Facebook advertising brings poor results
Since this article was written, Facebook advertising has changed considerably. ‘Flyers’ are no more. We now have the option to choose cost-per-click ads and manage spend more effectively. There is much more advertising on Facebook. Tracking and targeting tools have improved. Clickthroughs remain low at between 0.03 and 0.08% on an average campaign – however, when budget can be managed through CPC this is less of an issue.
Facebook is the website du jour, but in Reach Students’ experience it delivers appalling ad clickthroughs.
We’ve run four targeted campaigns this year using its flyer ads, and each time the results have been disappointing.
Our most recent campaign saw 1.4 million page impressions delivered at specific universities – and only a 0.04% clickthrough rate. Ouch.
When we first experienced poor results earlier this year we looked carefully at creative and planning. Further experimentation saw a variety of quite different offers and creative approaches. What kept us going was the fact that others had anecdotally mentioned good returns from Facebook ads.
Yet our results did not improve.
Baffled, we did some research and discovered that actually we are not alone.
Valleywag finds that 0.04% is pretty much the average when it comes Facebook clickthroughs – note that they are talking about banners as well as flyers.
There is varied speculation as to why the clickthroughs are so shockingly poor on Facebook. Some have cited the fact the site is essentially messaging orientated – rather than content orientated – meaning that therefore users are in no frame of mind to slope off down trails.
I don’t buy this. As a long time Facebook user myself I find myself inadvertently following trails like a distracted sniffer dog. Similarly I nearly always click on flyers when I see them. I click them because their restrictive nature (there’s little space to work with) means the advertiser often has to be clever, and I am usually intrigued by the offer.
Many of the flyer ads I’ve seen have been very clickable – much more so than typical banner ads. That said, I actually don’t see that many flyers on my Facebook travels. Nothing like the amount that are displaying on my network, according to the flyers board.
It remains a mystery to me why such perfectly targeted ads with highly relevant messages perform so badly on Facebook compared to other sites – often sites where the targeting is less precise.
Until solved, I think we’ll stick to PR initiatives through the site – such as our work for Avenue Q that generated over Ľ million mini-feed messages through user profiles. And on a budget significantly smaller than it costs to buy the same number of Facebook clickthroughs.
In fact, at least $199,000 smaller!