Are the Ads on Social Networks Effective?

Posted: October 10, 2012 in Advertising
Tags: , , , , , ,

Are the ads on social networks even remotely effective? That is the question often pondered on by social network users. We see them every day when we use Facebook, but how many of us take notice of them? Let alone click on them?

As you are reading this.. Without switching to your Facebook tab, try to recall an ad you might have seen.

It is no surprise that you’re having some difficulty. Social network ads are small and non-invasive compared to the regular animated flash banners we see on most sites. They are placed out of the usual reading pattern of users and consist mostly of a small thumbnail and text.

Unless you’re on Ren Ren, the Facebook of China’s youth, who have flash banners in close proximity to the social content. You’re unlikely to be paying attention to the advertisement’s message.

I know its shocking but companies have sworn that social media advertising actually works! Despite the recent GM Facebook ad campaign failure, big brands like Ford and Coke have found value in Facebook advertising and intend to expand its use of the advertising platform. Others like Joseph Perla think that Facebook ads are no different from a ponzi scheme. He and some others raised a compelling argument that the fat advertising returns posted by Facebook is not sustainable mainly due to the fact that the influx of advertisers it is experiencing is only going to be momentary. When advertisers both big and small have experienced Facebook and discovered that their ROI is abysmal, Facebook’s main revenue source will dry up and they would soon be killed by the next social network.

So who’s right and who’s wrong? Are brands like Ford and Coke enjoying a temporary success on Facebook? In my opinion, it depends on what your campaign objectives are. If you are looking to sell a laptop on Facebook, then you’ll probably get more sales going door to door. Facebook ads seldom work well if sales is your KPI and especially if your product costs more than a box of cereal. Apps, games and easily redeemed vouchers on the other hand seem to do better due to its relevance to social networking. The ads would work well if you are looking to raise the number of fans on your Facebook page, raising awareness or simply driving traffic. Here are a couple of tips for you to make the best out of social network ads.

  1. Social networks allow for ads to be targeted but ads have to be relevant.
  2. Ads have a tight character limit, so make your call to action compelling, clear and concise.
  3. Experiment and rotate creatives and copies to get the best click-through rate.
  4.  Have a strong value proposition to encourage users to click
  5. Due to its obscure location, ads should try to be as disruptive as possible. Copies like “EXCLUSIVE TO FB USERS” or “50% OFF”.

Click here to see examples of effective social network ads.

Though there is a huge controversy as to the effectiveness of social network ads, I (like many others) have personally had successful campaigns on Facebook. In my opinion, the results are really subjective and would depend heavily on your campaign’s KPI and creatives.

What do you think? Share your experiences with me! Leave a comment!

  1. reisumidori says:

    Great post! and I love your new blogskin 🙂

  2. Agreed! It’s really subjective and it depends on your target audience as well. The whole online sphere is unpredictable, there are stuff that can work on both traditional means and on social networks and, some just can’t. Guess luck helps as well.

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