Facebook Advertising for Bloggers and Publishers – #4: The Experts Weigh in

For this last post in our series on Facebook advertising we reached out to some of the big names in Facebook marketing to ask them for some advice to share with our readers…we got some real nuggets!

Jason How from JSocial isn’t afraid of the truth:Jason How-JSocial
Facebook might be pay to play but if the quality of your content is low, then no amount of advertising will salvage it. It’s not only about the actual content that people click through to see, but also the Facebook post and/or ad copy. In general, I think that people are not giving enough attention to copywriting.

How can we improve our CTR on posts?

There are a few ways that you can improve your link click-throughs significantly. I’ll use an example from Mashable to illustrate this: http://mashable.com/2015/01/20/worst-passwords-of-2014/
Write Facebook posts in one of these ways:
  1. How the reader might potentially benefit (the biggest benefit) by clicking on your link, .e.g. “Are you using one of these horrible passwords?”
  2. Use a highly interesting quote from the content, e.g. “Did you know that “what were once considered clever password strategies … are old tricks”?
  3. Point out how well it is being received, e.g. “Our readers have some GREAT advice on how you can create foolproof passwords – see them in the comments section!”
  4. Reflect your personal thoughts about the post, e.g. “I think it’s awful for anyone to still be using one of these passwords. If you are, you need to see this now!”

What about Unpublished posts?

For unpublished posts, experiment with website click and post engagement ads (now renamed as “Boost Post” on the ad manager for some people)

  • For post engagement ads, you’d create an image post and insert a link at the end of your copy. So you got to make sure that your copy is short enough that the link is not hidden under “See more”.
  • Image posts give you the advantage of using an image with the aspect ratio 4:3 which gives you more news feed real estate and attracts more attention overall as compared to website click ads’ image (1.91:1)
  • I have some interesting on hand that shows this disparity between engagement levels for both ad types but here’s a prelude that I wrote for Postplanner (point 3): http://www.postplanner.com/3-shocking-discoveries-about-facebook-ads-optimization/
Conclusion: The goal of your copy is to create sufficient curiosity in your readers to click through. The question is, are you making them curious enough?
I think that the quality of your copy should be judged using a meter to determine how curious you make your readers feel. If you can’t convince yourself, you can’t convince your readers. – Jason How

 

Joshua Parkinson-PostPlannerJoshua Parkinson, Customer Pain Killer at PostPlanner keeps things simple:
The best way for bloggers to use FB ads is to use boosted posts the way they were intended — to literally “boost” posts that are already doing well organically.
On the Post Planner fan page, we publish 4-5 of our blog posts per day (as Facebook link posts). Three of those posts are evergreen blog posts that have already been published to our page in the past (these can be up to 3 years old). The other 1-2 are new blog posts published in the previous 24 hours.
 What is his strategy after publication?
The strategy is simply to throw all these posts at the proverbial wall and see what sticks — ie. see which ones get the most shares and reach organically.  After 24 hours, we can see very clearly which posts are out-performing. Then we boost those posts to custom audiences (non-fans) that match the content of the blog posts we’re boosting.
Some specific stats on ads:
Here’s an example: http://screencast.com/t/F0L4RHuO
Yes, we got 13.1k clicks for $300… or 2.3 cents per click!! We don’t get this low of a price on every boost, but we’re almost always under 10 cents per click.
Conclusion: boosted posts work! What about some traffic data about PostPlanner?
Our monthly traffic is currently about 410k uniques per month. 25% comes from social — about 90% of which comes from FB. 🙂

 

Massimo Chieruzzi-AdEspresso
Massimo Chieruzzi, Founder & CEO at AdEspresso talks about the challenges involved with running Facebook Ads:
Promoting blog content with Facebook Ads can be extremely effective but also tough as you’re running on thinner margins and really need to get the most out of each ad.
His strategy?
When it comes to promoting AdEspresso’s content my #1 strategy is to use Website Custom Audiences and target the content to anyone who visited our website within the last 90 days. This is usually much more effective than targeting our page fan.
What about leads and customers? What does Massimo use for that objective?
Another very important element is to try to convert those visitors into leads. In the long term, especially for a blog, you don’t want to keep paying advertising to have them visit you again. Use Exit Intents Popup or special offers like free eBooks to prompt your users to signup to your list. It’s extremely effective and cost efficient in the long term!

