You long time readers know that I've had a love-hate relationship with using Facebook as an online advertising buy; that is specifically buying banner ad space and not for using it for connecting with customers-supporters which I always believed it was extremely useful. Facebook with its low CPM rates and lack of targeting options coupled with boring ad units put it extremely low on my media recommendation list. That is until recently. I've become very bullish on Facebook advertising and hope they make more targeting options changes.
On the right is a screen shot of a make believe ad buy (actually it was a real one but I
1) The geo-targeting works fine if you want to target by city, state, or country. However, there aren't zip code, county, or MSA options plus I could really use a bulk upload. I'd imagine Facebook will be changing this in the future.
2) Other demos like male/female, targeting on a user's birthday, education level and whether you are in a relationship and if you are interested in males or females provides some interesting targeting options especially if you are a dating site (for example) or need to target based on marital status. Interesting targeting but really this is left over from their college only Facebook days.
3) Now the Keywords is where it gets very interesting. You have to be a keyword wizard and you have to understand that these keywords are not the kind you would normally search on but really kind of like groups within Facebook of what people put on their page. The main problem I have with this is that if you enter in more than one term Facebook looks at it as an OR instead of an AND. For example if you wanted Republicans who like Obama you can't (see below for the exception), You'll find 2.9 million Facebook people who have Barack Obama on their page but when you add in Republican you get about 3.17 million which is just adding in Republicans to Obama's total. This is good targeting, but an AND function would be much better,
4) The workplace targeting is very interesting especially if you are going after a certain company. This is unbelievably cool
5) Connection targeting really only works if you are the Facebook admin so you can target your own supporters or if you want to exclude them. This is how the Barack Obama admin can target their large fan base and then use keywords to further segment them out. That's how they could find Barack Obama Republicans.
6) The CPMs or CPCs are dirt cheap still - at this level I like using CPMs so I make sure my ad is shown. The ad units are not their new sexy units which are usually reserved for their large customers (this should change too soon) and the media is not on a user's home page but on their subpages. Again this is kind of a bummer if you don't have multiple thousands of dollars to spend, but still quite the non-premier options are quite good now.
I think Facebook is a good tool right now especially with their targeting options and dirt cheap CPMs. I do hope they make some improvements to their keyword targets by making it an AND and not an OR plus provide the option for lower spenders to get on a home page or get better ad units. At that point with those three changes, Facebook would explode for the small advertiser.