More Anecdotal Evidence Social Networks Aren’t Delivering for Advertisers

Posted on July 13, 2007
Filed Under Web 2.0 Kool Aid |

As I have mentioned previously, I have spoken with marketers at major brands who expressed disappointment with the results of advertising campaigns on social networks. Reach Students, a UK-based digital marketing consultancy, joins the list of unsatisfied marketers. entitled “Facebook advertising brings poor results” detailing the poor results of the company’s marketing campaigns on Facebook. Reach Students reports:

We’ve run four targeted campaigns this year using its flyer ads, and each time the results have been disappointing.

Our most recent campaign saw 1.4 million page impressions delivered at specific universities – and only a 0.04% clickthrough rate. Ouch.

When we first experienced poor results earlier this year we looked carefully at creative and planning. Further experimentation saw a variety of quite different offers and creative approaches. What kept us going was the fact that others had anecdotally mentioned good returns from Facebook ads.

Yet our results did not improve.

Baffled, we did some research and discovered that actually we are not alone.

Valleywag finds that 0.04% is pretty much the average when it comes Facebook clickthroughs - note that they are talking about banners as well as flyers.

The referenced Valleywag post is , while have chimed in with their own Facebook advertising experiences as well.

It appears that Facebook faces a real threat to its future success and this again highlights something I’ve been saying for some time now: social networks will need to deliver results if they are be viable outlets for ad buyers over the long-term. Social networks will continue to receive the benefit of the doubt for the time being by virtue of the fact that there is still a considerable amount of experimentation being done. The reach major social networks like MySpace and Facebook have makes the experimentation worthwhile, but at some point, advertisers will lose interest. While I think that improvements can be made, I have pointed out a number of reasons why social networks may not be the perfect advertising platforms many believe them to be. The current models, and models closely resembling them, are unlikely to work. Unfortunately, I don’t see much evidence that people like Mark Zuckerberg are waking up each day with the single goal of working to deliver effective models to their advertisers. That’s what they should be doing, but there seems to be more focus on “social operating systems” and “social graphs.” Unfortunately, those won’t pay the bills, and if Zuck and company don’t find a way to liquidate before everybody knows that Facebook can’t deliver results, it will be a sad thing, as I never like to see billions of dollars in vapor reduced to, well, vapor.

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8 Responses to “More Anecdotal Evidence Social Networks Aren’t Delivering for Advertisers”

  1. on July 14th, 2007 12:10 am

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