The State of the Facebook Ad

On April 4, 2012, I received a copy of the 2012 Facebook Ads Report, since I had participated in the study.  This report was produced by SocialFresh with help from Likeable Media, Webtrends, Blitzlocal, Convince & Convert, and Buddy Media, and was compiled based upon feedback from the 347 Facebook advertisers that had completed their survey between February 16th and March 2nd, 2012.

The respondents were experienced marketers, with an average age of 34.3 years and 8.3 years of marketing experience.  The average participant had been managing Facebook ads for about 2 years, and nearly 21% of the advertisers worked with a Facebook ad representative (which usually requires a monthly ad spend of between $10,000 and $20,000).

The survey started out questioning the goals of the marketers, and the final results indicated that Facebook ads are generally used for one of four goals:The State of the Facebook Ad

  1. Awareness
  2. Engagement
  3. Conversion
  4. Audience Growth

The goals listed most often was awareness, resulting in 61% of the respondents, with engagement only 35% of the total respondents.  However, it would seem that the most money is spent on audience growth, where 44% of the respondents indicated they spent the most money, and awareness only receiving 22% of the budget vote.

The survey also inquired as to the targeting criteria used by Facebook marketers, and age and country were the largest demographics that advertisers were targeting, indicated by the 55% and 53% responses respectively.  However, what surprised the surveyors was that gender ranked 9th out of 15 possible criteria for segmentation.  This struck me as odd, as well, since gender can be a very important motivator for action.

On average, Facebook marketers (57%)  are using between 2 and 5 different audience segments to target their ads, and almost a quarter of the marketers are only using one segment.  Again, a surprise to me, since the depth of available targeting options is large, I see no reason to generalize my advertising.  Why not entice the exact client or prospective customer you are looking for, instead of casting too wide a net?

One aspect of the study I found most fascinating referred to the lifespan of ads presented on Facebook.  According to the study, the average Facebook ad ran between 1 and 14 days before the campaign was changed or ended.  However, according to data cited in the study, the average Facebook ad has a peak click-through rate during the first 72 hours, and that the longer an ad runs, the more it will cost, as the click-through rate declines.

But, what are the challenges faced by marketers using Facebook?

As I expected, the biggest challenge listed was return on investment, or ROI, with 46% of the respondents indicating this was an issue.  Even after 4 years of Facebook ads, we are still grappling with the ever-present question of their return on investment.  Yes, I believe the ads are part of a larger “return on relationship” program, but there needs to be value in our ad spend.  A bigger question might be, how are you determining your return on investment?  Is it more fans?  Increased engagement on your page?  Or increased sales?  And if the goal is increased sales, how can you determine that a sale didn’t occur because someone clicked through your ad.  It is something that will continue to cause issues, at least until we have specific goals in sight.

Finally, where are businesses sending people with these ads?  According to the study, 70% of the respondents are more likely to point traffic to a Facebook app, which will keep the cost per click lower, as research has shown that people who point their ads off of Facebook report a 50% higher cost per click than those that are pointed to Facebook app or page.

So, what does this all mean?

In a nutshell, I believe it means we are still learning what’s best, when it comes to Facebook advertising, and that there are many nuances that the average business owner may not be aware of.  It means that we are better off directing our customers to Facebook pages and apps, and that we should be changing our ad copy frequently to make the most of our advertising dollars.  It means we should evaluate our goals before running our ads and decide, as specifically as possible, the best target audience for our ads.  Facebook provides more than 15 different criteria to segment our ads, and we should make use of this information.


Craig E. Yaris is the owner of EsquireTech Solutions, which helps small business get found on the social web, whether through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, he can both teach you the effective use of any social network or act as your social media manager, enabling you to reach your clients where they are and when they want to hear from you.  He can teach your organization the social media best practices that can help you use the tools of today to cost-effectively increase your bottom line.  EsquireTech Solutions brings the social web to your business.  Visit EsquireTech Solutions or call 516-495-9107.




  1. […] originally published at Digital Brand Marketing Education Filed Under: Business, Facebook, Social Media, Uncategorized · Tagged: Advertising, […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: