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Social Network Marketing: Advertising to Facebook Users

In the "old days", if you wanted to meet someone, you had to get dressed up and drive to a public place. Not anymore. The Internet has changed all of that with the popularity of social networking sites. Two of the biggest are MySpace and Facebook.

Basically, a social network website allows you to register, display photos and some personal information, then you can invite others to become "your friends". You can meet thousands of people right from the comfort of your living room. How great is that?

Facebook has an audience of over 100 million people with over 24 million active users. The majority of visitors to the site are between the ages of 18 to 34. Next to MySpace, it is the second largest social networking site online. If you'd like to advertise on Facebook and reach this young, highly targeted audience, now you can.

When setting up your ads, you can choose to target people by age, location, gender, interests, education and more. For example, you could choose to target 26 year old women who are interested in men and are single in the U.S. When making your audience selections, you'll be shown the number of users who fit your chosen profile that will see your ad. Facebook ads are displayed in the side column of almost all pages. There may be up to three ads appearing on each page.

You can also choose to buy ads on a CPC (cost per click) basis, or CPM (cost per thousand) impressions. The title of your ad can be up to 25 characters and the body text up to 135 characters in total. A small image can also be uploaded, but must fit inside a 110X80 box ad format. You are also asked to select keywords that relate to your ads.

If you decide to advertise on a CPM basis, the minimum budget you can set is $1.00 per day, with a minimum per one thousand impression bid of only $.10. They will give you bid suggestions, but you are free to set it to your needs.

If advertising on a pay-per-click basis, again, the minimum daily budget you can set is $1.00, with the minimum cost per click being one penny. Again, suggested bid amounts are given. You can set your ad to run continuously or only during specified times.

Facebook makes it easy to track your progress with downloadable Excel reports. It's easy to see how well your ads are performing at a glance.

There are three different types of reports:

1) "Responder Profiles"- This information is gleaned from users profiles, and will tell you what types of common interests people have who are clicking on your ads.

2) "Responder Demographics"- This report tells you the sex, age and geographic location of those clicking on your ads.

3) "Advertising Performance"- Detailed reports which show you impressions, click-throughs, etc. This report can be broken down by month, week or time of day.

As part of their advertising program, you'll automatically be subscribed to Facebook's newsletter which will keep you up to date on news, updates and tips for best ad practices.

Social network marketing is an effective way to reach a highly targeted audience, and shouldn't be forgotten when putting together a well rounded marketing plan. If you haven't considered this type of advertising in the past, now's a good time to take another look. Social networks continue to grow in popularity as millions of people continue to flock to this type of website daily.


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