Six steps to run cheap and successful Facebook advertising campaigns

Every startup business faces a very common problem at the beginning – how do I get attention for my product? After all the work put in, you want to start seeing your numbers go up and get some feedback from regular users. Organic SEO is a slow process, none of the tech blogs will cover you, and most paid advertising can be cost-prohibitive when you don’t have much capital. Since we’ve gone through some of these same problems here at diPoll, we want to share with you a strategy that has proven to be effective for us: affordable Facebook advertising campaigns.

Here are some numbers to pique your interest: 62 million impressions, 51 thousand clicks, 650 bucks. That averages out to around 1.25 cents per click (~$0.01 CPC), and 1 cent per thousand impressions (~$0.01 CPM). The full stats for our campaign are at the bottom of this post.

We’re going to show you step by step how we implemented a cheap and effective marketing effort on Facebook, and how you can do the same. Not every point will make sense for each business, but our hope is that you will still be able to take something of value away from this.

1. Pick a hot topic

The best way to get lots of eyeballs actually looking at your ad is to show them something that interests them.  Try to take advantage of something that lots of people are passionate about, especially if it’s a big trending topic right now. This could be a current political battle, a controversial movie or artist or heated sports rivalry.  Think about your target market. What are they passionate about? And how can you associate that passion with your product? For us, that hot topic was Twilight. We believe diPoll will be a big hit with teens, and what are teens more passionate about than debating Edward vs Jacob?

2. Optimize the ad

Put the hot topic front and center in your ad, especially in the title and image, since that is what will be garnering the initial interest. In the text of the ad, briefly introduce what your service is and finish with a call to action (CTA). You should have several different variations of the ad image and text to find what works best. Here are a few ads we used.

diPoll Twilight Ad 1diPoll Twilight Ad 2

3. Target broadly on demographics, narrowly on interests

Most advertisers on Facebook target very specific demographics, which means there is lots of opportunity for insanely cheap ads targeted to people outside of those demographics.  Our demographics targeting was very simple for this ad: female, younger than 28, and speaks English. We were very liberal on location, and listed the obvious like US, UK and Canada, as well as Australia, South Africa and several other countries in Europe and the Caribbean.  This included nearly 100 million people.

Once you have this large demographic pool, its time to narrow it down by interest. This is your money maker. This is like long-tail keywords in Google, except every keyword is long-tail because there are hardly any advertisers doing this.

We entered a slew of twilight related keywords including the movie titles, character names and actors names. This brought our targeted pool of people down to around 5-8 million people, which is a good size.

4. Drop that CPC bid

Start your CPC bid somewhere between 5-10 cents. Once you see it getting impressions, drop that sucker. Then keep dropping it. We ran almost the entirety of our campaign with a CPC bid of $0.01, and the results speak for themselves. Of course, YMMV depending on the people you have targeted; if you restrict yourself to only US users you most likely will need to bid more.

One thing to keep in mind is that the higher CTR your ad has, the more impressions it will get. This is a good incentive to make sure your ad is properly optimized.

5. Take advantage of weekends

One thing we’ve noticed is that, without fail, the CPC bids go down on weekends. I assume this is because many companies with massive marketing budgets are pausing their campaigns during non-workdays.  What this means is that you can make a killing on weekends with dirt cheap CPC bids.

6. Tell them what to do

Getting people to your site for cheap is great, but you better make sure you’re in a  position to take advantage of it.  Once the person has arrived, tell them exactly what to do. They haven’t been to your site before. You need to educate them, make a positive impression, and form a relationship with them within a few seconds.  As soon as a user lands on a poll, we have a message instructing them, “Click on an image to cast your vote”.

Once they’ve voted and seen what diPoll does, its time to establish a relationship. We know the person came from Facebook from the referrer URL, so we can specifically prompt them to connect with us and make an (optional) account. Then, we give the user the chance to post their vote choice to their Facebook wall. Remember , this is a topic people are passionate about, so they are more likely to want to share their choice.  This gives us free viral marketing as their friends click to see what it’s about.

Facebook Connect Prompt

Our Results

Facebook Connect Prompt

61,788,336 impressions, 51,764 clicks, $659.05 spent.

Since the Twilight ad, we’ve been running new campaigns on different topics with very similar cost and effectiveness. Feel free to get in touch with us if you have any questions, comments or feedback.

How do you rank on diPoll?

We’ve had contests on diPoll in the past, but we’re adding a more parmanent way of seeing how you stack up against other members on the site : leaderboards.  From now on, you will periodically see a leaderboard in the bottom right of the page when you are looking at polls.  This leaderboard will rank and show the diPoll members who have the most votes, the most polls created, or the most comments.
We’ll be adding more functionality to this in the future, so keep making your presence felt on the site.  Check out the leaderboard below – what’s your rank?

We’ve had contests on diPoll in the past, but we’re adding a more parmanent way of seeing how you stack up against other members on the site : leaderboards.  From now on, you will periodically see a leaderboard in the bottom right of the page when you are looking at polls.  This leaderboard will rank and show the diPoll members who have the most votes, the most polls created, or the most comments.

We’ll be adding more functionality to this in the future, so keep making your presence felt on the site.  If you have any comments or suggestions for new types of leaderboards, send us your feedback.  Check out the leaderboard below – what’s your rank?

New diPoll profiles, with extra doses of awesome

It’s been a while since we’ve updated the blog, but you may have noticed that the site redesign has been finished for a while now.  Part of this is a new header that should make it easier for you to navigate around the site (plus you can also search polls now – sweet!).

We’ve also been making improvements elsewhere. Your profile page got a big face lift – it should look much cleaner and spiffier now. Also, now you can actually upload a profile picture. Default silhouettes are always cool, but now you can actually upload your own picture. With colour and your face and kittens and stuff. People will be able to see your picture when they check out your profile, plus a mini version of it will be placed beside your comments on polls.  Check out a screenshot of my profile below.

