Facebook Advertising Platform

November 22, 2007

A short while ago Facebook announced the release of their advertising platform. Given that I had written about that previously, and was in need of some fresh ideas for advertising the Thursday Club (side-project), I decided to give it a go.

Setting up a campaign is a pretty straightforward process. You select the criteria for your audience segmentation, starting with the geography (I’d love to have the option to select ‘World’, but you have to start at a particular country – although you can run multiple campaigns simultaneously in different countries). You can also select gender, age ranges and target keywords to further define your audience. I do like the fact that as you select each keyword you are shown a tally of the number of people that match your criteria. I’m sure someone could reverse engineer some interesting statistics out of that.

It doesn’t appear that the keywords currently include group membership, or much other than a persons direct interests.

You can then create some simple text copy (think basic Google adword style) and optionally upload a picture. If you have a company page, you can also choose to include related information from that. Finally, select how much you’d like to pay per click or per view (I chose ‘per-click’) and that’s pretty much it. You can set timeframes for your campaign and maximum spends per day.

I would recommend experimenting with the CPC rate you bid as you can go from zero impressions to many thousands through some very small adjustments. You can see the effects almost straight away. Current click-through rates are pretty low, but that may be a function of my test ad-copy too 🙂

Overall though I like it. The operation is pretty much identical to how I perceived it might work, bar some limitations on granularity. It would also be nice to get some clarity on exactly where these ads show up.

I’ll let you know what affect this has on traffic to my site, but as of now (24 hours after starting) there have been 5000+ ad impressions which I don’t think is too shabby.

I’ll also be experimenting with some much more targeted ads with a small number of potential viewers.

Stay tuned!

If You Can’t Take the Heat ..

September 25, 2007

I noticed that somebody (probably the owner or manager) at the Bird Cow Fish restaurant in Surry Hills took exception to my review on the Thursday Club site.

At first read I felt bad for caning them. On reflection though, I think it’s they who are missing the point. I do accept that the way we review on the Thursday Club can be somewhat flippant at times. It’s always tempting to go for the cheap laughs, and it’s easy at someone else’s expense.

But here’s what they are missing. For whatever the reason, I had a bad experience there. Happened to be noisy kids, which they couldn’t do a lot about short of ejecting them, and grumpy service – which they could easily fix. It doesn’t really matter why I didn’t like it, the point is, I chose to tell people about it. I didn’t just tell my friends, I told a bunch of strangers. In fact, I told multiple thousands of strangers (going by our web stats).

And that’s the price of entry of doing good business nowadays. Whether buying a car, taking a vacation, picking up a book or choosing a restaurant, you can read the views of potentially millions of other people prior to making your choice. There’s a huge oversupply of everything for those with the means right now. Even in the microcosm of Surry Hills, you can walk down the street and pick at least twenty or thirty alternative venues to eat. If I’d read about someone who had a similar experience to me, where do you think I wouldn’t have eaten?

I’m with Peter Sheahan on this one: if you want a seat at the business table you need to be timely, on quality and perceived good value – *pick three from three*. And then something else…

Bird Cow Fish could have said (should have said): ‘oops, sorry you had a bad experience. We pride ourselves on being a family friendly restaurant [the something else], but why don’t you come back on a xxxday night when things are a little quieter, we have some jazz and it’s a bit more grown up. We’d love to show you our bistro menu’. You get the idea.

I’m not angling for freebies, and I’m sure they really don’t give a stuff if I never darken their door again. But those hundred, thousand, ten thousand other strangers? That’s a whole different story.