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One User’s Wish-List for Facebook’s Advertising Platform

  • 73% of US companies use social media as part of their marketing mix (Socialmediatoday.com, December 2011).
  • 75% of brand ‘likes” on Facebook come from advertisements.  (Mashable, January 2011)
  • The 2011 Social Media Marketing Report published in April of this year, points to the fact that small businesses benefit most from social media, as compared to larger companies, particularly in gaining exposure for their business.  The study also indicates, however, that social media is key for many SMB’s in increasing their traffic and subscriptions.

  While in the above cases, social media is widely defined to encompass both paid as well as organic or “free” presence, the numbers indicate that small businesses are engaging and benefiting from the opportunities available.  However, the nature of the SMB marketing budget is that which supports the need to go through more of a self-service venue with the likes of Facebook ads, for example.  Paid advertising opportunities as well as adoption of them are bound to increase as the months roll on, primarily as they provide a revenue stream for social networks, while offering advertisers with a way to attract new customers.

Facebook has a rather simple way to place ads in their marketplace with little budget commitment.  This type of self-service model is attractive to SMB advertisers as it provides a low financial barrier to entry, along with simple ways to manage a campaign.  However, as a user of the self service platform, I would argue that some of the simplicity translates into lacking features that could augment an advertiser’s potential for campaign success.

With that in mind, as Facebook continues to evolve their advertising opportunities and tool to manage them, below is my “wish list” for the social giant’s self service ad manager tool:

  1. Let us day-part campaigns.  Smaller companies don’t have the resources to staff around the clock.  Therefore, there are many instances in which SMB’s may not be able to support inquiries coming in after business hours.  Day parting functionalities would help to ensure that ads can be shown during times of day when someone is there to respond should they drive comments, leads, sales, etc.
  2. Let us track more than connections if linking to on-Facebook pages.  Seeing how many ‘likes’ ads generate is a great metric, if that’s the goal of the campaign.  However, some advertisers will, for example, post a coupon or brochure to download.  Currently, there is no way to differentiate how many of those types of actions come from users who find the page via an ad, vs. those that find the page organically.  Advertisers want to know what their media dollars produce online.
  3. Bring back the conversion tracking.  Facebook had conversion tracking which allowed for the generation of pixels to be placed on conversion events occurring off of Facebook,… and then did away with it.  Granted, large advertisers likely weren’t utilizing it as they often have centralized tracking systems to report performance across various online media placements.  However, the SMB may not have the budget for other media tracking solutions, or in some cases the know-how to use something like Google Analytics to configure this.
  4. Allow us to re-start campaigns that have ended.  Currently, when a campaign reaches it’s end date, it cannot be resumed unless the advertiser creates a new campaign with a new end date.  Sometimes people forget an end date approaches, or in other instances, may want to re-start the same campaign and ads after a period of downtime.  Right now, it’s a cumbersome and redundant process.
  5. Give us a bulk upload tool.  Facebook has bulksheets for large advertisers who have dedicated account staff managing their campaigns.  However, small advertisers often have (and should have based on Facebook best practices) multiple ads running at any given time.  While the “create similar” features do help to reduce some set up time, a bulksheet would be a handy tool to have in instances where multiple ads need to be uploaded.
  6. Let us exclude those who already ‘like’ us.  Again, this feature exists for larger advertisers, but is not one that’s available in the self-serve platform.  The SMB would rather not spend their limited marketing dollars showing ads to those who are already fans.
  7. Let us create an advertising account online, without having to use our personal Facebook login.  Smaller advertisers can contact Facebook to have an advertising account set up.  It would be great to be able to do this in a self-service way, like Google allows with AdWords.  That way advertisers can sign up, enter credit card info, and launch their campaigns.  Running ads off a personal account can be challenging as inevitably, people will leave an organization, and then the campaigns go with them.
  8. Let us view the performance of “sponsored stories” separately.  For those unfamiliar, “sponsored stories” are ad formats that show names of your Facebook friends who ‘like’ the advertisers brand.  Currently, Facebook reports social impressions, social clicks, and social reach as part of the ad report.  However, the performance by ad cannot be broken out to show a comparison of those ads served as “sponsored stories” vs. those that weren’t.

Tell us…  What features would you like to see in Facebook’s ad manager tool?

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