by Vic Conner
Facebook Measuring Ad Performance Without Counting Clicks
Facebook dominates social media with 864 million people checking their account every single day. Facebook users also see a lot of ads – targeted to them based on searches, demographics and other history, but most of them probably get ignored.
Facebook has been basing charges for their ad services on a number of impressions – with which many advertisers disagree. Google bases ad charges on clicks – and helps with complicated analytics to show when it comes to actual sales conversion. Google’s measurement has been highly complex, but it has been the only game in town and even if the consumer saw the ad somewhere else first, Google got all the credit.
Facebook is changing the picture a bit.
About a year ago, Facebook began offering a new service to certain advertisers that showed advertisers when someone who saw an ad on Facebook ended up purchasing something. That data could then be compared to sales made without the ad. Facebook has extended the service offering to other advertisers.
Participating companies in the “conversion lift measurement” must have a Facebook sales rep and a means to track its own sales, but there aren’t any “formal” budget requirements.
The underlying goal is to move advertisers away from “click” based advertising pricing to show the value of ads that users have seen that didn’t produce a click. Facebook’s idea is that ads make an impact even if the click doesn’t come right now, the sale still happens.
The analytics that Facebook is using is a “big data” system that compares Facebook users who have seen the ad to sales through a bit of code on the company’s website. To track in-store sales, the company must collect that information at the point of sale through a loyalty card or other tracking such as email lists. See the new system at Ad Age.
Point is: Everyone has been relying on Google because it was the only way to get any feedback on sales conversions. Facebook is showing that Internet ads may have a bigger impact than a text search – and since Facebook wants more of everything, including your advertising dollar, they are scrambling to tell you it works.
Google’s Ad Price Decline May Not be What it Looks Like
Google drops its price on ads…but still makes money. In fact click-based ad prices have dropped 7% over the last year but the number of clicks went up by 13%. This is not the first year something like that happened – in fact it has been happening every year since 2011.
Because “everything is going mobile,” analysts might be tempted to think that Google’s Enhanced Campaigns program for mobile ad placement might be to blame. They may also be tempted to think that Facebook is the reason for a price drop – but according to Google, it’s not.
Google’s outgoing CFO dismissed the mobile idea, didn’t address Facebook and blames the problem on YouTube ads, specifically the skippable TrueView ads which monetize at lower rates than traditional clicks on Google.com. Google counts TrueView ads as a “click” if they aren’t skipped.
Google assured its stockholders that mobile search is still growing, traditional click ads are maintaining, and a more in-depth look shows that Google ads on Google sites are actually costing less for more clicks, but affiliate sites cost more for fewer clicks….more confusing analytics. See the reasons why at Ad Age.
Point is: Google hasn’t come anywhere close to losing its grip on advertising return but, as with anything Google, you can’t believe everything you hear and your company’s performance is a cost-benefit issue which only you can decide.
Google “Phantom” Update Deranks Content Farms
It isn’t the first time that Google has attacked the content mills, but they are doing it again. NBC reported that Google is rolling out a “phantom” algorithm on search that is dropping traffic on “how to” sites like HubPages, eHow, and Answers.com.
Over the past several years Associated Content, Yahoo Contributor’s Network, Livestrong.com and other “content mills” went off the grid, in large part due to changes with Google rankings. It seems as though Google doesn’t like content for content’s sake sites – and they are hitting again – though “they” won’t confirm it.
It has been coined a “Phantom” update as it took place without warning and is unacknowledged. Google considers “how-to” sites to be “thin” content and prefers….well, real information. Not to say that “how-to” articles aren’t useful but no one asked for them, including Google.
Some of the other sites that have also been hit are “clickbait” sites, stacked video sites, and difficult to navigate sites with multiple supplementary links. See the search changes at Search Engine Journal.
Point is: Your content needs to be fresh – but it needs to be relevant. Packing your site with a lot of stacked information or multiple outbound links to random articles may be a way to make some cash (sometimes), but it won’t get your business recognized and it may decrease your visibility. It is also worth noting that you need to stay on top of what Google is doing since they don’t always make big “announcements.”