On October 19th I launched my first Facebook ad campaign. The results reinforce a number of questions and concerns about the effectiveness of advertising in social media. Namely, using passive media tactics in an active media environment.
Ok, that’s typical banner response.
Here is the ad I ran. My target keywords were “advertising,” “internet” and “web design.” The targeted group was just over 89,000 Facebook users.
I used a headline and image that I thought would attract attention and lend itself to a wider click-through by having more than one meaning to the targeted segments.
So what did these “people” do once they landed? My landing page was the homepage of this blog.
From Google Analytics:
Not one of them spent more than a second on my site? This is very unusual. I know that sometimes Google Analytics doesn’t seem to record properly on certain referral traffic so possibly this is the case here. Typical search keyword traffic spends on average over a minute and a half on my site.
Here are my CPC bids by day and the resulting impression volume:
It’s not clear the higher bids improved my impression volume especially if you exclude the 5th & 6th as outliers. What is clear is that impressions are all over the place. Also interesting is that after all three days with better performance there was a sudden drop-off of ad serving (23/24th, 1/2nd, 6/7th). Why for instance was my ad served over 41k times on the 6th with good CTR and then just 1k the next day? My max bid at .50 was likely pretty high, especially for this target audience.
This seems to tell me that the Facebook back-end might not be ready for prime-time.
With all the recent euphoria around Social Media and Facebook I think we may be guilty of taking for granted the technology development needed here. Google has spent a massive amount of engineering resources and intellectual capital to build an auction based ad serving system that optimizes RPM. Maybe we should take pause when we start to think that Facebook will easily be able to create similar auction based pricing models that optimize advertising performance. It’s not as easy as Google makes it look. Just ask Yahoo.
So, as I’ve said before, new ad models need to emerge. Facebook’s Beacon idea looks promising as a way to create intent if it can survive legal hurdles. Surely technology will foster emergent and more creative ways to tap revenue in social but clearly patience is required and I’m not sure patience is something Facebook, the media, advertisers and investors have much of. Of course, how much patience Facebook users have for ads may be the most important question of them all.
“just a little patience, yeah, yeah — just a little patience, yeah, yeah”
In any case, I’m not done testing. Next step is to do some tests with big brands. I’ll let you know how it goes.