Your Facebook Ad Didn't Work? Here's Why.

Every once in a while, we meet with a business owner or marketing director who tells us that “Facebook ads don’t work”. And a couple weeks ago, even General Motors agreed with this assessment when they pulled out of a multi-million dollar Facebook ad campaign.

But on thiBillboard Ad Examples one, we have to agree to disagree with GM and some of those naysayers. Of course, with any medium, there are some brands and messages that just don’t work. Ever tried selling a new wedding dress style with a radio ad? Or the amazing musical talents of a local performer through a print ad? Without seeing the dress or hearing the music, it’s pretty tough to get people excited for your product.

The bottom line is, yes, sometimes your brand, company, or market just isn’t the right fit for advertising on Facebook. But when the right pieces are in line, this medium can be one of the most powerful, and least costly, ways of generating awareness and new leads.

Here are a few of the most important factors to consider in determining whether Facebook advertising is right for you:

  • Is your target market on Facebook?
      1. While it certainly seems like everyone and their mother (and grandmother) is on Facebook; you should make sure that your target audience is there, and actively using the medium, before launching a Facebook campaign. How to know for sure? You can send out an email survey to your existing customers asking if they are on Facebook and how often they log on.
  • Are they more likely mobile users or desktop users?
      1. As of the date of this post, Facebook advertising does not translate well for mobile users. They may see some sponsored post updates, but will miss out on the majority of targeted ads (the ads in the right sidebar of a page). So if your customers are active on Facebook, but only from their smartphones (as you’ve found out from your email survey results), this may not be the best place for you to advertise until Facebook finds a better way to work ads into mobile.
  • Is your brand fun? Interesting? Resourceful or Informative? Do people want to hear from you in their free time?
      1. Ok, it’s time to be brutally honest. Do you really have something that people want to spend time connecting to in their spare time? Can you be fun, interesting, or unique in your messaging? If you’re selling complex components of high-tech machinery, this is probably not the best place to do so.
      2. Here is a list of some of the most successful types of brands we’ve developed Facebook campaigns for:
        1. Concert series – fun, targeted by personal interests, great to share with friends!
        2. Bakery – unique & local, easy to purchase from online, targeted by geography and friend networks!
        3. Health products – unique messaging, targeted by lifestyle/age/gender/interests & activities, linked to valuable printable coupons only accessible by Facebook fans!
        4. Upscale Hair Salon – fun, trendy, included great photos & videos, targeted by geography, age, demographics, personal interests & activities, shopping habits!
  • Can you pinpoint your target market by their age, location, job title or industry, relationship status, interests, family status, activities, and/or relationships with others?
      1. Facebook succeeds where most other advertising mediums fall very short – their ads target prospects by their ACTUAL interests, demographics, psychographics, and geography. Where traditional ad mediums like TV and Newspapers can only ASSUME that their viewers/readers fall between a certain age or are likely to be interested in specific activities; on Facebook, you can target prospects based on who they ACTUALLY are and what they’re interested in.
      2. Do you represent a ski area? You can target people who listed ‘skiing’ as an activity, live within 50 miles of your resort, and are within an age range that matches your target audience for an upcoming event. Are you in the wedding industry? Well you’re one of the luckiest advertisers on Facebook, because you can target people who have already put themselves in the buying cycle for a wedding: people who are engaged. You can target them in a specific geography, or based on their age, other interests (Vera Wang, perhaps?), gender, and hundreds of other profile indicators.
  • Is your organization open to unique messaging, testing different calls to action, monitoring results and making on-the-spot changes as needed to improve results?
    1. This is where it all comes down to developing a well-rounded and effective campaign. The person or agency responsible for managing your campaigns must be able to effectively monitor them, make changes where needed, and have the ability to make changes on the main Facebook page and/or your website’s landing pages.
    2. On day 1, you may have no idea what messages, images, or calls to action are going to work. That’s perfectly fine, and it’s the great thing about Facebook advertising, because you can make campaign changes to nearly every element with very short notice. The key to being successful is to keep testing, monitoring, making changes, and testing again; until you have found the perfect mix of image/message/target-market/landing-page-message and call-to-action that deliver the results you’ve been hoping for.

