What is the real value of a Facebook ad? When Rory Cellan-Jones set up a fake bagel company on Facebook last month, to measure impact and value of Facebook advertising, his findings were not very encouraging. His quest for “likes” revealed that ads are shown to some obscure users, some whose profiles seemed to be fake. This raises the question, is Facebook a viable ad platform?
Rory Cellan-Jones VirtualBagel experiment is faulted in many ways. He targeted people to most likely to “like” the page, regardless of their geographical location, age, interest, and so on. For a campaign to be effective, it needs to be targeted. Sure, no system is flawless, and Facebook does have many issues to address, but in our experience as PR experts, there are ways to conduct successful advertising campaigns on Facebook. The question is: how do you measure the true ROI of such a campaign? Number of likes, as we all know, is not the best criteria.
Kenshoo Social brings an impression-level measurement capability across Facebook Premium and Marketplace Ads, measuring both post-click attribution and post-view metrics. Kenshoo can append view tags to ads delivered through the Facebook Ads API, providing reporting on any conversion event that may have included a Facebook ad impression in the path-to-conversion. With this data, marketers gain ad intelligence, being able to understand more accurately both impressions and clicks. This leads to optimized campaigns that generate ROI, according to Erica Barth, VP, Products and Partnerships at Resolution Media, an Omnicom Media Group company:
“To date, Kenshoo Social has helped our teams drive positive return on investment from Facebook Ads just based on post-click attribution. Now, with the ability to incorporate post-view metrics, we can further expand our clients’ investment in social media,” she said in a statement.
But Kenshoo is just a tool, and it’s not enough to prove the value of a Facebook ad.
Back in May, General Motors yanked all of their paid advertising from Facebook, saying that the ads didn’t pay off. WSJ, who first reported the news, revealed that GM paid $40 million to maintain a presence on the social network, and that $10 million from this huge investment in social media was devoted to paid advertising on Facebook. It’s hard to believe that GM’s social media strategists are not skilled enough to conduct appropriate Facebook ad campaigns.
Earlier this year, Buddy Media acquired Bighter Option to enhance its social management software with better advertising monitoring functionality. At that time, Buddy Media was proud to be the only company to combine social publishing, applications, analytics, commerce and paid advertising in a unified software suite. To date, Buddy Media still offers one of the best solutions for brands to create, monitor, optimize and measure Facebook advertising campaigns. But the trend doesn’t really prove the value of a Facebook ad.
Marc Blinder, Director, European Operations of Adobe, tries to explain that Facebook and Social ROI can be highly effective, if the ad reaches a significant percentage of users. He also explains that most campaigns fail because of the content – common knowledge among social media strategists, however still ignored by many marketers.
With all pros and cons, it feels like no one can really shed light on the matter. The truth is that there is value in Facebook advertising, eventually, and it can only be measured in your goals and expectations. If you only aim for likes, with no interactions, you have an easy goal – and there’s no need to “buy likes” from third party vendors. Use Rory Cellan-Jones’ experiment as a starting point, and your page likes numbers will skyrocket, even with a very low budget.
On the other hand, if you expect profit, margin and sales from a Facebook ad campaign, you will need data intelligence, and tools like those offered by Buddy Media and Kenshoo. Or you can count on your luck, and guess work. No one has a real Facebook advertising success recipe.