The Top 5 APIs that PPC Advertisers Use to Rapidly Scale Online Ad Campaigns

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With various advertising channels available to PPC advertisers these days, it becomes extremely time-consuming to manage and maintain ad campaigns across multiple ad networks and accounts. Growing online ads has become a real challenge in such a fiercely competitive industry. That’s why APIs are becoming more prevalent as the next big trend that allow advertisers to save time and rapidly scale campaigns. API stands for Application Programming Interface, but what does that even mean? More importantly, how can it help you rapidly scale your online campaigns?

As it turns out, more and more sophisticated advertisers are turning to automated bid management tools, whether it be proprietary or from third-party vendors, like Marin Software or AdStage. With automated bidding in place, this allows advertisers to spend more time optimizing campaigns, and taking action on the data to scale faster. To do this with ease, advertisers access the top APIs to manage and scale their ad campaigns side by side, without having to export reports from each platform and data mine. Let’s take a look at the top 5 APIs that PPC advertisers leverage to rapidly scale their online ad campaigns:

1.  AdWords API: Google has dominated the revolutionary paid search advertising market since it launched AdWords in 2000. It’s also created several innovative tools that offers marketers a more convenient work-flow for managing and scaling profitable campaigns, such as The Conversion Optimizer, AdWords Editor, and Google’s Keyword Tool. However, while there are thousands of advertisers that only invest their digital marketing budgets on Google, there are still third-party tools, like WordStream, that cater to these advertisers because of AdWords’ intimidating and difficult to use platform. The AdWords API has proven to be quite useful for those marketers who don’t find the AdWords interface user-friendly.

2.  Bing Ads API: While Google is the top dog for paid search traffic, the top advertisers are savvy enough to realize that scaling ads beyond AdWords increases reach and overall returns from ad spend. A recent report shows that there are 153 million unique searchers on the Yahoo Bing Network and that these searchers spend 8% more than Google searchers. This means that 153 million people can only be reached through Bing Ads and will never be reached if only advertising through AdWords. This is one of the most compelling reasons why advertisers sync the two search channels up with the Bing Ads API.

3.  Facebook Ads API: Since the release of the Facebook Advertising API in 2011, Facebook has opened their API up to partner with over 260 vendors in over 45 countries. With all of the Facebook updates and lack of simplicity within the Facebook Ads self-serve platform, social advertisers have been turning to third-party solutions like AdParlor and Qwaya to successfully manage and scale their Facebook ad campaigns. Facebook’s innovation with ad formats, and their access to such valuable inventory has certainly been quite valuable to advertisers, but without the Facebook API available in user-friendly partner tools, the top advertisers would not be able to grow their campaigns and ad spend as quickly as they have.

4.  Twitter Ads API: Although still in private beta, the Twitter Ads API was released earlier this year with a few select partners. Twitter Advertising is taking off with its “pay-per-engagement” pricing model and ability to reach any industry and audience. Advertisers who are actively managing social profiles and looking for more brand awareness can do so with Twitter Advertising, which lends more followers and more syndication for tweets at scale. Online advertisers have been patiently waiting for this API to open up so they can easily measure and compare campaign performance with similar digital ad channels and automate bids accordingly.

5.  MixRank API: MixRank’s leading competitive intelligence tool allows advertisers to quickly spot their competitors’ top performing ads, keywords and placements. With the unveiling of MixRank’s API last year, we’ve seen an incredible amount of interest from advertisers who are looking to leverage competitive data to profitably scale their own campaigns. MixRank’s API can be easily integrated with your home-grown bidding solution or third-party online advertising management platforms, acting as a recommendation engine to influence bids, ad copy, keywords, and/or even placements to buy traffic on. These recommendations provide significant time savings when scaling profitable campaigns, as it eliminates over 50% in research and testing time. With the world’s largest database of online ads, MixRank’s API is versatile for all industries and markets. If you’d like to gain access to the MixRank API to leverage competitive insights with your bidding solution, sign up here.

