Facebook Audience Networking

We recently ran a test and got some surprising results. And as friendly marketers should, we want to share our findings.

If you’re familiar with Facebook advertising, you’re probably familiar with the phrase Facebook’s Audience Network. If so, skip ahead to our findings. If not, here’s a quick rundown:

Facebook is nipping at Google’s heels. It’s seen an opportunity to expand its ad platform beyond its news feed and has been pushing in this direction for some time (see: Instagram). One of Facebook’s biggest projects lately has been developing the Audience Network.

The Audience Network is a collection of more than 3 million (and growing) mobile apps and websites, whose owners have signed on to be a part of Facebook’s program. By joining this program, they’ve essentially sold space in their app or mobile website for Facebook to place ads as it sees fit (see: passive income).

This competes directly with Google’s AdWords, which not only handles search targeting, but also display and pre-roll advertising across the web.

(via Marketing Land)

Now, onto some findings:

We recently had an underperforming website-clicks campaign on Facebook – cost per click was high, and click-through rate was low. So we did a little research and made a few tweaks to find out why.

One of our target audiences for this campaign was high school students, so we ran our ads in Facebook and Instagram feeds. Makes sense, right? But by not placing ads in the Audience Network, we’d accidentally hindered the campaign’s overall performance. After some testing, we quickly discovered the Audience Network is actually the strongest placement of all:

(The green bar represents clicks. The blue bar represents reach.)

And take a guess when we made this change:

(The blue bar represents clicks. The green bar represents cost per click.)

So here’s the moral of the story:

Although it may not be great for reach, Facebook’s Audience Network is an extremely powerful tool for driving affordable web traffic. In fact, it’s become even more powerful than Facebook itself. And as the line between native digital and in-stream social advertising continues to blur, it’s more important now than ever to continually test, experiment, learn and adapt.