Facebook Mobile Advertising For the Masses

Did you buy Facebook stock? I didn’t, although I’m starting to wonder at what price to get in. See, we as digital advertisers have a unique view into what Internet companies like Google, Bing, Yahoo and now Facebook are doing to justify their exorbitant stock prices. So while FB stock is down almost 30% since that dreaded F-Day, my gut is telling me that in the short-term (1-3 years), we may actually see them start to make some serious money on ads. (After that, I expect everyone is going to get so tired of ads everywhere on FB, they’ll jump ship once something better comes along.) So what’s Facebook doing these days that is so special?

In addition to the recent announcement about a Facebook (Ad) Exchange, they may have figured out how to increase their mobile advertising revenue: open it up to all businesses, small and large. No longer are their (ridiculous) $25K/month minimums; now all you need, is to install their Chrome-based Power Editor or have API access. Considering that over half their users – 400+ million – access the site on a mobile device, this could be really big.

So how does it work? It’s so simple, it kind of makes you mad that for a brief time, this option was only available to companies willing to spend the big bucks. (And my guess is, very few actually paid up for it…otherwise, I probably wouldn’t be writing this post.) In Power Editor, you will see a new section called Placements and there you’ll find it:

Power Editor

As you can see, there’s really not a whole lot of options: All, Desktop Only (those ads in the right-hand margin) or choose between desktop and/or mobile for News Feed Only.

This is great you say, but SHOW ME THE MONEY! The reality is, FB needs to prove (ie. pray) that these ad units generate enough quality traffic that more and more businesses (and/or ad agencies) will find it worth the costs. Otherwise, they run the risk of even more GM-like departures from their ad platform.

We’ve been testing mobile ads for some clients and the initial results are interesting. Without going into much detail about how we’re defining success for our FB clients, there is one stat that has so far really jumped out at me: CTR.

For anyone who has run FB ads in the past, they know CTR can be really really low, like .003%. A .1% CTR is often considered good; what we’re seeing so far from mobile could change the opinion of companies everywhere. After the first few days of launching ads, our CTR has been in the range of 2-4%.  That’s a BIG difference. To be fair, our most recent sample of total clicks is relatively small, but even after an older ad received over 160 clicks, CTR was just under 1%…still FAR above what we’ve seen in the past. Here’s another pretty interesting stat: the frequency (the average number of times someone sees your ad) has been 1…not 5, 10 or even 20+. (This number may be artificially low though due to how mobile devices store cookies.)

CTR is just one metric though and it definitely doesn’t indicate all is well in the world of Facebook advertising. You still have to look at what the goals of your campaigns are and what it is you’re trying to accomplish. Does high CTR result in lower cost-per-fan? Is it driving more revenue? We’ll be doing a lot more testing in the days and weeks to come and will surely share our results.

Ian Mackie About the author
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