Selling Myself. Literally.

In creating a Facebook Page for myself, it has afforded me the chance to try something on Facebook that I’ve been wanting to do for awhile: create an ad and run it. (I have similar designs to do one on Google since I read Eric Hellman’s eBook pirating post, but that will wait another month.) I took it as a great opportunity to run an ad experiment and see how it turns out. Perhaps experiment is the wrong term here; that would imply a hypothesis and controlled variables. However, I’d like to get a dataset and use it as a starting point for further refinement. So, perhaps it is more of an adventure than an experiment, but that doesn’t mean that discovery doesn’t happen.

The ad!That’s the ad I designed on the right. I thought leaving the same title and picture as my Facebook Page would be a good start. The only part of the ad that I was uncertain about was the wording of the ad. There are not many times in your life when you are sitting at the keyboard of your computer and pondering the question, “What kind of wording would entice people to click on my ad that features my name and part of my face?” I made a few attempts at some different phrasings (there is a character limit on the ad), but this one seemed like the one that made the most amount of sense considering the content of the Facebook Page. This isn’t a complete sell on the content, but just a bread crumb trail to the main course. So, with the wording done, I moved onto the next section.

Here’s where you get to figure out who you want to see your ads. I set it for the United States without designating a specific area. My low end age would be 23, the youngest age that someone could graduate with a Master’s degree. Gender didn’t matter, so I left it as ‘all’. You can target people by their interests and likes; I was rather unoriginal and picked two words “libraries” and “librarians” as my two words. (It should be noted that as you click on buttons and write in words, there is a sidebar that recalculates how many people your ads could potentially reach.) This brought the number down from 137 million to roughly 250,000 people; for some perspective, according to the ALA there are 150,000 librarians in the US and 192,000 other library staff.  (It should be also be noted that keywords operate on an OR settings. In other words, it will gather up anyone who has libraries OR librarians as a like or interest in their profile.) Sounds like I’m in the right ballpark, so I moved on. You can choose to target certain connections or non-connections on Facebook. I opted to pick people who not already connected to my Facebook page, lowering my potential reach ever so slightly. I skipped by some of the advanced targeted features (no, I don’t want to target people on their birthdays, thank you) and went down to the pricing.

And here’s where I had to get my wallet out. You can set your budget limit on either a lifetime basis or a per diem. Since this was an experiment, I opted for a budget of $30. I picked a date range starting on December 1st and running to December 28th, a four week period. I figured that was a reasonable price over a reasonable time period to see how this works and then fiddle with it. You can buy ads a couple of different ways: you were pay by the click on the ad or by the number of impressions (read: times the ad is run). The clicks are a set amount, but you buy impressions by increments of one thousand.  You can see the advantages and disadvantages of each: pay per click is more expensive but you only pay for anyone who acts on the ad versus pay per impression where I can generate thousands of ads and hope that someone picks my ad.

Since you bid on ad space, this brings up a whole new predicament; you have to set a maximum bid you would offer for advertising space. You can go with the suggested bid (a safe move), use a higher bid to ensure more coverage and more advertising risk, or use a lower bid that is budget friendly but possibly not going to run as much. Since this is an experiment, I opted for the suggested maximum bid and just let it fly. This was $0.71 for 1,000 impressions, a decent number considering the scope of this endeavor as well as the duration. I wanted to see what this would look like over time, so I went with it.

So, after ponying up my credit card and doing the other Facebook ‘paperwork’, my ad was submitted for approval by their ad team. In an hour or so, I got the approval email. And so, I hopped on the advertising interface to see what it looks like when it’s all done. Here’s a screenshot of the impending campaign.

Click to embiggen

Since it started on Wednesday, I’ve checked on a couple of times. The early data is that my average bid is coming in much lower than my maximum bid; my maximum bid is $.71 and my average bid is $.19. At present, the 11,508 times the ad has been displayed and a total of 8 people have clicked on it. I’ve roughly spent a quarter for each click.

Naturally, I’ll be following this as the month goes on. I’m jotting down some notes to see how things pan out, so I’ll see. I’ll certainly be doing a blog write-up on this when it is complete. In the meantime, I’m curious if anyone has seen library or library related ads on Facebook.

(I sheepishly admit that I have an ad blocker on Chrome and Firefox, therefore defeating my own advertising purposes. I wonder how much of a factor that is for the ads that run.)

8 thoughts on “Selling Myself. Literally.

    • My thought is that librarianship tends to be a second career (although I know of exceptions from my own MLS class and the exception that Kelly has listed below). I was thinking that it would be better to aim it at an older group that may be more certain of librarians and libraries.

      One of the things that I need to ponder over is how interests and likes on the website are self identified. I may have to comb through some of my friend’s accounts and see how their likes and interests compare to those being offered by the FB ad design.

  1. Also in response to the “age 23″ decision, I graduated with my MLS and started my first librarian job when I was 22. I turned 23 four days after starting my job, but still. :) Just throwing that out there.

    • When I was typed in 23, I knew there would be exceptions! I just picked an arbitrary number of average college grad age (21) plus two years for grad school. Next time, I’ll knock it down a notch to 22.

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