Advertising on FaceBook

It has been a new experience to begin experimenting with advertising on FaceBook. I have run, or attempted to run, several ads, and one of my associates also used FB ads.

They can be purchased as PPC, or Pay Per Page Load (referred to as CPM). PPC costs more per, but is action based. CPM just charges you to show the ad, and does not guarantee clickthroughs.

FaceBook has some rather strict, and often strangely implemented rules about advertising. It seems to be implemented through keyword flagging, rather than by thinking people. If you have an ad that has certain words in it, which they consider to be restricted, your ad will be disapproved. No appeal. NO second chance. Once disapproved you may NEVER resubmit it, and never advertise that website again.  We find this to be not only harsh, but entirely unreasonable, especially since reading their guidelines won’t really clue you in as to which keywords they are flagging, or even why. Their terms of use are fairly vague, and non-specific, so it is difficult to tell sometimes just what they are forbidding.

This means, that if you word a disallowed topic to sound like an allowed one, you can promote it. If you accidentally describe an allowed topic using a word that they have flagged, your ad will be disapproved, regardless. Even more oddly, when we had one ad approved, they subsequently disapproved an ad for the SAME THING (using a word they did not like), and they said I could never advertise that item again  – all the while, the original ad, going to the same URL, was running in the background and they were happily charging us for it.

The second thing that people often misunderstand about FaceBook ads, is how they are targeting. If you are offering Web Design services, for example, and list “web design” as a keyword in your list, they will display your ads to OTHER WEB DESIGNERS! Because the match words are pulled from the profiles. So you have to list keywords that fit your target market, and NOT necessarily words they would use in a search engine. This is obviously a problem to many users, because I am constantly bombarded with ads for web design, and graphic design.

Can they work? The verdict is still out. We did get clickthroughs – though the price we had to pay for them was pretty steep for one industry ($1.50 to $2.00 per click). The “suggested bid” was so far off that it was pretty well useless – it suggested bidding $.67, when clicks were STARTING at $1.52.

We did not make any sales, but we also did not run it for an extended period of time. We did try tweaking the ad – but ran into the disallowed issue above, and did not dare submit another ad for the same thing, lest they blast our current ad. Such inconsistencies make it very difficult to truly test and optimize the system.

They do have a nice ability to target regionally, which is useful for some businesses.

Overall, I think they could really work for our seminars. But having insulted their word list, I’ll never know that unless I want to set up another website and promote it there and link to the main site. That seems a bit too much like playing games to me, and frankly, I’m finding that FaceBook is making it a bit too difficult to allow me to pay them money, so I have sort of lost the enthusiasm for testing it anymore.

Our associate who used this found that it was good for delivering visitors – though she also had to tweak her keyword list – but that it really didn’t result in increased sales. She is hopeful that some of the people who still associate with her due to contact through the ads may eventually result in business.

If you decide to play with them, realize that a $5 per day budget may not go as far as you think, and that the censor-bot that screens your ads is impossible to predict.

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