If you’re one of the top online advertisers, you’ve probably used at least one, if not all of these APIs to manage and scale your campaigns. What makes an API highly adaptable for all of the top advertisers is when it can be leveraged in any industry for any market. These five APIs will certainly help you scale your online presence faster. And with the recommendation insights provided by MixRank’s API, you’ll be able to scale more intelligently and profitably. If you’re already leveraging a PPC bid management tool and want to scale your campaigns more intelligently by outperforming the competition, learn how with the MixRank API.  Sign up today.

Social vs. Mobile: Where Should You Invest Your Advertising Budget

As new online advertising channels emerge like social and mobile, don’t get left behind. Keep up with the times and spend your budget where it makes most sense for your business. If your company does not have an unlimited marketing budget, you’ll want to make sure that any budget you do have is spent wisely on the most appropriate and effective advertising channel for your target market.


Whether you’re new to the online advertising world or have active campaigns running on social and mobile, this blog post will give you pointers on how to best take advantages of both channels. First thing you need to know, social and mobile analytics are simply not comparable. Although both could be used for branding, awareness, or increasing conversions, the click-through rates and conversion rates will rarely lend similarities. Why? Social ads are generally more top-of-the-funnel, similar to display ads. Users engage social channels to connect with their friends, peers, and interests rather than to purchase or shop around. On the other hand, mobile ads align with search in that they are closer to the actual purchase. Consumers query directly for keywords expecting related search results.


Given what we know, consider benchmarking your social ad performance against your display ad performance. For mobile ads, compare analytics to the search ads you are currently running. Below you’ll see some of the advantages and tips for both social and mobile platforms.


Social Ads:

With over 800 million active users on Facebook, it has become the number 2 most visited site after Google. If you’re one of those 800 million users, you’ve most likely seen the ads that are on Facebook on the right hand side when you log in. What has been your experience with the ads? For me, I rarely ever click through on the ads. However, I see do them, know they are there, and even read through them as I do with my news feed. So, we suggest running awareness and branding campaigns on Facebook to get your brand out to your target market. Remember to keep your social ads fresh by rotating the image periodically and you could even try including a “Like” button to help camouflage the ad similar to the example below:


Facebook is just one of the few social sites you can target ad campaigns on. Other social sites you can consider advertising on if it fits your market include Twitter and LinkedIn.


Mobile Ads:

Gartner predicts that the global smartphone and media tablet market will be more than 1B units by 2015, with 318M smartphones and 775M Media Tablets.


The following table is from their report, Emerging Technology Analysis: Mobile Business Intelligence, 13 July 2011, ID:G00214124 by Bhavish Sood, Andreas Bitterer, James Richardson.


According to this Google study, the length of characters in mobile queries are similar to desktop queries.


Given what we know from above, mobile isn’t going away and queries haven’t changed. So, that tells us, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. If you already have successful search campaigns, you know what keywords perform well. Why not bid on the same successful keywords from your search campaigns, and use the exact same text ads? When setting this up, you’ll want to separate your mobile campaigns so you can bid higher on keywords to ensure your ad has a higher position. Since mobile handheld screens are so tiny, there is no guaranteeing that your ad is even seen if it’s position is too low.


To understand whether you should invest your online advertising efforts in Social or mobile ads, you’ll absolutely need to know and understand your target market.  Since you’re all professional marketers, it’s safe to assume you know this already. But consider this: is your target market actively on social sites or handheld devices? For example, if you’re advertising for an elderly home and your target market includes senior citizens, do you find it likely for them to be on Facebook or surfing the net on handheld mobile phones? Knowing who you’re targeting is an obvious pre-step before building any type of marketing campaign, so do your research!


Like all fields, there’s no defined ranking system to describe the best way to advertise. It all depends! However, if you know your target market and employ the data you have from previous ad campaigns, you can precisely target the right audience on social and strategically bid on mobile to make the most out of your ad spend.  Also, in case you missed last week’s purchasing events, Facebook just bought two incredibly huge mobile products: Instagram and Tagtile. I would bet on the convergence of mobile and social ads in the near future.


