Facebook flyers experiment – Pt. 2

October 12, 2007

(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.

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Facebook flyers experiment – Pt. 1

October 4, 2007

Facebook recently launched an updated version of their Flyers product called Flyers Pro. The main difference between this and the now Flyers Basic product is that advertisers can now pay per click instead of paying per impression.

In theory, advertising on Facebook has immense appeal. Given its incredible user base (now over 30 million active users) and extremely high visitor-return frequency (ranking second in visits/visitor) it is an advertiser’s haven. With Facebook’s improved targeting options – you can now filter on keywords (“Beatles”, “Lord of the Rings”, “iPhone”), countries, cities, age, workplace (“Google”, “Goldman Sachs”) and colleges – advertisers can now (theoretically) target their ads much better and reach the exact demographics they are looking for. Social networking sites, however, are infamous for their abysmal click-through rates (ranging from 0.01% to less than 1%). Unheeding these statistics, however, we decided to try out this new platform.

To test out the new Flyers platform, we created several campaigns to see:

  1. what demographics get us the most impressions for a given cost per click (CPC), and
  2. what demographics have the highest click through rates (CTRs).

The first question is to gauge the current demand of advertising to certain demographics on Facebook (independent of product and creative) and the second question is for us to see which Facebook demographics Youlicit appeals to the most (highly dependent on the ad, the placement of the ad, the product being advertised and the audience). The different demographics we targeted were as follows:

  • All high school students (ages 13-19)
  • All college students majoring in Engineering and otherwise technical majors (engineering disciplines, computer science, web design, etc)
  • 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). Nothing personal if your school isn’t listed, this was just a random sampling.
  • 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)

We created this flyer to be used on all the campaigns:

Facebook Flyer

Given our current download rates per visit on Youlicit, we set our maximum costs per click to $0.03 in order to keep our user acquisition costs to under $1/user (however we did set 2 campaigns for the high school demographics to compare number of impressions for CPC’s of $0.05 and $0.03). We launched these campaigns this week for a period of 7 days and will see how each one fares after that. Stay tuned for the results…

(see the results here)