Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Working with Facebook Social Ads

So, here at Kinzin, we've been experimenting with Facebook's Social Ads for the last few weeks, and I have a few results to report. Simple stuff first:

  • Click-through rates are abysmal. I was running the identical ad in about 15 different regions (you need to run them as separate ads to get the stats broken out), getting just over 10M views. Our average clickthrough rate was 0.06% (that's 1 in 1513, for those counting at home). The best we did anywhere was 0.14%.
  • For some reason, we got quite different results (30-50% variance) if we ran exactly the same ad in exactly the same region, configured to show to men alone, women alone, and men and women together. For some reason, both together got much better results than either gender individually. Weird.
  • Again, the same ad: top four for clickthrough rates: Seattle, Portland, Alberta, and NYC. Bottom four: Toronto, the Maritimes, English Quebec, and Texas.

A little more subtle is the results from using "Social Actions". That's feature that Facebook advertises as being the differentiator for their ad platform. For those that don't know what that is, Facebook will insert a blurb to let you know a Friend of yours has a relationship to the app or group that is the subject of the ad. A friend of mine might see, above an ad in the Facebook margins: "Michael Fergusson installed this app yesterday." This is what Facebook has to say about it:

"What you're looking at is a Social Ad. Advertisers provide the text, and Facebook pairs it with a relevant social action that your friend has taken. Social Ads mean advertisements become more interesting and more tailored to you and your friends. These respect all privacy rules; advertisers never have access to personal information about you or your friends...."

In theory, it could be useful to know that friends of yours use a particular app. In practice, it's a bit creepy to see the name and photo of your friend in a banner ad. My advice in short: don't use that feature. As I said in my last post, we're still figuring out the rules of etiquette in this new space, but I don't think Facebook (the company) has it quite right yet. For sure, it's not right for us and our community.

On that note, I'd also like to apologize to any users of Kinzin applications that were creeped out by our (brief) use of that Facebook feature. We were as surprised as anyone by our own negative reaction to seeing it in practice, and we turned it off as soon as we heard that others were feeling uncomfortable about it, too. We take our role in helping define this new space very seriously, and that role is not to push the boundaries of what's acceptable, but to reflect the growing consensus of what's desired.

It would be interesting to hear about other people's experiences with the Facebook Social Ads. Anybody have anything to, um, add?

(Added 03 /23) I should add that I purchased clicks from Facebook and one other ad network. That other ad network cost 70% less and generated clicks for me at 100x the rate, but virtually no conversions, and traffic to the landing page didn't seem to match the clicks being reported. Hmmm. Facebook ads actually converted at a pretty reasonable clip - 5% or so.

I may not get a lot of clickthroughs on the Facebook ads, but at least they seem to produce some measurable results. My experience dealing with the other ad networks has not been good at all. Most of them seem like shoestring/basement operations at best, and outright scams at worst. Anybody have any good experiences to report?

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great article. I really enjoy your blog, as a participant on the space and musician marketing wares.

15/10/08 08:28  
Anonymous Erin Swanson said...

I'm not sure if you keep up this blog anymore - I was trying to see the most recent post but no luck. I appreciated your information about FB ads. We (WaterPartners International - water.org) just ran one the week before Christmas and I thought it went really well but our click through rate was average. In my research I am finding about the same results for a smaller campaign.

I wanted to say that if you have not checked out couchsurfing.com, it is a cool online community/phenomenon.

Thank you!

Best,

Erin Swanson
Communications Specialist
WaterPartners International

29/12/08 09:03  
Anonymous Marvin Goose said...

Really enjoyed this post, I too have been experimenting with Facebook adds, and believe the system is still probably a little immature...

4/8/09 03:32  

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