Local Interactive Strategies

From “nobody looks at Facebook ads” to 23 percent share

This is an incredible development: Facebook now has 23 percent share of the total impressions for online display ads. Check out the chart below from comScore. More details here.

What’s incredible is that literally just two years ago, people in the industry were arguing whether it even made sense to put ads on Facebook. Now Facebook is by far the largest single deliverer of display ad impressions online.

I have to admit, speaking from my own experience, I considered Facebook ads a waste of money when mapping out the launch program for Concert Rat earlier this year. Who wants to see ads on Facebook?, I reasoned.

So the initial marketing plan involved Google text ads (search and content) and  some programs to get the Concert Rat brand into people’s hands – such as handing out flyers at concerts. But none of these paid efforts seemed to get results – i.e. people posting stuff on Concert On the other hand, our “free” marketing efforts on the Concert Rat fan page on Facebook seemed to be generating results.

So on June 24, mostly to support the fan-page activity, I finally created and started running Facebook ads. Guess what:  New postings started appearing on Concert Rat immediately. Literally — immediately.

And the pattern continues. Facebook is now Concert Rat’s No. 1 source of traffic. Before the ads, most traffic came from Google. And the traffic seems to convert to people posting stuff.

Why? My theory is twofold, and it wouldn’t work for everyone:

1. Concert Rat is about sharing stuff, and Facebook is about sharing stuff, so if you’re on Facebook, your mindset is about sharing. Thus the connection is more direct.

2. Facebook ads allow extremely fine targeting by interests. All those interests you put on your profile? Those become the targeting  filters for Concert Rat’s Facebook ad delivery. It’s a pretty amazing system. The Concert Rat ads target people who say they like: concerts, live music and “going to concerts.” Also we’ve selected  people 16 years of age and older, who live in the U.S.  If those criteria look like you, then there’s a good chance you’ll see the Concert Rat ads. If that’s not you, you won’t see the ad.

Put those two factors together – the transactional nature of both Concert Rat and Facebook, and the extreme targeting – and it starts explaining our results.

And it might explain the amazing market share of Facebook Ads today.

Top 10 U.S. Online Display Ad* Publishers
Q3 2010
Total U.S. – Home/Work/University Locations
Source: comScore Ad Metrix
Total Display Ad Impressions (MM) Share of Display Ad Impressions
Total Internet 1,284,315 100.0% 297,046 23.1%
Yahoo! Sites 140,949 11.0%
Microsoft Sites 64,009 5.0%
Fox Interactive Media 48,252 3.8%
Google Sites 35,043 2.7%
AOL, Inc. 32,330 2.5%
Turner Network 21,268 1.7%
Glam Media 13,274 1.0%
eBay 8,421 0.7%
ESPN 8,261 0.6%

*Display ads include static and rich media ads; excludes video ads, house ads and
very small ads (< 2,500 pixels in dimension)

November 19, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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