Expensive Space with a Low Budget – Consider Facebook

Facebook advertisingI’m going to paint a little scenario here: you’re a new or niche company with a smaller budget. Say maybe a software startup or a niche college program. You’re anxious to start pushing your products and programs through paid search, but find yourself facing immense competition and $20-$30-$40 CPC’s. So what should you do? Turn to Facebook!

Most marketers would tend to write off Facebook as a direct-response marketing tactic, simply because the conversion rate is usually well below that of typical search/display channels. But Facebook will often generate CPC’s in the area of a quarter or below, dropping further and further depending on your CTR. When you have a CPC that’s 99% cheaper in Facebook vs. search, you can afford to take a bit of a hit in conversion rate.

That said you can’t simply manage a direct response Facebook campaign the same way you would a display campaign. Remember that targeting works a little bit different on Facebook than we’d all like it to. There are no negatives, so every interest you ad is simply layered on top of each other. You’re generally not targeting based on precise interests and likes, but rather on what sort of content a user visits around the web when they’re logged in.

Think of Facebook as a much more granular version of behavioral targeting; rather than trying to wiggle an existing search campaign into Facebook, focus on what you think the target audience is doing. Here are a few additional tips of how to structure your audience:

  • Mine placement reports from display campaigns and referring URL’s in analytics to find what sort of content your typical audience reads; structure your campaigns around their interests.
  • Layer interests with college majors or workplaces. While this certainly may knock out some eligible targets, I’d be willing to bet you’d have a lot more success selling PPC software to someone who works in PPC (as an example).
  • Use any demographic data you have available to pick the ideal age range to target. In most cases, you won’t want to go with the default 18+ age setting.
  • Tight budget and want to start a small test? Search in Google Analytics to find geographic areas with the top conversion rates. Limit your campaigns to these areas instead of going nationwide.
  • Have a huge bank of ads ready to go at launch. Facebook audiences get ad fatigue quickly, and as soon as CTR goes down, CPC’s go right through the roof.
  • Use images that are attention grabbing first, relevant second. Draw the users’ eyes away from their newsfeed then win them over with your messaging.
  • Test the new Facebook Conversion Code, but be sure to add analytics parameters as a backup. The conspiracy theorist in me doesn’t trust the code just yet.
  • Bonus: Want to get crafty and drop your CPC’s even further? Create a landing page directly within Facebook. While they may have disabled custom landing pages with timeline, the feature within ads is still alive and well.

Think about these things next time you’re looking for an effective way to break into an expensive space. A 40% drop in conversion rate from search to Facebook doesn’t look so bad when the CPC’s are shaved by 99%, does it?



Aaron Levy brings nearly a decade of experience guiding digital marketing and PPC strategies for clients of all shapes and sizes - from internationally recognized brands and institutions to regional spas and local adoption agencies. Aaron prides himself on the ability to transcend digital advertising, instead focusing on using digital tools to develop data driven marketing strategies while always maintaining a customer focus.

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