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The Wild West: Facebook Advertising Tips 2011

Not sure if you should use Facebook advertising? Here are the biggest advantages:

  • Cheaper than Google
  • Capture fans you can market to repeatedly (like email!)
  • Expand your sales funnel upwards beyond the current buyers
  • Unique targeting opportunities (see the end of this article)

That said, a disclaimer: most businesses should use AdWords to get those buying customers first. Once you have your high ROI keywords narrowed down in AdWords, then think about using the rest of your advertising budget in Facebook.

Is Facebook advertising the Wild Wild West?
Photo credit: Giacomo Bettiol

Facebook Advertising is Still The Wild West in 2011

1. Facebook’s Policies and Enforcement

On Friday, January 21st 2011, eight companies reached out to me to tell me their ad accounts had been shut down permanently. Facebook offered no explanation except a link to their Advertising Guidelines. Mind you, all ads are assumed to be approved or disapproved based on those guidelines, and many of these advertisers had never had a single disapproval. These advertisers contacted Facebook, and by Tuesday more than two-thirds of them had restored access. But the big change was that Facebook become more strict on enforcing their trademark policies. This had been mostly unenforced prior to that day.

What this means is that you can’t assume that an approved ad does not violate Facebook’s guidelines.

The worst part of this enforcement is that the shutdown/ban appears to be for life. See #4 below. Facebook has yet to realize that most users don’t read policies, so an enforcement policy that doesn’t allow for forgiveness and education means lost customers and bad blood. Facebook has nothing that helps make their policies easier to learn, either. It’s written like a legal disclaimer and no one wants to read those. I’m not saying advertisers aren’t responsible. I’m saying Facebook doesn’t think about their customers as regular people with real businesses yet. They need an influx of customer service experience and personnel fast.

TIP: Learn the Advertiser Guidelines (we’re going to be putting our webinar on this topic into our free Facebook Marketing 101 course next week)


2. Facebook Advertising Costs

Just as AdWords was in 2003, Facebook advertising can be very cheap right now. It’s possible to get fans for a penny each. Even tougher B2B markets can get $1.00 clicks. All clicks both B2C and B2B average $2.50 right now in AdWords.

TIP: Learn how to use the ad interface and experiment.


3. Administrative Functionality

There is a crude ad manager level for agencies and freelancers, but nothing like AdWords’ MCC. You can be added to another advertiser’s account with either reporting only or general user access. However, you cannot remove yourself from those accounts later.


4. Tie-in to Profile Accounts

Facebook wants you to advertise from your personal profile account and multiple accounts are against their Terms. Nonetheless, some agencies use multiple dummy accounts to access client ads. Also, any ban on your advertising account is then tied to your profile. In extreme cases, people who violate guidelines have lost their entire profile account (and thus access to their Pages) as well. This also makes ad account shut downs unavoidably personal.


Unique Targeting Opportunities in Facebook Advertising

I’ve written about the other advantages of Facebook Advertising elsewhere. So let me touch on this one here.

You can, of course, target demographically, and interests are the primary targeting method (as opposed to keywords in search), but here are some of the unique targeting methods and why you might want to test them out:

  • Jobs as interest targets: You can target people’s self-described job from CEO to marketing coordinator. This has B2B applications.
  • Workplaces: Another B2B idea- target the people who work at the companies you want to sell to. Add their job title and although you won’t get many impressions, these are very targeted B2B ads.
  • Gender and sexual preference: This is pretty unique. If the people you’re targeting are distinguished in this way, use it! Not to get controversial, but it looks like about 10% of people in many interest targets prefer same sex mates – and that may be useful to some organizations.

Have a story of your own? Hit up the comments.



  1. Douglife January 27, 2011

    😀 Yes! I was seconds from throwing out a tweet asking for this exact topic! You over delivered for me! Thanks!

    I’ve learned recently that using groups helps as well, considering the group is there for you to choose.

  2. Eric Zhou January 28, 2011

    Nice article.Facebook is indeed an ignorable player.

    One thing you didn’t mention is that the convertion rate is also lower than Adwords.My personal experience told me that the CR of FB is 50%-70% lower than that of Adwords.

    So business must consider this and make decisions accordingly.

  3. Brian B. Carter January 31, 2011

    Eric, I’ve heard this generalization too, but it’s not true in every case. AdWords is not monolithic- it depends on whether you’re only using brand keywords, or “buy” keywords, or what. And if you’re doing Facebook, have you created landing pages that fit your ads? Is it the right audience, etc. So doing very focused AdWords keywords only vs. neophyte Facebook work, of course your conversion rate will be lower. And the industry and sale you’re trying to make are a factor too.

  4. server support compa May 12, 2011

    Hope it will work this time.

  5. jump program May 17, 2011

    I’m just finishing up my own development blog and this is perfect for what I need. How did you compile such a list?

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