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Blackhat Tactic: How to Use Trusted Heuristics to Get Clicks

I saw a brilliant banner ad today, using a technique to get clicks I haven’t seen before:


Yes, that giant “Like” button is a part of the ad, and I bet it boosts CTR like crazy. It’s also probably infringing on some Facebook trademark. As the title of this post says, blackhat.The reason this ad works is that it takes advantage of a heuristic – a mental shortcut – shared by most visitors to this site. Through constant, repeated exposure, they have been conditioned to seek out and click on the Like button across the web. This ad might benefit from the Facebook brand by including its logo, saying subconsciously “Look, Facebook trusts us!”. But it also benefits less directly from the tremendous power of that little thumbs up on the Like button.Think about it. The real Facebook Like button takes up a tiny percent of available screen real estate on any article, and yet gets a disproportionately high number of clicks. We see it enough, and we feel strangely compelled to seek it out and click it. Just like the Youtubesque play button used effectively in social ad images, certain icons and symbols have tremendous magnetic power, drawing the eye in almost instantly.They bypass traditional, rational processing and tap into heuristics buried deep inside our base, reptilian brain.And they work very, very well.Use them carefully.By the way, there is another, even more powerful(and less blackhat) heuristic trick that this ad(and many others) use. Can you spot it?Update: Facebook is so prevalent that its semiotics are used frequently by lazy advertisers as a cheap way to get clicks. Here’s another ad I just saw in Yahoo mail:


Examples of Psychographic Targeting on Facebook Ads

I’ve written a few times about interest targeting on Facebook as the best way to build out large-scale campaigns that can get real volume while maintaining a high CTR. A powerful way to use this method is by combining Facebook’s existing demographic targeting parameters into new, psychographic targeting options that are not exposed by Facebook Ads directly.For example, you can combine location and interest targeting to identify affluent users.Facebook does not let you target by income directly, but a wealthy zip code combined with membership in a luxury car owners’ club is a pretty good proxy for high income. Of course, the inverse is also true. If you’re promoting an online school, fans of WalMart living in Detroit might convert better than average. If you’re a current student, your university might offer you access to SimplyMap, an excellent demographic research tool. If not, you might have to trawl through census data (the 2010 data is just coming out now).A more sophisticated psychographic factor is propensity for clicking on ads. If 20% of the people are responsible for 80% of ad clicks, it could do wonders for your CTR to only target that 20%.Targeting people interested in certain brands can be a very effective way to advertise only to ad clickers. The vast majority of the 430,000 people in the US interested in Wal-Mart probably acquired that interest right after clicking on a Wal-Mart ad. These are the people who notice ads; they will give you a significantly higher CTR. I’ve tested this, and it works: Combining interest in a certain brand with the demographic constraints I already know are converting well for my offer has given as much as a 300% boost in CTR for some campaigns.In order to identify which psychographic variables, interests, or behaviors you need to add to tighten the focus of your campaigns, you need to create a deep profile of your ideal, highest converting customer.Get really specific and build a detailed picture of the person clicking through your ads in your head. Who is one person who would convert the best? What’s her name? Where does she live? Where does she work? Where does she go after work? What kind of clothes does she wear? What TV shows and movies does she watch? What strong beliefs does she hold?The key is learning as much as possible about your target audience and targeting laterally based on the characteristics of your ideal customer.This process will take a lot of research, but the resulting campaigns can be incredibly powerful. You can target fashion offers to people who watch Glee or America’s Next Top Model, gold sellers to people who like Glenn Beck, or gay dating ads to Catholic priests.This, by the way, is an excellent way to conduct research for search campaigns and media buys.

Facebook Bidding: How to Rapidly Optimize Campaigns

A lot of the information I have posted so far has been about getting started: setting up tracking, writing ads, building out the initial scaffolding for a properly structured campaign, and so on. But setting up a campaign initially is the easy part. The real challenge comes later, when you are tasked with actually optimizing the campaign towards profitability, managing the bids, scaling up, and actually making the numbers work in a consistent manner.So let’s talk about the next stage of building profitable paid traffic campaigns. I’m going to use Facebook as an example, because managing bids aggressively is crucial for a successful Facebook campaign, but you can easily apply these high-level bidding strategies to any bid-based traffic source. I’m going to go through the exact process I used to rapidly build campaigns from nothing to profitably spending $5000 a day on Facebook.

