Thursday, 25 October 2007 at 15:03, mcrilf wrote...

Case study: Facebook Flyers part 2

A couple of days ago I blogged about my experience with Facebook Flyers - the pay-per-click advertising platform for Facebook.

Part 1 focused on what Facebook Flyers are, how to set them up and the details of the tests that I ran. In this post (part 2 of the series), I'm going to reveal the results of my test. Read on...

The results
Facebook provides limited reporting but it is enough to give you basic insight into how your ads are doing: impressions, clicks, CTR, average CPC and budget spent - all on a daily basis.

What was interesting in my tests was the way in which the flyers were served. Although they initially got some good coverage, they quickly started to lose visibility. Several times, I upped the maximum CPC and each time they got a boost of impressions.

The graph below shows the impressions each of the 3 flyer tests got.

After 11th October, I left the flyers to run themselves, with no changes. And as you can see, they are hardly being served at all now, even though they are all showing as active.

So what's going on here? Why isn't Facebook spending my budget in serving my Flyers? Perhaps since it's a cost per click model, they upweight Flyers that get good click through rates (CTR). Initially, my CTRs were terrible - the maximum CTR I got was on the 'Supersize your iPod' Flyer which received a CTR of 0.28% on October 9th.

The average CTRs for the 3 Flyers currently stands at:
Find your soulmate: 0.008%
Control your credit: 0.004%
Supersize your iPod: 0.138%

As you can see: abismal.

If you think about it, CTRs are bound to be lower on Facebook than something like Google Adwords. Google users are actively searching for something. Facebook users are keeping in touch with their friends. With this in mind, it follows on that Facebook users are less likely to respond to sales-led advertising. I included the 'Find your soulmate' Flyer since I thought that this would fit in with what Facebook users are doing - ie connecting with people. But as you can see, this didn't perform well at all.

The tests I ran were not exhaustive, but give an indication of the sort of response you can expect from Facebook Flyers. Although CPC is relatively cheap, CTRs are terrible since users aren't in the frame of mind for buying stuff (or even finding a date it seems!).

Despite this, I haven't written Facebook Flyers off. With a user base of 40 million people and 60 billion page impressions per month, the numbers are too big and the potential too great to pass up. So I'll be doing some more testing in the days and weeks to come. Of course, you'll hear about it here when I have any results.

The future
It seems the Flyers platform is set for a major overhaul. Nick O'Neill of AllFacebook reports that Facebook is expected to launch a new ad network on 6th November and have recently filed a trademark for "SocialAds".

They are clearly looking for a way to monetize those 60 billion page impressions per month to help justify their valuation! Watch this space.

If you've had any experiences with Facebook Flyers, let me know in the comments below.

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Case study: Facebook Flyers part 1

The huge popularity of Facebook is unquestionable. It has overtaken MySpace as the largest social network in the UK - a fact that marketers are starting to wake up to. After all, where there are huge numbers of people, there are advertising opportunities and money to be made.

For a while now, Facebook has offered a targeted advertising solution called Facebook Flyers.

Anyone can create a flyer (ie an advertisement) and have it served to any segment of the Facebook membership based on geographical location, interests, gender, age and many other segmentation attributes, as shown in the screenshot below:

With pay per click advertising getting ever more expensive on the Google AdWords network, I thought I'd give Facebook Flyers a go.

The test ads
For my test, I set up 3 flyers for 3 different affiliate products, each with different targeting selections. The images below show both the flyers and the targeting:

If you are familiar with Google Adwords, there are a number of things that Facebook Flyers do differently.

Firstly, as you can immediately see, you can add an image to make your ad more visually appealing.

Secondly, the targeting options are better - since you are targeting actual Facebook members who have given Facebook lots of personal information (age, gender, interests, home city etc etc), Facebook allows you to use these to determine whether or not your flyer will be displayed. (Dean Donaldson discusses whether or not this is a good thing in his recent post Facebook plans to sell my garbage).

Setting up a flyer is a simple job. Each of the ads went to a dedicated affiliate landing page which, according to the affiliate network Commission Junction, converted well. I started off with pretty cheap maximum cost per click ($0.05 each) and a daily budget of around $10.

So within 10 minutes my 3 flyers were up and running and the impressions started ramping up.

The results
So how did they fare? Check back soon for the follow-up post on the full results, click-through rates and conclusions. Why not make life easy for yourself and subscribe to my feed so you'll get part 2 automatically?

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Sunday, 14 October 2007 at 07:45, mcrilf wrote...

Google gets you talking

I've been a long-term fan of Jaiku, the microblogging platform which a couple of days ago announced that it has been bought by Google - a move that will certainly un-nerve Jaiku's main rival Twitter.

