Facebook advertising – check the numbers add up

WebSanity Internet Marketing logoWe’ve just recently setup a Facebook ad campaign for a local company, and it prompted me to remind our blog readers to treat ALL sources of paid advertising with scepticism.

We got some reasonable viewing numbers (Facebook advertising is a lot about brand awareness) and a small, but what we’d expect, number of click throughs. Cost per click was circa 30p.

But, remember to use your friend Google Analytics to check what people are telling you about visits – use it as an arbiter, it gets a true and fair idea of the number of real human visitors to your site. In this case we say a third that number of visitors from Facebook, making each visit cost 90p. Hmmm, suddenly that wasn’t so attractive for us. Then check to see how serious these people were by looking at average time on site for them – 18 seconds compared to 2 minutes odd for organic traffic. Hmmm, these people are not engaging with the site at all! Estimated cost per real engaged visitor £9. Wow – that’s way too high: time to pull the plug on Facebook advertising.

Lessons for people to take away:

  • Always check reported numbers from anybody in Google Analytics
  • Don’t just check numbers of visitors, but also their level of engagement
  • Facebook appears to be scamming its advertisers – charging for over 3 times the number of real visitors (I have a hunch it isn’t filtering out automated spam bots crawling it’s pages effectively and you get charged for each of their visits – checkout the internet and you will see that this seems to be a common problem)
  • Facebook visitors are such low quality you need to approach with caution and monitor numbers, measure results to check if it really works for you

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About Gerald Thulbourn

Gerald Thulbourn setup WebSanity in 2004. He has a 1st class honours MEng in Microelectronics & Software Engineering (i.e. he's a techy), 5 A grades at A level (i.e. he works hard) and loves to communicate (i.e. odd for a techy). He hates tech speak, sloppy/badly tested code, and technology for the sake of technology's sake. He loves helping people understand marketing concepts and seeing how their application makes a real difference to their business. In particular he loves training; SEO, Website Analysis, WordPress etc. Read more about us on Google+