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Subject: My facebook advertising experiment rss

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David Lame
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Huntington Woods
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As regular readers of this forum know, I'm constantly trying to get people to leave their house to play abstract strategy games against strangers. (i.e. to hold tournaments) It works for Chess, but not so well for anything else. Even for Chess, it could be better.

I was convinced, and am convinced, that while our hobby is indeed targetting a small community, it isn't as small as it would seem. If only we could reach players, we could at least hold small gatherings for serious play.

Enter Facebook. Yesterday, I realized I could advertise there for dirt cheap. Granted, all you get are postage stamp ads that most people don't even notice, but of the several thousand people who see those ads, a few will click. What's more, when you are trying to find abstract strategy game players, you are really targetting a super small, very precise audience.

I don't know if it will work, but it's fun, and I can run an ad for $1.00 per day, and yank it after a week, which is when I'm holding my next tournament.

If it works for Chess, I'll try it for other games. Can this work? Stay tuned. Meanwhile, I'm trying to figure out which targets I can hit. To that end, I've created a geeklist of abstract strategy games playable on Facebook, to which I would like others to contribute.


http://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/108216/item/1989773#item19...

Let's see if microadvertising can succeed.
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Björn Hansson
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Interesting "experiment"!
 
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Skaboy Green
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neat concept for sure!
 
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David Lame
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After a week of running, the ad targeting Chess players was presented 60,000 times. It was clicked on 16 times, including by 3 people who "liked" the page. One person registered for my tournament after seeing my ad on facebook, but he didn't show up. He emailed me citing inclement weather as the reason. (It snowed Friday night.)

Facebook adds a "social reach" statistic that tells how many people saw the ad, and then made comments on their own pages. I'm not certain exactly what constitutes "social reach", but whatever it means, it happened five times.

My cost for the ad campaign was $7.00. Now, I'll see about creating a new ad campaign for a tournament of games other than Chess, and see what happens with that ad.

I think that in the long run, the ad will raise visibility of my events, despite the small number of clicks. I just think that it might raise my recognition and "buzz" levels just a tad. We'll see.
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Ethan Larson
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Thanks for the info on it!
 
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David Lame
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The new ads are up and running. I decided to post an ad for an abstract strategy game tournament, and a Chess960 tournament, along with a rerun of the original Chess ad.

The numbers will be slightly different, because my $1.00 per day of advertising dollars will be split among the ads this time. I'm not sure how that will work out.

For what it's worth, my next Chess tournament, which I'm hoping will also feature something other than Chess, will be April 28 at the same site I've used for two years in Auburn Hills, Michigan.


I've been thinking about what other search terms would be good for targeting ads for Chess tournaments. The goal of a facebook ad would be to get people who wouldn't normally be looking for Chess tournaments, or Hive tournaments, or Hneftafl tournaments. In other words, they might not have identified themselves as Chess enthusiasts. What other interests might be strongly correlated with Chess?

I'm thinking I might see if the History Channel has a fan page. That might be a good target. People who like steampunk might be good for the abstract tournament. I'll see how the current ads work out first. I've got seven dollars on the line for the next week, so I don't want to waste too much of it.
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Meadmaker wrote:


I'm thinking I might see if the History Channel has a fan page.


They do and it is huge.
Now I have to rant a bit, and this is not relevant to you but... If you list history as a hobby or an interest on your FB profile, you have automatically 'liked' the History Channel. As someone studying to be a historian, I really hate the history channel because it has more to do with aliens and reality shows than history.

/rant.
Sorry.
I like what you are doing with FB adverts. It is good to know it is so cheap.
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Ethan Larson
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Valid rant, dude.

And thanks for continuing data on FB ads!
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David Lame
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sirius23 wrote:
Meadmaker wrote:


I'm thinking I might see if the History Channel has a fan page.


They do and it is huge.
Now I have to rant a bit, and this is not relevant to you but... If you list history as a hobby or an interest on your FB profile, you have automatically 'liked' the History Channel. As someone studying to be a historian, I really hate the history channel because it has more to do with aliens and reality shows than history.

/rant.
Sorry.
I like what you are doing with FB adverts. It is good to know it is so cheap.