The terms of the deal are still under wraps, but I'm sure founders Jyri Engeström and Petteri Koponen will have done pretty well out the service that they founded back in February 2006.

Google is still keeping quite about what it's plans for Jaiku are.

We plan to use the ideas and technology behind Jaiku to make compelling and useful products. Although we don't have definite plans to announce at this time, we're excited about helping drive the next round of developments in web and mobile technology.
At the moment, new signups to Jaiku are on hold - no doubt to allow for smooth transition of the service to Googleland. Existing users are still free to use the service.

Interesting that Google has added to their acquisitions by opting to buy Jaiku and not Twitter, since the latter service, while similar, has a larger user base. For me, Jaiku's ability to integrate multiple RSS feeds into its service has always been a plus over Twitter. Together with it's superior mobile features.

The mobile space is something that Google is making significant inroads into - with rumours of the Gphone abounding plus its recent acquisition of the mobile social networking service Zingku.

Where ever there are vast numbers of people, Google wants to dominate as these recent moves show. And you can be sure monetisation of the mobile channel is at the forefront of the giant's mind.

Do you think Google's future dominance of the mobile channel is a good thing?

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Saturday, 13 October 2007 at 09:30, mcrilf wrote...

Cool, customisable busy animations

If you're ever in need of a cool I'm busy doing stuff animation, look no further than It does exactly what you need:


Here are a few that I prepared earlier ;)

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Thursday, 4 October 2007 at 19:54, mcrilf wrote...

Very cool new widget

Widgets are great and are really taking off at the moment. They're everywhere.

From Blogrush (hmmm...still reserving judgement on that one) to Widgetbucks which I'm running on my gift shopping website, to WidgetBox where you can pretty much widgetize (is that a word?!) anything as well as turn it into a Facebook application (pretty cool) in a couple of clicks.

Well, today I came across a very cool new widget - Spotback.

Essentially, it is (as you can see!) a rating widget, but there's so much more to it than that. Add a snippet of Javascript to your blog and immediately you're allowing your readers to rate each post using a very neat AJAX user interface. That's just the start. From their site...

Spotback is a personalized rating system that recommends relevant content based on personal rating history using collaborative filtering and aggregated knowledge technologies. When embedding the Spotback technology onto your website you are providing your users a unique personal online experience. When they rate your content, they will immediately be exposed to more relevant content from your website. This results in longer visit lengths, increase in page views and guaranteed user satisfaction.

The fact that it shows related content right in the widget makes it very easy for your readers to jump to other posts - which is great for you since you're engaging your readership much more.

As a user of the widget, it saves your personal ratings and learns as you go - so it is then able to recommend other content which it thinks you might like.

They have three widget types - slider (for ratings), stars (for ratings, but different style) and sidebar (for serving related content). The latter of these also automatically generates tag clouds. All widgets are very customisable so you can match them to your blog very easily. I've left mine with default settings for the moment, other than changing the colour of the link text to fit in with my design.

The last really cool thing about this widget is that all rated content then gets aggregated into a news site, kind of like digg but with the ability to completely personalise which channels you're interested in. You can build your own news page layout and even include RSS feeds from any other site.

You can see Spotback in action below - try it out. What do you think of it?

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Tuesday, 2 October 2007 at 06:44, mcrilf wrote...

How to be a social media king

Engaging with social media sites is a 'must do' if you're trying to build any kind of reputation and traffic to your blog. As I recently showed with my post on getting traffic from social media websites it can and does work if you follow a few simple guidelines.

Life has just been made a little bit easier now though thanks to the guys on the 97th Floor. They have just released a Firefox extension that will help you gain credibility on the key social media destinations.

Once installed, the extension does two things for you.

Feature one
If you run it in 'auto' mode, for any page that you visit, you'll see in the status bar the number of times that page has been submitted to digg, reddit, StumbleUpon or

Why is this a good thing?

Well, if a page is popular on one of the networks, chances are it'll be popular on another. And if you're the first to discover it on one of them, up goes your credibility. So by clicking any of the icons in the status bar, you can immediately submit that story to the social media site that hasn't got the hot story yet.

Feature two
Another great feature of the plugin is when you're actually browing the social media sites. Again in 'auto' mode, Social Media for Firefox does its magic and shows you right next to each story how many times it has appeared on the other social media sites, as you can see below.

Very cool.

You can download the Social Media for Firefox extension here.

And once you've installed it, you could always add this post to your favourite social media site!

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Wednesday, 26 September 2007 at 19:40, mcrilf wrote...

Is this some kinda joke?

I was studying my analytics today and saw a new referrer to one of my posts. Naturally I visited it to see who it was who was kind enough to send me the traffic.

