Facebook Advertising — Customise, Connect, Change

Image Credit — https://unsplash.com/@carlheyerdahl

Love me, or hate me, but you can not ignore me — Sincerely Yours, Facebook!

Even if certain set of users won’t agree to this statement but considering Facebook & Instagram are still dominating the charts of most downloaded and most used apps, it would be better to accept that Facebook is one of those beasts which marketers can’t ignore if they’re going for a paid digital campaign especially for a consumer product category.

I know there are enough pro and anti Facebook advertising arguments all over the internet but this post is not about whether to go for Facebook advertising or not, it’s more about when you are doing it, do it right. No point in spending money without fixing the basics first.

It’s 2017 & why I am still talking of basics of Facebook advertising? I mean, even a school kid knows how to advertise on Facebook? What’s the big deal about it when it’s just so simple and easy to set up a Facebook campaign? Well, that’s the exact problem — it’s just so easy! And almost everyone is setting it up without much effort or thought put behind understanding the platform or learning the best practices.

And when something is very easy, it’s also easier to mess it up. Isn’t it?

In last 15 days I have met four startups who are spending big money on Facebook advertising and three of them have digital agencies managing their accounts. While we discuss CPA and efficacy of the medium, there is this general sigh that CPA is not coming down and the effectiveness of their campaign is decreasing with time. I got a chance to analyze their campaigns and surprisingly, I found the problems common across — ignoring the basics and one-size-fit-all campaigns.

And all it takes is 3 simple steps to fix the same.

Customize

So startup A, with whom I was interacting recently, is a food company with a potential target audience that could range in between any age group, i.e., teenagers to even 50+year old ones. Their agency was running a digital campaign for age bracket 18–45 years with same messaging and same creatives. Their logic — after all it’s a food category and anyone could potentially be a customer for this category. True, absolutely true. But what happened to the basics of marketing known as segmentation and customizing the campaigns according to each segment? The more granular we go with customization, the more effective the outputs are in digital medium. For e.g., in this case it took us a day’s exercise to go through each product variant and try to figure out the star appeal of each variant. The moment we were ready with product feature matrix, it was getting clearer to the founders that perhaps each variant needs to be targeted to a different segment, customized with a different messaging. And that’s what we did — instead of one master campaign showing different products in different units of carousel, we configured multiple campaigns with messages and visuals tailored to different audience type. Going granular and customization upto the last level was some task for sure but the results were obvious and in a week’s time the acquisition numbers were moving northward within the same budget.

Customization takes time and effort but it’s worth it. Just go for it. Go granular, go microscopic.

Connect

Are you targeting your ads to those who have liked your page as well? Of course, the logical brain tells you why do you need to especially when you have limited money? The ones who have liked your page are already getting to see your updates, so why not use the money to target new audience and acquire new customers? Start up A, B, C & D — all four had done the same. And earlier, even I used to do the same. But then after experiencing the diminishing organic reach of Facebook posts that perhaps is not even in the range of 2 to 5% these days, I had changed my targeting strategy. And I was surprised with the improvement in the conversion rate.

So, next time when you are trying to sell any new product or targeting your users for repurchase, connect with your existing base first, you’ll be surprised with your acquisition percentage and more importantly, your CPA. The rationale behind this is pretty simple — the ones who have liked your page are somewhat interested in you, the chances of them buying your product are much higher than the new ones.

When you have limited money, it’s all the more important that you prioritize it on targeting the interested ones first. Connect with your existing fan base, it works.

Change

Startup D had spent some decent money in getting their products shot beautifully. The campaigns were doing well initially but with time, the CTR had reduced. On asking, when was the last time the images were changed, the answer was almost three months back. To add to that, all the good pictures were used in first burst itself. But then why do they need to plan for second or third bursts when the first one was doing so good? Well, simply because users get bored of seeing the same thing again and again. To add to that, this phone era has reduced our attention span to 8 seconds which is perhaps lesser than that of many living creatures. And the only method to grab attention these days is through striking visuals. Visuals attract attention and new images give a fresh perspective to your ads. Be it digital or any form of advertising, a good visual evokes emotions and enhances the consumer connect. This has been tried and tested since ages in all forms of advertising but is especially true in this digital era where we literally breathe and live our virtual life through images.

Change your ads frequently, especially the images. Even if you are advertising the same product or service, just change the visuals and see the impact on your CTR. In one of my last campaigns, it moved up by 3x.

Customize, Connect & Change — that’s it. Focus on these and your basics will be in place. And if basics are in place, we all know rest can be managed, enhanced and improved 🙂

Continuation of my last post

First of all apologies for putting up this post so late. Though I had stopped the poll after almost a week only but some important projects at work and traveling on weekends just kept me away from my blog for long. But nevertheless I had put an update on the results of my poll in my previous post. And as committed in my earlier post, here I reproduce the results of the poll done in my previous post. I had tried to keep the voting count unique by blocking the votes from same cookie as well as IP address (that’s the maximum which was possible as per polldaddy’s settings).