Start Off Losing Money and Paying For Data

Even the most experienced marketer’s campaigns will not be instantly profitable. In fact, I’ve heard that over 90% of PPC campaigns start off losing money. That means you have to launch 10 diverse campaigns, on average, before you get profitable.The truth about Internet marketing that many beginners seem unwilling to confront is that, when launching a campaign, you shouldn’t expect to get profitable instantly, or even soon. If you do launch a campaign that’s making money right away, consider it an incredibly fortuitous aberration, like a site going incredibly viral. When launching a campaign, remember that you’re not paying for a scalable acquisition channel. You’re only paying for data about what actually works in the marketplace. So don’t be afraid to bid high. It’s much better(and more cost-effective in the long run) to bid high and get enough traffic for statistically significant results than bid low and wait a month before you have gathered enough data to start optimizing. Start with the objective of getting as much data as possible as quickly as possible. On Facebook this generally means bidding $0.30-$0.60 CPC for mot demographics, although you may need to bid closer to $1.00 CPC for the most valuable users (like middle aged women).

Cut Low Performing Ads Quickly, Invest in High Performing Ads

After choosing a broad enough demographic and biddng high enough to get a decent clicks, you can begin optimizing. But don’t be too eager to optimize; if you kill an ad right away before you’ve collected enough data, you’re basing your decisions on the whims of random chance. Be sure to wait until you get statistically significant results before deciding if an ad is effective.Wait until an ad has about 30 clicks before deciding what to do with it. Bidding higher and targeting larger demographics will help you get to 30 clicks and make a decision faster. Yes, this type of extensive testing will cost you more money, especially if you’re testing many ads and targeting options and need 30 clicks on each variation. Sorry; You gotta pay to play.Fear of spending money testing can paralyze you. Think of the opportunity cost of not running profitable ads as soon as possible. The faster you can start running profitable ads, the more money you will make in the long term. If a particular headline or demographic is getting a good CTR, keep spending money on it, even if it’s not converting profitably immediately. Facebook will begin discounting your bids and giving you cheaper traffic soon enough, as long as you can keep your CTR up.On the other hand, if an ad has a low CTR or isn’t performing well, don’t try to keep it alive artificially by bidding high. A good CTR to aim for on Facebook is 0.1%. Cut your losses, kill it mercilessly, and move on. There are so many factors you can test. No need to keep throwing good money after bad.It’s all about CTR on Facebook. Get a good CTR, and the cheap clicks will follow.Expect your CTR to slip over time due to saturation and banner blindness. When you see your CTR declining steadily, don’t bid higher to compensate. Instead, create a similar ad with a slightly different image and start fresh. Sometimes, even reusing the same image with a different color border added is enough to maintain CTR.

Find Gold Nuggets with Reports

Once you’ve gotten a decent amount of clicks and pruned the terrible CTR ads, you can begin aggresively optimizing your targeting. You’ve probably heard the adage that 50% of the money you spend on advertising is wasted; you just don’t know which half.Well, with Facebok Ads, you can find out where your ad dollars are being wasted. If you’ve been getting traffic for a few weeks, and maybe getting close to breaking even on some ads, it’s time to really dive into Facebook’s click reports. You can find the “Reports” link on the left sidebar in the Facebook Ads UI. I usually find the Responder Demographics report most helpful- it will break out exactly which users are giving you the most clicks and best CTR (and the cheapest impressions). Double down on targeting them, while still keeping an eye on conversions.If you’ve started by targeting a broad demographic to get enough data, now is the time to whittle down your targeting to tightly focused ads(i.e targeting a specific age, location, or interest) based on those reports.As always, be wary of making decisions based on statistically insignificant data. Use Facebook’s reports combined with your own analytics to figure out who your most valuable clicks are coming from.

See How Low You Can Bid

Ads that have a few weeks of solid performance history are the perfect target for aggressively optimizng your bids. Don’t just settle for the amount Facebook is bidding you down to. Bid lower, wait a few hours, and see if you’re still getting impressions. Keep lowering your bids for ads that have already been running succesfully until you stop getting impressions. You now know your bid floor at that CTR. You’ll be surprised at how low it can be.You can often bid 40-70% lower than Facebook’s suggested bids without losing a lot of traffic.Even in 2011, it’s still very possible to pay pennies a click and get good volume on Facebook- as long as your ads and targeting are strong.

