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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11 comments:

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.

http://adage.com/article?article_id=127314

Bob

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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