Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Facebook Not Useful for Advertisers?

Filed away this earlier today:
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.

The linked site disagrees with that thesis but I believe it is correct. The value in social network sites like Facebook for an advertiser is in the permanence of their presence. Unlike a normal web site where you will occasionally get something interesting enough that popular sites will link in, Facebook cannot be accessed without a login, immediately limiting popular sites from linking.

That's why consistency and quality matter more for an organization trying hard to use Facebook for promotion.