Facebook Expert Dennis Yu on Breaking Edgerank & Creating Kick-A** Ads

Social Media Marketing


Dennis Yu is co-founder and CEO of BlitzLocal.com, providing leading edge local search solutions for regional, national and international multi-location and franchised enterprises. Over the last 3 years, he has guided the development of an ad serving platform that garners PPC, SEO, email, and facebook advertising, optimizing campaigns to online and offline conversions via phone, lead generation, online ordering, and coupon redemption. Recently I caught up with Dennis and he answered some of the top questions facing businesses who are marketing using Facebook.

Marketo: How many people on average really see a business page’s post and what percentage of their following is Facebook actually showing it to?

Dennis Yu:  Facebook’s number is 16%, but that is a confounded number because there are a lot of small businesses, and it’s easy to get 16% exposure if you have only 100 fans. If you are beyond small business and I mean 100 plus employees, the real number is about 5%. If you have 20,000 fans, you’re lucky if you can even get a 1,000 people or even 2,000 people to see your posts.

Marketo: What is your number one tip for businesses trying to break through EdgeRank with an organic post?

Dennis Yu:  I’ll give you one and half tips. Let’s start with EdgeRank in terms of the three factors. If you can get more engagement against a particular post, you’re going to have more power in the news because it generates more potential connections. Lots of people are saying that if you advertise you will rank better organically in Facebook because Facebook doesn’t discount the ad driven interactions that occur.

But you asked how do you do it organically. Well, you have to use other sources of traffic to drive people to the Facebook page and to that post. If you use things like the comments plug-in, any interaction that occurs on Facebook will show-up on the website at the same time.  If I comment on your blog and you get any kind of social like, it will appear on the blog and on Facebook. Also, if I comment on your blog and I’m logged into Facebook, that will show up on Facebook. Then when a friend comes in they leave a comment through Facebook, because they saw my comment.

For small businesses who don’t have a lot of money, an ad budget of a couple dollars a day targeting people in the industry is enough. You can do things like workplace targeting and you can take your particular post and run a page post ad to those influential people. We were quoted in the Wall Street Journal because there’s some data that we published. We targeted the people who work at the Wall Street Journal and Gannett, which includes USA Today, CNN and the bigger media types, and it generated other follow-on interviews for only two bucks a day.

Marketo:  How do you determine who to target specifically?

Dennis Yu:  You have to know who your audience is. If you’re B2B or maybe some really narrow niche where there are only a few hundred people that would ever buy your product, you are okay with over targeting these people. If it’s an audience that’s 5,000 people, you might as well target that whole thing over and over again. If you are selling marketing automation software, and it’s targeted to small businesses all of the way up to enterprise corporations, well that audience could potentially be 2 million people. If you don’t have the budget for 2 million people or if you don’t have the time to make 100 different micro targeted ads, then what you do is set up one or two ads starting at 5 or 10 bucks a day.

We call this a mega ad. You create one ad that has everything in it and then you start to do A/B testing. You keep promoting to the winners, “it seems like what might be working here is people who are 25 plus”, and “I am going to take not just the people who are in marketing, but I am going to narrow it down to those people who are B2B marketing and Director, Marketing Vice President, Executive and I am going to also say those people who are friends or fans”. Then keep narrowing down and take the offspring of this mastered ad.

Marketo:  What’s the best tool to find recommended targets for you?

Dennis Yu:  There is nothing better than Facebook’s own tool which is free to use. You don’t even have to create an ad account to get access. To make an account, you go to facebook.com/ads/manage and go in and say, “I want to know how many females there are who live in San Francisco, who have this kind of degree, who went to Stanford and who like healthcare”. I can do that and get exactly how many there are.

If you are spending enough money, you can use Power Editor as well. It can target people by where they are in their life — say are they looking for a car, they have an auto intended category, just got married- you can combine that with a particular interest targets.

Marketo: Is there a link between Facebook and SEO?

Dennis Yu: Absolutely. Facebook and Google both care about fresh, unique, legitimate content. And whether you talk about Penguin or Panda, there is a move towards QDF and QDD, Quality Deserves Freshness, which is recency, and QDD, which is Diversity – Quality Deserves Diversity which is diversity search results.

So you do a search, it’s now called the Universal Search of Google, and it will show you images, blogs, news and commercial search results. This is because when you type in “tiger” Google doesn’t know whether you’re looking for the football team, the operating system, or the animal itself.

So, when you are pushing out content on Facebook a lot of it will get indexed by Google. We’ve done things where we will push stuff out on behalf of a client and a lot of people will share it, tweet it out, plus one it, ultimately causing it to rank.

Marketo:  What would you recommend as the best resources for staying up today on Facebook changes?

Dennis Yu: I don’t think there’s really a better resource than allfacebook.com and insightfacebook.com. If you are a developer or if you are sort of technical, I would recommend developers.facebook.com. That’s where they post things when there are breaking changes, where an FBML is going to break, or when there is a new ad format that you need to take care of.  If you’re new to Facebook marketing, I would just go to facebook.com/marketing because it has all the different resources Facebook wants you to read.

Marketo: Where can we find you the rest of the year? Any big news or anything come up you’re excited about?

Dennis Yu: We are launching blitzmetrics.com as a free trial analytics tool for anyone to be able to come in, whether they are enterprise or even small business, and people who come in now in the next month will be able to try it for free with no strings.