But then I realised that the site is some kind of (automated? must be?!) content scraping site. All the posts follow an identical format: a brief (but normally ridiculous) introduction; a scrape of someone elses content (mine in this case); and a source with a link back to the original post (no rel="nofollow", interestingly).

Here's the introduction to their post that they scraped from my blog:

"I’ve a passion for Telephones and keep looking for good articles. Today, I checked if I could find more info by entering ‘adsense blogging’ in Google and found this:"

What? Telephones? Adsense blogging? Give me a break. What kind of garbage is this?!

Of course, the site as Google Adsense all over it and is designed to pull visitors in (thanks to other hard-working bloggers' content) and earn from Adsense clicks.

Surely this type of site can't earn the guys running it anything? If it shouldn't! What value is it adding to the world? Despite them sending me traffic and inbound links, I can't help feeling like they're stealing other peoples' content for their own benefit.

What do you think?

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Sunday, 23 September 2007 at 16:57, mcrilf wrote...

Find out who makes $40k per month blogging

So you're trying to earn a crust with your blog, right?'s some inspiration for you!

I just stumbled across Paula Mooney's list of blogger (and webmasters and affiliates) earnings. The figures reported for annual earnings range from the multi-millions at the top to a few tens of dollars at the bottom.

Notable entries are:

  • Kevin Ham. $300,000,000 empire with multiple sites including Interesting this one in that it ( is a keyword-rich site around a niche with pretty much all links being AdSense links. The content draws people in...and the AdSense sends them elsewhere with Mr Ham making a few cents (or more!) in the middle. Also interesting from an SEO perspective is that the title tag of the home page is just 'Homepage'. And there are no META keywords! So he builds sites like that and still makes $300,000,000!?!?! Sheesh.

  • Steve Pavlina who says he makes about $40k per month from his blogging activities

  • The inspirational Darren Rowse of clocking in at around $360,000 per year.

  • Grant from Million Dollar Project who is on his way to reaching the goal implied by his blog's title...reporting annualised income of $981. Go Grant!! Actually, he reports that part of his income has been generated by commenting on Paula's list. (So, yes, I commented too!)

So...even the small guys can get on her list! Of course, the key to earnings is content and targeted traffic through lots of exposure. And as Paula quotes Yaro Starak..."All I can say about this is that it pays to talk about how much money you make online if you want exposure."

In which case, you'll be wondering what I earn from this blog. That's not something that I've calculated yet. No, honestly. But when I have, you'll be the first to know!

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Monday, 17 September 2007 at 20:50, mcrilf wrote...

Using social bookmarks to drive traffic

I'm spending lots of time at the moment reading about driving traffic to your blog. You will of course heard about BlogRush - the traffic driving system that is taking the blogging world by storm (unless you've been asleep over the weekend when it was which case get on to it now!!!).

One of the methods I am testing is using social bookmarking sites and I thought you might like to see the results from a recent test...

I blogged recently about ShrinkMyTunes - a new software product that re-compresses mp3s allowing you to stuff more of them on your iPod. Although SarahG recently commented that you can achieve something similar with iTunes itself, it originally struck me as a piece of software that could fly. After all, how many iPods are out there? And how many people wish they could get more on them?!

Anyway, I wrote the post and submitted it to The results were amazing...and pretty instant. Here's my statcounter graph...

That recent peak is the traffic. A pleasant surprise as you can imagine. Now comes the it quality traffic? I'll have to wait and see on that one. Hopefully, you might have been one of those visitors and will be reading this which case, I guess the answer is "yes"!

Have you had any successes using social bookmarking in this way? Let me know.

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Sunday, 16 September 2007 at 19:28, mcrilf wrote...

New widget drives targeted traffic to your blog

BlogRush Widget - click to get one for your site and increase your own traffic

Without targeted traffic, your blog is nothing. After all, you're writing for a readership - and without the readership, why write at all?

But delivering traffic to your blog can be time consuming. There are a variety of techniques that you can use (I'll cover these in a later post), but a new one that has just been released makes life easy.

It's called BlogRush and it works like this:

  • you sign up for free
  • you put a widget on your blog
  • every time a page on your blog is displayed, you earn a credit
  • for each credit you earn, your blog's content is syndicated across other blogs using BlogRush

The content delivered in the widget is targeted to your blog - so your readership benefits. And by categorising your own blog within BlogRush, your posts appear on similarly targeted blogs, thereby gaining click-thrus from readers of those blogs.

And there's a bonus: for every person who you refer to BlogRush, you earn credits on their credits...and when they refer people you earn credits on those credits too, 10 levels deep.

It sounds like a great way to generate targeted traffic. Try it out here.

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