A couple of weeks ago, we reported on Facebook's launch of mobile-only ads, allowing marketers to test the effectiveness of desktop ads vs. their mobile counterparts, and optimize their ad spend for a particularly mobile -- or immobile? -- audience. But you're a time-strapped marketer, right? Wouldn't it be great if someone could just tell you whether mobile ads are or are not effective? Do you see where we're going with this?
According to new data from 3 of Facebook’s biggest ads API partners (who help companies purchase ads) mobile Sponsored Stories are generating more than 13 times the click-through rates of all Facebook desktop ads. This is data from the last two weeks, ever since Facebook allowed advertisers to purchase mobile ads separately from desktop ads.
Mobile Tops Desktop in Ad Performance
Keep in mind, however, that Sponsored Stories are the only Facebook ad type shown on mobile devices, whereas on desktops, other types of ads (think sidebar ads) are in the picture as well. But if you narrow the comparison down to more accurately compare apples to apples (mobile Sponsored Stories vs. desktop Sponsored Stories), the results are still pretty compelling.
Just take a look at the chart below. In the study by TBG Digital, which was based on 278,389,453 Sponsored Story ad impressions across 17 clients, mobile Sponsored Stories generated an impressive click-through rate of 1.14% at $0.86 CPC. Now take a look at the data for desktop Sponsored Stories, which generate a 0.588% CTR at $0.63 CPC. This translates to 1.93x the CTR for mobile Sponsored Stories than desktop Sponsored Stories -- and not at a huge cost.
As a side note, TechCrunch also reports on the news that these mobile ads are not only great news for marketers, but they're also a potential game-changer for Facebook, since they earn 11.2x more money for Facebook than all of Facebook's desktop ad offerings combined.
Additional Studies Supporting the Success of Mobile Ads
Don't take TBG Digital's word for it. Here are a couple of other studies from Facebook ads API partners that make the case for mobile Facebook ads:
AdParlor ran a campaign costing tens of thousands of dollars, the goal of which was to gain new fans for a Facebook page. The results revealed that mobile ads generate a 0.821% CTR, whereas traditional Facebook ad campaigns that mainly show up in Facebook's sidebar but have some presence in desktop and mobile news feeds had a CTR of just 0.032% -- a 25x better CTR on mobile-only. Although the campaign's click-to-fan conversion rate on mobile-only ads was slightly poorer (55%) than across all ads (72%), the mobile CTR made up for it by leaps and bounds.
Spruce Media indicated to MediaPost that its testing with mobile-only Sponsored Stories have generated CTRs ranging from .8% to 1.7%, similar to what TBG Digital and AdParlor have also experienced.
Okay, So You Really Should Still Do Some Testing.
While all of this initial data seems to make a strong case for the effectiveness of Facebook mobile ads, you really should test it for yourself. After all, if you don't have a particularly mobile audience, spending money on mobile ads probably isn't the best use of your marketing dollars. Although honestly, with mobile internet users expected to reach 113.9 million in 2012, (up 17.1% from 97.3 million in 2011), the chances of this are getting slimmer and slimmer.
That being said, if you were hesitant to use mobile ads for fear of Facebook users’ negative reactions to them, it seems like you can put these qualms to rest. This is likely due to the organic feel of Sponsored Stories, and the fact that Facebook is limiting the amount it shows users in their mobile news feeds to prevent feelings of being spammed by ads.
And it seem like there’s more mobile ad functionality to come from Facebook, as this isn't the only ads-related news we've heard from Facebook lately. In fact, just yesterday, we heard some unconfirmed rumors of a highly sensitive, location-based mobile ad targeting feature that would enable local businesses to serve up very relevant ads to Facebook users within close proximity to the business’ brick and mortar location. And just last week, we reported on the testing of a real-time ad targeting feature based on Facebook users’ external web browsing activity. Seems like there could be some very powerful ad features available to Facebook marketers very soon.
Will you start experimenting with Facebook mobile ads now that there’s data to back their effectiveness?