Last summer, on my company blog, I wrote a case about how Tough Mudder was started with a small Facebook ad spend. With dozens of targeting variables, Facebook is one of the least expensive and more efficient tools for brands to microtarget their ad creative down to individual interests, locations and behaviors, but it continues to be a missed opportunity for marketers.

The biggest barrier for what could be a fantastic opportunity for brands is that the medium doesn’t seem to have a home anywhere. For example:

Media buying divisions at advertising agencies have the biggest budgets, and tend to buy in bulk. Even agencies who are using DSPs and programmatic buys that they’re optimizing daily likely find that spending $5 per ad set on Facebook to be too tedious. They might buy retargeting inventory in bulk from Facebook, but rolling up their sleeves and coming up with dozens of variations and targets is too time-consuming to experiment with.

Creative departments at agencies would benefit from learning about the very microtargeted interests they could target for a brand, but most are again geared to a long creative development process for an big overarching campaign idea, vs. writing hundreds of creative variations on the same theme.

Unfortunately, many clients and agencies fail to take advantage of this opportunity because it looks like too small of a budget allocation to be bothered with.

Account Planning can use the Facebook social graph and affinities to better understand what the consumer is into, but this ends at the strategic level. There needs to be somewhere where the rubber actually hits the road and ads are made and tested.

To be successful at Facebook ads, you need a blend of analytics and creativity that really needs to work very closely together. In a rare case, this might be the same person. I happen to work at an agency that has recognized the need for an integration / creative strategy practice, so Facebook ads fall under my domain and we’ve had great success for a travel client by combining intent to go to a destination with different keywords and geotargeting. It was a lot of work, but we optimized dozens of different creative options and combined with all the targeting variables, we were running nearly 1,800 different ads.

To that point, my friend Brian Carter, who is excellent at this (I’ve hired him before when I ran my own small agency,) has some tips on how to get the most of your Facebook advertising budget. 

In addition to his great points, I’d also add: 

• Be sure to use the Facebook Power Editor. It has a lot of options not available in the desktop version, such as third party data providers, behavioral targeting, custom audiences, ec.
• Look at what the options are for targeting are between behaviors, intent, demographics, interests, recommended interests, location, job titles, occupation and dozens of other variables
• Refine your list of variables to test and brief your creative team. The goal is to try to come up with creative ways to tie an interest you know your fans like back to your brand. For example, if you have a travel client promoting a trip to Thailand, target people who are intenders for Thailand who also like the beach with some beach themed creative. Mash it up with knowing when the weather is particularly bad in a specific city and you have a very specific piece of creative that could be very effective.



©2015 Marc Lefton 
All opinions are my own and not reflective of anyone who should be so fortunate to retain my services. 

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