Facebook flyers experiment – Pt. 2

(See Facebook Flyers Experiment Pt 1 for background info)

After running the facebook flyer campaigns for a week, the results are out. To recap, the five campaigns were:

  1. All high school students (ages 13-19) with $0.05 per click.
  2. All high school students (ages 13-19) with $0.03 per click
  3. All people between the ages of 17-40 who live in the top technology cities as identified by Wired and some others (Seattle, San Francisco, LA, Austin, Orlando, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Pittsburgh & Chicago)
  4. All college students attending some of the top technical schools (MIT, Stanford, Harvard, Princeton, UPenn, Columbia, Cornell, Carnegie Mellon, Illinois, U. Texas, U. Maryland, Georgia Tech, Cal Tech, Berkeley, UCLA & Penn State).
  5. All college students majoring in Engineering and otherwise technical majors (engineering disciplines, computer science, web design, etc)

As expected, most impressions occurred in campaigns 1 and 2, high school students, being these were the least specific, hence most probably the largest, user group targeted. What was also interesting to note was that there was a negligible difference in impressions between $0.03 and $0.05 campaigns (6.35% more impressions on the 0.5 cents per click) indicating that the demand for targeting these groups is less than the supply (i.e. number of impressions being demanded are far less than the number of potential impressions). In an ideal world, the number of impressions for the $0.05 per click campaign would be 40% more.

The second most impressions came from college students in technology majors, followed by adults in “the top technology cities” and then college students in the top technology schools. Again these are directly related to the specificity of the groups targeted.

As for the click through rates? They were low, atrociously low. The most clicks for any campaign were a whopping 1 click! The table below breaks down the CTRs for each campaign:

Campaign Impressions CTR (%)
1 5,904 0
2 5,551 0.018
3 894 0
4 852 0.117
5 1001 0.0999

Clickthrough rates of 0% to 0.1% were about as low as predicted. No conclusive statements can be made about which campaigns were better targeted due to the incredibly low number of clicks.

Being avid facebook users ourselves, we rarely find ourselves clicking on such flyers. In analyzing our own actions, we hypothesized some possible reasons to explain these poor click through rates:

  1. Facebook users are rarely in search for “external” information (information not available within Facebook) as opposed to say when one is searching on Google.
  2. Users find Facebook content far too engaging to click on a link that will direct them away from the site.
  3. The placement of the Facebook flyers is not at an optimum place on the pages.
  4. The flyer we created failed to capture the interest of the audience.

To perform a more rigorous study, one would need to run these campaigns for a much longer time than just a week. However, it is hard to imagine the CTR’s being significantly higher if the campaigns were to be prolonged (see Mashable post). It would be interesting to examine how using more captivating flyer designs (specifically targeted to each user group) would affect the click through rates, if at all. Needless to say, we are exploring other possible ways in which we can tap into the Facebook userbase as a means to generate traffic. The Youlicit team would love to hear from you if you have fared better than us, in terms of CTRs, with Facebook Flyers or are interested in sharing ideas to better target Facebook users.

On a side note, for all campaigns, the highest impressions occurred on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday – on average 86.8% of the total impressions – highly indicative of Facebook usage habits.


12 Responses to Facebook flyers experiment – Pt. 2

  1. Shafqat says:

    Fascinating stuff. Do you have control over where the flyers appear on the page? Have ideas about how to make the flyers more attractive (i.e. ‘clickable’) for your target demographics? We’ll set up a similar campaign for NewsCred and share our results. This is a very interesting and open thread — exactly what startups need.


  2. nihaar says:

    You do not have much control over the flyers except for how they look. We have a couple ideas on how to target each demographic better and are trying to roll out a few new campaigns soon. We will share that with you once we get it up and running.


    PS: I would love to hear how newscred does on facebook.

  3. Bob says:

    So, basically, you got 13,000+ impressions for $0.09?? Why would Facebook offer this CPC option when they used to make much more on their CPM rates?? Any insight would be much appreciated.


  4. Haggis says:

    You’re making the assumption that the low click-through rate is attributed to Facebook users not wanting external information, or that they are too captivated by Facebook content to click through your banner.

    Well, maybe.

    You should also consider that A) your banner is really quite bland and that B) you offer nothing beyond that which they can get with Google.

    Now, maybe your services are ‘better’ than Google’s, but your banner doesn’t reflect it.

    Try the test again with a flyer that actually contains a snappy sales message and you’ll see a much higher CTR.

  5. nihaar says:


    You are right. We actually did consider that as a possibility; that the flyer designed was not very attractive – from a messaging stand point. We are planning to run new campaigns using more “targeted” flyers. As an example, we are designing a flyer for high school students that will send a message along the lines of “Need help with that Homework? Try Youlicit to instantly find your answers”. I am very interested to see how using better designed flyers will improve CTRs although I’m still skeptical about seeing drastically higher CTRs. We will post up our results as soon as we can.



  6. Toufique says:

    Since we’re big fans of Google and frankly are in awe of how they’ve been able to change the world, I feel morally obligated to make a clarification here. It would be preposterous for a fledgling start-up to claim that they’re ‘better’ than Google! And we’re not going to be preposterous, not today at least 🙂

    However, there is a difference between being ‘better’ and being ‘better at.’ Facebook is ‘better at’ social networking than Google. Del.ico.us is ‘better at’ social bookmarking than Google. Our focus is not search, but user-generated recommendations, more commonly known as ‘word of mouth.’ What Google is for search, our goal is to become that for word of mouth. This article does a great job explaining the difference as well.

  7. nihaar says:


    Thats a very good question. Some of the reasons I can imagine as to why Facebook decided to release the Flyers Pro product are:

    1. It is an attempt to tap into the growing cost-per-click advertising market and increase the amount of advertising on Facebook; it leads to people like us more likely to experiment with it.

    2. Having a transparent market-driven model (by bidding on CPCs) provides a wealth of useful information not just to advertisers but to Facebook as well. Facebook can now monitor exactly how much advertisers value advertising on Facebook instead of setting static CPMs that are rather inefficient and do not reveal much about the advertising market on Facebook.

    That said, I would be interested in how many people still use the Flyers Basic product when you can get so much more accountability of your marketing dollars with the Flyers Pro product.


  8. Shafqat says:

    Bob makes a good point. If you can get that many impressions for less than a buck, this has to be a marketer’s dream – even without clicks, you get your brand/meassage/image across. Still dont understand why FB is really pursuing this. I would have paid much more than a dollar to get 13000+ impressions, but now I know I dont have to. Is it just be or does supply and demand economics not hold up here?

  9. Progresswear says:

    I’m always amazed when someone doesn’t even begin to consider the value of design, of message before anything else. I haven’t seen the flyer in question and can’t comment on it, but others did.

    I realize I’m in the den of marketing and technology folks here and must say what I’ve been telling media and account types for years: trust the creative, will ya?

    Good design sells. Bad design is pissing your money away. Simple as that. Learn to spot talent, be willing to pay designers who aren’t living at home with their parents. Learn the difference between good and bad design and writing. Learn to have an expert eye for the 1% of advertising out there that’s actually well done and emulate it. Small business doesn’t have to mean poor design, but looking at the state of the industry hiring any kid with a mouse to do work best left to seasoned pros will get you nowhere. You wouldn’t buy Salvation Army furniture or take your clients to lunch at McDonalds, but the quality of your advertising often gives one that impression.

    Now I’m off to design my first Facebook flyer for Progresswear.

  10. […] have been various people talking about the value of advertising on Facebook.com recently. Most coming to the conclusion that putting an ad up on Facebook will not get you many […]

  11. […] (see the results here) […]

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