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Finally, a Brand Hits a Home Run with Facebook Ads

Mike Krass • June 4, 2012 • 3 minutes to read

In a recent announcement, B2B marketing software giant HubSpot announced that running paid advertisements on Facebook generated a 71% increase in sales from social channels year over year.

This news is huge for Facebook following the GM announcement that they would be eliminating their entire Facebook advertising budget

A couple other fun facts that Dan Slagen, HubSpot's head of paid lead generation efforts, disclosed were:

  • Return on investment from Facebook ads was 15% better than their other paid channels during the first quarter of this year
  • Site traffic to from Facebook increased 39% year over year

Despite all the positive momentum that HubSpot saw from Facebook ads, Slagen was very cautious and realistic when he described their paid lead generation strategy ...

"It's a fallacy that paid leads are easy," he said. "It took time. We looked at planning. We looked at post-click issues. We looked at market seasonality and day-parting."

So now the all important question: What levers did HubSpot pull to deliver this performance?

Slagen cited ...

  • 'Like gating' offers on ebooks and product trials that were targeted at marketing directors & decision makers based upon their recent 'like' activity
  • Deployed sponsored stories to build on their existing momentum of users who had already 'liked' the HubSpot brand page
  • Created a custom 'Try HubSpot for 30 days free!' tab on their Facebook page

What this all tells me is that ...

  1. Treat Facebook Ads Like a Big Kid: This case study is living proof that Facebook ads deserve a share of marketers tactical time & energy in planning an effective campaign. Simply 'turning on likes' doesn't actually move the needle -- like any of the traditional or established digital mediums, you need to commit to a diverse marketing mix within the Facebook platform in order to generate real results.
  2. Facebook Can Generate Leads ... For the Right Brand: As other brands come forward with their pro & anti-Facebook advertising stories, it will be interesting to see which types of brands (B2B vs. B2C, for example) will band together and see the best performance.
    1. For example, General Motors pulled their automobile advertising on Facebook.
    2. Could cars technically be 'un-sellable' on Facebook?
  3. Agencies Need to Be Smarter: When your client comes to you and wants to gain '100,000 likes' just for shits and giggles, agencies need to have the wherewithal to ask intelligent questions:
    • Why do you want 100,000 additional fans?
    • What do you hope to achieve by bringing on these fans?
    • Where does fan acquisition and hard business metrics collide for your brand in the social space?

What are your thoughts on HubSpot's social success?

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