You speak truth. The History Channel was much better back when it showed more history. I guess the "ghosts and tree cutting channel" didn't do so well in focus groups.

But the question remains. What Facebook ad targets would work for Chess and/or abstract strategy games? "Zertz" is not even recognized as an interest term, so an indirect route might be more productive.
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Rob
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What about targeting classic abstracts like Go, Cribbage, Bridge, Checkers, Backgammon, etc, but this probably lends itself more to if you're doing a general abstract tournament. Rereading your OP, it sounds like you're just focusing on the Chess thing now. I think Chess is widespread and popular enough where most people who would be willing to go to a Chess tournament already play Chess, whereas a game like Go (as an example) might be marketable to non-Go players who have heard of it but not had the opportunity to play.

EDIT: people who are into Medieval Era stuff or Renaissance Fairs might be into playing Chess.

EDIT 2: yes, and History Channel is crap. I can't believe FB has the presumption to have people who are interested in history 'like' History Channel! The latter is a mockery of the former at this point. (had to chime in of this one, I really dislike HC)
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Ethan Larson
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mccann51 wrote:
EDIT 2: yes, and History Channel is crap. I can't believe FB has the presumption to have people who are interested in history 'like' History Channel! The latter is a mockery of the former at this point. (had to chime in of this one, I really dislike HC)


I'm sure FB does not believe that. They were paid to do it.
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Rob
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almo2001 wrote:
mccann51 wrote:
EDIT 2: yes, and History Channel is crap. I can't believe FB has the presumption to have people who are interested in history 'like' History Channel! The latter is a mockery of the former at this point. (had to chime in of this one, I really dislike HC)


I'm sure FB does not believe that. They were paid to do it.


Excellent point. Either way, distasteful.
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David Lame
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mccann51 wrote:
What about targeting classic abstracts like Go, Cribbage, Bridge, Checkers, Backgammon, etc, but this probably lends itself more to if you're doing a general abstract tournament.


For the abstract tourney, that's what I did, except I didn't include the card games. I think there's only a little bit of overlap.

On the other hand, I'm not sure targetting Facebook Checkers fans is a great plan, either. Would somebody who is really into Checkers and recognizes it as an example of an abstract strategy game be a Facebook Checkers player? I'm not so sure. It might be somebody who is mostly bored silly, not much into leaving the house, but who thinks Chess is too much work.

Checkers players would certainly be the sort of people who I would be looking for, but I'm not sure Facebook Checkers players fit the bill.

Oh, well. That's why this is an experiment. We'll see what happens.

After 24 hourse of running the new series of ads, I've had two new "likes" for my Chess page, one click on the Chess960 tournament, and no response for abstract strategy.

I wonder if Zillions of Games has a Facebook page. If so, I'll bet that would add 10 people right away to my targets.



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Ethan Larson
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mccann51 wrote:
almo2001 wrote:
mccann51 wrote:
EDIT 2: yes, and History Channel is crap. I can't believe FB has the presumption to have people who are interested in history 'like' History Channel! The latter is a mockery of the former at this point. (had to chime in of this one, I really dislike HC)


I'm sure FB does not believe that. They were paid to do it.


Excellent point. Either way, distasteful.


Agreed. Distasteful. It wouldn't be so bad, if the History Channel still did History. Too many psychic shows on there. :(
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David Lame
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mccann51 wrote:
EDIT: people who are into Medieval Era stuff or Renaissance Fairs might be into playing Chess.


I thought about making that target. I decided against it just because I'm so involved in the SCA myself, and there was just a little bit too much crossover for me to feel comfortable with. At next year's Twelfth Night, I will be holding a medieval games tournament, and I think I'll do an add at that time targeting SCA and Renn Faire likers.

In the meantime, I got to thinking about what else might be good. The people I am looking for are people who are willing to leave their house, pay a fee, and play games against strangers. As targets, I've been choosing people who like to play games, and hoping to get a subset of people who would play them person to person in a competitive atmosphere.