 

Sam Mazaheri-AdStage
Sam Mazaheri, Head of Marketing for AdStage, provides a few extra reasons why you should start using Facebook Ads for your content promotion:
Facebook Ads are an incredibly effective way to promote your content to the right audience. You’ll be impressed with the way Facebook lets you reach any niche with an impressive array of targeting options like demographics, interests and behaviors. It’s incredibly accurate also. More than any other network, Facebook knows its user’s gender, age, and likes which you can use to focus your ads on the best audience while avoiding everyone else. For a breakdown of each of the different targeting options, read How To Target Facebook Ads to Your Audience.

 

Marketing Expert Brian Jackson shares two specific tips that he personally uses on Facebook. The first has to do with checking what works and doing more of that:

Brian Jackson-OKay MarketingFacebook can be a great way to boost your latest blog post and really expand your reach. One free WordPress plugin I use to determine which posts I should spend money on promoting with Facebook is “Social Metrics Tracker.” (https://wordpress.org/plugins/social-metrics-tracker/). Don’t just go by traffic in Google Analytics.

This plugin allows you to easily see which of your posts have higher engagement and are already doing well on Facebook. Just like we take the highest converting keywords in AdWords, we can do the same with Facebook and take the highest engaging posts. Also cross compare this data with that from the Facebook insights tool.

The second tip deals with building an audience from your website, to target on Facebook:

Another recommendation I make to bloggers is to take advantage of custom audiences. Even if you aren’t ready to advertise right now, go setup a new “website” audience with Facebook and start building your list right now. This way when you do launch your advertisement you aren’t relying solely on interest targeting. Most likely people that have visited your site will already be more keen to click into your content since they know your brand name, in turn this will increase your CTR and conversion rate.

What are the percentages involved with Content Marketing? Emeric Ernoult, Founder & CEO at AgoraPulse shares his thoughts:
Creating content is hard. Creating great content is extremely hard. Emeric Ernoult-AgoraPulse
But the hardest part lies in the promotion of that content. According
to most experts, you should spend 20% of your time creating the
content and 80% promoting it. Most bloggers / writers don’t even come
close to that ratio. I don’t. It takes too much time.

 

Facebook Advertising should be a no-brainer, so what are Emeric’s steps towards promoting content?
First, I promote our content to all our existing users, retargeting works perfect for that. Still on the retargeting side, I retarget existing readers of our blog. If they have already enjoyed one of our blog post, chances are that they’ll be happy to see another one. To maximize our results, I only promote our best blog post using this channel.
Finally, I also retarget our free trials with our best pieces of
content. Instead of bombarding them with advertising messages, I
prefer to show them helpful content when they are evaluating our brand
and its products.
The one thing he DOESN’T recommend? Interest targeting!
If you don’t have a big audience, you can still target your best
content to users who like blogs in your ecosystem, but I will always
recommend retargeting over interest targeting. Remember that you
invest an awful lot of time and energy in creating great content. not
having a budget for its promotion is a waste of your time.

Final thoughts

Whether it’s Facebook Ads in the form of Boosted Posts or Remarketing used as a tool to interact with your visitors, there aren’t any magic bullets. No sure-thing. No solution that will always work. As Facebook Advertising changes, so does the content you’re promoting and so are the people you’re trying to reach.

What you can do be one step ahead of the competition – create great content, offer amazing value, listen to your visitors and keep testing and experimenting. Good luck with Facebook Advertising!

One comment on “Facebook Advertising for Bloggers and Publishers – #4: The Experts Weigh in

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *