Facebook has more than 400 million active users who collectively spend more time on the platform than on any other website in the world, sharing detailed information about their likes, dislikes, and preferences.

It's no wonder advertisers are salivating at the chance to reach Facebook users with precisely targeted ads. A recent survey of advertising executives by Myers Publishing LLC named Facebook the No. 1 website in providing "valuable targeted audiences" to advertisers, and marketers are expected to spend upward of $1 billion on Facebook advertising this year.

Despite the hype, Facebook advertising is still in its nascent stages compared with the paid-search market, which was worth nearly $14.6 billion in 2009—and is still rapidly growing.

Few organizations have figured out how to leverage Facebook Ads effectively. However, smart search marketers should have a leg up on the competition in getting results from Facebook.

On Facebook, advertisers target users based on their "likes" and "interests" as opposed to targeting ads to users' search queries. Yet most of the skills and techniques of a successful search marketer can be translated into the skills required to build winning campaigns on Facebook.

That's because, despite differences in targeting methodologies, Facebook and paid-search advertising share a common bond: Their ad platforms fundamentally rely on targeting specific user segments based on keywords.

With a large set of potential keywords to explore, Facebook marketers have to balance expanding their audience with refining their traffic quality, and they  do so with a keen eye to the impact that factors such as creative and landing pages have on conversion.

That plays to the search marketer's strengths: analyzing conversion rates and return on investment down to the creative level, building out multiple campaigns with similar targeting parameters, refining campaign targeting, testing ad-copy and landing-page effectiveness, bidding on audiences, and managing campaign quality.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Matt Lawson is director of marketing at Marin Software (www.marinsoftware.com), provider of a leading paid-search marketing application that manages more than $1 billion in search spend annually.