Facebook ads losing steam?

You’ve seen my endorsements of Facebook ads before.  The ability to pinpoint your audience is like a scalpel compared to the battle ax of TV advertising, where you swing wildly and hope to hit something.

In her article “Facebook’s ad business booming as advertisers clamor to pay more for less,” Jennifer Van Grove notes a few interesting stats from TBG Digital (all bullets are direct quotes):

  • The average CPM has increased by 15 percent.
  • Cost per click (CPC) prices have leapt 23 percent in the last quarter alone, meaning that the value of Facebook’s ad units are rising with each passing quarter as demand outweighs supply.
  • The average click-through rate (CTR), or the rate at which users actually click on ads, dropped by 8 percent in the first quarter of this year for U.S.-based Facebook users.
  • Advertisers in the news category, however, showed massive gains in the click-through department. In fact, the CTR skyrocketed by 196 percent between the fourth quarter of 2011 and the first quarter of 2012 for those in the news sector.
  • The average cost per fan, or the amount an advertiser spends to get a “like” for their Facebook Page, rose by 43 percent in the first quarter of this year. “This is no great surprise with increased ad costs, reducing click through-rates, and an increase in competition,” TPG concluded. “Brands will have to work harder to be heard.”

I think there are a couple of things at play here.

First off, There appear to be a lot of poorly targeted ads.  Take a look at the image, which are the ads showing right now on my Facebook page.  Some are well targeted, some are not.  A good example: the multicultural children’s books. I have no children and nothing in my profile would imply that this product interests me.  I would guess they sent this to all married people ages 20-45 or so. Ads must be well targeted and changed up so they are timely and relevant.

Second, as TBG said, “Brands will have to work harder to be heard.” The MLM success ad in my feed says “Create MLM success today! Find out how you can make money here.” What the hell is MLM Success and why do I want to create it? Buying Facebook ads won’t make up for shitty copywriters and bad marketing ideas. Also, please lose the stock photos.

Also, notice that the ads are booming for news outlets.  That is because news outlets are offering something of value.  Attention is the currency of the internet.  You must provide value to attract attention, whether that is through humor, prizes or helpful information. Before you pay for an ad, take a good look at it and ask yourself “Would I click on this ad?”

How have your experiences with Facebook ads fared? Please share!

Until next time…


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