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My Love/Hate Relationship With Facebook Ads: 10 Ways They Could Improve
Last month I began running a campaign on Facebook’s new ad network. After hearing the hype, I couldn’t resist playing around with it as soon as I had a reason to. At first I was somewhat frustrated because I wasn’t getting any page views or clicks. It took some time experimenting with my bid before I found the magic number. So far I am happy with the results I’ve seen over the past month, but there are many areas where the program could improve. Below are 10 ways Facebook could improve their social ads platform, as well as some pretty cool features the system already has.
1. Landing Pages and Pop-Ups
Landing pages that generate a pop-up when the user enters are not allowed. I have two theories about this. First, if I’m paying for the ad and I’m dumb enough to want to have a pop-up, let me have my pop-up. The fact that 99% of my visitors will hit the back button (or possibly give me a thumbs done on StumbleUpon) is my problem. Second, if this is in the advertising guidelines then please, enforce it. Just today as I was looking for examples to add to this article, I clicked on an ad in the Ad Boards page that led me to this landing page with a pop-up that I couldn’t close at all.
(Just because it says close, doesn’t mean it’s gonna close.)
2. Ad Capitalization
Ads may not include unnecessary capitalization such as FREE. Why not? Maybe I want to emphasize that I’m giving something away for FREE. Maybe I want to use the terms SMX, SES, SEO all in my description. Will that work? Danny Sullivan said he tried an ad with SEO and PPC in it, and it was rejected as having too many capital letters. Personally, I am a fan of capitalizing the first letter in every word of my title and sometimes in a 2-4 word description. According to Facebook, that could be seen as unnecessary. As a marketer, I want that option when I’m creating my ads. If I want to test different options, some capital and some not, I’d like to be able to do that. If you use all caps (like I tried), chances are this is what you’ll get back from Facebook (like I did):
3. Provocative Images
Provocative images will not be accepted. So, users can upload provocative images to their profiles and albums, but advertisers cannot. My first question on this is to define provocative. Does that mean girls can’t show cleavage? Is there a limit to how much cleavage can be shown? Can an ad show cleavage as long as there are no visible head lights? I mean seriously, be more specific please or just say no nudity.
Many advertisers use provocative ads in their campaigns. It’s a proven marketing tactic. It works and, if done well, can show a very positive impact to your ROI. I guess it’s safe to say we won’t be seeing ads from Victoria Secret on Facebook as long as not accepting provocative images is in their ad guidelines. Aw, too bad angels.
4. Content Restrictions
Facebook has a list of things they restrict. Most of them I do agree with and I agree that Facebook needs to watch this, but I don’t agree with all the topics they have restricted. For example, if I have gambling as an activity, why not allow an online gaming company to advertise on my feed? Similarly, if I have alcohol as an interest, I wouldn’t mind seeing an ad for Corona or Grey Goose. If I’m a cell phone provider, Facebook users are my target audience, but I can’t advertise my free ringtones (bummer). These are mainstream ads that are seen on television and in magazines all the time, but they are restricted in Facebook’s advertising guidelines.
5. Account Management
Currently, you must build your ad campaign through your Facebook profile and be logged in to your profile in order to manage it. Now, here’s how this could be a problem. Say you are running a campaign for someone else and forget you are logged in. You’re surfing the web later and see something you’d like to ‘share on Facebook’. You click your handy share button and submit. Little do you realize that you’ve shared it via the wrong profile. Yep, this does happen, trust me.
Is it too much to ask to give advertisers a separate log in to manage their ad campaigns?
6. Ad Editing
The ad title, image, or description can’t be edited once it’s running. This is really frustrating. If you notice a typo, you can’t edit it. You have to delete it and start over. If you uploaded an image, but want to test out a new ad using the same image, you have to upload it again. I would love for my images to be stored within my campaign account. This would be very helpful when traveling without access to the image on my laptop.
7. Geo Targeting
Facebook limits the target location to one country. I’d love to see an option to select multiple countries or all of them. The campaign I am currently running would be applicable to various countries. But the way things are set up now, I’d have to run a different campaign for each country. This would be fine if I wanted to track clicks and conversions per country, but say I didn’t. A global option would be fantastic.
8. Ad Placement
Choosing ‘Pay per Click’ doesn’t let you choose where the ad will be displayed (feed vs. ad space or both), but pay per view does give this option. I prefer to display my ads in the feed. In my opinion, they stand out more to me than the ad space on the left of the feed. Please give advertisers this option in both ‘Pay per Click’ and ‘Pay per View’, and please give me the option to edit this within my ad. If I need to bid higher to get the ad in the feed, just tell me that while I’m creating my ad.
9. Ad Scheduling
The lack of dayparting features is a big flaw in their system. Scheduling ads is very limited, you can only choose continuous or a start and end date. If you want your ad to run every weekend, the only way to do this is to remember to start it every Saturday morning and stop it every Sunday night. More scheduling options would be fantastic. Am I asking too much for them to please add a Mon-Fri Only and Weekends Only option along with a time period as a bonus?
10. American Express is Not an Option
Now this one is really perplexing. Why in the world does Facebook not accept AMEX? I just could not think of a good reason, so I sent them an email and this was the response.
Thank you for your inquiry. We are currently building a system which has better fraud prevention measures. Currently, we are unable to accept American Express cards because they cannot confirm all the information necessary for us to feel secure accepting their card. We will continue to work on our system and with AmEx, and we hope to be able to accept American Express cards in the future.
Thanks for contacting Facebook,
Customer Support Representative
I won’t even comment on that further because I am a die hard AMEX fan and there is no way you can tell me it’s not secure. This is a 10 on the LAME scale and such an easy fix. Just take the card–every other company I buy ad space on does.
As promised, I will end this on a good note. If we chatted at Pubcon or if you’ve read my blog, you may already know that (aside from what is listed above) I am a fan of Facebook ads (I really am) and often tell people to try it, and here’s why. It’s new. Yes, there are some negatives, but there is a lot of opportunity and I don’t think that Facebook users have created ‘banner blindness’ within their feed yet. I base that on my own personal experience. When the Facebook ads started popping up, I noticed them right away. It may not be the best choice for everyone but, if you can find a way to make it work for your client, I say go for it. My experience so far has shown that advertising on Facebook can be very inexpensive, and while the targeting does narrow down the number of users that will see your ad, it is still ‘very’ targeted.
Here’s a glimpse at a week’s worth of data for you to look at to see what the results can be.
$20 bucks or so a week for my brand to be displayed on people’s profiles with a targeted interest is not bad, if you ask me.
So, consider this before you use it: it is new, rudimentary, and can be somewhat frustrating for the advanced marketer, but if you are patient and can make it work for you, give it a shot. It does have potential and I’m willing to bet Facebook will accept your feedback on how to further improve their ad platform.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.