Scale and Replicate

After a few weeks of constant tracking and optimization, you’ve probably got a campaign that is at least slightly profitable. You’re finally ready to start scaling it up and really realizing the benefits of the vast amount of traffic Facebook can offer. Because you’ve already identified the most effective ads and targeting options, scaling up is a lot less risky. You’re already entrenched, established. If you can monetize international traffic, translate your ads and build campaigns for other countries. You’ll find lots of incredibly cheap traffic there if you know where to look.Or, soften your targeting. Instead of targeting 18-25 year olds, test your strongest ads targeting 17 year olds. Use keyword research strategies to find other related keywords or interests. Check your referrers and see which apps/pages your clicks are coming from. If people are disproportionately clicking your ads when using a certain app/game, maybe you can negotiate a direct ad buy with the developers.

The Ultimate Guide to Facebook Ads Bidding

I’ve gotten a few questions about this, so I thought I would address this in an in-depth guide. There are too many people wasting too much money on Facebook ads because they don’t have a bidding strategy in place. Here’s what typically happens to the novice Facebook advertiser: He gets excited about “social marketing” and throws up a few broadly targeted ads on Facebook, leaving the default suggested bids on, gets a terrible CTR, spends tons of money very quickly without getting enough data for statistical significance, and runs off sniveling and whining on some forum about how Facebook Ads don’t work.Let’s learn right now how to avoid those mistakes, develop the right bidding strategy, monetize, and scale.

Suggested Bids Mean Nothing

This is the most important thing to remember on any PPC platform: The suggested bids mean nothing. Absolutely nothing. They are completely random, arbitrary numbers put in place by executives to justify their revenue projections. Don’t even look at suggested bids. Ignore them. They are in no way related to what anyone is actually paying on Facebook. Actual minimum bids to get impressions are based on a complex interplay of CTR, account history, available inventory, etc, and not on a single number Facebook throws at inexperienced advertisers hoping they’ll bite.Just how arbitrary are Facebook suggested bids? Consider this: A friend setting up a new Facebook Ads campaign saw suggested bids of $1.14-$1.78. For comparison, I tried to create a new ad with the exact same targeting options, and was given suggested bids of $0.28-$0.41. Maybe my account spending history or quality score helped me get cheaper traffic. Or maybe Facebook suggested bids are created by a random number generator and don’t really matter.

Stick to CPC Bidding

It might be tempting to go for CPM bidding, because you can get lots of relatively cheap traffic without obsessing over CTR as much. But, in most circumstances, sticking to CPC bidding will give you much higher quality traffic. The reason for this: Some months ago, Facebook made a tweak in their algorithms which affect how ad impressions are distributed. CPC ads are now much more likely to be shown in premium placements on the site: profiles, news feed, and so on. These placements generally deliver a much better CTR and more clicks.CPM ads are more likely to be shown in parts of Facebook that result in lots of impressions but not as many clicks- games and apps. When your ad has to compete with a plethora of visual stimuli from Farmville, it’s a lot less likely to get noticed and get clicks.You can easily confirm this by checking the referrers in your analytics when running ads. If you see a lot of low performing apps traffic, consider changing up your ads.

Bid High for Small Groups, Low for Big Groups

This should be intuitive, but most people don’t seem to act on this simple concept: A larger group of users will have more impressions available than a smaller, less targeted group. If you target males age 18-49, you should be able to bid less and still get traffic compared to, say, only targeting 22 year old single males. This is a good way to get data about what images or headlines work before increasing your bids to campture more traffic.The converse is also true: If you’re going for a small, highly targeted demographic (ex. using interests/like targeting), you need to start out bidding very high(even if it’s very unprofitable) to beat the broadly targeted ads you’re competing against that will also be shown to the same people. If your ads are relevant enough to the interests/likes you’re targeting, you should get a good CTR (0.1% is OK, 0.2% or above is fantastic) right away, without having to split test a lot of images or headlines. This will enable you to rapidly bring your bids down significantly- probably as low as 10-15 cents a click and still get volume. To be continued…Next Week: I walk you through setting up a Facebook campaign and optimizing the bids to profitability.