Now based on my last posts experience (esp. the comment furor :-)), I would again like to repeat that the opinions expressed in my post about the ad are solely mine as a consumer, personally speaking I didn’t like those ads. As a marketer too, I would repeat that I didn’t find any connect between the messaging and the product, also the communication route somehow didn’t seem to be in sync with the targeted TG. Maybe I’m right or maybe I’m not but then to each its own and I stand by my opinions against this ad as a regular consumer. Thanks to all those who commented on my previous post.

Bad product & worse marketing : IBIBO social games

The worst thing that can happen to a bad product is good marketing…but what about the case where the product is bad and the marketing is even worse? Hmmm…then I guess it becomes a case study on brands like IBIBO with title – “how not to market a product”. No, seriously wasn’t balti ad enough that IBIBO has come out with yet another innovative campaign “why play akele”? Not one, not two, rather they have a whole series of creatives for this campaign but what is interesting is to decide which one of these can be crowned as the worst of the lot? This or this or OMG this i.e., the aunty ad on radio, well my vote clearly goes to aunty ad on radio! Every time I listen to this one on 94.3, I can’t resist myself from changing the channel, even if it means listening to kannada songs for a while on mirchi. I detest this ad so very much!

On a serious note, I’m wondering what exactly could be the reason for IBIBO to go ahead with such a crappy campaign? Millions of money spent just like that, effort wasted without any thought on promoting a product which by nature should have been actually promoted through a viral route. A copied concept which due to lack of any innovativeness decided to take the paid marketing path only leading to further disasters enroute. Neither the messaging is right, nor is the execution. To add to that the overall tone of the creatives is so suggestive & absolutely repulsive for the relevant TG of the campaign. I’m wondering is it me or is it everyone who finds these creatives to be totally absurd and disgusting? I think it won’t be a bad idea to do a quick survey on general reaction towards this campaign & send the results to IBIBO marketing team…maybe it can save us from further tortures of “why play akele” kinda campaigns in future.

Public service initiative🙂 : May I please request all of you to take out few seconds and just give your opinion below? It would be interesting to observe the results, though I don’t have any doubts on the outcome.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in my post are personal & I request readers to express their own judgements & take their own call.

[polldaddy poll=2740294]

Update on 8th Mar’ 2010: This poll is closed now for voting as per the expiry timeline of the poll. I will be publishing the result of it in my next post, for now you can just see the % of results by clicking “view results”

Offisial Atyachaar from Make My Trip

Makemytrip does it again and this time I love it. In fact just saying “love it” once can’t justify my delighted reaction towards the campaign, I mean I seriously loved it esp. the official atyaachar anthem. It’s a riot and simply terrific! It’s one such viral campaign which you definitely feel like promoting on your own. I seriously went ROFL listening to the lyrics of the anthem and the tone in which it has been sung is brilliant.

Makemytrip has launched this online campaign www.offisialatyachaar.com to promote its weekend packages. It’s a movement against work stress, impossible deadlines and long work hours which Make My Trip has presented in a very interesting way. The home page reads: Impossible Deadlines? Graveyard shifts? An atyachaari Boss? Work has taken you for granted for way too long. It’s time to act. It’s time to break away! Join the protest. It has sections as – Offisial Atyachaari, Offisial Atyawear, Offisial Anthem, Offisial Downloads, Offisial Outburst and all of them are just fantastic. You need to navigate through the site on your own to experience the fun. The movement has already instituted its presence on Facebook, now I’m eagerly waiting for its appearance on twitter too. What I liked about this campaign:

  • It’s FUN and brings a big smile on your face.
  • It establishes an immediate connect with the TG.
  • It promotes the product in a very intelligent way; in fact there is very less of branding in this overall campaign but still it creates that impact both from brand as well sales perspective.
  • It’s interactive properties like atyachaari jokes, sicknames for bosses contest, ringtones, wallpapers and my personal favorite – smashing a real office as protest to atyachaar :). I think these are really wild and innovative stuffs.
  • It’s a viral in true sense, you really feel like sending this link to your peers and colleagues.

From concept to execution, I think both EURO RSGC & digiVaasi have done a great job. I’m only wondering why haven’t they started promoting this campaign at least amongst its members? I don’t remember receiving any email or message unlike that Gajodhar campaign which frankly speaking I hadn’t liked much. By chance I went to Make My Trip website today to check some ticket price and glanced upon their banner ad. Hope they start promoting it soon to spread the buzz and till the time they are not, I think I as a fan of this campaign would like to do it through my blog & tweets :), now that’s what I call a true viral, ain’t it?

Should Air-India change its mascot now?

