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Does Facebook Care Enough About Small Advertisers?

  |  July 1, 2011   |  Comments

How can the smaller advertiser get through their Facebook advertising experience a little easier right now?

One of the most challenging aspects of managing Facebook PPC ads is the lack of information and support for the SMB advertiser who needs it most. By "small or medium," we can categorize them as advertisers with less than $30,000 media spend per month. This is the threshold that Facebook uses to determine if you'll get an ad representative (real person) who can help with strategies, implementation, and questions. All general advertisers under this threshold are referred to the self-service center. What about the advertisers who don't have access to these personal perks? Certainly their ad spend contributes to Facebook's bottom line?

It certainly does! In eMarketer's most recent forecast, Facebook's ad revenues are increasing over 80 percent in 2011 to 2.19 billion. Facebook is even expected to surpass Yahoo in U.S. display ad revenues this year. The majority of Facebook ad growth is small advertisers getting into Facebook advertising using the convenient self-help ad manager, which is calculated at about 60 percent of all ad revenues.

Although small advertisers do have a few options for assistance with their Facebook ads, most are underwhelming for a company with over $2 billion in ad revenues. Considering Twitter is reportedly releasing an automated ad buying system by the end of this year, is it possible that increased competition could spur them to innovate more for their advertising customers?

Some would argue that Facebook loves small businesses and caters to them almost exclusively. Take into consideration the new enhancements to the online self-service platform that launched last month. Targeted audience reach graphs, connection and reach metrics, and ad management interface changes are among the improvements released last month making the manual ad interface only slightly more bearable for PPC social ad managers. Even with the enhancements, you can't make changes and optimizations easily across campaigns or ads in any accelerated fashion like one might in a spreadsheet.

Agencies or big spenders are in a better position to buy and manage Facebook ads. Facebook recently released its Power Ad Editor that has replaced the bulk upload tool. The new ad platform is only available to those working with ads reps (spending $30,000 or more) and as a Chrome browser app. It allows advertisers to create and edit bulk ads and optimize from within the tool itself. Could this be an opportunity for a future release to SMB advertisers currently using self-serve?

How can the smaller advertiser get through their Facebook advertising experience a little easier right now?

Third-party API apps can help manage SMB campaigns like pro, but will come at a price. If you're in the $10,000 to $29,000 monthly spend range, you will likely have no problem with forking out the extra bucks. Companies like Acquisio, Marin Software, and Omniture offer tools with varying feature sets that provide more options to manage Facebook ads. A complete list can be found on the Facebook website.

Email assistance is available in the help center under various help topics. Within a help topic, you'll see the last option is "My question wasn't answered above." Under this option, you will see a link to "this form" that will lead you to submit an email inquiry. My experience has been a reply the next day, but that doesn't mean you should count on that. Allow enough time to get your questions answered if they are time-sensitive.

DIY with savvy scheduling is the roll-up-your-sleeves manual option. Due to the nature of frequent ad fatigue in Facebook, you'll find your ads needing a quick refresh at least every two weeks. This can be a daunting task when thinking about all the form fields you'll need to fill in by hand. For each campaign, it may be helpful to create several variations with image options and a schedule with which to add them. This may save a bit of time with implementation, but mostly offers peace of mind and time-savings in planning what to do next every time you need to optimize.

While the tips above may not be the big answer most small advertisers are hoping for, they could possibly shave off a few minutes here and there. This may be just the solution advertisers need until Facebook's ad management innovations more clearly connect with the SMB advertisers that have been supporting their tremendous success.


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Lisa Raehsler

Lisa Raehsler is the founder and principal strategist at Big Click Co., an online advertising company and Google AdWords Certified Partner, specializing in strategy and management of SEM and PPC for search engines, display, retargeting, and social media ad campaigns. Lisa has led strategy on dozens of PPC accounts and puts her experience into practice every day as a thought leader in integrating clients' search campaigns with ecommerce websites, behavioral targeting strategies, and web analytics. She has participated extensively in the local interactive community, as well as at national search engine marketing conferences. Lisa's recent speaking engagements include SES, OMS, MIMA, HeroConf, and SMX conferences, as well as numerous private and public training engagements. As a columnist for ClickZ and Search Engine Watch, she writes on the topic of paid search. Follow her on Twitter @LisaRocksSEM.

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