Since Facebook launched in 2004 it has expanded its usership to a whopping 500 million plus users. Reuniting old friends and family, as well as offering opportunities to market your brand, more small business owners are taking advantage of Facebook’s advertising model to spread the word about their company.
Over the past six months Facebook has been trying to position itself as a premium ad buy for local businesses. However, it would seem that Facebook got some bad news recently from Web Trends. Web Trends reported that Facebook receives about half the clicks that network driven ad banners receive. I think we all know that network driven ad banners are not doing so well right now.
What do these numbers tell us? Is Facebook a less attractive ad buy?
Are we really comparing apples to apples?Facebook is a single site that is offering a social component to their ads. While the ad networks are covering a broad array of sites that don’t have that social component.
I believe that we are comparing apples to oranges.
I think the web trends report is missing out on the fact that users are buying ads to direct people to their Facebook pages. This can cost advertisers a dollar per click. That might sound expensive, but they have a fan for a buck. And this new fan has opened up their Facebook page to be a channel where advertising can be done.
On the other hand, network driven ad banners are much cheaper and can be used on a larger scale. When you look at it that way you can’t compare ad types because they don’t act the same way and they are not used the same way.
Let’s talk conversion post click.
What can happen after that click?
There is unquestionably more power in the click if there is a social network behind it. Click value is higher with social media because of the conversation aspect. Social recommendation is that important.
What about those “Stalking ads”? The ads that deposit a cookie and then follow you in the side bar of your browser. If you look at a shirt online it will probably pop up in a banner ad over the next few days. These kinds of ads have proven to be a bit more successful.
Using a stalking ad and creating a relationship with someone in your community is not the same thing. Facebook fans create a regular dialogue. They have discussions with users and are active brand advocates.
Stalking ads can’t do that.
The Facebook ads are on the side bar and directly connected to the groups. This can allow branding directly with people who care. Let’s remember that we are taking a study that is measuring clicks. From there we are saying that Facebook is less effective because they have half the clicks. But that’s not what a Facebook ad is supposed to do. It’s supposed to be more than just a click. It is supposed to engage the audience in some kind of new and special way.
For this reason the clicks that you do get are worth much more than a network ad banner.
If you click on an ad to become a fan of something you are worth more than someone that is clicking for a second on a Groupon page.You are going to be receiving that brands messages forever and ever on your own Facebook page.
I think there is definite disconnect in the way that we are measuring these clicks.
We have these new ways of interacting online. Unfortunately, we still look at them and deal with them in the same old way. The whole notion of looking at these new dynamics in the same old way is impractical. We need to look at the actual interaction that is taking place and then draw our conclusions.