UPDATE: All Facebook Blog has excellent post on Facebook’s blackbox as well. Check it out here.
There they go again. Facebook is acting all “blackbox” again on us marketers.
This week I am helping a client decipher their recent Facebook campaign results. Here’s the background:
- Facebook Objectives
- Add incremental new “likes” to Facebook community
- Drive views of new video we’re featuring our Facebook promotion page
- Campaign Dates – last over 4 weeks
- Start Date: Mon, 10/1/12
- End Date: Sun, 10/28/12
- Facebook Target Audience: Teens and Young Adults, 15 to 24 years, Male and Female (Heavy mobile users)
- Week 1 Ad Type Weight/ Distribution:
- Traditional Ads, 95% – click to promotion page to drive video views, plus drive new fans
- Sponsored Stories, 5% (including the mobile version of “Pages You May Like”) — driving new fans/likes
- RESULTS: Week 1 Results are completely in the reverse of the ad type weight. The Sponsored Stories, with 5% of the ad weight, are driving 95% of the new fans. Since so few people (less than 10 clicks with 95% of the ad weight!) are clicking on the ads, we have virtually no new video views
These results are mathematically counter-intuitive. After days of questions and research, the only explanation I can come up with right now is Facebook is once again changing the formulas in their blackbox. And marketers are left in the dust, at least for awhile.
Geoffrey Fowler at the Wall Street Journal on 10/1/12 outlines how Facebook is selling more access to its 900+ million members, using a series of “test and learn” experiments with some big-brand marketers. It’s smart on Facebook’s part. It’s also dizzyingly complex as marketers are left holding the bag, trying to figure out which ad products are working and why, as well as which ad products will stick around or go away. Fowler goes on to say:
“Facebook is making the moves, which show some early success, as it faces investor pressure to become a bigger player in digital advertising. But in doing so, the Menlo Park, Calif., company treads a fine line between using consumer data to attract marketer dollars and living up to its promises to users and regulators to keep that data private.”
At this point, I feel my clients and I are being played. As a smart marketer, it’s a feeling I don’t like at all.
What are you experiencing with Facebook? What do you think of Facebook’s newer products like Sponsored Stories and Pages You May Like? Straight Up will summarize and post your responses.