The Secret to Facebook Advertising Success: Content Marketing?

Today’s post is by Hunter Young, Assistant Vice President, Digital Channel, at BB&T.

Yea, I said it. You can pull all the demographic targeting data you’d like. Hyper-analyze it, reconfigure it, re-adjust your creative and ad copy to match up with that super analysis, and optimize until you have an unhealthy disdain for the word “optimize.” You can try the image of a girl, a guy, just the guy’s abs, maybe an orange background (I already said it’s worth it to give it a try).

All of those activities will help your campaigns. But, you are still missing the bigger picture…

Facebook should be the epicenter of your content marketing strategy.

And your advertising dollars should follow.

What does content marketing mean? You’ve probably heard a few definitions, but fundamentally it is the creation, distribution, and management of media online (media being videos, imagery, podcasts, articles, etc.).  Before you place another ad with your product and a “great deal” or an “amazing feature,” think about lengthening the potential impact of your ad unit.

Let’s look at a financial industry example:

Capital One and their agencies have done an incredible job building a unique brand over the last 10 years. Their commitment to unusual visigoths, pirates, gladiators, and yetis with whom everyone now associates Capital One has made them a top-15 U.S. financial intuition. So, which ad do you think you would click?

An ad with their slogan and a bit of copy on a product and ease of use?

Facebook capital one

Or… an ad promoting a video on YouTube about “What happens when a Visigoth shops with a Capital One credit card?”

capital one visigoth

Thought so. You click the Visigoth ad, and you’re taken to a Facebook landing page with a series of videos, embedded social sharing, and links out to additional content. The option to proceed into an application? Always there, in clear sight, but never emphasized as the action you should take.

It’s About to Get Richer

The Capital One example can work in the limited creative medium that is Facebook advertising today. And don’t worry: more things will change in your creative favor soon. Mr. Zuckerberg mentioned on an earnings call the other day that new formats of ads – much richer formats – could be on the way in 2013. This further amplifies the need to align your content marketing with Facebook’s evolving ad platform. If the future of Facebook advertising is video pre-roll ala YouTube or dynamic dropdowns with sharing/Like features, there will be an even greater opportunity to make your ad work beyond the click. So, start building your army of content now. You’ll have a nice well to tap now as formats evolve.

I Challenge You…

I propose a test to you. With the announcement of a new ad format on the Facebook log off page, we have another chance to grab a prospect’s attention. 37 million users log off Facebook each day (more of you should!) and 105 million unique users hit the Facebook log off page each month, so the eyeballs are there. In banking, we use log off pages to engage customers with relevant offers before they leave their online banking experience. If the offer is enticing enough, some decent results may follow. But, even we don’t have it right. So, I’m challenging you, me, and everyone to a test.

Take $1,000 or $5,000 or $10,000 worth of ad budget and devote it to the log off page only. Test coupon offers or deals of varying worth (10% off, 20% off, free shipping, etc.). Then, create a “content campaign.” Throw some funny videos on a branded YouTube page, develop an Infographic “that will blow your mind.” And promote it on that log off page. Include the same opportunities to convert within your content campaign and monitor the pull-through from the campaign to conversion. Compare that with the more promotional conversion rates of the direct-to-offer approach.

The results might surprise you…

hunter young BB&THunter Young is a staunch UNC Tar Heels fan and Assistant Vice President, Digital Channel, at BB&T, one of the 15 largest banks in the U.S. He leads the strategic development of online and mobile initiatives for BB&T’s retail and lending lines of business and has spent the last seven years marketing across a variety of industries including healthcare, technology, and financial services.

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2 Responses to The Secret to Facebook Advertising Success: Content Marketing?

  1. Dave says:

    While content plays a key role in performance, I think your example ignores campaign objectives. Driving someone to a FB landing page may be great for engagement, but may not pay off in conversions. Content should be a consideration for every ad unit, but the choice of ad type should correlate to your objective for ad spend.

    • Hunter says:

      Thanks for the commen, Dave. I completely agree that objectives rule. And by no means am I saying just drive people to a bunch of Facebook landing pages and let them peruse your beautiful imagery, videos, articles, etc. What I am tring to convey is that the long-term value of a “Like” can often be poor if you don’t have a strong content engine driving engagement well beyond the walls of Facebook. I want to keep people who have NOT made it to the point of “conversion” (however your campaign objective may define that) from becoming another lost “Like.” I believe content is the greatest asset for keeping interest high.

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