Laser Targeting Small Markets On Facebook

There are a number of ways to skin the cat on Facebook.

As tempting as bribing an intern can be – after the 91st rejected ad notification – you should keep faith that eventually some stupid son of a bitch is going to risk detention and hit the big red “approve” button. As an entire office of Under 22 whores Zuckerberg would love to shag gasp with horror, it’s possible to make some pretty good bank. That’s if you’re willing to persevere. Facebook is a love hate relationship for many. But when I love you, Facebook, I really fucking love you.

The thing that really gets on my tits about Facebook is the effect it has on my working day. I’ll plow through a giant list of dating ads, only to have to do it all again at 10pm when an intern decides my hussy is showing too much skin. I mean, seriously, do yourself a favour, Facebook. Wake up and smell the bacon. Guys are more likely to click on a chick who’s making no effort to keep her modesty outside of the 110×80.

For those of you following my Twitter, you’ll have heard my CTR-raising trick. It’s basically to find girls sucking lollipops. This seems to draw immediate attention and bag the clicks. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because more guys are interested in blowjobs than dating.

I feel myself drifting off with another aimless tangent, so I’ll cut to the chase. The most success I’ve had making money on Facebook has been by laser targeting very small markets. To do this, you’re going to need a greater investment of time – and probably patience – considering you’re going to be submitting many more ads.

To take dating for an example, I know there are a lot of affiliates who direct link and manage to stay profitable. If that’s working for you, great. I don’t think I’ve ever direct linked on a dating campaign and gotten the margins of profit that would make it worthwhile for me to keep running. Instead I prefer a little market segmentation.

If you’re running dating ads, you should probably be using the CPM system. Paying by the click is notoriously expensive for this vertical and your ability to have success will pretty much hinge on what CTR you can muster. I drop any ads that aren’t getting at least 0.09% as a general CTR rule. Not only do I drop the ads, but I also banish the girls from my hard drive forevermore. You can forget The real beauty contest is whether I can use your face to get a bunch of 25 year old American guys to sign up for some lonely hearts piss-parade. Anything less than 0.1% CTR and I’m sorry girl, but it’s over.

The best way to raise a CTR with dating ads, from my experience, is to drill down and target by the city or state. I like to change my ad texts to something that is relevant and local. Better yet, I like to make it sound like the target is the hot commodity. Check this shit out but don’t go copy and pasting it or I will track you down and break your fucking balls.


You can probably change the colour of the lollipop and do some pretty advanced split testing. Maybe even the tint the lipstick. I’ll leave it to you. What I’m trying to say here is that you’re sending a message to the single guys in London that they’re wanted.

The next part of the puzzle is to build a landing page that delivers on the geographical promise. If you haven’t tracked down a PHP script for geo-targeting the user’s current location, you’re about 5 years behind the porn industry and you should probably get up to scratch right about now.

I was stumbling across a porn site the other day (research purposes fyi), and I noticed the targeting had advanced to such an extent that it was almost asking me if I’d like to fuck my nextdoor neighbour. The porn industry has been geo-targeting for so long now and it’s taken the rest of the marketplace a good couple of years to catch up. If you’re ever sitting there looking for some inspiration, looking to take your creatives to the next level…I shit you not. Go and find some porn. You’ll see marketing tactics employed that are a few light years ahead of the rest of us. Why? Because the competition encourages innovation.

Well, as far as geolocating goes, I like to jack that particular innovation and shove it straight in to my dating landing pages. If you can get the average simpleton Joe thinking that there’s a shag around the nearest block, he’s gonna be salivating all the way to that shiny Mate 1 confirmation email.

I have a custom built CMS that makes it possible for me to add a couple of location specific images, change my region settings, and spit out a fully functional landing page for any dating market in the world. This works like a wet dream for setting up new Facebook campaigns. The only problem, as you can probably imagine, is getting the intern to play ball and approve the damn thing.

The real challenge with any small-scale Facebook campaign is something that a surprising number of affiliates fail to understand: retaining your CTR.

