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Tips to Increase Sales with Facebook Ads

Facebook LogoThe long term goal of every product advertiser is simple: sell more products. When customers make purchases, they go through all of the phases of the purchase funnel, a theoretical representation of all the cognitive events that lead a person toward a purchase decision. The four steps are awareness, interest, desire, and action.

The advertising market landscape

Google serves advertisers who are trying to capture user desire and convert it into action. Keywords are the way people express their desires in Google, using phrases like “lose weight fast,” “Samsung Galaxy III AT&T,” “electric bicycles at Walmart,” “Macy’s coupons,” etc.

Brand advertisers buy ads on TV, in print, and pre-roll ads on internet video to raise product awareness, and if the product displayed in the ad is intriguing it might create interest in the buyers. (Quick note: To understand how TV ads work in making us familiar about products watch Darren Brown’s amazing video of subliminal persuasion in action. TV ads persuade us subconsciously.)

Advertisers right now are using Facebook sidebar ads as a panacea, trying to raise product awareness, build product interest, and create product desire. But what advertisers don’t realize is that these ads cannot do all three. Facebook’s sidebar ads are not for introducing people to new products. For example, imagine a sidebar ad for a Metallica concert. Metallica and heavy metal fans are more likely to interact with it. You might be more likely to interact with an Adidas ad if you have been thinking of buying a pair of shoes.

What about all the ads shown in our sidebar that we don’t interact with? What is preventing us from “seeing” those ads in the first place? Well, your subconscious sees them all but discards the ads which don’t look familiar. Sidebar ads don’t make much sense unless:

  • The person is aware of the product
  • The person is interested in the product

Sidebar ads work great with Facebook ad exchange, as users would have come across the product in the ad previously.

Advertisers should buy Facebook sidebar ads in conjunction with their TV/radio/print/pre-roll video ads for better impact. Advertisers place ads on TV based on demographics of show audience provided by rating agencies like Nielsen. Let’s say for the show “Mad Men,” the demographic is males age 16 to 49 living in urban areas. Brand advertisers who have products that target this demographic will buy ads spots when the show airs. With TV, advertisers can raise product awareness and create product interest. But if the person who sees a TV ad doesn’t hear about the product in the following days, he is more likely to forget about it.

Thus, advertisers who show ads on TV should buy Facebook ads to help convert the product awareness and interest created by the TV ad into product desire. TV ads make people familiar with the product, and Facebook ads should capture that familiarity.

How advertisers can use Facebook ads to take customers down the purchase funnel

Capturing product awareness and turning it into product interest
Advertisers can create product interest by displaying content on landing pages that explains more about the product and the promises the product makes. Example: A product ad for Samsung Galaxy S4 which lists all the promises the device can deliver such as “software, battery life, hardware, traffic navigation, carrier choice, etc.” can help create interest in the product.

Capturing product interest and turning it into product desire
Creating desire is all about persuading people that the product fits into their lives. Explaining how the product stands out among others can create product desire. Example: On the landing page, the advertiser can show how the Samsung Galaxy S4 stands out compared to the HTC One X and the iPhone 5.

Advertisers can employ popular persuasion techniques to create desire:

  • Reciprocity
  • Scarcity
  • Liking
  • Authority
  • Social proof
  • Commitment/consistency

For example, showing a five-star review for the Samsung Galaxy S4 from Engadget can help induce desire, using authority. Explaining that the discount in the Levi’s store will only last four days can create desire, using scarcity. Once customers have desire for the product and are willing to take action on the product, they can go to Google to express this desire through a keyword search. How desire is created in the previous model can work:

  • When a person types in “Galaxy S4 reviews” into Google
  • When a person walks into a nearest Levi’s store with a coupon

Facebook needs a new ad format to move TV dollars to the web

The majority of advertising budgets are still spent on TV, so purchasing sidebar ads on Facebook doesn’t help these advertisers. Such ads have to be in a place where users direct most of their attention (i.e., the newsfeed). Sponsored/promoted stories push ads into the newsfeed, but these ad formats don’t quite do the job, since the message in these ads is directed toward people who already know about the brand, so it’s not ideal for introducing people to the product. Facebook needs a new ad format which pushes targeted ads directly to the newsfeed.

This article was originally published on iMediaConnection.

Author: Naren Reddy

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Naren Reddy is the Chief Product Officer at Wignite, whose products include wisiRecruit, a social media recruiting tool for colleges and wisiPlan, an eILP tool. View Profile

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