Posted: July 13th, 2009
Back when Facebook ads became available, it had piqued the interest of many advertisers due to the tremendous growth in Facebook’s user base, and its wide reach of Internet-savvy consumers. Below is a message I received from a friend of mine who had given Facebook ads a shot earlier this year. It details his experience with the platform, and the not-so-impressive results.
So here’s my experience with advertising on Facebook.
I decided to try a generic ad for the products I sell. It wasn’t aimed at a narrow demographic group on FB because I couldn’t figure out how to define the right kind of audience. Since the items I sell are closely involved with using the Internet, I specified the term “webmaster,” but I don’t think that really brought my ad to an audience of webmasters.
The ad began running in February, after a brief wait for Facebook to approve it. The first couple of days, it was shown to about 700 people per day but got no clicks. The numbers dwindled to about 300 on the third day, and 200 on the fourth.
Finally, on the fifth day, I got a click, and my numbers rose to 600+ views on that day, more than 1,300 the next (when I got another click). After that, it dwindled back to the 200-300 range, except that each time I got a click, the numbers jumped into the high hundreds for a few days.
After a couple of weeks with no more clicks, daily views dropped well below 100. Some days in April, there were fewer than 10. To this date, that ad has gotten about 20,000 views but only 5 clicks (at a cost of roughly 50 cents each). So it’s been a cheap way to get the ad onscreen, but hasn’t generated worthwhile returns.
In May, I started a different campaign for a subset of the products I was marketing. I specified an age and education range, but no keywords.
This one opened with much bigger numbers: on the first day, I had 30,000 views and 6 clicks (at $.65 each). I wanted to make some changes to the ad, but discovered that you can’t do that – you have to start a new ad instead. So I paused the existing ad and made a slightly altered version of it. (Again, I had to wait for official approval before it began running.)
The new version opened with a bang on day one: 70,000 views. However, probably since it got only 11 clicks ($.66 each) and hence was generating too little revenue for Facebook, those numbers immediately crashed. During the next six days, I got anywhere from 15 to 41 views a day, and no clicks.
I also noticed that Facebook’s “suggested bid” for my ad has been raised. At the start, it was around 60-70 cents – now, it’s $1.90-$2.35. With so few clicks, I have to pay them more for each one to make it worth their while. The same thing happened when I tried some ads on Google AdWords. Their suggested bids kept going higher and higher, until they exceeded my comfort level, so my ads there are basically defunct.
Anyway, I guess my Facebook ad views will remain at a slow trickle unless I get clicks and/or raise my per-click bid. I guess some people do well advertising there, but I wouldn’t quit my day job just yet (if I had one).