Are SocialAds Less Effective Than Search?

There has been an ongoing debate about the effectiveness of Facebook’s SocialAds. For the longest time, people have been claiming that Facebook’s ads receive a high number of views but rarely get any click-thrus as the content on Facebook is too engaging. When I was at the Web Community Forum in Seattle back in December, one of the attendees told me that her company had invested in Facebook SocialAds and while there were horrendously low click-thru rates, the number of conversions for each click was extremely high.

My friend Markus pinged me yesterday to tell me about a SocialAds experiment that he performed and the results are definitely not positive for Facebook. Let me first preface his results by saying that there was no perfect constant in this experiment so it was a slight skewed analysis but it is the most accurate one I’ve seen to date.

Markus performed a test for marketing Steven Colbert’s book. The test on Facebook targeted all individuals that listed “Colbert Report,” “Colbert,” or “the Daily Show” in their profile. Here are the statistics that Markus came up with for his Facebook ads:

• impressions: 225,875
• clicks: 178
• CTR: 0.08 %
• average CPC (cost per click): $0.22
• average CPM: $0.17
• total cost: $38.38

On his Google ads, Markus got the following results:

• impressions: 15,386
• clicks: 688
• CTR: 4.47 %
• total cost: $109.63

As is typically the result with Facebook advertisements the number of impressions are extremely high and the click-thru rate is extremely low. This should be expected with Facebook advertisements but the real comparison comes when you take a look at the number of conversions. Here are the conversion rates for Facebook and Google:

• pages per visit: 1.22
• Bounce rate: 82.84%
• average time on site: 13 sec
• 3.92 % clicked to Amazon
• 7.84 % clicked to Audible
• total conversion rate (clicked on product links): 11.76 %

• pages per visit: 1.61
• Bounce rate: 67.21%
• average time on site: 42 sec
• 12.31 % clicked to Amazon
• 9.94 % clicked to Audible
• total conversion rate (clicked on product links): 22.26 %

The conclusion is that Google in this instance had a high conversion rate. I wonder if selling education or an alternative product or service would yield similar results. This is only one example and from one person I spoke with they had extremely high conversion rates. It also depends on competition for keywords and a number of other factors. I think this is a great first study for testing the effectiveness of SocialAds but we need a few more comparisons. Have you tested out SocialAds? Send me data if you have!