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.