Engineering Attention
The problem with a very loud and crowded media space is that once you think you’ve got it figured out, it goes and changes on you. In this issue, we explore how brands make connections and build relationships in the crowded, noisy, competitive digital space.

Engineering Attention

Summer 2013

The little-lotta-bittas of Social Media Ad Buying

by: Ali Turner

Welcome to the place where media buying and social media marketing meet. Über-hip first cousin of more traditional media ad buys, such as banner ads, social media ad buying is still a new territory that can seem like a shot in the dark. But with a little insight, a lot of creativity, and a bit of testing, it’s easy to navigate your first Facebook ad buy.

All you have to remember is… 

a Little + a Lotta’ + a Bitta’. 

A Little Insight… 

Much like other forms of ad buying (social or otherwise), there are plenty of ad options to choose from on Facebook. Before you buy, though, it’s key to know not only how each ad will be displayed, but what each type of ad can do for your page. 

Display Ads: Probably the most recognizable ad type, display ads are the small image-and-text ads displayed on the right hand side of the user’s screen. 

Display ads are the most targetable of all ad types as they require no user action (i.e. liking a page, friend actions, etc.) to be seen. If a user fits the target demographic, they get served the ad. 

Sponsored Stories: In most cases, we like our friends. So, when your friend comments, likes, or engages with a brand page, we’d want to know that, right? 

Sponsored stories are messages that come about from your Facebook friends engaging with a page or app. Sponsored stories can be found on the right hand side of the page (like display ads) as well as in news feeds. 

Promoted Posts: When it comes to prime real estate on Facebook, the top of the newsfeed is king. Advertisers: you can pay to be there with Promoted Posts. These highly engaging ads take the form of a Facebook wall update that is shared with page fans and their friends. They appear as natural stories in the news feed, and are an affordable way to drive traffic to your page. 

 A Lotta’ Creativity… 

Deciding which type of ad will best help you achieve your goals is half the equation. The other half is developing the creative that will get the click. However, Facebook does set a few parameters. 

Facebook’s ad policy states that images and image thumbnails in promoted posts and sponsored stories must not contain more than 20% text. Whether you’re linking to your site or to a specific Facebook page or app, be sure that the visual in the ad is just that: visual. 

The best driver for ad engagement is quality images, especially in promoted page posts. Here’s a general rule of thumb: whatever would work well as a page post—and get the most engagement—would be a good contender for your next Facebook ad. 

A Bitta’ Testing… 

Sometimes, finding your Facebook advertising sweet spot can be tricky. You may pick the right creative or ad type at first, but make sure to use every spend as an opportunity to test. What may work for one page may not work for another, and that’s okay. Continue to fine-tune your messaging, medium, and spend with every campaign, and you’ll move closer to your fans every step of the way. 

Some parting words of wisdom…
Facebook ad buying is all about being heard. Whatever the message may be, be sure to keep your fans in mind. Always deliver messages in places where they will not only see them, but interact with them, too.