There continues to be a lot of mixed opinions about Facebook advertising and whether or not it’s effective. At Media Launch, we started tinkering with it 2 years ago with mixed results, but today we’re dealing with an entirely different ad management system and a far more sophisticated social media user. Over the past 16 months, we have seen a dramatic upswing in the effectiveness of running carefully planned ad campaigns on Facebook. In fact, the most appropriate words we can use to describe how effective the results have been for our clients is “off the charts!”

But like any adverting vehicle, whether Facebook, Google pay-per-click, TV, radio or print – a winning campaign is always going to come down to the strategy and the creative. The reality is that if you don’t know how to produce, cast, write, and record your own TV commercial, you’re likely not up to the task of creating an effective Facebook Campaign. The most recent Facebook advertising system is quite complex in terms of targeting and reach, but the ads themselves – the goal, the strategy, the copy, the imagery, the targeting parameters (the list goes on) can also get very complex.

14 months ago, Media Launch started to track and monitor the effectiveness of each ad style over a variety of different campaigns, with a variety of demographical and city specific targets. The result of our analytical research during this process led to the creation of what we call the “Social Market Paradigm” (SMP).

Our “SMP” acts as the guiding principle behind a series of intricate ad composition details that help qualify and determine the language set and visual effectiveness of a Facebook ad campaign.

The basis for developing our Paradigm was largely the result of our conscious decision to focus on Qualitative Research Methodologies that supported our assumptions based on a combination of experience, observations, and an intuitive understanding of social media behaviours. Our analysis often runs counter to much of the quantitative data that is readily available all over the internet. While quantitative data can be useful for basic ad targeting, it doesn’t offer much beyond common sense. In many cases it can even be misleading and damage the potential of a specific ad campaign. To counter this, we began to work on a proprietary, qualitatively-driven, matrix that allows Media Launch to target Facebook campaigns in a significantly more effective, results-driven manner, more cost-effectively.

To further accomplish this, we had to understand the behaviour, tendencies and impulsivity of Social Media users based on a series of persona-based demographical targets that we identified throughout our research. By breaking it down even further, we created a system to identify what we call “Micro Level Demographical Targets” (MLDT). Hypothetically, if we’re trying to target men aged 18 to 34, should our title start with “Get SPECIALS on” or “Great Deals on?” In a case where we’re trying to reach MLDTs (i.e.: single men, 18-34, living in Ottawa, working for the Government) what title should I use?

Something as simple as capitalization of all or certain letters can make a significant difference in a 2 inch ad campaign. Think back (or research) the good old days of print advertising and the ongoing debate of white vs. reverse (all back) ad campaigns.

To understand this further, Media Launch began directly exploring the effectiveness of an ad campaign’s ability to shape cognition and influence perception based on the guiding principles of the SMP. On a macro level, we’re finding that “target/reach and conversion” has significantly different results per campaign not only between the sexes, but also when considering the different perceptions of what we call “city consciousness.” That is, a 28 year old woman living in Ottawa thinks or perceives social media differently than a 28 year old woman living in Toronto. This is not exactly ground breaking to the old schoolers of the ad industry (as they’ve always created market specific ad campaigns), but you rarely hear social media companies planning for it. To most, a 28 year old, female Facebook user in North America is just one giant catch all demographic – which is absolutely not the case! Regardless of the targeting capabilities currently built into Facebook, most companies are not properly utilizing it (or they don’t understand how to) and we at Media launch, like to refer to that as “lazy marketing.”

If you take a minute to research the demographical data of Social Media users that is currently available online, you’ll see how incomplete it really is. Most is based on quantitative, broad stroke data such as age, sex, ethnicity, etc… But most companies utilizing Social Media (or the so-called experts that are running it for them) are still implementing dated, non-strategic campaigns that are 90% less effective than a campaign utilizing an SMP (Social Market Paradigm).

By Dan Cummins,
Creative Director at Media Launch