While "set it and forget it" may work as a mantra in the infomercial world of Ron Popeil and small rotisserie ovens, it should most certainly not be the mantra of your Facebook ad campaign. True, digital media planning has always relied on constant optimization, but Facebook advertising has done to media planning what social media as a whole has done to most things -- changed the game. So, what is a media planner to do when trying to plan a successful Facebook campaign? Well, Facebook already offers some tips and best practices, but the truth is, because of how dynamic Facebook advertising is, every campaign needs to be approached individually. Here are eight recommendations to think about when launching your next Facebook campaign.
Like search, apply a high touch, flexible approach
Similar to how search broke the buying mold in the early part of this century with auction-based, demand-driven media, Facebook advertising is accelerating the media planning cycle and approach for media planners and buyers. Success in the Facebook ecosystem requires a unique blend of skills -- a firm grasp of audience targeting and segmentation, a search engine marketer's understanding of auction-based media platforms, and the necessary analytical chops to apply daily optimizations to your campaign. Add in the fact that forecasting can feel like a wild-goose chase because planners must dig through a variety of demographic and self-identified interest data points in order to find estimated audience volume data, and each unique segment is treated as an individual campaign. This means that there are often few established benchmarks and limited insight into actual estimated click volume. Planners must therefore be armed to translate problem solving into action in a real-time environment.
Take advantage of segmentation features, but be careful not to limit your audience
The overwhelmingly unique attribute of Facebook advertising is the ability to target your audience based on an entirely new paradigm -- their self-professed areas of interest in parallel with their brand "connections" and more traditional geographic and demographic profiles. For some brands, this interest-based segmentation may be intuitive and come naturally as it may closely mirror the process of generating a keyword list for paid search. For example, a bicycle manufacturer can easily identify cyclists who may "like" certain cycling organizations or races, or have "connections" with complimentary (or competitive) brands. For others, this process is less clear.
Targeting based on interests is an in-depth exercise that requires diving deep into understanding the target audience. Often, this will mean piecing together a range of signals and information to identify a variety of personas and audience segments. This process should start with a consumer insights team working hand-in-hand with a media planning team to clearly identify behavioral and psychographic audience subgroups that represent the greatest opportunities for targeting.
While the ability to hyper-target an audience is appealing, and can lead to an extremely efficient campaign, there is a possibility that you can negatively impact a campaign by "over-segmenting" your audience. The more granular you get with audience segmentation, the more limited your audience becomes, which is a critical point when you consider both the likelihood for burnout and Facebook’s audience minimums -- minimum of 150 people per segment. This takes us to our next point.