Facebook Ad Tactics For Search Marketers

Moderator: Danny Sullivan, Editor-in-Chief, Search Engine Land


Brian Boland, Manager, Direct Response Solutions, Facebook
Addie Conner, Director of Search Marketing, Course Advisor Inc.
Michael Kahn, SVP, Marketing, Performics
Will Scott, President, Search Influence

Facebook’s Brian is starting the session. He’s going to give an overview of how Facebook ads work. About half the audience is using Facebook ads now.

Mission: Give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.

Product vision: identity, connections and sharing

Facebook scale: Rapid growth, the top daily reach of any site, including Google and Yahoo, they’re number one in the time spent on a site.

Direct response: Standard ads

  1. Standard ad
  2. Standard with social
  3. Event
  4. Fan

Facebook Ads and Search

1. Users are at a different point in the sales funnel. Comparing a Facebook ad to a search ad and you see they’re very different. Facebook has a broader swath of users. Facebook ads will have an impact at the highest level of the funnel, demand generation, as well as the end with demand fulfillment.

2. Targeting is based on user interests, not keywords: take advantage of interests and connections. You can specify targeting for age/gender/location, authentic interests (not “keywords”, they’re changing that next week).

3. The ad environment and ad units themselves are very different.

Optimizing Facebook ads is between an art and a science. There are demographics reports that provide information about users viewing and clicking on ads. There are responder profile reports which tell you common characteristics of the users clicking on your ads.

Try it out. For new accounts or accounts created in the last 90 days, $50 coupon to test and learn with Facebook Ads. Limit 150 uses. Code: SMX50

Next Michael will talk about performance based advertising on Facebook and some applications that are being used to optimize Facebook advertising.

Performance Based Advertising

Facebook social ads are text and image based ads that appear in the right-hand rail of Facebook user’s profile pages

Bought on a CPC or CPM basis

Trigger by demographic


Increase brand exposure

Drive acquisitions/sales

Generate fans


CPC auction-based media to target audiences on social networking sites and manage campaigns to optimal CPA, click or impression goals


They learned that Facebook is a fertile and welcoming promotional environment, with the right offers.

Case Study: Threadless


Facebook Application Development

Moxie Interactive developed an app for driving movie sales. It fetches movies or gifts your friends may like based on their profile interests. Select your Facebook friend in the “fetch” box. Users could add it to their profile. Users could share their fetch result with their network.

Benefits of a Facebook connection with your consumer:

Post ad for product 27%

Link to ad for product 37%

Purchase product 44%

Talk about product & recommend product, combined 46%


Will is next. He works with local businesses, almost all small businesses with small budgets. He’s going to compare search and Facebook ads with small budgets. He’s generally finding the same level of success on Facebook at a third of the price of the major search engines.

Display ads are earlier in the cycle. You can talk to them before users know they have a need.

Facebook Demographics

Facebook is like the third-largest country, or it rivals it in size. It’s also the third of the population with money to spend (they have computers, after all).

They’ve seen a huge savings on a cost per lead basis with Facebook. The advantages of Facebook are a lower CPC that traditional PPC, there’s great demographic targeting, and you get magazine-like editorial ads. Keyword filters allow tremendous targeting opportunities.

You can target fans of affinity groups. For instance, show ads of high-vanity product to fans of Victoria’s Secret. You can also show ads to fans of your competitor.

Facebook Advertising Benefits Summary:

  • Lower cost per click
  • Lower cost per conversion
  • Less saturated ad inventory
  • Demographic filtering
  • Competitive targeting
  • Customer is earlier in buying cycle

Addie takes the podium next. She loves Facebook ads:

  • In January her ads were served to 57 million unique users an average of 56 times for total impressions of 3.2 billion.
  • User data is accurate for the most part
  • Targeting is awesome
  • It’s not Google, Yahoo! or MSN and she likes competitiveness in the marketplace

Who’s Advertising on Facebook now?

  • Data collectors
  • Aspirational products
  • Local advertisers
  • At night, it’s a dating site
  • Brand advertisers
  • Everyday needs
  • Facebook game apps

Finding Your Audience

It’s not search — it’s demand creation:

  • Know your demo – gender, age
  • Understand their interests – interest, education, occupation, keywords
  • If they are dating and who they like to date – relationship status and interested in
  • Know where they live – geo and language
  • Get to know their friends – app, fan page

Testing is awesome:

  • Image tests
  • Headline tests
  • Body text tests
  • Three-factor ANOVA
  • User experience testing
  • Geo testing
  • The list goes on!

They did a test of 6 ads for the same thing, same text, different images.


From here you can do a headline test. They saw up to 120 percent difference in unique CTR, 101 percent difference in conversion rate.

Challenges: Constantly evolving marketplace

  • Changing ad policies
  • New entrants
  • Ad fatigue
  • Audience saturation
  • User behavior

How to Win:

  • Get to know who you want to target
  • Continually test and get better
  • Get granular
  • Use all the reporting Facebook gives you
  • Be creative
  • Stay fresh, try new things

Fears: Her mom is on Facebook. Facebook might not be that cool anymore. But she hopes it lasts because it’s a great platform and it’s getting better every day.

Virginia Nussey is the director of content marketing at MobileMonkey. Prior to joining this startup in 2018, Virginia was the operations and content manager at Bruce Clay Inc., having joined the company in 2008 as a writer and blogger.

See Virginia's author page for links to connect on social media.

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