I know plenty of affiliates have jumped on the Facebook bandwagon (the health industry appears to have caught on, but they’re subsequently being banned from what I can gather)…other than that, Facebook ads appear to be nothing too special. I’ve never clicked through to one, and I may have only noticed them since I’m into this whole internet marketing thing.
That being said, now that the dust has settled, is Facebook a viable (profitable) advertising platform?
Well, sorry to rain on the parade, but no. Media buyers — the agency people who book campaigns — report that the college social network is a truly terrible target. They’re mainly students, with low disposable income, of course; but, beyond that, the users appear to be too busy leaving messages for eachother to show much interest in advertising. Facebook’s members appear indifferent even to movie advertising aimed at their demographic. Clickthrough rates, the percentage of time users click on an ad, average 0.04% — just 400 clicks in every 1m views
Facebook users spend their time absorbed in dialogue. The difference in user behaviour could well account for the disparate click-through rates (disparate from Myspace, where CTR is about .1%).
These reports were from last year, and since then Facebook has allowed a bit more targeting with the ads. However, if people fundamentally aren’t noticing the ad, then my ad targeted at the 25-year old lover of Transformers also won’t work so well. They have to be noticed first — and then you have to make sure they’re being noticed by the right demographic.
So I’m running an ad for my personal budget software (I was kidding about Transformers). We’ll see how it goes. If the clicks are affordable and profitable, then even if the traffic is coming through at a molasses-rate, if the work is hands-off, I’m on it.