In a recent post on e.politics, Colin Delaney outlines a potential pitfall in Facebook’s ad model that some advertisers may not know about: namely that Facebook charges more per click if an ad is underperforming, and skews cheaper if an ad is doing well.
Though you might cry foul (or FAIL!), this cost-per-click model is really nothing new. Google Adwords works the same way. The lower your ad quality is calculated to be, the more you’ll see your investment affected by higher costs per click. Ad quality may be determined by several factors, including whether users view your ad as relevent to their search. In this way, the system pretty much punishes you for not thinking about and A/B testing for variables like audience, keywords and copy.
Back to Facebook. In Colin’s example of a recent ad campaign, he saw the most clever and creative ads do badly and therefore cost more, while the more generic ads skyrocketed. This is another bizarre and often frustrating fact about advertising. What YOU think is a good ad may not actually translate to the average user. Why this is true we may never know. But this is why we always say TEST, TEST, TEST. Create a spectrum of ad copy running from bland to snarky. Choose a variety of images – including ones you wouldn’t click on yourself…because the people you want to reach are not you.
And here’s my most important advice for someone about to test Facebook ads: separate your ads into individual campaigns. Why? If you have one ad in particular that is doing terribly, it will bring your campaign’s average click-through rate down, and your high-performing ads may suffer the consequences. So different ads and different target settings get split into different campaigns, to save your good ads the embarrassment of being seen with their less popular counterparts.
It’s a harsh truth, but in this case, popularity wins every time. Is it so far off-base to call your most winning ads your “cheerleaders”?