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:
- Targeting controls: As with AdSense, Facebook offers interesting and improving targeting options to serve ads to the right kinds of people.
- Volume: Facebook offers a huge audience spending serious time on the site.
- 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.