Monday, May 12, 2008

Facebook ads don't work?

Interesting post over at The Challenge Dividend that talks about the experience of one Marketer's Facebook ad campaign.

The cliff-note's version is that a highly targeted Facebook ad campaign for a Guitar Hero live-streaming gig had the exact came Click-Through-Rate (CTR) as a completely un-targeted buy. Ergo, Facebook's advertising system is bunk.

The thing that caught my eye is that typically targeted messages of any sort do do better. It's very strange to find a targeted message doing the same or worse among a targeted group compared to shooting the same message out to the unwashed masses. It's more a statistical phenomenon than anything. Given two populations, one with a lot of Guitar Hero fans who find anything Guitar Hero fascinating, and the other with a whole lot of random people (including the odd Guitar Hero fan), the Guitar Hero message will do better among the Guitar Hero population. Assuming the message is relevant to Guitar Hero fans and that all Guitar Hero fans are similar in their preferences to Guitar Hero messages.

And these are pretty sound assumptions to make.

Ergo, if the CTR was the same among both populations, it's saying that Facebook simply isn't good ad identifying all its Guitar Hero fans. It's not necessarily saying that advertising on Facebook is broken and people are simply not interested in anything interrupting their socializing.

In truth it's probably a bit of both. I certainly don't use Facebook (when I use it, which is rare these days) to click on ads. But I don't use the Internet to click on ads either. Unless I am searching of course, then I find the ads all very highly relevant.

I want to look at relevant ads. Everyone does. If Facebook knew me better, it might be able to do that.

I'm a Guitar Hero fan, I just never told them.

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