Social Media Ads Have Been Put to the Test
Many business owners have used services like Facebook and Twitter to help establish a web presence, gain followers, get likes, and even get a new customer now and then. A lot of them are still hesitant, though, to pay for advertising on social networks. There are a lot of unknown factors at play, one being the algorithms used to determine how much impressions and clicks cost. Is it worth it? How do you know you’re getting a fair deal? The thing is, you don’t. That’s why Christopher Null of Null Media decided to put social media ads to the test. Here’s what he found.
The Study’s Setup
Null put up ads for four consecutive days on five different advertising platforms: Google Adwords, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and StumbleUpon. None of the ads ran when the others did (i.e., there was no overlap). The ads were linked to the home page of his small business called Null Media rather than to any of his social media profiles.
Adwords as a Baseline
Adwords, while not a social media platform, served as the baseline for Null’s experiment. The budget was set to $25 per day. First, he set his bids low (though he doesn’t mention how low), but this didn’t exhaust his daily budget. He then set the bids closer to $2 per click, which gained him a bit more traffic. When the results were in, he received 65 clicks out of 13,970 impressions and spent a total of $80.74. That averages out to a clickthrough rate of 0.47 percent at $1.24 per click.
Advertising Results on the Social Media Platforms
He then went on to test Facebook first. The results from his Facebook ads were only 25 clicks out of 253,207 impressions. With his total expenses at $37.70, the cost per click was $1.51 with a clickthrough rate of 0.01 percent. LinkedIn was tested next and fared the worst out of all platforms. He tried the CPM (cost per 1,000 impressions) for the first day, but it used up his daily budget within an hour. Null switched to CPC bids at $2 for the remainder of his test. The results for LinkedIn after four days were 51,192 impressions, 13 clicks, $41.50 total spent, $3.19 average CPC, and a 0.025 percent clickthrough rate. Twitter’s results fared better, with 7529 impressions, 67 clicks, $62.87 total spent, $0.94 average CPC, and a 0.89 percent clickthrough rate. Finally, StumbleUpon was tested, with their ads costing a flat 10 cents. During the four day period, Null’s ad was displayed 1001 times, received 1001 clicks (users have no choice but to click them), spent $100 total for an average CPC of $0.10, and a 100 percent clickthrough rate.
What to Take Away From the Study
Null’s caveat was that the budget was small, and the duration of his experiment was also short. He also added that, because he targets businesses rather than consumers, that may have affected the effectiveness of his ad campaigns. So, setting those factors aside, he found that Facebook ads were ineffective for getting clicks likely due to their placement in the right sidebar. He found LinkedIn to be the most expensive service, yet their clickthrough rates were very low. Twitter’s clickthrough rate was the best and had affordable fees, but was difficult to target ads. StumbleUpon’s service guarantees clickthroughs because of how the service is set up, and the ads are cheap. Null feels StumbleUpon would best suit advertisers who are seeking general consumers rather than business consumers.
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