My First Foray into Facebook Ads

Web Roulette hasn’t lit the world on fire. Thus far I’ve been working on free options: Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn contacts, submissions to app review sites, giving out handfuls of promo codes and asking the younger members of my extended family to give them to their friends. It hasn’t made a noticeable difference. Thus far, sales have followed the usual “app curve”: the biggest sales day is day #1, with an almost exponential decline to one or two a day, at best.

I decided to dip my toe into paid advertising, and Facebook seemed the natural place to start. The way I figure it: people who spend time on Facebook, and more to the point, people who look at, and especially click on, Facebook ads are people who are looking to waste time online. That’s my target audience for Web Roulette: people looking to waste time online. Facebook makes it easy and fairly affordable to experiment with ads, offering both a CPM (impression-based) and CPC (click-based) model. Knowing that the proportion of Facebook users who also have iOS devices is probably well less than half, I opted for the CPC model.

Facebook lets you target your ad in some nice ways and lets you set a bid price for each click and a daily maximum. I won’t go into all the details, but it is pretty nice for someone getting started with advertising.

This first experience with it was, to say the least, disappointing. I started the campaign on Monday, August 23 and set a daily maximum of $20. The first day, Facebook served 189,795 impressions, garnering 31 clicks, for a click-through rate of 0.016%. The second day, 160,000 impressions, 32 clicks: 0.02%. The third day, 68,478 impressions, 3 clicks: 0.004%. The campaign ran for a week, but Facebook served essentially no ads the last four days, resulting in no clicks. This is hardly surprising, as my ads performed horribly.

I created additional, more focused ads within the campaign. The first ad targeted anyone in the United States, and ended with 204,479 impressions, 31 clicks (0.015% CTR). A second ad created later that day targeted people 18-35 in the United States (219,146 impressions, 35 clicks, 0.015%). A day or so later, I created ads targeting people who had “liked” various iPhone keywords, and another targeting people who had “liked” StumbleUpon, which is a web site similar to what Web Roulette does. These last two ads were shown so few times (3663 and 1755 impressions, respectively) that I don’t think I can draw any conclusions regarding their effectiveness.

Maybe my ads weren’t written very well or I didn’t bid enough, but given these results, I’m not eager to run another campaign. Worst of all, I sent the clicks through LinkShare, and I know that of the 66 clicks I received, not one resulted in a sale. For a 99¢ app. This is a brutal market.