Let us take a look at a very common scenario, which almost all of us experience every day. You are looking through your Facebook news feed and all of a sudden you see a sponsored post, which says “Buy this widget now!! 25% off.”
If you are like most people then you just ignore this ad and possibly don’t even notice it. But if you are like a small number of people who really despise these ads then you will flag the post.
From a Facebook user’s perspective, all these seem fine and you don’t really care much about these “in your face” sponsored posts.
Now the problem is that most of us are on the other side of this situation. We are now the advertisers and we want to get people to download our apps.
For some reason when we start advertising our apps we tend to forget what we like seeing in our Facebook news feeds and try to create sponsored stories which really piss off our potential app users.
So in this post we will look at the right way to do Facebook Sponsored Stories.
Who Is This Blog Post NOT For
Before we get started, it is important to know that this tactic is not going to work for a majority of game app developers and reskinners. It is unfortunate but it is true.
So if you are a game app developer, you can probably just skip this blog post and look at the other blog posts, with tactics, which can help game app developers.
Why Sponsored Stories
The main reason why sponsored stories work really well is that, they allow you to build trust with your target audience before you ask them to download your app. More importantly, once people download your app they are more willing to give you feedback, help you improve the app, and be your app evangelists.
Think of it this way, going the sponsored story route explained here vs. doing a direct ad to the app can be compared to selling a product to somebody you know vs. knocking on somebody’s door and trying to sell them something.
Which do you think is going to be more successful?
Sponsored stories strategy first gives your target audience the opportunity to get to know you, develop trust in you and then download your app. From a potential user’s perspective, this is a low risk process and as result more preferred by them.
Understanding The Sponsored Stories Download Funnel
When you are using sponsored stories to advertise your app, your goal is not to directly get people to come and download your app. Your aim is to move the potential users through your download funnel.
So let us take a look at the funnel, which your potential users will be going through.
Target Audience – This is the first stage of the funnel and consists of the people who are a perfect fit to become your app users . This is also the most important step of the funnel. If you try to target people who are not a good fit to download your app then the rest of the funnel is basically useless.
Sponsored Story To Content Consumers – The second stage of the funnel is converting your target audience into content consumers. You want to create sponsored stories, which attract users to click on your ad and go to your website.
Content consumer To Email subscribers – The third stage is for you getting the email address of the potential users. Through your content you need to entice people to sign up to your email list.
Email Readers And Download – The final stage is building trust with your email list subscribers and getting them to download your app.
Setting Up The Funnel
Now let us take a look at how you can go about setting up the funnel, which we just discussed.
The first step for finding your target audience is already covered in my other blog posts so I am not going to go through that again. You can read those blog posts here:
The second step of creating sponsored stories and getting people to click on them to go to your website involves three components which are:
Sponsored Story Linked Content – This is the piece of content which you create on your blog or website which the ad sends potential users to. It is extremely important that the sponsored story satisfy a few requirements.
- Useful – The content needs to be useful to the potential users. So if you were planning to write some content boasting about your app or your idea or anything about yourself, then just abandon that idea. The content should help the target audience. Example: If you are creating a kids education app then the content can be about how important early education is for a kids development or about how research has shown that just 15 minutes a day of early education can help a kid excel later in life.
- Incomplete – The content which you create needs to be incomplete. Your content needs to talk about the “What” but not the “How”. The “How” is what your app is for. Example: For my 7 Minute Fitness App I would create content about research talking about 7 minutes of exercise daily being enough to be fit, but I will not talk about the exact exercises and details in the blog post.
- Lead to an email list – Once people start reading your content, you want to give them a reason to join your email list. I usually recommend doing this by offering them some additional content in exchange for joining your list, but you can keep it simple and just ask them to join the list if they want to get more useful information. You can use mailchimp to set up the email list.
Sponsored Story Ad Creative – This is the ad that you create in Facebook to tell people about your content. The rule for creating this content is pretty simple. You want to create an ad, which looks like a regular Facebook post which you would share with your friends. So going back to the 7 minute fitness program example, the ad creative will have an image of a fit guy with 6 packs and the ad will say something like “New research in published NY times says that this 7 minute exercise regimen is all you need to be fit.”
The third step for setting up the funnel is setting up email autoresponder. For this I suggest using Mailchimp and you basically need to setup at least two-three emails. The first one introducing yourself, the second for building trust by sharing some more content of interest to the subscribers and finally the third one asking for a download.