Facebook is making headlines again, but not the kind that Mark Zuckerberg would like.
Earlier this week ‘Limited Run’, an e-commerce developer that used Facebook as part of it’s start-up media campaign, posted a report on their findings of click-through data from their Facebook ads.
The data that Limited Run shared was a bit startling. In their own words:
Facebook was charging us for clicks, yet we could only verify about 20% of them actually showing up on our site.
Since data is all about who’s looking at it or how someone looks at it, the folks at Limited Run signed into a ‘handful’ of other tracking services and found the exact same thing.
At this point you have a web developer who is very curious about something going on with their web traffic, so naturally they built an analytics system for their own site:
Limited Run is a start-up company, and the publicity from being the first to catch Facebook with it’s hand in the proverbial cookie jar of advertising money would certainly help ensure the company’s run isn’t so limited.
Even still Limited Run was VERY careful to point out that there is little to no way of proving that Facebook is behind the bot -> ad traffic.
They are however dropping Facebook’s advertising and their company page on FB because of a claim that FB was unwilling to assist them with a name change, “because they weren’t actively paying for $2k or more in campaigns”.
Plus if 80% of the traffic from an advertising source is fake, and you have to pay for 100% of it, there’s better ways to promote your company.
So as this was a smaller advertiser, not someone spending millions of ad revenue on Facebook, we took it as a one-off issue, until this morning when Forbes posted a link to an article on Macleans.ca about “blank” image advertising tests on Facebook.
The gist of the piece is that a blank image test actually netted double the clicks of a static banner style image (think a logo or some non-promotion/non-offer) and only one click in ten thousand less than the average banner ad.
Web Trends even jumped in to do some testing on the clicks to see if there was some sort of curious appeal to clicking on a blank image and by using heat maps and quizzes they confirmed that the traffic is not human.
Facebook makes %85 of it’s ~$2.2 billion revenue from advertising traffic, and 14%-19% of FB revenue is from Zynga, a company that is suddenly involved in a stock crash scandal.
If you hadn’t heard, just prior to some ugly profit reports for the company, the company Founder Mark Pincus, and key members of company, cashed out over $516 million in shares!
Zynga share prices are currently at $2.83 each, way down from the $10 initial share price, and miles away from the $14.69 peak price of the company’s stock.
It would appear for now that both companies have some explaining to do, and some problems to solve. For the users/subscribers this should be a wake up call on where you are spending your time and your advertising budgets.
SEO news blog post by Ryan Morben @ 10:28 am on August 1, 2012