Startup Marketing Lessons Learned Part 3: Scaling Up To Massive Traffic

I recently had the pleasure of assisting over 150 Hacker News members with marketing their startups. I was surprised to learn that I was giving the same advice over and over again. I’m collecting the most specific, actionable and useful marketing advice for startups in a 3 part series. This is part 3. If you haven’t already, read part 1 and part 2, as this post builds on the advice given in preceding posts.I know what you’re going through, fellow startup founder. You’ve already gotten pretty far with your startup. You’ve already launched, and maybe even developed what you think is a solid, scalable business model. You’ve set up tracking and analytics, optimized your landing pages and customer acquisition funnels, tried some PR, and maybe even set up and AdWords campaign.You’re getting a few signups a day, mainly through word of mouth, but not even close to the amount you’re expecting. AdWords is expensive, your CTR is abnormally low, and you’re not getting very many clicks anyway on your $20/day budget.What you need now is traction, but you’re not sure just how to get traction, for it is fleeting and capricious and lost more easily than gained.But don’t worry, I can help. This post is all about quickly getting traction, customers, and profits. More specifically, it’s about leveraging the vast amounts of traffic available out there into rapid, sustainable growth for your startup.So, after you how do you make the leap from piddling along at a few signups a day to consistent, rapid growth?

Test Lots of Traffic Sources

Any successful business uses multiple customer acquisition channels, constantly adapting to shifting trends in the market . Gabriel Weinberg calls them traction verticals, and he has a pretty good list. But you can go much deeper than that list.Are you advertising on AdWords search?With a little excel skill(or some commonly available tools) it would take almost no effort to export a campaign from AdWords and convert it to AdCenter, which covers Yahoo and Bing. Do that, and you suddenly have as much as 50% more search traffic, probably at much lower cost.And, following my last post, don’t neglect media buys on industry blogs. They’re cheaper and easier than you think, and they can do wonders if you’re trying to reach small, high targeted niche audiences- like customers for your B2B software.

Go Beyond Search and Banners

What about PPV(popup ads) networks like Trafficvance and MediaTraffic? You just enter a list of URLs and keywords, and whenever a member of these networks visits one of your targets, your ad comes up.You pay between $10-$15 per 1000 visits. If, for example, you’re trying to promote an iPhone app, popping up an ad for your app over reviews of competitors’ apps is a very cost-effective and underutilized way to get targeted, engaged prospects.I know you think popup ads are so 90s and don’t work, but the success of these ad networks speaks to the contrary. For certain segments of the population(IE users) they can be effective and unobtrusive without damaging your brand. If toolbar traffic is good enough for and Zwinky, it’s good enough for your entertainment/gaming startup too.

Leverage Your SEO Efforts

If you’re already getting conversions from SEO, but you’re struggling to get to the #1 position for every single one of your keywords, you can use what you’ve learned from SEO to get a lot more traffic. Running paid ad campaigns is all about testing; you’re essentially paying to collect data about what works and what doesn’t.[pullshow]You’ve collected that data for free(or cheap) from SEO. Use it. [pullthis]Take your top converting keywords from SEO, and put them into a new paid search campaign.[/pullthis] You already know these keywords convert, so it shouldn’t hurt to start paying for them. Even if you’re #1 for a keyword, like your product name, consider bidding on it in PPC anyway. Rand Fishkin says 12% of clicks go to paid results. If your only search strategy is SEO, you’re leaving that traffic on the table.How about keywords your competitors are optimizing for? If you see them moving up in the SERPS for a certain keyword, get the jump on them with a paid search campaign targeting it.