I decided to test a new approach as well. Find people who are willing to do something, but something that is offbeat, that requires you to leave the house, and that involves competition against strangers. Among people who are willing to do that, there might be a subset that would also engage in an intellectual competition. So now I am looking for offbeat, out of mainstream, competitions that do not happen online. This puts me in a rather odd position of targeting an ad for a Chess tournament toward a group of self identified athletes. Definitely a non-sterotypical choice. I created an ad aimed at things that I've done that fit that description. This includes orienteering, luge, fencing, badminton, and rowing. (I've never actually done rowing, but it did fit the description.) If anyone can think of other offbeat competitions, I would throw them in.

So far, that particular ad has gotten no clicks, but it is young. Less than 1000 impressions so far.
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Meadmaker wrote:


In the meantime, I got to thinking about what else might be good. The people I am looking for are people who are willing to leave their house, pay a fee, and play games against strangers. As targets, I've been choosing people who like to play games, and hoping to get a subset of people who would play them person to person in a competitive atmosphere.


You could go after MENSA types and use words that imply they are testing their intelligence against others. (Not a judgment against MENSA members,my wife is one, I just couldn't think how else to say it.)

Could also go for the gambling types who like poker, they argue that it is a very skill driven game - so you could play on that. Poker without luck!
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David Lame
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sirius23 wrote:
Meadmaker wrote:


In the meantime, I got to thinking about what else might be good. The people I am looking for are people who are willing to leave their house, pay a fee, and play games against strangers. As targets, I've been choosing people who like to play games, and hoping to get a subset of people who would play them person to person in a competitive atmosphere.


You could go after MENSA types and use words that imply they are testing their intelligence against others. (Not a judgment against MENSA members,my wife is one, I just couldn't think how else to say it.)

Could also go for the gambling types who like poker, they argue that it is a very skill driven game - so you could play on that. Poker without luck!


Mensa. I like it. 700 people like Mensa on Facebook in Michigan. They're going to be the target of a Chess960 tournament ad.

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Harald Korneliussen
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Meadmaker wrote:

On the other hand, I'm not sure targetting Facebook Checkers fans is a great plan, either. Would somebody who is really into Checkers and recognizes it as an example of an abstract strategy game be a Facebook Checkers player? I'm not so sure. It might be somebody who is mostly bored silly, not much into leaving the house, but who thinks Chess is too much work.


Sadly, judging from Android market, this is the case. The Checkers apps that don't have removing forced moves as an option, get tons of ratings. Even the ones that have it as an option tend to get lots of complaints that it isn't the default ("it doesn't let me play the moves I want!!1!"). Attention is not equal to interest, especially not for something like Checkers.
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David Lame
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vintermann wrote:
Meadmaker wrote:

On the other hand, I'm not sure targetting Facebook Checkers fans is a great plan, either. Would somebody who is really into Checkers and recognizes it as an example of an abstract strategy game be a Facebook Checkers player? I'm not so sure. It might be somebody who is mostly bored silly, not much into leaving the house, but who thinks Chess is too much work.


Sadly, judging from Android market, this is the case. The Checkers apps that don't have removing forced moves as an option, get tons of ratings. Even the ones that have it as an option tend to get lots of complaints that it isn't the default ("it doesn't let me play the moves I want!!1!"). Attention is not equal to interest, especially not for something like Checkers.


Le Jeu Plaisant? Sacre bleu! C'est terrible!

Didn't they get the memo that, some time in the 15th century someone figured out how to make Checkers better?

But, it is as we suspected, the ad targeted at Facebook abstract players, of which the biggest chunk are Checkers players, has received only one click.

The Mensa Chess960 has also received only one click, but based on much fewer impressions. Likewise, the "offbeat competitions" has gotten one click. I also created an ad targetting everyone who lives in the town where the event is held, and one that targets nearby "fans" of the American Heart Association, which is the supported charity for my next event. No clicks on those. The Chess960 tournament ad has gotten several clicks, but no "likes" from the ad targetting Chess players. Not surpisingly, the best performer, with the most clicks and all of the likes, is the ad for the Chess tournaments that is targeted at Chess players. Go figure.

