Social Advertising / Marketing

July 13th, 2011 by Slabs | Print Social Advertising / Marketing

Our first foray into social media at Top-Colleges was an advertising campaign on Facebook. We created an ‘app’ within Facebook that was essentially a scaled down lead generation form, and we also set up a custom landing page and lead gen form on top-colleges.com geared toward the Facebook user.

Next step, place an order for several different versions of ads and step into the money machine. Not quite. We enountered two problems: #1, our clickrate was extremely low. Clickrate is how many people who view the ad click it. When your click rate is very good the cost of the ads go down, when it’s bad the cost goes up. #2, the few people who did click failed to convert. I recall a conversion rate near .001.

First lesson: the users of different media channels have different expectations and goals. In google paid search, you know the user is looking for a particular term and they may be browsing for either information or a purchase. In social media, users are looking for information or entertainment, and expect a more entertaining experience.

Our second try consisted of a poll whereby we asked users 15 questions and then recommended a career in a certain category for them. We provided a link to a form where they could fill in their information to get more information about a particular school’s offerings. Although we still weren’t able to make a profit, this at least started moving us in the right direction. Our click rate greatly improved driving down the cost of the clicks, and the conversion rate of users who completely the poll was on par with expectations. However, we still did not get the number of leads that went on to fill out our final lead conversion form to make the campaign profitable.

Try number three: make it entertaining, make it social. The key to a good social media campaign is to get users to share your link, site, app, etc. with their friends / network. When one paid click results in your link being shared with 10 other people for free – now you’re on to something. We ran a highly targeted campaign centered around users who may be interested in computer science. Again, we ran a poll that asked a series of programming and computer questions and at the end provided a score and a recommendation to click a link where they could apply to one of our partner schools to request information.

You've been pwned

The difference from our earlier campaign is that the poll gave you a score that you could share with your friends and encouraged you to invite them to try and beat your score. Plus the conclusion screen at the end of the poll had a series of humorous images and messages depending on how well you did. Low scores were ‘noobs’ who got ‘pwned‘ and high scores were part of the 1337 who would accomplish world domination.

Fun: check.  Share-able: check.  Viral: check. Our market was small, but our success with our last campaign was huge. Our margins mirrored those of our best media channels and we had figured out how to crack the social advertising nut. Bottom line: innovation and hard work drive results. Be lazy with your marketing and you get what you pay for.

 

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