we have thousands, tens of thousands of pre-set targeting segments because we’ve been working in this space since 2007. That is priceless stuff. We maintain a library of it. We go back to it over and over and over again. So, the editors said, oh well you might be able to provide some additional insight other than just targeting segments.

Still, now that the book has been out for a while and it approaches best seller status in some categories on Amazon, that is what people contact us about. They go, “Oh well have you put the segments on the website yet? Are there any more segments available?” My goal was to make it so, just the ability to walk into a book and know how to target every company in the Fortune 500 by various job descriptions is massive. That’s what I go back to in this book.

Also, just as long as I’m saying that, Facebook analytics and Facebook metrics are always evolving and pretty complicated, so even our staff, even with the level of client work that we do, we go back to this book to go, oh yeah, that’s what this metric is about, oh yeah, that’s the difference between that one. So I know there is a definitive resource, because we’re one of the definitive firms that do that type of work in the world, and we go back to it for our own training on a daily basis, practically.

On the alpha pattern productivity hack that cuts time when doing demographic research, and the sometimes misunderstood use of the Facebook hashtag:

Now we hear about these hacks all the time, from other speakers and companies, but we were the first to discuss many of them, especially one of our team members, Merry Morud. My favorite one that nobody ever talked about until she talked about it in public was the whole alpha pattern thing that you do with demographic research.

If you go on to Facebook Ads and you go to the Precise Interest area ━ you go Facebook.com/advertising, create a new ad, go down to Precise Interests, if it defaults to broad targeting then change it to precise targeting, then start typing. Just put in the letter “a” and you’ll get the short tail of Facebook “a” words, just like if you search for “a” in Google. And then say you type a word, “android”, it will show you the short-tail stuff for “android”, maybe “android apps” or whatever.

But then you go “android” space “a” and you get an entirely different selection of words. “Android” space “b”, “android” space “c”, and you could go through, call it the mid-tail for lack of a better word. But then once you have that, then you could go “android ab”, “android ac”, “android ad”, like the swapping consonants and vowels, and you unearth the depth of inventory of precise interest in Facebook ads.

That’s like a must-do productivity hack. It works for colleges, it works for programs in colleges, in works for cities, it works for many of the attributes in the ad targeting tool, and it’s as simple as going “word” space “a”. Of course, Merry would argue with me because she doesn’t like the copy and paste function, but if it’s me and I’m looking for New York everything, I’ll go “New York” copy it, then I go to the window and I go paste, space, “a”, paste, space, “b”.

It also works with Facebook Ads’ new hashtag, which sort of rolls up segments. Facebook has a new function in their demographic targeting that some people think is about trends, like in Twitter, but it’s not. If you go hashtag New space York, hashtag New York or hashtag one-word New York in Facebook Ads, you’re rolling up every possible other thing they have in inventory, be it New York anything. Anything associated with New York. So the alpha pattern thing in Facebook is just like the most important productivity hack.

On Facebook as a direct response channel and as part of a multi-channel campaign:

All data points to Facebook being a fabulous channel to get people to the top of the funnel, and it’s not that you can’t do direct response in Facebook ━ you can. If it’s prom time and you’re marketing to 16, 17 and 18 year old boys who are in high school, and you market to the girls and show a picture of a hot dude and say “Flowers, hot like him. 30% off for prom if you go to XYZ school”, right, or if you live in this town, yeah you can get people in the funnel and you can sell them things.

It’s most likely that the conversion costs will be higher in Facebook. It’s a display channel, so even though the target is very cool, it’s most likely going to cost a bit more on the CPA side than paid search. But, fantastic things happen in multi-channel campaigns.

Data, not just from us but I’ve seen great Marin data, I’ve seen great Efficient Frontier data. I’ve seen lots and lots of data that says if you market aggressively and you take a softer touch in Facebook, then it just radically improves paid search CTR, which lowers your Quality Score, which lowers your cost per conversion on the landing page. Facebook is awesome for a patient approach to advertising and a multi-channel approach to advertising. It’s not likely to be your quick hit but it sure can.

On KPIs that Facebook dominates and testing mechanisms within and outside of the platform:

Remember that there’s other KPIs too. Like, a friending KPI on Facebook, Facebook is going to wipe the floor with paid search. Anything that’s inside of Facebook. An application download, an event sign up, liking a page, anything like that.

Also, savvy marketers these days are taking what used to be an offline conversion page and dropping that form or dropping that e-commerce tool or whatever into a Facebook page and doing an A/B split testing on how conversion works for the same mechanism in and out of Facebook. Guess what, it works out way better staying inside Facebook quite a bit of the time.

So, Facebook works in a wide range of classic public relations and advertising KPIs, from crisis management, internal relations, community relations, investor relations, events, direct response, branding. Dude, nothing like serving 150 million impressions into the country of Australia to make a product name known to a new market. Facebook is massive. It’s really massive.

On what the future of Facebook holds, including data reports for sale and targeting social synonyms and stemmed interests:

I think what’s going to happen with Facebook is, first, Facebook over time will take advantage of being really the only company in the world that has lateral stemming semantic data. Facebook knows that if you are someone that clicks on a Buddhist ad or an ad targeted to people who like Buddhism, that you probably read Siddhartha, or like pad thai, or are interested in traveling to the mountainous regions of Japan. They know this lateral data, these stemmed interests, these social synonyms.

I think what’s going to happen, in time, I think Facebook will have a function for locating things more radically entwined with that stemming data. I think that will be made available to advertisers for lots and lots and lots of money. Facebook used to have a report like that ━ it’s in the book, one of the profile reports has been removed from Facebook and they’ve been selling that data to companies like Nielsen.

So I think extremely high end advertisers are going to be able to get data where when somebody clicks on a banner ad in any channel, there’s going to be a service available to ping Facebook and pull out that data about what that user, probably anonymized for privacy reasons, is into and you’re going to see content configuring on pages. That’s not going to affect you and me as marketers today, but I think that wealth of laterally stemmed data is going to be the most valuable marketing inventory in the world. It’s why Facebook will probably IPO at $100 billion and it will probably be worth it.

On what marketers need to pay attention to as Facebook evolves:

I think marketers need to stay in tune with evolving ad units inside of Facebook. Like the format, the concept of what it is, like for instance, Sponsored Stories. Sponsored Stories, that’s really organic, you know. Facebook is so viral, if you look at all the things that happen in Facebook where your friend sees that you’re into that or doing that or downloading that or participating in that.

Facebook is so completely virile that they basically chopped off the top of it and said if you want the rest of that organic activity, you have to pay for it, and that’s what Sponsored Stories are ━ the rest of the […] News Feed organic prominence. I think being aware of the various ways that data is available and how you can use that, I think being aware of the evolution of ad units and how it affects you as a marketer.

If you don’t buy Sponsored Stories now, you’re not getting the whole organic pop anymore. And probably, the effect of search. I know that Facebook search is still largely people and fan pages and it still kinda sucks, but it doesn’t suck as bad as it used to. And with the type of data Facebook has, if they ever decide that they’re going to build a serious search utility inside of Facebook, whoa. That’ll be so serious. Really serious.

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