Customized conversations on Facebook

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Don’t forget what makes Facebook great

It lets companies reach audiences of different ages, locations, socio-economic situations, and interests. It’s communal. It brings people together. But this can also be one of its biggest obstacles.

The problem for marketers has to do with targeting. How do you create messages and content that’s equally relevant to everyone?

Digging into the tool box

Facebook comes equipped with tools in the Ads Manager that allow you to target very specific audiences with your posts. Giving each post another $5-$10 of highly targeted support (depending on the size of your page) can be very beneficial when focusing on user engagement.

Remember the Facebook rules

The most recent Facebook algorithm change has decreased the reach of page posts, making it harder for companies to connect with 100% of their fans. Another reason why you should target people more precisely is because you can increase engagement since users will feel more connected to the post, and position you as a brand that gets it. And them.

Think old school: Craft the message

Approach the digital space the same way you would traditional media.  You wouldn’t run an ad for a power drill in Cosmo. You don’t see ads for women’s shoes on MNF. The same goes for the social-sphere. Here’s an example of how you can take one generic message and target it to different audiences:

Product: Sweater
Message: Upcoming sale

Target Audience

Facebook Category

Message

College Students

Education: In College

Get ahead of the game & start next semester’s shopping early!

Shopaholics

Retail/Shopping: Fashion

You don’t need a good reason to go shopping this weekend, but we have one.

Business Professionals

Events: New Job

New job. New boss. New colleagues. Time for new clothes. Check out the 20% off sale this weekend.

Mother/Father

Family Status: Parents (child: 0-12yrs)

Kids outgrowing last season’s outfits already?  Come in for a 20% off sale on sweaters!

Coming home for the Holidays

Family Status: Away from Hometown

Impress your family when you go home for the holidays this season in a new sweater!

Upcoming Birthday

Events: Has birthday in 1 week

Someone has a birthday coming up. Treat yourself with 20% off this weekend!

Other categories to consider

Sports fans, pet lovers, DIY/crafters, relationship status, mobile device, educators, politics, health conscious, beer/wine/spirits.

And if none of these groups are specific enough for the audience you want to target, you can use the “precise interests” field to target whatever you want. Check out specific sports teams, certain games, television shows, books, magazines. Facebook has inexhaustible data, and they know how to carve it up like a turkey.

Still reading? Here’s extra credit.

Don’t forget: You can also target by geography, gender, and languages. You can decide if you want to reach only the people already connected to your page, people who are not already connected, or both. While using the ad manager, Facebook will continuously update the size of the audience to let you know how many people fall into those parameters.

So enough with the generic ad messaging, already.  It’s time to reach your consumers with targeted messages. Need help developing your social strategy? Come on in, have a beverage and lets talk.

How to stand out while blending in

See native advertising for what it is

Native ads are winning popularity contests because they’re new. But blending ad content into the environment in which it’s been placed is not new.

It’s part of a trend: Think of it as content in camouflage. Or Digital Advertorial. Sponsored stories (RIP), promoted tweets, and the recently announced sponsored photos on Instagram are a few more examples. Ads were originally created in Google search results for the same reason: Blending user-requested content with ad content.

Moving beyond banners

Native ads got hot because people became jaded about standard banner and display ads. Need proof? Solve Media reported that banner ad CTR went from 9% in 2000 to 0.2% in 2012. Advertisers began to understand that banners often functioned like highway billboards – as an awareness/frequency tactic, not necessarily a tool to catalyze a transaction. So brands were forced to get creative about engagement, again. Go figure.

Native ad content development: Rules of the Road

Here are some guidelines for planning and developing native ad content.

  1. Go for BOTH: Quality and Relevance. It’s not just about compelling content. It’s about relevance. Look at Buzzfeed, a huge player in the native ad space. Take a quick look at the site. You may see a promoted post, “14 Animals That Never Saw It Coming.” And we like funny animal videos as much as anyone. But it’s a Trojan Horse for Sour Patch Kids content on Facebook and after clicking through, we felt so used (Not the first time). The goal of Native Ads is to make engagement feel natural and seamless for the user. A more effective example would be the one below, consistent with the brand and the target.cosmo
  2. Monitor your ads. Engagement is the leading metric when it comes to Native Ads. Are people clicking through the story? Are they going to your website? As with any web endeavor that seems like a good idea: trust but verify
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  3. Mark December 4th on your calendar. The FTC will host a workshop on December 4, 2013 in Washington, DC to delve into the practice of native advertising. The workshop will include publishing and advertising reps, consumer advocates, and government regulators to explore changes in how paid messages are presented to consumers and consumers’ recognition and understanding of these messages. Stay tuned for policy changes.
  4. Deception is bad business. Native ads are categorically disingenuous: There’s a commercial agenda behind the editorial agenda. So be advised: keep your content as useful, usable, and meaningful as you can. That way you can stand out – and blend in – at the same time.

Before you go native, feel free to contact us for a conversation. We’ll bring the beverages.

Weekly Blend – 11/6/13

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The Weekly Blend is a blog post by drinkcaffeine that provides a wrap-up of what you need to know from the marketing & digital spaces.  Here is what’s going on this week:

Start-up to Watch

College students: The Bermuda Triangle of demographics. (Yes, it’s a stretch but bear with us.) They’re an intriguing and mysterious group of buyers and one that has to be navigated perfectly to reach. Maybe more like a Sasquatch? Many brands attempt reach this demo by throwing money into ineffective advertising methods, and fail miserably. Keep in mind this demo was raised in the Internet age and can sniff an ad out from a page away. It takes creativity and incentive for them to play, and a New York start-up may have just found the perfect game. Sumpto is a start-up company that works to match brands with influencers around college campuses. Think Klout, but for strictly college students. Similar to Klout, users are assigned scores ranging from 1 to 100 based on their social media influence. Sumpto identifies influencers, or brand ambassadors, with measurements such as Twitter followers and Facebook friends. Brands that partner with the network can offer free samples and trials to some of the most coveted campus ambassadors.

Companies whose target market consists of college students should seriously take a look at influencer campaigns. They’re a win-win case as students receive some free swag while the brand gets their product or service promoted on social media channels by a highly touted source.

Let’s Build

Less than a week after Halloween, Christmas ads have already sprung up. Lego debuted a holiday commercial, “Let’s Build”- a sentimental take on family bonding around toys. And as we have learned from eTrade and AT&T’s success stories, having kids as the focal point of an advertisement is certainly the way to go. Check it out here.

Tough Crowd

Instagram debuted sponsored ads and being first wasn’t necessarily best for watch brand Michael Kors. Users were making comments about not wanting to see ads within their feeds and even got as hateful as “die and rot in hell advertiser, bc you advertise on Instagram I will never give you business.” Instagram took some of the hatred as well with comments like “DO YOU NOT MAKE ENOUGH MONEY!?!?!?! @instagram HUH!?!” Aside from the negativity, their brand account has 1.4 million followers and their most recent post received nearly 135,000 likes.

Consider how your brand wants to handle native advertising on Instagram and across social media.  Come back tomorrow for our insights on the topic.