Ads on Facebook cost more but got fewer click-throughs in 2010 compared to 2009, and performed about half as well as traditional banner ads, according to a new survey.
A study conducted by Webtrends looked at more than 11,000 campaigns on Facebook to try to establish benchmarks for brands looking to advertise on the platform.
According to Webtrends, the average click-through rate (CTR) for Facebook ads in 2009 was 0.063% and 0.051% in 2010 — half as much as industry standard of .1%. The cost per click (CPC) was also $0.27 and $0.49 for those periods, respectively.
Webtrends also detailed the cost-per-thousand (CPM) and cost per fan (CPF):
According to the study, not all visitors to Facebook interact with ads the same way. “The older we get, the more we click,” the survey notes, adding that there’s a falloff, however, after age 65. Women and men click at pretty much the same rate.
Similarly, there are few geographic variations, except for Hawaii, whose residents click through at almost half the average and North Dakota and Wyoming, whose residents click at double and triple the average rate.
Not surprisingly, users are also more apt to click on an ad for a category they consider fun, like media and entertainment or blogs, categories that trounce laggards like health care and software.
As the report notes, Facebook is projected to post $4 billion in advertising this year. Part of the appeal, aside from the network’s huge base of users, is the ability to get friends of targeted consumers to give their thumbs up. That apparently combats ad burnout. According to the study, ads targeting friends of fans last three times longer than standard ads because new fans keep coming on board, adding more friends and thus more potential ad targets.
The takeaway? Facebook ads may not get a lot of click-throughs, but for the moment, friends’ recommendations make them last longer.