May 262010

Facebook Offers Controlled Content Ads

RKG is likely to start managing Facebook advertising for our clients in Q3.

Several of our clients have found these ads not just ROI positive, but substantial as well. Facebook content may prove to be a better vehicle than traditional content advertising.

The reasons for this are three-fold:

  1. Targeting controls: As with AdSense, Facebook offers interesting and improving targeting options to serve ads to the right kinds of people.
  2. Volume: Facebook offers a huge audience spending serious time on the site.
  3. Fraud Free: This is the key difference between Facebook and the AdSense, Yahoo and Bing Content networks: it's a single, known, responsible source.

The engines try to reduce the click-fraud within the content network, but the nature of the beast makes that impossible. The site owners can be anyone, they can sign up remotely without any human interaction, and click fraud makes them money without much effort. Those who are "caught" can create more sites and be back up and running the same day. This is not the fault of the engines, it's a by-product of the business model. The beauty of Facebook is that it is a single (massive) website, owned and operated by ethical, accountable people.

This is not to suggest that Facebook ads are a sure win for everyone, far from it. It is still content/demographic/psychographic targeting, not tied to expressed interest as is paid search. The value of the traffic will be lower, and the big brand advertisers may price the ROI driven marketers off the page.

There is also an issue of repetitive messaging. A given person's Facebook page reveals a great deal about that person's interests and demographic profile -- those don't change that much. As such, you may end up hitting the same person with the same ad over and over reducing the CTR and value of the impressions. Like TV ads during Jeopardy, repetition is good for branding to a point, but varying the message is important. Frequency controls do exist and are among the many controls that advertisers have to play with.

At this juncture, the API is pretty underdeveloped, but I suspect that will change quickly as more and more advertisers jump into the pool.

Facebook provides a controlled environment for content marketing and as such is well worth exploring.


9 Responses to "Facebook Offers Controlled Content Ads"
Ryan says:
been considering managing these for clients as well. looking forward to what you all find!
Emily Whitley says:
nFusion is conducting a quantitative study on Facebook. If you’re a marketer, take 3 minutes to answer the questions and you will get a free copy of the research findings. Improve your marketing efforts on Facebook! The survey will be up until May 31, so hurry and complete yours now.
Josh says:
George, Facebook does suffer from click fraud of some sort, and actually has language in their ad terms to say that they are not responsible for fraudulent clicks: In terms of ROI, are you referring to traditional sale-based merchants, or lead-based advertisers? I would assume ROI would be different for an ad trying to directly sell a user, vs capturing a lead and working the sale at a later point.
Josh, this is facinating stuff! I stand corrected re: the fraud-free environment. We actually have a client who's ringing the cash register for ROI on Facebook and doing it in a meaningful way. It could be a phenomena unique to their product category, but we shall see. The fraud thing bums me out, though. We recently realized that more than 90% of the email we receive at RKG is SPAM. Just makes you want to go out and kick some of these scumbags in the teeth.
Jun says:
Been managing a Facebook campaign for almost a year now. It's a lead generation campaign which are then contacted for a sale. Volume is quite good, averaging 50 leads per day. ROI though is not as good as from the other lead sources like Google Adwords. Though lead cost from the FB campaign is lower by 40%, conversion is also lower by almost the same percentage and the products the leads from FB are buying are the low-end ones.
Great to hear that facebook ads are good. From my facebook experience, at least when I created a facebook fanpage, traffic to my site increased and there are a few other benefits as well.
I think your rational for moving the way of Facebook advertising makes perfect sense. With those three stipulations there is no reason that every company should at least entertain the idea.


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