Facebook Ads Are A Disappointment

I scored $250 in free Facebook advertising by signing up for the Visa Business Application ($100 free ads credit) and grabbing $150 in coupons from NeilsWeb.com (down at the moment) and while it’s great to get a bunch of free advertising from Facebook, the results are quite underwhelming.

As you can see below here are some results on 5 campaigns I started this week and the best performing one is getting a 0.03% CTR. That means for every 10,000 times the ad is shown I get a whopping 3 clicks. I’m trying to think of a stronger word for abysmal to describe the results, but nothing comes to mind right now.

Facebook Ads

I’m not the only one experiencing these kind of results with Facebook Ads as is evidenced by doing a simple Google on Facebook ads success. It looks like no one is having that much success at this point and what’s interesting is that these ads were touted to be a new and unique way to advertise on the web and extremely targeted to just the right audience you pick. From reading some of the articles that come up in the above search, it looks like it doesn’t really matter if you “highly target” your campaigns or not, you get the same dismal results. With Microsoft’s investment driving their perceived value up around $15 billion, Facebook is going to have to do better than this for their advertisers.

All is not lost though because the advertising isn’t costing me anything. My next approach is to target ads quite a bit wider and throw massive campaigns in several different niches their way and keep the ones, if any, that are producing. I’ll report back in a week or so to let you know if the results are any better.

I’m curious to know if anyone has had success advertising on Facebook?

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16 Responses to “Facebook Ads Are A Disappointment”

  1. I have pretty good luck with Facebook ads, unlike others that I know who have done very well.

    It seems like there are a few offers that do really well and others that fail. I have had a share of both.

    Like you said, look at it as free money for now.


  2. James,

    I’m going to try a broad range of offers now and see if I can get something to work. I’ve seen a couple of things that I think might work fairly well.

  3. I have had a little success with facebook but nothing spectacular …

    The key more then any other network is to create a good ad… this means good ad copy and most importantly the picture. You must be able to grab someone’s attention with the picture so that they’ll want to clik the ad. Once you start increasing your CTR your min bid will drop.

    I do know that facebook can be HUGELY profitable and some people are definitely banking on it.

  4. “Facebook is going to have to do better than this for their advertisers.”

    Maybe they realized that is true, which is why it’s suddenly a lot easier to get some coupon codes than it used to be…

    I’ve gotten a few clicks and a few conversions with everything I’ve tried on Facebook, too, but it’s generally all been a failure too. But you’re right, w/ free money no harm can come from giving it another shot…

  5. Hey Alan,
    that is generally everyones first experiance with facebook. They either have trouble getting ads approved or have trouble getting good CTR. Keep in mind that a tolerable CTR is only .10. If you can get 0.40+ you will be paying 5-10cents!
    And Thanks for the link love :-). My Blog will be back online shortly.

  6. Facebook has a very low CTR, not much you can due, its the nature of the audience. I ran an ad on facebook a few months ago but only had a few clicks and no conversions. If i had some free money to through around though I would try out some offers and see if I can get anything to work alright. Nicky Cakes has written a few good articles on facebook ads.

  7. Of course your CTR sucks. I’m surprised that you even got ONE click on an ad that you nicknamed “Sell Your Timeshare”

    Come on, Alan…know your audience! Do you really think that you’re going to find Facebook users with a timeshare? “Sell Your Old Mobile Phone” would be quite a bit better…

  8. Steve,

    There are 22 million people on Facebook, I’m sure a few are out of college and own timeshares.

  9. Just through my experience, Facebook’s popularity has always been geared towards re-connecting with people i.e. family members, elementary buddies, and high school sweet hearts. I think running any campaign that is targeted around schools – Scholarships, Financial Aid etc.. Would have potential profit.

    As well as Family Tree or Genealogy affiliate products…

    Who knows?!?

    Just a shot in the dark.

  10. I’ve found crummy CTRs, too. Seems like getting ads approved is simply a case of who does the approval. I got an ad with NO filtering approved, yet ads with very specific filters denied.

    Look at it as $250 in Facebook Advertising School that you got for free 😀

  11. >>> There are 22 million people
    >>> on Facebook I’m sure a few are
    >>> out of college and own timeshares

    Yes..”a few”, but very likely not a lot. Hence the low CTR.

  12. I did the same thing with the 250 ad credit with similar results. It’s really not a good way to market a campaign at all, despite the heavily controlled and targeted opportunities.

  13. Alan – I have to agree with a few of the other commenters. Knowing your audience is key when it comes to ad placement. You have to think about the audience and their environment, their education level, the ad blindness level, and their web expertise.

    People on Facebook are pretty web savvy, making their ad blindness factor a bit higher. In my experience, MySpace users are less educated and less web savvy than Facebook users. They’re also a bit further down the socio-economic scale too.

    Try to appeal to that demographic – the geek, the college student or grad, the professional, the career woman, etc., and I think you’ll do better. Not as good as other venues (due to ad blindness) but better.

    Thinking as a web user – those 5 ads are worded (IMHO) a bit “spammily” if you know what I mean.

  14. I experimented with some Facebook advertising which was supposed to be extremely targeted to a specific audience – and had about the same results as you.

  15. I don’t look at Facebook advertising as an opportunity to make direct offer-related affiliate sales. The CTR is just too brutal no matter how targeted or alluring the offer is.

    However, it can be good for pure branding purposes. In that game, impressions are the key and you get boatloads of those.

    Even there, the most effective opportunities may be those that are targeted based on location.

  16. Facebook is great for stuff that appeals to college kids…especially all that garbage that looks vaguely spammy and makes you wonder if anyone actually falls for it (though you know they do).

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