You’ll also notice that there is a shiny “Recent Activity” box from Facebook on the bottom right.  Here, you’ll be able to see what your friends and other people think is the coolest stuff on diPoll.  Whenever you vote on a poll that you think is especially mind blowing, just click the “Like” button near the comment box and your friends will be able to check it out as well. Right now, people think Twilight is mind blowing. A lot of people. But more on that later.

profile

Coming soon: diPoll 2.0

We want to let you know that we have read all your feedback, and we’re excited to announce that work is in progress to bring you a faster, simpler and easier voting experience at diPoll. Leave us a comment and let us know what we can do to improve your diPoll experience.

logo_dipoll

Here’s a sneak peek at the new diPoll logo! Thanks for all your support. Stay tuned for diPoll 2.0 updates!

A Personal Touch

Over the past weeks we’ve tried to make it easier for you to join in on the fun at diPoll by letting you sign in using your Twitter or Facebook accounts.  Now, with the introduction of public user profiles, your social experience at diPoll will have a bit more of a personal touch.  You and your friends will be able to keep track of the polls you’ve made, compare stats, check out profile pictures and more.  We’re really excited to see what you all think of the new profiles – drop us a line to give your feedback!

In addition to the new public profiles, your account page also got a makeover. There will be more changes coming to this page to make it easier to use and to let you upload your own profile picture.

To check out your public profile, login and click “My Account” at the top of the page, then “Public Profile” on the right side.  You can see my profile here :)

Happy Holidays everyone!

diPoll Popularity Contest – Win an iPod nano!

dipoll-ipod-nano-orange

Welcome to the December contest!  Here’s what you need to know:

We’re going to be tracking every poll created in December and will be giving the iPod nano to the best poll creator at the end of the month. To enter the contest you simply need to create a poll.

The point system is  simple, 1 vote on your poll means you get 1 point. Your top 3 polls in December will count to your total score.  You can check out the contest leaderboard to see the point totals of the top ten contestants.

That’s it! The rest is up to you – make a few cool polls and share them with your friends, and you’ll be well on your way to winning your very own iPod nano!

December Contest Official Rules

diPoll Popularity Contest Official Rules:

1) User eligibility

  • Open to everyone!
  • diPoll team members and their families are not eligible.

2) Poll eligibility

  • Polls must be created between December 1 (12:01 AM EST) and December 31, 2009 (11:59 PM EST).
  • Polls must abide by all diPoll Terms of Service.

3) Scoring System

  • 1 vote = 1 point
  • You may make as many polls as you wish, but only your top 3 eligible polls will count toward your total score

4) Miscellaneous Rules

  • You are allowed to promote your poll using services such as Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Yahoo Buzz and Reddit, as long as you follow their terms of service and do not spam or harass people.  
  • You may NOT create multiple user accounts. We can tell if you do, and you’ll get the boot.
  • This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. You understand that you are providing your information to diPoll and not to Facebook. Don’t worry though, the information you provide will only be used according to our privacy policy.
  • Any questions or comments regarding the contest may be directed to our feedback page.

Bigger and better december contest

dipoll-ipod-nano-orangeGet ready, we’ve got another big contest coming up! The last contest was very close, with akominek coming on top and winning $100 in cash.  The competition was a lot of fun and we’ve decided to do it again with an even better prize – a brand new 8GB iPod nano!! This hot gadget can hold 2000 songs and even has a camera to record video! You’ll get your choice of the coolest colours – diPoll inspired orange or silver.

There will be a few changes to the point system, but the basic idea will be the same.  Make cool polls, and share with your friends to get votes.  You can be as creative as you want.

The competition will be starting December 1, and we’ll  be announcing the updated rules in the next few days!

Connect more

The big buzz these days is around the social networks Facebook and Twitter, and at diPoll it’s no different. We’re always trying to find ways to make it easier for you to get involved with diPoll and share it with your friends, so integrating with social networks was a natural decision.  So what does this mean exactly? For starters, you’ll be able to log in to diPoll using either your Twitter or Facebook accounts without even making a diPoll account. This makes it easier for you because logging in will be quick and easy (just one click), and you don’t have to remember another password.

You can check out our current version of this feature by visiting us our Twitter page and clicking on one of the polls we posted.  Once you vote, our site will detect that you came from Twitter and will prompt you to log in using your Twitter account.  If you already have an existing diPoll account you can link it and use Twitter to log in as well.  Check out our full press release here.

Keep an eye on the login page for the full launch of Twitter and Facebook Connect.  This will be just the beginning – we are working on even more exciting ideas to take advantage of the tools in social networks.

(Psst. We’re going to be having another contest soon. Keep your ears open and eyes peeled!)

http://www.dipoll.com/login.php

Photo Finish for the Contest

Our two top diPoll contestants fought tooth and nail last night in the final hours of the October contest, trying to scrape together enough votes and ratings to take the $100.  It was a mad scramble right up to midnight with each of them alternating between #1 and #2.  But, in the end, akominek was able to pull ahead and solidify the victory at midnight to secure the cash.  Congratulations akominek!

A special mention goes to sasteven who put up a valiant battle and led the contest for the majority of the month.  Another mention goes to smokingaces who created the top poll of the contest, amassing an incredible 527 votes in only 4 days. Here are the final standings for the contest.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the diPoll October Popularity Contest!  We’ve had a lot of fun, and will surely be putting on more contests in the future with a few changes, and even more exciting prizes.  To find out when your next chance is keep an eye on this blog.  You can also find diPoll on Facebook or follow diPoll on Twitter. Speaking of Twitter, we’ve got a pretty cool announcement coming soon – stay tuned!