Was surfing the website of Air-India today to book a ticket & suddenly I saw our very own Maharaja in different avtaars there, like Maharaja with a laptop on home page & Maharaja with Indian flag near log in box. Though the size of Maharaja was definitely reduced but nonetheless noticeable enough! In fact I think as a kid my understanding of the word “brand” or “mascot” was only limited to either AI’s Maharaja or AP’s Gattu and its that solid imprint on my childhood memory that even slightest trace of Maharaja ji or cute Gattu catches my attention till date.

Airindia.mascot.maharaja

Air India had adopted this Maharaja mascot in 1946 symbolizing an Indian Maharaja kind of person welcoming passengers from all across the world on board, if I’m not wrong this Maharaja is one of the longest lived & most recalled mascots till date. But then today this mascot made me really thinking esp. because of all the reasons for which Air India has been in news of late. Now with Rs. 5000 crore loss last fiscal year due to operating costs, day on day ongoing loss of approx Rs. 15 crore & plans to cut down on quite many travel sectors, does Air India stand anything to do with royalty in these days? Well, I know the mascot was not chosen for exact representation of royalty only but then to a common man the image as well as the word Maharaja has always meant to communicate the same. With Air India being in news for only huge losses and other sorry state of affairs I personally think this Maharaja is a mismatch with the overall perception of the company. A Bankrupt Maharaja instead of Maharaja is what it makes me feel about it now 🙂. Rationally speaking, I think it’s time for AI to re-look at its mascot, it has outgrown its own perception today and I can see some sort of disconnect here. Though I’m sure there must be nostalgic / emotional reasons for the company to still continue with the same.

Would like to know your views on this. Does this Maharaja suit AI’s current image? Do you think AI should bid farewell to this Maharaja now?

Why marketers should use Twitter?

Update on 30th May’09: ssp

I had personally joined twitter more than a year & half back but was not an active user of the account then. Initially, I just used to read updates from the people whom I was following & then slowly got into posting my updates too. In fact I became totally active (rather addictive ;)) almost after six months of opening my account & the more involved I got into this the more I realized the power of it. Very soon I opened an account on behalf of the company where I work & started tweeting about the updates of my company. Well, what started just as an update mechanics is now converted into a full-fledged customer interaction medium. I’m totally amazed at the viral effect & the potential of this medium from promotion & customer engagement point of view. I occasionally keep on reading about twitter & it’s phenomenal growth etc., but based on my personal experience with twitter I think I have come to a conclusion that this medium is definitely a must for every new age marketer who wants to be in touch with his net savvy (or shall I say tweet-savvy) customers. Here is why:

  • Creating & Tracking Brand Buzz: I have found twitter to be one of the best mediums for being updated with what people are writing about your brand. I’ve used  other popular alert services including the ones for twitter too but I find the “search” option on twitter to be really a smart way of being updated about at the moment” buzz of your brand. It surely gives a real time insight into your customer satisfaction, dissatisfaction, needs & gaps of your service.
  • Word Of Mouth (Or Tweet of mouth :-)) : While a negative tweet definitely harms your image but a positive tweet followed by different retweets surely leads to excellent word of mouth marketing. There is this one guy who was having problems with our service, I read his negative tweet which he had written just 2 minutes ago, I immediately escalated it to our internal service delivery head & in next 5 minutes the guy got a call from our service head. The guy got so impressed that he immediately tweeted about the power of twitter w.r.to. customer service. In next 15 minutes when his problem was solved he ensured to mention the prompt action taken by our company in so many tweets of his and was all gaga about the service attitude & brand promise of our company. Thanks to all his retweets which gave us a positive boost to our brand that day. After that my SD head ensures to search for keywords related to our service every 2 hours 🙂
  • Competition Tracking: If your competitor is also active on twitter, then toh wah bhai wah! Isko kehte hai chandi ho jana! Easiest & fastest way to be abreast with what competitors are doing as well as how many customers are dissatisfied by your competitors is to search your competitor related keyword in twitter. I’m telling you it’s a very effective medium for competitive taka-jhaki 😛
  • Customer Feedback / Suggestions: It’s definitely a very quick medium to seek feedback before any new launch or for announcing any new update / feature / product etc. And thanx to tweet-savvy customers they give you some very genuine feedback immediately.
  • Potential Targetting: Highly effective medium to reach out to potential customers too, check out who is looking out for your kind of service & reach the potential TG in a smart way.

Serious word of caution: When I say it’s an effective medium for marketers to promote & engage, this does not mean it should be used as a free tool for SPAMMING. Beauty of twitter is that twitter users till date DETEST spamming a lot. So, don’t go ahead posting only URLs or your service related promotions. You’ll only lose the interest of your followers & it just takes a few micro seconds to “unfollow” your brand. If it is fast method to engage, it is equally fast to un-engage. So, think again before you start abusing this medium. Key is to interact, talk, engage personally & tweet something which your followers can look forward too :). If you’ve captured the attention, you can definitely promote your brand in a more involved way.