See, not only do you have to worry about getting an initial CTR of above 0.09%, you also have to keep it stable. Many affiliates watch with confusion as their super targeted campaign starts with a surge of success – only to fade to shit by the weekend. Well, you need to conquer the banner blindness syndrome.

If you’re targeting a group size containing less than 100,000 Facebook users, you really need to be actively switching out your banners and testing new ad texts.

It doesn’t take long to rack up 100,000 impressions. Let’s say by some statistical miracle occurrence those 100,000 impressions are distributed evenly with 1 impression per user. After every user has seen the ad and decided not to click on it, you’re going to have great difficulty changing their mind when it next pops up on their screen. Banner blindness kicks in surprisingly quickly. Users begin to ignore your best worded ad texts. Your CTR fades day-by-day until your profit margins are bust or your volume of clicks is a trickle.

To beat the banner blindness, you need to create many different ad variations and KEEP THEM RUNNING. Even when one ad significantly outperforms it. I’ve felt the temptation, believe me. You see one ad raking in a CTR almost double that of another, and you remove it – what happens? The CTR of the best performing ad will invariably drop.

A lot of the time this is because the top performing ad starts to receive all of the impressions. Banner blindness quickly sets in. There’s no alternate text or image to keep the message fresh and shit begins to go wrong.

Some small scale campaigns are destined to never make it beyond a short lifespan. This is reality. You can’t milk a cow forever. But if you want to get the most out of an ultra targeted campaign, you really need to be mixing up your creatives and keeping your message fresh in the user’s mind.

One of the best examples I’ve seen on Facebook is the current campaign for Mafia Wars. I’m not going to out any creatives, but every time I refresh the page, it seems like they’ve changed the ad text or the image or something else to drag my eye back to their message. Take note and remember not to let your own profitable campaigns slip away through neglect. Keep it fresh and you’ll keep on banking.

EDIT: Just last week, this blog was voted in as one of the newest additions to the 9rules network. 9rules is a highly respected members-only community for the best content from the independent web. Naturally, I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing there. But thanks for reading.

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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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  • This really is fantastic. I’ve been banging my head against a brick wall with FB ads for the past month. You’ve inspired me to keep at it despite accidentally blowing a small fortune on it by mistake yesterday.

  • AffCrunch – They definitely do enjoy disapproving based on the whole “user attribute” theme. But I normally end up managing to slip these ads through under the radar. If you don’t want to name a city, you can get creative and have a bit of fun with regional ad texts that only a native would understand. Local newspaper names, a landmark date location…

    I’ve also found, personally, that they’re much more inclined to approve your ads including city names if you link to a landing page that describes the offer as relevant to that local area. A giant big H1 with “Dating in London” on the lander, for example, can give them reason to accept it. If you post an ad with the user’s city mentioned and direct link it to a generic landing page, it’s harder to get it approved.

  • ive been playing around with the location targeting in ad text, get disapproved a lot, but an email to affiliates@fb usually gets the initial ruling reversed, handy trick 🙂

  • Nice tips there … ty

    For over a year I have staunchly refused to start anything on FB ’cause I hate everything about FB. Don’t even have an acount there now.

    Well last week I was partying with some SEM buds and ran into a dude who banks HUGE with FB.

    He dropped some sweet tips and admitted he also hates everything about FB ( lol ) … With so many guys dropping great hints these days I feel compelled to get over there and get my comeuppance.

    ** Best tip I heard this week: Try to submit new ads at around 4:00am EST. Apparently the Irish FB guys are very active at that hour and are eager to approve.

  • good stuff here, but i dont think the FB nazis allow lollipop or other “suggestive” pictures anymore because theyre scared of hurting the children. but nice idea and really useful for thinking up other ways to increase CTR :)!

  • Hi Finch, great post. But how do you scale a profitable campaign that is only profitable in a small range demographic? you can’t get more out of it then there are people converting and of course there can’t be more conversions then the amount of people, obviously…

  • i can’t imagine how you managed to create a post as funny yet as informative as this. i appreciate these tips.

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