Update: Learn how I created a blog and went from 0 to 1,000 daily visitors in just 10 days:
If you have an authority or a niche blog, and you’re not considering using Facebook, then you’re about to consider it after reading this post.
I’ve been experimenting the last 2 months with Facebook Ads and some other stuff and I’m revealing my whole results in this post. So go on, grab a cup of coffee, tea or whatever (except soda, which I don’t like) and get ready for some action.
Basically, I’ve put to test 2 things:
- Facebook Ads to increase your audience and get more followers in your fanpage
- Facebook Ads to generate direct revenue with Affiliate programs or get leadsinto a niche
Now before I start everything, yeah, I know I haven’t updated my Facebook fanpage -Stream SEO- for a long time. I just happen to publish some article or image from time to time, but I’m not really engaging with my audience with Facebook as I should. At least not at Stream SEO, because I’ve done very well in other niches (more on that later).
So, dear folks, today we’re going to talk about Facebook Ads and campaigns. And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, YOU SHOULD. Here’s an example you might’ve seen hundreds or even thousands of times in your daily usage with Facebook:
Now if you haven’t seen those ads, either you’re blind or you don’t use Facebook that much. You can see Facebook ads even while browsing on your favorite gadget/device and currently there’s no way to avoid them as Facebook hasn’t gone by the paid route, and they probably won’t.
Now let me tell you something first. Facebook Ads might not seem like the big deal, but there are some freelancers and IMs making tons of money from it. Some of them even thousands per day. So I decided it was time to give it a try. I mean, what could I lose, right? Some money perhaps, but it should be worth it for a case study.
Preparing a Facebook Ads campaign
I know getting into Google Adwords and being approved is a process that can take more than 24 hours. Sometimes even days and at the end Google could not approve you. On the other hand, Facebook seems to be easier to ride on, even if it’s the first time you’ve done any kind of PPC (Pay per Click) campaign. Basically, you just open your Facebook wall, and from the left menu select the “Facebook Ads” or “Ads manager” option.
Or, if you have a fanpage for your blog or niche site, you probably have seen those ads on Facebook telling you to grow your audience or Boost a post below every entry you make. Whatever you choose, it will take you to the Ads Manager where you can create your new campaign.
Facebook will ask you some easy questions and you’ll see it’s really easy to understand. You don’t need to be a marketing guru or a tech-savvy person to fill the form. From here, Facebook will allow you to choose:
- A Fanpage you want to promote
- An specific URL, which can be a post from a fanpage you own, or a completely external link (i.e. your blog or landing page)
I really recommend you to select the first option if this is the first time you’re working with Facebook Ads. Because Facebook loves to keep their fans and traffic on Facebook, they’ll approve your first campaign in a matter of minutes or a few hours. If you do select an external URL, be prepared to wait a long time (it took 12-24 hours for me) in order to get approved, if they decide to do so.
After this, you’ll have to fill in some extra information, which will be the key to your success. Facebook clicks and fans can be cheap if done right. But do it wrong and you’ll end up paying a lot for them. So you need to be careful and select the right things in order to make it worth it. Usually, you’ll see that Facebook offers you an average price for fans. This is the box that appears on one of my fanpages:
As you can see, they’re offering me somewhere between 45 to 182 new fans per day, if I decide to spend $10 each and every day. It would cost me $300 per month then, and I know many of you aren’t ready to pay this quantity of money for a blog’s audience, but don’t be scared. Facebook can be a lot less expensive than that.
If we do some math, it means I can get a new Fan per $0.22 cents or almost 5 fans per dollar, which is not bad. Most people pay around $1 per each lead in forums like safe swaps and the Warrior Forum and still won’t get targeted/high quality followers.
In the bright side, if I get 182 likes per day, that means each like is costing me $0.054, or around 20 new fans per dollar. Not bad at all. The point here is to make the cost per fan go as low as $0.01-$0.02 and then we will be making some good ROI.
Of course, a Facebook fan is not as valuable as an email lead, but you have the advantage of getting high targeted fans from the country, age, gender and with the exact interests for your blog instead of a “high responsive, buyers included” list that you’ll see at the Warrior Forum.
And if you can get from 50 to 100 fans per buck, then you just need around $20 to grow your Facebook fanpage to 1,000 likes. Sounds like a sweet deal for me.
The key to get targeted followers
As I’ve told you before, the key is to get the highest quantity of followers spending just a few bucks, and make them targeted and relevant to your niche. So if you’re promoting a niche fanpage about making money online, you should target people from premium countries that are interested in making business and money in a short time. I would target people from the age of 22 and up to 35, because before 22 they’re probably students and have no money or credit cards to spend, and 35 because sometimes “old” people just don’t trust any kind of making money online method or they’re just too busy around taking care of their family to watch our ads, if they ever use Facebook.
