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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