Facebook Ad Performance: Faceplant?

Is Facebook “the next Google?” The frenzy over its progressive platform strategy, rapid growth and technology are drawing comparisons to the mighty search company. I’m no tech analyst, and so I can’t comment on the brilliance of its products or developer strategy. But from an ad point of view, Facebook just doesn’t have that shiny magic bullet that’s inherent to search and responsible for Google’s incredible wealth: namely, consumers volunteering their purchase intentions (and not just their interests, which is what they do on Facebook, not to mention MySpace, Yahoo and yes, AOL, another company FB has been compared with.)

The best proof of this is that Facebook ads just don’t seem to perform. Valleywag points to the experience of digital marketing consultancy Reach Students, which has run four disappointing campaigns using Facebook’s flyer ads. Its most recent purchase of 1.4 million page impressions targeted to specific universities scored a CTR of only .04 percent. And that was after creative testing.

“When we first experienced poor results earlier this year we looked carefully at creative and planning,” Reach Stude wrote on its blog. “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.”

What have been your experiences advertising on Facebook? I’d like to know.

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