The Irony of Our Facebook Ad Fascination

The proof for Facebook will be in the CTR pudding

by Jason Falls |
Ad

Everyone is up in arms about Facebook ads. Sure the social network giant needs to improve its business model, which is mostly driven through advertising dollars, to help investors gain confidence and bring that stock price back up. And yes, there are those in the social space that are concerned about Facebook’s ability to do so and are, thus, watching closely.

But it seems that nearly everyone who is talking about Facebook these days is talking about he advertising model, not the actual reason people go there or the utility the network serves. I’ll admit, if they don’t fix the advertising prospects and make more brands happy with what they can get in return in dealing with Facebook financially, some serious reinvention will need to happen for the company to remain the industry’s Alpha dog. But there’s an important piece of data in this whole conversation I’m astounded people aren’t recognizing a bit more.

Facebook logo Español: Logotipo de Facebook Fr...
Facebook logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The average click-through rate on a Facebook ad is .051 percent. It takes 2,000 impressions of your ad before one person will click on it.

Brian Solis has a very interesting post that discusses how Facebook is making more information on click and conversion tracking available to advertisers. Who are only going to see a .051 percent click through rate.

Fellow Altimeter analyst Jeremiah Owyang has been trumpeting the future of brands being noticed in that they will have to pay for that notice. Instead of seeing brands looking at the reality of Facebook’s metrics (.051 percent CTR) and predicting brands will say, “No thanks,” the industry analysts are essentially predicting that Facebook will be God and brands will be stupid.

I’m optimistic that most brand managers and CMOs aren’t morons. I think some will continue to experiment with Facebook’s new ads-in-the-newstream concept. But most will be disappointed with the metrics and divert that money elsewhere. Mind you, it’s probably not because Facebook ads won’t work, but rather brands generally suck at content. The new ads-in-newstream concept puts the onus of creating compelling content on the shoulders of the brands. THAT’s where Facebook’s model will fail for most.

For the content-minded and capable, Facebook ads will be useful. Click-through-rates will be good. But they won’t likely be light years better than .051 percent. And when strong SEO and even PPC campaigns can turn in rates hundreds of times more effective and traditional advertising can still motivate and move masses of people to a conversion point at once, .051 percent will prove crucial in this whole conversation.

Why are we wasting so much energy talking about an advertising platform and network that is so infinitesimally poor at delivering value?

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About the Author

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for Elasticity, one of the world's most innovative digital marketing and public relations firms. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).