As you know from my last post, the guys at oDigger challenged me to build a $100+ per day ppc affiliate campaign from scratch. I decided to use Facebook as my advertising platform and in this post I tell the story of the bumps and hurdles I encountered choosing a product to promote and getting ads approved.
And On The Seventh Day Facebook Rested
After days of grueling research and a lengthy battle with information overload, I finally placed 3 Facebook ads on Sunday. Apparently, though, Facebook isn’t fully staffed on Sunday. I thought everybody worked 8 days a week. I know I do. Oh well, live and learn. Here’s what happened last week.
I’ve been researching Facebook ads for a few weeks now but this past week I really started putting everything together and on Thursday I decided I knew enough – it was time to find a product and get busy advertising. First, though, one last spin around the blogosphere to make sure I had all my ducks in a row. After all, I was getting ready to put some cash on the line here and I wanted to make sure I did everything right.
Big mistake! I’ve never been one to over-think anything, I usually just dive right in. Which is what I should have done in this case. Remember that – at some point you’re just going to have to take action. The more I researched, the more information I found until finally, I felt like I’d just gulped a big milkshake too fast – brain freeze set in!
By the time I finally found a product that met all my criteria – and Facebook’s guidelines – I was right back at the very first product I considered 2 weeks ago. And it was Sunday morning.
Ok, first, let me tell you how I’m judging my products:
Facebook appropriate – According to Justin Dupre, the ads that work best on Facebook are gaming, dating, diet and lead generation ads. However, he also says that click prices are on the rise in the dating arena so you better know what you’re doing if you want to compete.
According to another article I read (and I’m sorry, I lost the link and I’m NOT going to go back and try to find it!) the author stated that brand recognition has a lot to do with the success of your ad. People on Facebook are there to socialize and they’ll be more apt to click on your ad if they quickly recognize what you’re advertising and the benefit of clicking the link.
And then there are the Facebook guidelines to take into consideration – No make money online products, no tobacco products, no alcohol, etc. The message on the landing page has to be clear, no rebill products, etc. Take my advice and make sure you read the Facebook ad guidelines before you get started.
Landing page – Facebook allows direct linking to the advertiser’s landing page which, for beginners like me, is a huge plus. I wanted my first product to have a good landing page so I wouldn’t have to try to design one myself.
But you also need to look for a landing page that’s quick and easy to read, with a strong, easy-to-follow call to action. Remember, those people on Facebook are busy socializing and building little cities and farms. You have to grab their attention and strike while the iron’s hot. If it takes them too long to get the message and complete the transaction they’re going to go back to their game.
Competition – I looked for products that had a decent 7 day and 30 day EPC. I also looked at the release dates to see if the product was relatively new or if it had been around for a while and was probably already beat to death at Facebook. And I stayed away from the dating niche!
Believe it or not, I even spent an entire afternoon playing Cityville (One of the most mind-numbingly ridiculous games I’ve ever seen!) so I could see what ads popped up while I was playing. And throughout the day I changed up the information on my Facebook profile to see how it would effect the ads I was shown.
Affiliate network – I’ve always dabbled in affiliate marketing so I’m a member of several networks. I ended up going with Commission Junction and Clickbank for two of my products but there are some questionable networks out there so be careful. I tripped over a few in my research that looked pretty shady. I also ended up applying to 3 or 4 new networks for access to some good lead generation products. I’ll share more about specific networks in a future post.
Now, back to my Sunday fiasco. When I logged on on Sunday morning my goal was to get at least one ad up on Facebook and put some money behind it. Which I did. By 8 AM I had chosen my product – PopCap Games with Commission Junction – and created my ad. Now all I had to do was wait for it to be approved. Which I also did. And I kept waiting all day long.
By 2 PM my ad still wasn’t live so I decided to reactivate the test ad I ran last week, just to see what would happen. Within 10 minutes that ad was denied. And it was the same ad they approved and ran last week!
But at least I knew there was somebody home at Facebook. I thought maybe they just didn’t like my ad because all of the game ads I’d seen while I was playing Cityville were for Zynga games so I was competing against them. They never denied the ad but they hadn’t approved it either.
So, back to the drawing board. I went over to Clickbank and got the link for the product I’d been looking at 2 weeks ago – The CityVille Club. The creators of The CityVille Club had done a series of articles at Affbuzz.com that walked you through the entire advertising process.
Originally, I was going to go with this product but then I backed out because I thought there was probably too much competition since they’d basically given away the whole campaign. But then I couldn’t get my other ads approved and I was determined to have at least one ad run on Sunday. The CityVille Club had the landing page and met all the other criteria and I was in a hurry – so there ya go.
At 6 pm on Sunday I had 3 ads up on Facebook – one was immediately denied and the other 2 were approved but not live. At midnight they still hadn’t been given the final go-ahead, so I went to bed. And at 8 am on Monday, I found that both of my ads had run in the middle of the night!
Yes, I anticipated this, but that doesn’t mean I’m happy about it. Thankfully, I only had $10 on one ad and $25 on the other. But I wanted to set my bids high for the first shot so I could get my CPC down fast. And then I was going to ad more money to both budgets and ride it out throughout the day. As it turned out, the way Facebook dumped my budget all in one fell swoop, my clicks ended up costing me $1 on both ads which is about twice what it should have been.
And yes, I could have paused my ads over night but I wanted to see what would happen. If you’re going to make a mistake it’s best to plan for it and risk a few dollars so you can see what happens than to completely ignore the possibility and risk your life savings.
The lesson here is that those guys at Facebook either really hate working on Sunday or they only put the sadistic guys on the schedule for the weekend. In the future, I’ll make sure I have my ads up by Thursday so I can make money on the weekend while everybody else is sleeping in!