So select your audience really carefully and go for it.
In my test, I wanted to grow my Stream SEO fanpage to at least 500 fans. Previously I had only around 90 fans, so that’s around 400 more to go.
I created my campaign and let Facebook use my Fanpage cover image as default while adding some boring description to it. That was my first fault. I got around 30 new fans in one day and ended up paying like $3 in total.
Considering I’m now paying a dedicated server for my blogs, $3 is close to nothing and I can earn more than that in a few minutes with Google Adsense or an affiliate sale. But still, I was wrong. Also, I made the mistake of selecting US only fans being 18-40 years old and having interests on “Google, Organic Traffic, and Search Engine Optimization“. So yeah, I can say it was a total mess.
Just after that I started reading some blogs and following some recommendations from different forums, but at the end it’s pretty simple. Make your picture relevant and interesting to your audience, and tell them what to do.
So when I was watching my Facebook wall, I started watching the Ads appearing to me, and here’s what I noted:
All of the Ads shown above are related to SEO, make money online, MLM networks and App development. Do you notice something in common?
Yeah, either they use the red color or a hot woman to bring your attention. And 3 of them tell you to click like or click the banner to know more about it.
Never underestimate your readers. Sometimes if you don’t tell them to click, they won’t click something. If you don’t tell them to like your page, they won’t do it even if they’re interested on it. And the red color really attracts more people than having a transparent/white background. To be honest, those girls have nothing to do with the Ads they’re promoting but it still works.
Here are some tips I’ve gathered and work really well when creating campaigns:
- Always do A/B testing. You can start with 2-5 different images. Target them to the same audience, but with different images each.
- You can also do A/B testing with the description. Tell people to click or like your page even if it’s quite obvious. That should increase your CTR.
- First try with CPM (Facebook recommended settings) and then after you select the best images and descriptions, go for CTR
- Always set a limited time for your campaign or a limited budget per day. You don’t want to get a surprise in your next bill.
- Try using an internal campaigns first, and then a campaign to an external landing page or website. Your Ads will be approved faster.
- Always select highly targeted fans. If your site talks about iPhones and iPads, then select people that follow Apple products, Apps, and similar. Don’t go and try for a larger audience who love all technology in general because you’ll receive less clicks and low quality fans. Even with a very targeted selection, you’ll have at least some hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of fans to promote.
After you set up your campaign you can see it running in the Facebook Ads Manager. If you decided to use Sponsored stories too, then you’ll see 2 campaigns. Don’t worry if you don’t.
Watch how I arranged my campaigns and there’s a limit on my spending budget because I don’t want any surprises in my account. In fact, I recommend you to double check your budget limit the first time you use Facebook Ads because something weird happened to me.
The first time I started with Facebook Ads, I prepared everything and set a limit of $10 per day. The campaign was supposed to last 48 hours, so I wanted to spend $20 in total. I finished preparing my campaign at 1am so that the campaign would start almost at the same time the day starts for me, and then I went to sleep.
That campaign was approved almost instantly because I remember receiving the notification in my phone just a few minutes later when I was in bed. I was happy and slept like a child. But the next morning…
Facebook had decided that the limit I was using was too low, and they “recommended” me to change it. However, the problem is that they not only recommended it. They did change the limit by themselves and I was surprised the next morning when I had already spent more than $10 and had just got like 30 new fans. The CTR was really low and I ended up paying a lot for each fan. Total mess. This is how the graph looked after that:
The spike in the graph there shows me I got around $150 new fans the first day, and the second day after Facebook changed my settings I just got around 30 fans. However that was the only time it happened to me. Nowadays even if I set the limit to $1, Facebook won’t “recommend me” anything else so I feel safe now.
Getting 1,000 fans for $20
My next target was to rinse and repeat this, now using a better image, description and setting a low spending limit. So I prepared 3 different images and 3 different campaigns. All of them had the same description and were targeted to the same countries, ages and interests. The only thing that changed was the image, were I used a computer with a graph, a beautiful lady and a computer with money instead of just my cover image.
I wanted to spend a maximum of $3 per day, and allowed it to run for almost 10 days for a total of $30. Here’s the result:
As you can see, I got between 50 to 150 fans per day. 50 fans for $3 is as cheap as $0.06 per fan. That’s way lower than paying $1 per lead on average. However, getting 150 fans for $3 means I was paying $0.02 per fan. Grrrrreat!
As you can see in the chart, the first days are usually better, because after some days people will watch the image and either become blind or because they already liked your page, they won’t click it anymore and the CTR will be lower.
So what I recommend first is to prepare at least 5 to 10 different images and use them all at the same time, or another thing you can do is to run 3 simultaneous campaigns just like me, but let them run only for 3 days and then create new campaigns with new images and run them again. This way you’ll likely receive more fans per impression and your CPC will be lower.