If you have all of the above pieces in place, it’s time to get out there and start building your campaign! But if this list confused you further, or you feel you don’t have all of the elements together, please contact us. We can review your strategy with you and develop one that will provide the results you’re looking for.


The Cold Shoulder

Cold Calling

It’s funny how you can get into the habits of your daily routine, and quickly forget how you ended up there in the first place. Every once in a while it’s important to take a step back and read your business plan or an industry book to reflect back on the basics and keep yourself on the right path.

I am about halfway into Hubspot’s latest book, titled simply ‘Inbound Marketing‘, and was reminded this morning of how and why I ended up in social media marketing in the first place. Quite simply, I hate cold calling. Despise it, in fact. Picking up the phone hundreds of times  a day to be hung up on by people who don’t want to hear from you, don’t want your product or service, and don’t have any interested in receiving the information they’ve asked you to send just so they can get you off the phone? Nope, never understood why this torturous practice of “dialing for dollars” was always pushed on our tired sales teams.

The difference between Cold Calling and Inbound Marketing is so simple, it almost seems too good to be true. Cold Calling is a numbers game. Theoretically if you contact 1,000 people a month that don’t want to hear from you, you may stumble on a few that actually do. But Inbound Marketing is the exact opposite theory – it is about creating great content and resources that makes the people who actually want your products or services come to you. It’s the equivalent of a retail boutique having a gorgeous window display in a great location that attracts interested shoppers, vs. the ‘cold way’ of reaching out to millions of people over the telephone and hoping that a few of the masses will be swayed by your approach.

It’s time to put down the phone and start providing the content that will bring your next customer to your door. The market is there, and they are ready, all you need to do is meet them halfway before your competitors do.

– Melissa Albano

Superbowl Ads – Marketing Lessons from the best Website Commercials

Although we all love the game, for many of us the Superbowl ads can be the most entertaining reason to tune in. And certainly they are the reason we avoid walking away from the tv during commercial breaks.

This year, many of the old standby companies, including Pepsi and Chevy/GM, were mysteriously missing, and there were a few internet companies that took great advantage of the dedicated audience. The marketing lessons from a couple of my favorite ads, from Google and E-Trade, can be applied to many businesses and promotions.  Below are some lessons we can borrow from the big guys. Enjoy and let us know your thoughts with a comment!

Google: Parisian Love

In this spot, Google displays the confident attitude we have come to know and love, by responding to the recent Microsoft Bing attack ads with a simple, straightforward view of a typical Google search, and the results seen by millions of daily users. Notice how they recreate the user’s experience, show results, and never once mention the competitionsuperbowl ad google parisian love. Brilliant!

The Lesson: Keep it Simple. If your product or service is easier to understand when shown visually, be sure you have a great web presence, online video (embedded on your site or linked from YouTube), photos, and a trial version if applicable. Then simply show viewers how easy your product or service is to use, or the difference it makes. I am always surprised by companies that have great results to show, yet don’t include actual photos and video on their sites.

E-Trade: Baby Girlfriend

superbowl ad etrade baby girlfriendThis spot was my absolute favorite. It’s funny, interesting, and tied to a memorable theme from years past. The underlying message is that E-Trade is so simple, a baby could use it; but they don’t hammer the viewer over the head with that message. It leaves you wanting more, which conveniently, is available on their website.

The Lesson: Don’t take your business too seriously, and find an angle to get your prospects to take action. For the 13% of total Superbowl viewers that were estimated to be watching while connected to the internet, and the millions more who would view the commercials on YouTube today, this was a well-played gamble.

For businesses using social media marketing, this message should really drive home for you. Everything you do should have the underlying priorities around driving users to your website, developing a community that people WANT to connect to by offering resources, fun, value, and interesting topics, and enticing people to take immediate action. Whether that action is developing a longer-term relationship or making an immediate purchase depends on your strategy.

The writing is on the wall. Advertising and Marketing have shifted. You simply cannot create a 30-second spot, place it on the airwaves, and expect to start ringing up customers the next day. It is all about interacting with customers and prospects, listening to them, developing a conversation, and using that insight to build your business.

