As part of a new project I’m working on (details will follow, all very exciting) I’ve spent some time over the past couple of weeks exploring advertising options. This new project will target an end consumer B2C market as well as B2B customers, so it’s been important to look at a whole range of different channels.
Amongst others, I’ve been looking into online advertising options. I’m very familiar with using both Google AdWords and LinkedIn’s pay-per-click services, but one I haven’t used before is Facebook.
As part of my research I rather unscientifically asked my PLN what their thoughts were on Facebook ads. Do they click on them, if so do they work? It was a question that generated quite a bit of response both on Twitter and on Facebook itself. Nearly everyone who answered came back saying they never looked at or clicked on the ads. Interestingly, a large proportion only access Facebook on their mobile devices so don’t even see the ads in the first place! Only one person came back really positively saying they feel the ads are targeted to their preferences and had found a service they used as a result. The service was actually the Tough Mudder event which is an organisation that has used Facebook ads to great effect to sign people up to their races (crazy people who like muddy, horrible obstacle courses may I add). You can read more about their success here.
On the flip side, another valued contact said they had used targeted Facebook ads with absolutely zero response.
So what’s the up shot of all this ‘research’? Well it poses an interesting dilemma for Facebook, and other social sites and how they set up their advertising/revenue generating models. Having built up bases of loyal users, they have to tread so carefully with the balance of advertising vs content. Just today one of my friends posted the following: ‘My Facebook timeline is full of products that people have liked. Boring. What’s the new Facebook?’
As for me, it leaves me trying to separate out the fact from the fiction. I will almost certainly try out Facebook advertising with some controlled testing so I can make an informed decision. But my expectations are, I have to say, set fairly low.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences of online advertising either as an end customer or as an advertiser. Please do leave your comments below.