Kingfisher Holidays – IPL promotion

It was the last commercial break during IPL last night & guess the 1st ad being aired in that break??? Well, it was for a holiday site asking to book tickets for South Africa to catch live IPL match! :O – yea that was my first reaction esp. because it was from brand none other than Kingfisher who was promoting kingfisherholidays.com with call for action to book tickets NOW to catch live IPL (don’t remember the exact text, else would have loved to post the same here J)!!! LOL, book tickets at the time when the finals of IPL was hardly 5 minutes away :D, wondering were they offering some “reach SA on a blink” kinda service or what! Curious enough I landed on their website today only to find their IPL banner running on the home page till now. Looks like the group is too busy grieving over the loss of RCB to change the communication till now. If it was at one place it could have been understood as mistake or oversight but if their home page is having the promo banner (scrn shot taken on 25th May’09 at 7:15 pm) saying this, they what can I say? Wake up guys, wake up!

Kingfisherholidays

Kingfisher Holidays had partnered with DLF IPL 2009 & were offering some exclusive tour packages for South Africa to all cricket fans. While the idea was good & I’m sure they would have gained good traction out of it but then while managing their communication I think they should have taken care of implementation bit more closely. If at all they wanted to utilize the last slot too to promote their holiday portal, maybe they could have done it in a better way like a general brand message thanking all who used the portal to travel to SA or a different call for action instead of this. Hmmm…execution guys, execution!

Zoozoos popular than celeb endorsers?

Well, it’s Zoozoos & only Zoozoos all over, be it any marketing meeting which I attend or a casual chat amongst group of friends, “zoozoos” is definitely one of the topics which has to crop up in any such marketing discussion these days. I don’t think I want to write any review on Zoozoos ads or my insight on these commercials, simply put this concept is outstanding & has become a phenomena in itself. If you want to read more about the birth of this idea you can read it here and success of this concept especially in digital media can be read here.

I think Zoozoos are the cutest characters ever created in the ad world and I have got so hooked on to this characters especially in online world that these days I log on to my facebook account to see updates from “Zoozoos”. Yeah that’s absolutely right; such is the impact of Zoozoos on consumers like me! As I am writing this post, official fan club of Zoozoo on facebook is having 143,777 fans. And this was 143,112 just when I started writing this post 3-4 mins back. I know of people who don’t miss commercial breaks between IPL matches to just catch up on Zoozoos & have joined twitter specifically to follow updates of Zoozoos. Their videos, ringtone, photos, quizzes, facebook app, sound bytes – everything is so cute but as per me cutest are their emoticons & wallpapers. My laptop currently is adorned with the following Zoozoo wallpaper :-).

Zoozoo

Now, as I was thinking of winding up this post I refreshed the facebook page again & Zoozoo fan club has reached 143,642 members already. Well, 530 new fans in just 15 minutes…need I say anything more? Hats off to the brains behind this campaign, truly a marvelous work. Zoozoos are the latest stars & definitely more popular as endorser than many bollywood & sports celebrities. 

Communicating or Spamming?

Yes, I am liking this new media communication strategy of Indian Political parties this year esp. of BJP but think they are definitely going over-board now. Can somebody please tell BJP campaign management team that:

  • Over communication esp. through certain media can really KILL your campaign.
  • Bombarding consumers repeatedly with too many messages, promises & benefits of the same product can actually be treated as spamming and not marketing.

Here is what I mean by my above two statements. On a daily basis I am getting SMSes from “TA-BJP” on my both mobile phones. Some of those messages are:

  • BJP’s promise: Terror-free India, Hunger-free society, Debt-free kisan, Worry-free middle class. 3.5 crore families to benefit from income tax exemption for incomes up to Rs. 3 lakh p.a. Student loans at 4%. Advani for PM. www.lkadvani.in
  • Har school jaane wali balika ko lakhpati banane wali LADLI LAKSHMI YOJANA par karenge amal. Advaniji ki shapath. http://www.lkadvani.in
  • BJP’s JAI JAWAN JAI KISAN JAI VIGYAN promise. Longstanding demands of our brave Armed Forces to be met. Farm loans at 4%. Road and broadband connectivity to all villages. 1.2 crore IT-enabled jobs in rural areas. Advani for PM. www.lkadvani.in

Need I say more??? These are just few samples, I have definitely received a lot more messages to attain a reflex reaction of pressing the DELETE button as soon as I see the sender as “TA-BJP” now.

Suggestion: BJP campaign team, good to see your aggressive strategies but please introduce some section on your website for consumers to unsubscribe from receiving these messages. Permission is the KEY for certain medium! Also would be good if you can post some anecdotes on your website about execution of any of these promises. Will help in establishing some credibility towards your SMSes!