– Melissa Albano

4 Ways to Know if Social Media is a Good Fit for You.

If there is one question I hear from business owners and marketers almost on a daily basis, it is: HOW is social media actually going to drive sales for me?

The answer: Well, it actually may not. It all depends on the situation, how you use social media channels, your goals, and the internet usage habits of your audience.

Sometimes it’s not about direct sales at all, sometimes it’s about building brand awareness for future, and long-term positioning and revenue. Sometimes it’s about learning how to better suit the needs of your market. Sometimes, it’s just may not be the right fit. And yes, I am a Social Media marketing consultant telling you that social media is not always the best tool for all businesses.

“Ok,” you ask, “now what does all that really mean for me?” puzzle pieces

Here are four ways to know if a Social Media campaign would be a good fit for your marketing program:

1) Does your target market use social media regularly?

While it certainly SEEMS like everyone and their parents are on Facebook, the reality is that some markets, and some demographics, are relatively limited on social media. How to tell? Try conducting a brief survey of your clients via email or in person. Ask them if they are using social media, which networks they are spending their time on, and how they are using it. If the clients you currently have are a reflection of the market you are trying to reach, this should provide good information.

2) Do you have something different, unique, useful, or valuable to offer?

While it is important to pepper your messages with a few anecdotes on your daily life, just to keep things personal, if all you have to offer are retweets of other’s messages or quotes of the day, you’re never going to gain traction and followers. What is it about your product/service/company that makes you unique? What value can you offer prospective clients beyond the traditional discount or free item? If you can’t answer this question, it is time to go back to the drawing board on that marketing plan.

3) Are you able to promote your products or services openly in public spaces?

This can be a tough one for some companies, especially those limited by government, privacy, or corporate guidelines. If these limitations apply to you, try developing messages that are more creative and fall within guidelines. For instance, wealth management companies cannot provide advice on which stocks to purchase in advertisements, but they can offer feedback on the current market situation, and they can help prospects find creative ways to minimize debts and investment costs.

4) Would you benefit from branding or promotional marketing?

Before you answer this, be sure you are ok with spending time and resources on a marketing program that may not lead to immediate sales. Some Social Media campaigns can make your phone ring or push your website traffic to sky-high limits.  Others will keep you top of mind with a prospective customer base for years to come. Which will work best for you? The short-term strategy may provide you an immediate boost, but the long-term one will give you dividends that multiply on their own for years to come.

If you are still unsure, or are ready to get started right now, give us a call. We’re waiting to help you create the online brand you’ve been dreaming of for months or years.

Feel the Burn

Sure, you can run your organization’s social media campaigns without any help.  And you can exercise on your own without any training or support as well.  But here are 6 reasons it may be a good idea for you to enlist the help of a trainer or consultant to push your efforts to that next level.

personal trainer


Over the years most of us have purchased our own weights, cardio machines, and training videos. They get used a few times, then stored away to collect dust in some dark corner of the basement. Every few months we may take them out and try again or purchase the next exercise craze item.

Meanwhile, a personal trainer will have an array of equipment at their disposal for you to use, and rather than purchasing and storing it all on your own, it comes free with your membership.

It is the same way with the tools you may need to start a marketing or web design program.  The consultant or agency you work with will already have many of the necessary design, implementation, and tracking tools needed to setup your campaign, and therefore you will not need to purchase or maintain them, or learn how to use them.

Which brings us to the next topic:


There are countless webinars, workshops, and tutorials on social media marketing to help you build an online campaign, just as there are thousands of books, magazines, blogs and videos to show you the correct way to strength train or learn a new sport. Don’t get me wrong, this is a great way to try out new techniques, and work out on your own.

However, just as with online marketing, the tutorials will only take you so far. Once you reach that plateau (or sometimes if you need a hand at the very beginning) a trained professional can teach you how to reach that next level.

A few things to look for in a Marketing Consultants’ background: education in business/marketing, case studies and examples of results generated by previous campaigns, a strong online profile on multiple social media sites, and excellent testimonials & recommendations.

To receive the remaining 2 segments of this post, please subscribe to the Grapevine Consulting blog feed using the RSS subscribe button at the top right of this page.