I think I'll leave it as it is and let it go about another 48 hours before pulling the plug. The next tournament isn't until the end of April, and it's only a dollar per day, but there are about 90 days between now and then. That's a bit more than I want to spend. I'll probably revive the ads just before the tournament.
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Rob
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I know this thread is specifically about Facebook ads, but have you tried other forms of advertisement? For instance, putting up flyers at local bookstores, coffee-houses, game stores, brew pubs, etc? I'd guess most ads people see online are completely ignored; I for one do not even see them anymore, and I'm confident I'm not in a small minority.
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David Lame
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mccann51 wrote:
I know this thread is specifically about Facebook ads, but have you tried other forms of advertisement? For instance, putting up flyers at local bookstores, coffee-houses, game stores, brew pubs, etc? I'd guess most ads people see online are completely ignored; I for one do not even see them anymore, and I'm confident I'm not in a small minority.


Most ads, period, are ignored. Television is the exception, because you can't ignore them, although with the advent of the DVR even that is changing.

Yeah, I've tried fliers in coffeehouses, libraries, and bookstores. No luck. Game stores are a special case. Chess, or any abstract strategy game, is not something they like. There's no ongoing revenue stream associated, so they aren't keen on advertising it. It's competition.

So, yeah, Facebook ads are incredibly ineffective, but they are also incredibly cheap, and they have the advantage of giving feedback to the advertiser, which is kind of fun. It's very exciting to get a "click" or a "like".

One thing I have considered, although I decided to reject for myself, is trying to coopt Barnes and Noble. I would guess that B and N is the biggest seller of abstract strategy games in the country. I suspect that they would sell more of those games if, right next to the place where they were sold, was an advertisement for a tournament in those games. It's something to think about, although I, personally, decided against it. I just didn't have the energy to try and convince a store manager to think a little bit outside the box about why someone might buy a copy of "Hive".
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Russ Williams
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Have you tried google ads for keywords like "chess", "abstract game", "abstract strategy game" etc?

(That's not a recommendation for or against, just a curious brain-storming question.)
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Rob
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Meadmaker wrote:

Most ads, period, are ignored. Television is the exception, because you can't ignore them, although with the advent of the DVR even that is changing.

Yeah, I've tried fliers in coffeehouses, libraries, and bookstores. No luck. Game stores are a special case. Chess, or any abstract strategy game, is not something they like. There's no ongoing revenue stream associated, so they aren't keen on advertising it. It's competition.


Most places like that have community bulletin boards, so it's no skin off anybody's back for you to put up a flyer. And most game stores also carry abstract games, so you're promoting the game and they sell it, I don't understand what you mean by it's competition. Have you considered holding smaller tournaments at game stores? Then you could get people interested who are just stopping in and see something cool going on.

And I disagree that most ads are ignored. Many people will actively look at community bulletin boards to see what's going on; obviously many flyers will be ignored because they don't apply to the person, but it's not a matter of ignoring them because the person just walks past.
 
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Yours Truly,
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There must have been a moment at the beginning, where we could have said no. Somehow we missed it. Well, we'll know better next time.
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Quote:
At next year's Twelfth Night, I will be holding a medieval games tournament

That sounds awesome, I would sign up for that if I was close enough.
We have an annual medieval faire here in North Central Florida, and I did see some medieval games for sale, but alas, no tournaments.
 
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David Lame
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mccann51 wrote:
And most game stores also carry abstract games, so you're promoting the game and they sell it, I don't understand what you mean by it's competition...


Of course, each game store is different. However, if they have an area set aside for game play, and they organize games to be played there, what games will they play?

The most popular are Magic and Warhammer. Why? Because those games are most popular? That has something to do with it, but that's not the major reason. The major reason is that those games carry with them a continuous revenue stream in the form of more booster packs and more miniatures. D&D or other role playing games generate sales of modules and miniatures as well.

For fifty bucks, you can get a chessboard, pieces, and clock, and never spend another dime. There aren't any expansion sets for Chess. Even if you are into miscellaneous abstracts, at best you'll buy a new game once in a while. If you really get into a game, be it Chess, Arimaa, or Gipf, you'll spend a lot of time focused on that particular game. No money for game store owners.
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