So I walked into the office yesterday morning and started my typical routine. Made the office coffee, set up my laptop, and checked into Foursquare. Everything was fine until I noticed a post from NPR in my Facebook news feed.
I thought to myself, “Great, a feel good story about someone trying something new and succeeding.” But I was wrong.
The article details a small pizza joint in Louisiana that was trying to drum up some new business before buying a new building. Though they had been curious about Facebook ads but were too timid to try it themselves, so hired a “social media ad guru”. Don’t get me wrong, advertising and developing creative can be a tough job, and it’s ok to be timid. What left a bad feeling in my stomach though, was the way the article brushed off social media advertising/marketing as a dud and something that has not been thoroughly tested.
What did that “guru” do? If he was a “guru”, why didn’t it work? What went wrong? Did they manage bids, creative, landing pages? What was the action of the ad? What was the intended result?
Doing this for a few years now, it made me mad that NPR would just leave it like that, citing even GM has pulled their [Facebook] ads because they didn’t see the initial increase in sales they were looking for. What!? GM sells cars, among other things, all over the world. They probably spent hundreds of thousands of dollars testing and analyzing their ad creative, cost, performance, CTR & yield. And after all of that made an informed decision that they can easily purchase advertising with greater exposure, in places that contain a highly driven demographic that will perform better, even if better is an increase of 0.0125%.
The bigger question is who. Who was this “guru” and what did he do? Did he try and make the ads perform better for this company, how? The articles makes it sound like this “guru” pretty much took his client’s money and ran. As a “guru” he should have known that Facebook recommends that marketers target at least 20,000 people with their ads. This gives the ad a fair chance at finding it’s target and gaining some traction. Also working against this campaign was it’s focus. They seemed to be throwing ideas at the wall hoping something would stick and take off. But NO form of advertising works like that. Sure during the creative process there’s a little “free-thinking” and off-the-wall ideas but they are usually coming from an informed idea process. Knowing the audience and the intended action and that actions result is an important step toward making socially based advertising work. Getting more “Likes” for your Facebook page does not equal selling more pizzas. Motivating users to get out of their seats and to actually do something requires not only a motivating factor, ie – a coupon or promotion, but something they will get value from.
Social media marketing (SMM) can be very, very fickle. Most people think you can just wing it or hire a “social media ad guru” to do it for you. Truth is, you need to know who your audience is before you can target and advertise to them. The pizza shop should have taken some time and asked some of their current customers what they like, where they live in relation to the shop. Focusing on your current customers will help determine who your potential customers are. You also need to assign a value to different actions so that you can calculate your return on investment (ROI) in the end. How much is a “Like” worth to you? How about a new loyal customer? Those are the important questions.
We run campaigns on Facebook, Google, & LinkedIn on a regular basis for our clients. Sometimes we hit the jackpot and some times we hit a dud. It can be very frustrating and upsetting when the ‘perfect campaign’ you set up, doesn’t work. It is even worse when you’ve run the campaign before with tons of success but the following week or month it fails and falls flat on it’s face. It takes daily monitoring and making adjustments we can not only manage cost but see what is working, make adjustments and apply that thinking to other campaigns that might not be performing as well. We put a lot of effort into the care and management of a marketing dollar to ensure that it gets put to good use. It’s not something that you can do once and forget about. Advertising, just like a car, requires regular maintenance and sometimes a shiny new set of wheels.