The recent addition of the Facebook promote post feature has caused concern with many of our Facebook business page clients. They believe it is unfair that Facebook is charging them to reach their own fan base that they have already worked hard or even paid to acquire.
This isn’t our biggest concern because we understand the need to filter the news feed in order to avoid message overload. Instead we set out to test the Promote Post feature’s effectiveness. In doing this we decided to compare the Promote Post feature to traditional email marketing.
The reasons why an email marketing campaign is a good comparison to Promote Posts are:
- Both methods require you to build up your list (fan list vs. email list).
- Neither method gives you a 100% view or open rate. Email marketing on average gives you a 20% open rate and Facebook status updates on average gives you a 17% fan reach.
- Effectiveness of both methods varies greatly based on how good your content is. If you send great email tips or newsletters that are targeted towards your readers, your open rate is going to be greater. If you post relevant and useful content to your Facebook page, more fans will see your posts and you will have better Edgerank.
- Both methods cost money to reach your list. Promote Posts costs are tier-based on how many fans you want to reach and email marketing costs are tier-based on how many email contacts are in your list.
Now, on to our case study.
We ran a few different Promote Post campaigns on different types of pages (marketing, games, real estate) to provide a broad set of test case samples. As all of the different pages had similar results so we will focus on just one for brevity.
Promoted Post Campaign
We setup a 60% off promotion to get the attention of our fans. Following is what the promoted post looked like.
We setup the promoted post to reach 10,000 fans which Facebook quoted us $100 for. We linked the graphic on this post and added a link to a Facebook tab that required the fan to enter their email address in order to receive the promo code. This was important to us because we wanted; one, to track the conversions on how many people from this promoted post would enter their email address and; two, to use this method to convert more of our “Likes” into “leads”. Following is what the tab with the promo on it looked like.
Following are the results of this campaign.
- Total Impressions = 6322
- Total Clicks = 183
- Total Cost = $44.03
- Average CPC = .24 cents
- Total Requested Coupons From Redeem Coupon Form = 11
- Total Purchases From Promo = 2
- Total Sales Amount From Promo = $66
- ROI = $22
Facebook only displayed the promoted post to 6322 of our 35,000+ fans when we requested it to be shown to 10,000. They however only charged us $44.03 rather than the $100 which we initially chose. Presumably, this is due to the possibility that not all of our fans were on Facebook for the 3 days we ran the promotion. The majority of our fans have been acquired from Facebook ads that target users interested in the types of services we offer. Another thing to note is that we allowed this post to run 2 days on our Facebook wall before we promoted it, in which time it reached 2718 of our fans. We did not calculate the 2718 people it reached or the conversions from these fans being that we were trying to calculate the effectiveness from fans reached just from the Facebook Promoted Posts.
Email Marketing Campaign
We wanted to keep the comparison as similar as possible when running our email marketing campaign so we sent it to 10,000 of our 100,000 email subscribers. This is the same count of subscribers (fans) we were trying to target on our Facebook page. These email subscribers are people who have signed up through our FaceItPages.com site by coming from a Google search for the services we offer. Following is the email that was sent.
Following are the results of this campaign.
- Total Sent = 10,000
- Total Opens Logged = 1803
- Total Clicks = 156
- Total Cost = $75
- Average CPC = .48 cents
- Total Purchases From Promo = 12
- Total Sales Amount From Promo = $360
- ROI = $285
There are a few things to keep in mind here. One, the “Opens” are only recorded from emails that have html and images enabled, so not all “Opens” are logged. (Note: it is our experience that more than twice as many emails are opened than are tracked.) Two, we calculated total cost based on what popular email providers such as MailChimp and ConstantContact charge for a list of 10,000. Three, we didn’t require users to enter their email in order to receive the coupon being that they are already in our list. We simply displayed the promo code within the email.
As you can see from these numbers, email marketing is the clear winner.
Does that mean marketing on Facebook is not worth it? Not at all. Promoted Posts however, at least from our tests, are not as effective but they still returned a positive ROI. Anything that returns a positive ROI is worthwhile in our opinion. We heavily suggest using methods that capture your fans email addresses such as running promos, contests and adding email forms to your tabs. When you convert more of your “Likes” (fans) into leads, it enables you to market to them outside of Facebook through other methods such as the above email marketing campaign. Facebook business pages are effective if you learn how to leverage them. It is important to capture “targeted” fans and just as important to convert those fans into email addresses (leads).