Friday, May 23, 2008

Do Facebook ads rock?

Ok, so I finally got around to the blog this week. Has been a hectic few days.

Over those days though, I have been running a test Facebook ad campaign to try and add to the available knowledge on just how useful FB is for advertising.

In my last post I talked about The Challenge Dividen's post looking at FB ads. Bob ran a FB campaign to attract Guitar Hero fans to his site. He achieved a 0.02% Click Through Rate (CTR) for his campaign. Pretty low. He also found that the CTR didn't differ between a targeted campaign and a non-targeted campaign. Which I found strange.

I left a comment on Bob's blog and we had a bit of back and forth. He challenged me to come up with some numbers. So I went away and made a FB ad.

Bob's basic argument was that FB ads are broken. At a 0.02% CTR they under-perform the industry average (for banners) by about a fifth (ie. they are one fifth as effective).

In my test, I managed to more than double his CTR by targeting a Guitar Hero friendly add to the Guitar hero fan base on FB. My ad's summary is here:

The add was this:It's basically the exact text on the front page of an online Guitar Hero type game. It's actually a really fun game. And not surprisingly, got more attention and clicks than Bob's ad - which was a site you could view people playing Guitar Hero.

So I got a 0.05% CTR. Wow you might say. Well, not so fast. I can see Bob typing right now. Yes, these are meaningless numbers. Basically, a FREE online Guitar Hero game shot out at a Guitar Hero loving population on a site, Facebook, where time-wasting games are a dime a dozen, I get a pitiful 0.05% CTR. Better than Bob, but still crap.

Another nail in the coffin for FB advertising. Run like the wind Microsoft or figure out a better way to monetize the social graph. Ads aren't going to cut it.

However, I actually set out to try and find why a targeted and non-targeted FB add would perform to a similar level. That is still very strange to me. So the next installment of this will be looking at a non-targeted add run over the same time period but a week apart.

If FB targeting ends up not working (again), then they have not only got a medium where ignoring the ads seems the norm, they can't even boast reliable user profiling. In my book, that has equally large implications for potential advertisers.

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Bob G said...

Paul, Facebook ads might not rock but you certainly do. Thanks for taking the time and effort.

Not sure if you saw this story in Ad Age (in support of a new blog I just launched), where the reporter quoted my Facebook experiment. Wild stuff.


Paul Soldera said...

I love the new blog Bob, now that is a cause I can get behind. Congratz.

I'm running my second FB ad campaign now to see how the non-targeted ad ends up. Will post the results soon and give you a heads up.

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laura said...

I love the new blog Bob, now that is a cause I can get behind. Congratz.
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I recommend trying to buy Facebook fans, they have been recommended by a lot of bloggers and they can both be trusted. Socialkik can actually add fans to your Facebook page without logging into your Facebook profile, so I guess they send out thousands of suggestions to people in their network until they get 1K, 2K, 5K, 10K or 100K of Facebook fans to join your page, which is totally fine with Facebook terms of use.

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