This is an incredible development: Facebook now has 23 percent share of the total impressions for online display ads. Check out the chart below from comScore. More details here.
What’s incredible is that literally just two years ago, people in the industry were arguing whether it even made sense to put ads on Facebook. Now Facebook is by far the largest single deliverer of display ad impressions online.
I have to admit, speaking from my own experience, I considered Facebook ads a waste of money when mapping out the launch program for Concert Rat earlier this year. Who wants to see ads on Facebook?, I reasoned.
So the initial marketing plan involved Google text ads (search and content) and some programs to get the Concert Rat brand into people’s hands – such as handing out flyers at concerts. But none of these paid efforts seemed to get results – i.e. people posting stuff on Concert Rat.com. On the other hand, our “free” marketing efforts on the Concert Rat fan page on Facebook seemed to be generating results.
So on June 24, mostly to support the fan-page activity, I finally created and started running Facebook ads. Guess what: New postings started appearing on Concert Rat immediately. Literally — immediately.
And the pattern continues. Facebook is now Concert Rat’s No. 1 source of traffic. Before the ads, most traffic came from Google. And the traffic seems to convert to people posting stuff.
Why? My theory is twofold, and it wouldn’t work for everyone:
1. Concert Rat is about sharing stuff, and Facebook is about sharing stuff, so if you’re on Facebook, your mindset is about sharing. Thus the connection is more direct.
2. Facebook ads allow extremely fine targeting by interests. All those interests you put on your profile? Those become the targeting filters for Concert Rat’s Facebook ad delivery. It’s a pretty amazing system. The Concert Rat ads target people who say they like: concerts, live music and “going to concerts.” Also we’ve selected people 16 years of age and older, who live in the U.S. If those criteria look like you, then there’s a good chance you’ll see the Concert Rat ads. If that’s not you, you won’t see the ad.
Put those two factors together – the transactional nature of both Concert Rat and Facebook, and the extreme targeting – and it starts explaining our results.
And it might explain the amazing market share of Facebook Ads today.
|Top 10 U.S. Online Display Ad* Publishers
Total U.S. – Home/Work/University Locations
Source: comScore Ad Metrix
|Total Display Ad Impressions (MM)||Share of Display Ad Impressions|
|Fox Interactive Media||48,252||3.8%|
*Display ads include static and rich media ads; excludes video ads, house ads and
very small ads (< 2,500 pixels in dimension)
Here are a few snips to give you a taste of the great lessons in this piece:
Mike Orren, Pegasusnews.com publisher, reminded that advertisers don’t care how big you are if they don’t know you. It takes a long time to build a brand in advertising community and it matters, because ad buying decisions are not made rationally.
Founder Susan Mernit from Oakland Local said that they thought people would read normal feature-like news stories. It turned out that the really simple stories about a new coffee shop or the heavy, investigative pieces were the most read. So they stopped doing features.
Bottom line: Run it like a business from Day 1. If you’re running a hyperlocal site or just thinking about it, print out The top 10 key lessons for hyperlocal journalism startups from ONA10
and stick it on your refrigerator.
One of the web’s strongest resources on hyperlocal news is shutting down.
Hyperlocal Blogger had been a self-described “hobby” of Matt McGee since August 2008. Like many blogs, it was pretty frequently updated at the beginning, with less frequency as time went on. Unline many blogs, the content was always relevant and useful.
Even now, the archived stuff is worth browsing if you’re new to hyperlocal blogging.
When you consider what else Matt has on his plate, what he accomplished is pretty amazing. From his farewell post:
My work at Search Engine Land and Sphinn is taking more time than ever, and likely to expand more in the not-too-distant future. My blogging at Small Business Search Marketing helps put food on the table and has to be a higher priority than Hyperlocal Blogger, which has always been a hobby. Just last week, I signed an agreement with Omnibus Press to publish an update of my book, U2 – A Diary, which was originally published in 2008. That work will take up most of my free time over the next several months.
Thank you, Matt, and best of luck with those other hobbies ;)