In fact, if you become good at this, you can lower your CPC up to 0.01, and then get 1,000 targeted fans for as low as $10 bucks. But if you manage to get fans at a $0.02-$0.04 rate, you should be happy already.
When you have selected the best images and descriptions for your fanpage, and you know those images work really well (high CTR and low CPC), then you can create a new campaign and select a CTR based scheme instead of paying for CPM. This way it won’t matter if the images get old after a few days because facebook will not charge you by the number of impressions – they’ll charge for clicks – and you’ll spend even less money or at least you’ll keep getting a good quantity of new followers per day.
Getting Leads AND Sales with Facebook Ads
There’s another way to use Facebook Ads not only to increase your fans, but also to generate leads and even money. Because Facebook allows you to create high targeted ads and the process is simpler than Google Adwords, I’ve been experimenting a lot getting good results with it.
It turns out it’s quite “easy” to make some money with Facebook Ads if you choose the right affiliate/promotion/offer and again, you select the best image and description for your Ad.
You’ll need a few things though. Since you’re now promoting a direct link to your website, you want to get the most out of it because you won’t get new fans using this method. So either you create something to make them follow you to a twitter/Facebook/whatever account, or you turn them into email subscribers. So that’s what we’re doing here. Building a list for a selected niche.
For this, I created some landing pages using 2 great WordPress plugins I recommend. Let me tell you that Facebook won’t approve your ad if you’re directly using an affiliate link to an offer. Even if you cloak them or redirect them. So instead, you need to build your own landing page, and you have 2 choices from there:
- Direct them to the offer with a button or a “click here” link
- Turn them into subscribers and then promote to them via email with your affiliate links, or articles
I tested both. But first let me show you an example of a good converting page I’ve seen over and over in my Facebook wall:
See? Nothing really fancy or difficult at all.
The Ad was promoting web services and Apps for Android and iOS, and it gets you to click on it and then you land into this simple squeeze page. The cool thing is that because they’re only asking for your email, it’s really easy to fill and watch the content of the membership after that. And they’re using a background with a hot girl in the beach because you know… we all love to work with our laptops at the beach while we make tons of money, don’t we?
Anyway, I was able to create a simple landing page like that in a few minutes usingHybrid Connect. Usually, I use Hybrid Connect to create mobile responsive opt-in forms on many websites and put them on any place without problems (sidebar, end of post, featured box, homepage, etc). But the best thing of all is that Hybrid Connect allows you to create multiple forms and split test them automatically. Hybrid Connect will find the best one and start showing it more and more until it decides which one is the best 100%. You don’t even need to look at your statistics.
All in all, in my opinion, Hybrid Connect easily beats Popup Domination and Optin Skin, which I’ve used before.
But I wanted to go pro and make beautiful landing pages for this test, so I decided to use Optimize Press 2.0.
Creating stunning Landing Pages with Optimize Press 2.0
If you haven’t heard of Optimize Press you have not been in the IM world long enough. Version 1.0 was a theme that allowed you to create landing pages, sales pages, squeeze pages and all related, including membership sites. However, it was a theme, and I didn’t like it just because of that. You’d need to buy an special domain just to create all your landing pages.
However, Optimize Press 2.0 changed that by creating a plugin version and updating all the templates with mobile and simple versions which I loved from the first time Isaw the video. So here I am using O.P. 2.0 and I totally recommend it.
For this new test, I was really careful to select an affiliate that would give me good results and that could offer an all in one solution to my leads. I wanted to try something relatively expensive, but good enough to be worth it – a la Apple style – and so I went for Squarespace. Squarespace now pays $100 per affiliate registration but for the services they offer and the public they’re targeted for, I thought it was worth a try.
So I carefully created my campaigns by choosing males and females between 23 to 35 years (credit card is required) and then I selected a really simple but targeted niche:photographers and designers. Oh and yes! I had some beautiful photos of girls posing for photography. My budget was $20 and the campaign was set to run for 48 hours.
I know many designers and photographers want to create their portfolios online and some of them pay A LOT. I mean, really. It’s like getting all of their work exposed into a beautiful website they can showcase and add into their business cards. I won’t be revealing the exact interests I targeted to reach these people but you get the idea. Many of them don’t even want to mess up with HTML and they just want stunning portfolios. So Squarespace was a great product for them for a relatively low price.
Since we’re now directing Facebook users to an external page and you can’t directly promote an affiliate link I created 2 pages with Optimize press 2.0. Both landing pages had similar title/content and a video showing the power Squarespace. I really highlighted the option to get a free 14 day trial with some big arrows and that, and the only difference is that one page had a button to start the trial directly, while the other one had an opt-in form to get their email. After getting their email, they were redirected to a third landing page which was basically the same as the one with the button so they could start their trial right away, but I had already gotten their email to contact them in the future.