We recently ran a small advertising campaign on Facebook for one of our listings. The objective of this campaign was to drive foot traffic to weekend open houses so we were very specific about our targeting criteria (location, age, interests, etc) and the results were somewhat interesting that I would like to share with our readers.
As many of you know, social media advertising landscaping is constantly changing. New platforms and technologies have made it easy for small businesses to run effective campaigns with small budgets and without needing much help. Advertising costs are typically impacted by competition, industry, audience and a long list of factors so it is important to analyze each campaign and understand results. It is also very easy to get frustrated with these type of campaigns given there are many industry terms (reach, viewers, etc). In the end, the only metric that I consider to be important is "Cost Per Desired Action". The desired action in our use case was for ad viewers to be redirected to our listing on Redfin. Many real estate agents agree that Redfin has become a favorite with many home buyers so we intentionally wanted to send traffic to Redfin to make it easy for people to schedule for the open house.
We decided to budget $300 and run these ads every Thursday-Sunday for the weekend open house until the listing went under contract. Luckily, the listing was only on the market for 25 days so we spent less than $250 in Facebook ads but still produced a decent amount of data for analysis. For a short time (3 days), we also experimented with ads on Instagram so I've combined these results together. Following is our total ad spend by placement:
Costs Per Placement
- Mobile News Feed: $207
- Desktop News Feed: $0.11
- Instagram Feed: $40
As you can see, 84% of our ad budget was spent on mobile feeds which is really not that surprising given how most people consume Facebook on their mobile devices these days. The Instagram campaign was only active for two weekends so these results are slightly skewed but I do expect Instagram to perform as good as Mobile if not better in future campaigns (more on that later below).
Next, let's look at the number of clicks that we received from each placement:
Website Clicks Per Placement
- Mobile News Feed: 668
- Desktop News Feed: 2
- Instagram Feed: 46
Again, not surprisingly mobile dominated the number of clicks that we received but I wonder what our final results would've been had we ran the Instagram ads for the entire campaign.
Costs Per Action:
Here is where things get interesting. Those two measly clicks that we received from desktop cost us about 5 cents in average each which is relatively cheap. Instagram on the other hand is super expensive in comparison.
Average Cost Per Action
- Mobile News Feed: $.31
- Desktop News Feed: $0.055
- Instagram Feed: $0.87
The median cost is a bit misleading given the way costs trend throughout the campaign but $1.15 for each Instagram click might not be the best use of of our budget. My theory is that since Instagram advertising is new and there is a significant interest from advertisers to place ads in this platform, prices are going to stay high for a while until ad inventories level with demand.
As of now, Mobile seems to be the most affordable placement for us at $0.31 per click and we will probably only ran ads exclusively on mobile from now on and not bother with desktop since fewer users are accessing Facebook via desktop than ever before.
A Word of Caution
Once again, these results are based on our advertising only. This is not meant to be a universal report on the state of Facebook advertising and results are going to be certainly different for each campaign. The bottom line is that the landscape is constantly changing and you must study each campaign performance reports to determine the best possible placement for your ads.
What results are you seeing? Is mobile becoming a preferred placement for you, too? Have you experimented with other social media platforms?