Is Facebook’s Mobile Ad Click Through Rate Really 4x Better Than Twitter’s? [REPORT]

A lot has been made of Twitter’s alleged advantage in the mobile space, notably when it comes to advertising success. Last month Twitter CEO Dick Costolo waxed lyrical about his company’s edge over Facebook when it came to mobile ads, explaining that because Twitter was “borne of mobile”, they had an ad platform that was “inherently suited to mobile”.

Well, perhaps not, as a new report has unveiled some surprising data on Facebook’s position in the mobile ad space – not only is the social network earning more from its ads, but its mobile advertising is outperforming Twitter by four to one.

(Well, that’s how it looked initially. See further below for a July 20 update to this story. The rest of my piece has been left intact.)

TBG Digital’s Global Facebook Advertising Report Q2 2012, which analysed 406 billion ad impressions in more than 190 countries for 276 clients, discovered that Facebook’s average cost per thousand impressions (CPM) is up 58 percent in the second quarter of 2012 compared with the same period a year ago, with the biggest rises occurring in the U.S., Canada and the UK. Click through rates (CTR) have increased by some 11 percent this quarter, with the U.S., UK and Canada again seeing the largest gains.

All good stuff, but it’s Facebook’s News Feed targeting options that have seen the most impressive rise in CTR. Mobile ads now boast, on average, a CTR of fourteen times that of desktop ads, at a heady 1.140 percent. Desktop ads, which include the News Feed and those on the right side of the page, have a CTR of just 0.083 percent. Facebook’s Sponsored Stories performed particularly well.

So how does this compare to Twitter? In the mobile space, overwhelmingly – Twitter saw an average CTR of just 0.266 percent, which represents a rate of less than a quarter of that marketers can achieve on Facebook.

“New ad types, whether on Facebook or anywhere on the web, tend to generate a high CTR initially that can decline over time,” the report concludes. “However, we also know from our Twitter studies that mobile ad placements are highly engaging and the fact that Facebook have opened up this precise targeting can only be a good thing. We believe that Facebook’s mobile ads are more engaging that Twitter’s ads because they can be targeted demographically and are Sponsored Stories so include a social endorsement.”

UPDATE: TBG have posted a July 20 amendment to this report (which has also been updated), which you can read below.

Following our report released on 18th July 2012, we received a number of comments questioning the comparison of Twitter and Facebook mobile engagement.

We took a deeper look at the data and, unfortunately, the engagement rates were not comparing like for like. Twitter engagement rate measured Click Through Rate on Promoted Accounts whereas the Facebook CTR was for Newsfeed ads. A more comparable product for Twitter would have been Promoted Tweets, which typically see 1-3% engagement rates on desktop and even higher on mobile.

As mentioned earlier in the report, our focus is on driving quality traffic, fans and followers for our clients and CTR is only one metric which we measure.

We pride ourselves on delivering insightful and reliable data so we would like to apologize for any confusion this may have caused.

(Source: TBG Digital.)

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