The Shit I’ve Learnt Not To Do On Facebook

One of the first blogs I read before moving in to affiliate marketing was a Facebook piece over on Nicky Cakes. It explained how and why I was such a retard for failing to make money with Facebook.

I realize now, about two years too late, that Facebook Advertising was the genuine shit back in the day. Right before the guidelines started warping in to something resembling an affiliate hate list. You could put in a half day’s work and see an enormous mountain of cheap clicks. Clicks that produced conversions. One thing Facebook hasn’t lost over time is the quality of it’s traffic.

It’s a shame we can’t go back to 2007 and jump on the gravy train as if we’d seen it coming. I’d have jumped on some acai berries while I was there. But the reality? It’s 2009 and advertising on Facebook requires some actual marketing knowledge. You can go and read over Nicky Cakes’ Facebook tutorials, but as relevant as they may have been at the time, this industry swallows up profitable tactics fast.

Anyway, if you want expert advice on how to get rich using Facebook – don’t be looking at me. It’s only in the last couple of months that I’ve managed to troubleshoot my way out of the red and get some profitable campaigns on the burn. I’m currently in the process of scaling my campaigns and I’m quite happy to see them doubling my money.

But having thrown a festival sized tank of shit at the wall in the hope that a marketing strategy would stick, I can hopefully offer some advice for what NOT to do. This could be a long one.

Don’t advertise on Facebook with the Google mindset.

I don’t think enough people talk about the difference between marketing on various search engines, let alone the change in dynamics that comes with marketing on a social media site.

I was traditionally a search guy for a long time. All of my income came from search based PPC. When I decided to shift a campaign across to Facebook for the first time, it tanked embarrassingly.

This is how it goes for most people, whether they’ve got the modesty to admit it or not. Makes sense when you think about it, though. It’s much easier to reach the right demographic of people on Google. Christ, you’re bidding on keywords that consumers are actually hammering in to their browsers. If you can’t find the right audience there, well, maybe you need to go back to the drawing board.

Facebook is entirely different. You’re not bidding on keywords that people are actively searching for – rather you’re serving your ad to a certain demographic and hoping that they bite the bullet. Vague targeting is punished with a high CPC and impressions that have dried up by dawn.

My first mistake was in spreading the net too wide and advertising to as many users as I could filter in to my campaign. This, obviously, ended in tears and a very low clickthrough rate.

Sample size: 800,000
CTR: 0.05
Impressions: Not many without breaking the bank.

If you’re using Google, you get in to the mindset of trying to reach as many people as possible with your relevant keywords. Perfectly fine on Adwords. But if you try to target everybody who *might* match your demographic on Facebook, you’re going to collect a lot of wasted impressions.

I only started achieving success on Facebook when I reduced my ad target sizes to under 50,000. I’ve managed to scale upwards, but even now, I don’t like advertising to groups larger than 100,000. You need close control over the keywords that your profiles are matched to.

Do your research before you start bombarding the damn interns. Head on over to Microsoft Adlabs and put the tools to use. The Demographic Prediction tool is excellent for laying down the first building blocks of any well targeted Facebook campaign.

Enter the URL of the offer landing page (at the advertiser end, not your own), and you’ll be presented some nice starting points for targeting your campaign.


This gives you a rough idea of the demographics that are already visiting the advertiser’s site. Never a good idea to judge success on patterns as flimsy as this but we’ll take it as a starting point.

One of the areas where I see a lot of marketers failing is in taking the bigger percentage. Acai berries as a prime example. How long did it take for some of you to catch on that it wasn’t just women who were searching for acai? I’d be seeing landing pages everywhere with twenty something chicks showing off their new flat stomachs. How many of those banners featured guys? This despite the acai market having a 30/70 guys to girls split according to some networks. You might run with the 70 percent, but the 30 percent is pretty fucking significant when you’re talking about a billion dollar booming industry.

With Facebook, in particular, it’s possible to find a niche within a niche just by targeting the smaller crowd of users that everybody else ignores. A bit like Canada. Why oh why did I spend 4 months scratching around with doomed USA-based Facebook campaigns when I don’t need 13 million fucking conversions to get rich?

Anyway, moral of the story. Get to know your target market. I mean, really well. Take whatever keywords you can relate to your product and plug them in to the filtering system. This leads on to probably my most expensive mistake.

Your message has to be consistent on Facebook.

All pieces of the jigsaw have to come together. You can quite easily drive traffic to your site with a headline like “These Acai Berries Are Free”. But if your landing page headline says “Well, actually they’re not. But now that you’re here…”

This is expensive because it’ll get you a lot of clicks but a distinct lack of conversions in the column that matters. Whatever advert you place on Facebook, you have to realize that people clicking it are CHANCE clickers. They didn’t search for your shit. You threw it in their face with a headline that caught their attention. You’ve gotta make your landing page instantly sell whatever x factor it was that brought your average Facebook junkie to the party in the first place.

Facebook traffic does convert. We all know that it converts because people have built a living and a future on this one single damn platform. But you have to keep your message consistent.

Specific keywords used to filter users.
Ad title.
Ad image.
Landing page content.
Final offer page content.

They all need to have something in common, or you better know your demographic like it’s your best friend.

Facebook is all about trial and error. You’ve probably heard this so many times that it’s lost it’s meaning. And no, it might not be as easy to make instaprofit as it was a couple of years back. But the industry moves on and we all roll with it.

I’ve established some successful campaigns on Facebook over the last few months that have kinda made me reconsider the most profitable ways of marketing online. I might add a few posts of useful tips I’ve picked up along the way. I might not. Just remember that it only takes one successful Facebook campaign to pay for the dollars you’ve lost on the shit that never worked out.

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About the author


A 29 year old high school dropout (slash academic failure) who sold his soul to make money from the Internet. This blog follows the successes, fuck-ups and ball gags of my career in affiliate marketing.


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