Learn Customer Demographics, Reach Out To Them In Social Ads

The biggest thing you can do to rapidly scale your business is to stop thinking in terms of keywords and develop an in-depth understanding of who your ideal customers really are. Start thinking not just about demographics, but also psychographics. What are their interests? Where do they work or go to school? The more detailed the better.Then take those specific keywords and create highly relevant ad campaigns targeting them on Facebook Ads. You can now target the entire social graph with incredible precision on Facebook- every like, group membership, interest, and so on. Use this data.If you create an ad campaign on Facebook targeting everyone ages 18-30, unless you have an incredibly compelling ad….You.Will.Fail. If you take the time to think creatively about who your customers really are, and microtarget their interests, you will get virtually limitless, highly relevant traffic for pennies a click.Keyword targeting on Facebook is the best kept secret in social advertising.Very few people use this strategy in their social ads, and the ones that do are making absurd amounts of money with very little competition.Did you know that you can target people who have “liked” a specific website? Wow! Imagine the possibilities now that you can show your ads only to people who not only visit but actively engage with specific domains, brands, etc.If you use MailChimp to manage your email lists, they offer a cool free feature where they will link the email addresses in your list to Facebook profiles(courtesy of Rapleaf). Browse through some of your customers’ profiles. Do they share a common interest? Belong to a certain demographic? Try targeting those on Facebook Ads and see how they convert.

I didn’t hit even 20% of what I wanted to cover in this post, and it’s already too long. I’ll flesh out the details and specific tactics for scaling traffic in subsequent posts.For now, remember this: Learn everything you can about your customers, find out where they go online, and target those sites from every angle possible.

6 Killer Facebook Ads Image Tactics That Will Skyrocket Your CTR

Don’t want to manually sift through the 11,000 Facebook ads images I posted earlier to find the good ones? Don’t worry, I did the hard work for you and found 11 excellent images that demonstrate some of the most effective techniques in Facebook advertising.I know that even if I ask nicely that you don’t copy these exact images for your own campaigns, some of you will do so anyway. Just keep in mind that these specific images are already very saturated and overused. If you find a stylistically similar but fresh image, you will get a much higher CTR, guaranteed, which could be the difference between profit and loss in your campaign.When selecting an image, remember that its purpose is to attract attention and entice the user to notice your ad. With apologies to Gary Halbert, you can think of your image as an ad for your ad. What would get your ad noticed?I tried to focus on a general effective tactic when selecting these rather than just a particular image. Read on, and you’ll see what I mean.Note: Posting these images is kind of a gray area which may or may not be fair use. If you can prove one of these images belongs to you, please send me a DMCA notice to ilya -at- and I will take it down immediately. 1. Use lots of color The gradient background is a classic, time tested social advertising technique. It may not work for all niches, but it can be extremely effective in getting the attention of certain demographics. And anything bright and colorful will stand out among Facebook’s drab, pale blue interface.


2. Add Banners And Badges I love the use of the word New! in the following ad. Not only is saying “New” a classic marketing technique, but the its design and placement in the lower right corner cleverly draws the eye towards the body of the ad.


3. Mimic UI Elements Years of using modern operating systems have conditioned most people to respond in a very specific way to certain graphical elements. For example, our eye is naturally drawn to buttons that look clickable, just like we’re trained to draw our attention to a small mouse cursor on the screen. These techniques are controversial, but if you can get them approved, you can benefit from a dramatic increase in CTR. People routinely accomplished 30-50 percent increases in CTR just by overlaying a picture of a small Play arrow(like a YouTube video) on their image. This is no longer allowed, but some of these techniques might be:


4. Faces are very effective, but sex always sells In the early days of Facebook Ads, all you had to do was present a picture showing a little cleavage to get massive clicks. They’ve cracked down on how much skin you can show since then, but don’t worry- the right picture of a face can be just as appealing as the sluttiest softcore porn pics. Closeups, especially those images that seem to be staring straight at the user from the page look very effective.Pictures of cute girls for the men, and of babies for the women work very well. We’re just biologically hardwired by millions of years of evolution to respond to them.


Of course, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can always try to sneak in something vaguely pornographic…


5. Don’t underestimate the power of plain text It can often be very effective to simply treat the image as more space for your text headline, particularly if you have a strong, clear value proposition with universal appeal that can be expressed in just a few words.


6. When all else fails, shock Like a tabloid, you can always rely on shock value. Assuming you can get creepy or weird ads approved, you can get a very good CTR for certain demographics very quickly. These ads probably won’t convert very well, but for some offers or sites where getting clicks as cheap as possible is the objective, this is a valid strategy.


This isn’t a comprehensive list by any means, but it should be enough to give you a few ideas on specific tactics you can use right now to increase your CTR, get more traffic, and lower your costs.

