As I discussed in a previous blog post, many businesses find themselves focusing the majority of their social media efforts through Facebook these days. While I still feel that Google+ is a fantastic alternative to this oversaturated social network, there are still several features on Facebook that make it an attractive platform for marketing purposes. In particular, it’s the network’s capability for pay per click advertisements that is a huge draw for many business owners. Aside from the site-wide ad initiatives that came about via the Timeline layout update, companies listed on the world’s biggest social network will also soon to be able to take advantage of another potential marketing avenue.

Although it is only in beta at this time, Facebook Offers promises to be a new initiative through which companies can increase their physical locations’ foot traffic. The new ad program will essentially reward followers of a business’ social media listing by adding them to a mailing list. Messages sent to users who sign up for the program will include coupons, discounts and other promotions to be used in-store. Operating in a similar fashion to Foursquare’s business incentives, Facebook Offers is a form of marketing that encourages customers to come to your business (and visit your online listing) on a regular basis.

Taking Advantage of Facebook Ads
As of now, only a handful of companies are actually enrolled in the Facebook Offers program. Due to its beta state, the new marketing incentive will be unavailable for most company owners until it goes public. While Offers is certainly a Facebook feature that everyone should keep their eye on, that doesn’t mean it should be the sole focus of every company. As we’ve all seen, the Timeline layout has made advertisements more prevalent than ever before. As such, regular Facebook advertisement allows for a marketing approach that everyone will want to use at least once in a while.

Running a successful ad campaign on Facebook often relies on the implementation of tried-and-true PPC behaviors. At the same time, some tweaks should always be made when advertising on a social network. Business owners looking for a solid ROI for their social media marketing investments should consider the following:

  • As is the case with any PPC campaign, you’ll want to determine who the intended audience for your ad will be. If your business has a substantial following on Facebook, try taking a look at what the leading trends are for the people who “like” your company. Should you find that there is something relevant to your business that you can focus on, consider making that your keyword.
  • The new Timeline layout allows for a multitude of options when it comes to deciding where you want to place your ads. A few weeks ago, Microsoft chose to place a massive banner for Bing on the Facebook logout page. While some SEO experts questioned whether such a huge ad on such a relatively unseen page was a good idea, the fact is that the company was able to choose freely where its marketing would be featured. When choosing a spot for a Facebook ad, one should thoroughly consider where they should place their ad for maximum exposure.
  • Do not simply post your ad and expect to immediately see improved traffic for your website. Use your company’s Facebook page to openly promote your ongoing PPC campaign. If you interact with your followers directly, you will find that the little bit of extra exposure you gain will help you get the conversion rates you want.

Of course, the best Facebook ad campaigns come from learning the correct marketing behaviors. For readers looking for more information on PPC advertising, we invite you to look into our company’s PPC management service and other SEM opportunities. I can also be contacted at jwersits@webimax.com should readers have any particular questions.

Many business owners who are new to the world of online marketing often consider pay per click as their main channel of advertisement. As what is essentially the internet’s oldest form of direct marketing, PPC ads continue to be one of the most prevalent methods of inorganic link building. It certainly doesn’t hurt that every search engine website displays its own custom PPC ads on every SERP it shows. Although PPC usage remains constant across the web, the prominence of this popular marketing method is not even across all ad networks.

Recent reports indicate that paid search activity is up year after year yet still dwindling in some markets. According to an article from Search Engine Land, the first quarter of 2012 saw a 15% increase in PPC campaign activity for American companies. At the same time, Google’s cost-per-click rates have been following a downward trend that continues its decline from 2011. While Google’s CPCs are down another 5% from last year, the Yahoo-Bing adCenter network is up by nearly 20%. Google is quick to defend its low CPCs as not being indicative of the overall health of their company, but many SEO industry analysts are quick to claim otherwise.

The Cause of Google’s CPC Decline
Although the declining popularity of AdWords may make some business owners question their PPC relevance, the fact is there’s no concrete reason to doubt the effectiveness of a Google ad. Even though Microsoft continues to push its own search engine along with its advertising partnership with Yahoo, Google still remains at the top of its game when it comes to user activity – especially on mobile platforms. Some SEO experts have seen the company’s recent CPC decline as being a result of businesses trying to go where the competition isn’t.

adCenter, being a relatively newer PPC network than Google AdWords, has a greater draw to it due to the relative lack of market saturation. This isn’t to say that Bing’s PPC results will yield dramatically better results than those ads hosted on Google’s SERPs. Rather, the chance of securing better conversion rates when using adCenter is slightly higher for certain search terms. Of course, regardless of whatever network you go with for your PPC campaign, nothing beats having a strong keyword.

The Best Outcome with any Ad Network
If business owners want to run a pay per click campaign that gets the results they want, they need to implement excellent PPC behaviors instead of fretting over which network they should pick. In particular, there are a few choice guidelines to live by when it comes to solid cost-per-click campaign management.

  • Research your campaign keyword thoroughly. An excellent selected keyword is one that is not too broad so as to get overshadowed by other ads but also not needlessly specific either. Always consider using negative keywords to help narrow your focused campaign term for best results.
  • Determine the budget of your PPC campaign prior to getting involved with the keyword-bidding process. If you find that the search term you want to use is out of your reach, decide whether or not it’s worth it to simply select a term that is lower ranked.
  • Choose an appropriate platform for your PPC ads. As I mentioned before, Google AdWords carry more weight on mobile devices that Microsoft adCenter. If you feel that the good or service you provide would appeal more to a mobile market (ie. cell phone covers, rechargeable batteries), then choose what you feel your ad network based on that.

As always, I encourage our blog’s readers to reach out to us and contact us with any questions they may have regarding PPC ads. We have extensive resources regarding PPC management along with other various PPC services. I can also be emailed directly at jwersits@webimax.com.