11,701 Effective Facebook Ads Images

As I mentioned in my previous post on Facebook Ads strategy, social advertising is purely a numbers game. If you can maintain your cost per click(CPC)<earnings per click(EPC) as you scale up your ad spend, you can stand to generate a lot of revenue very quickly on the margins.In order to maintain low CPC, you need a high CTR. And if you’ve ever advertised on social ads, you know that there’s one very important factor in getting a high CTR on Facebook- it’s all about the image.Choosing an effective set of images to test is critical to the success of your Facebook ads campaign. However, it can be time-consuming and expensive to determine by trial and error what kind of image is most effective.With that in mind, I wanted to share a few images I collected from actual Facebook ads, so you can see what is actually working for current advertisers on the Facebook Ads platform.Simply stealing some of these images for use in your own campaigns would be stupid- they’re already in use, and being saturated on Facebook Ads. Users on social platforms quickly develop banner blindness towards ads and images they’ve seen before, so you’re unlikely to find success by simply ripping some random images from this collection.The smart advertiser will take a macro view and browse through these images more broadly. As you look through them, you’ll begin to see common patterns and trends emerge, and develop a sense for what kinds of techniques and types of images are most effective on Facebook ads.Apply these techniques to your own campaigns, and you’ll instantly see significant improvements in CTR and profitability. For example, there’s a certain type and color of border I’m going to try that I think will do very well.I’m NOT going to post the targeting,headline, text or destination URL for these ads, because that would be outing entire campaigns and I’m not going that far, so don’t even bother asking.Methodology:I looked at about 250,000 Facebook ads targeting all English speaking countries(US,CA,UK,etc) in late September through early October 2010 and collected the images.These are not images I just think might work on Facebook ads.All of these images were actually recently used in Facebook ads, and many of them are undoubtedly very successful for the advertisers using them.After sorting through them and removing duplicates, I was left with 11,701 unique images.I also sorted images by how frequently they appeared/were used/copied to find the most popular and presumably most effective ones. But I don’t think I’m ready to release that data just yet. Again, don’t ask.Note to Facebook: I didn’t scrape these from Facebook myself, or touch Facebook’s servers in any way to get these, so please don’t be mad at me. To the best of my knowledge, I’m fully within my rights to link to this image archive.Bonus IdeaThe more astute among you might notice that PlentyofFish uses the same image dimensions and general ad format as Facebook. This is done intentionally to encourage advertisers to copy their campaigns over to the PoF platform. I’m sure PoF would love it if you took some of the high converting images found in this collection and tried on them on the much less competitive PoF platform.In case you’re too lazy to look through the files yourself, I’ll be posting some – but not all – of my favorites in a few days. Expect more outrage as I out people’s highest-converting images.Download: Password:

Advanced Facebook Ads Strategy: Optimize for CTR to Get Massive Traffic Fast

Social advertising is a completely different animal from most other paid traffic sources. With most paid or free traffic sources, the advertiser’s first challenge is getting wide distribution, specifically, getting enough volume to make optimizing your ads worthwhile.Ad platforms like Facebook Social Ads have virtually limitless traffic volume available for the taking- just bid high enough, and watch the traffic roll in.[pullshow]The main challenge for the advertiser is making the numbers work; getting cheap enough clicks and monetizing them well enough on the backend to make the campaign successful.[pullthis]A lot of people make the mistake of optimizing for conversions on Facebook ads.[/pullthis] That is, they’ll throw an offer up on Facebook, usually direct linking, see if it “converts on Facebook”, and, when they invariably lose money, they move on to another offer or traffic source.Don’t do this. Start out optimizing for CTR.The reason for this is that, if you develop a decent CTR early on with your ad, your clicks costs will drop dramatically in the next few days. If you’re starting out bidding CPC, you could be paying 80% less per click 3 days later, provided you have a decent CTR.Don’t worry too much about monetizing or conversions early on into a Facebook Ads campaign.Assuming your product is solid and the targeting makes sense, once you get your click costs down enough, you won’t have too much trouble monetizing in most cases, even if conversion rates are lower.In practical terms optimizing for CTR means aggressively testing lots of different attention-grabbing images.How do you know which images work best on Facebook? I’m glad you asked. See my next post.