It’s experiment time! Roll up yer sleeves. Here I am again trying to make sense of Facebook.
Over on our glorious Ptype Facebook page, we post a few things now and then we hope will be of interest to UX practitioners. But we notice that Facebook rarely shows them to you.
As I’m writing this, our page has 219 fans aka Likes, but most of our posts are seen by 5 people. How can we get more of our posts seen?
Here is the experiment
I posted text only with a URL link about our upcoming Axure workshops. That post looked like this:
5 people saw it over the last 5 days since it was posted. Sad trombone.
Then I posted this one a couple of days later. Nearly identical text. No URL link. And a photo of Eve, my dearly departed cat. Sweetest funniest cat ever. My thinking? People love cat pictures!
But more importantly, will Facebook show this to more people because it has a photo?
YES. 64 people were shown this over the course of the 24 hours it’s been online.
That’s quite a difference. Thank you, Eve.
Yeah. 2.2% of my audience shown the post without the picture. 29.2% of my audience shown the same info with a picture.
Lesson learned: every post I hope people will see gets a picture.
I recently ran an experiment. I had a blog post here. I posted it to my Facebook page. And I wanted to try “boosting” it so more people would see that Facebook post (and hopefully click it to see the blog post). Seems simple, right?
For a flat fee, Facebook will offer to push your post to a range of people. I chose to spend $60 on the 2900-6000 range. That makes you assume what??? Oooo I might get 6000 people. Right there, Facebook should do a better job setting expectations. I’ve run lots of Facebook ads that promised lots of “reach,” and they always come in at the low end.
I also chose to push the boosted post to friends of people who already like my Facebook page. This was mostly an experiment for me, so I didn’t get too crazy with targeting. I created my ad and Facebook created 2 versions of it for the sake of reporting/tracking. One was what was shown to the people who already like my page (weird, I thought I was just showing the boost to their friends and not them) and one was show to their friends.
Let’s start with one main metric you need to know. Click to enlarge.
Post engagements. 58 of them according to Facebook. At $1.03 each, I spent the $60 I chose to spend at the beginning of the Boost process. OK what are post engagements?
Click to enlarge, and then let’s discuss what’s here because it gets really slimey really fast.
Here’s another slice of it, click to enlarge:
And yet another slice from the post itself:
And from many clicks deep, there’s this:
There are a lot of confusing and possibly misleading things here:
- My post got 0 shares according to this. How did it get 1 comment on a share if it got zero shares?
- Yes, the post got 2 comments. One was from a friend of a friend. The second was me responding to her. I saw another screen that made it look like those 2 comments were part of my 58 post engagements. So did I pay $1.03 for my own comment because that’s a post engagement?
- I have 58 “post engagemgents” but 11 “likes, comments, and shares.” Well then what are the other 47? Not sure. Can’t be clicks to my website because Facebook claims there’s 48 of those, and I’m looking for something that represents 47. If Facebook is being precise, I’ll be precise too.
- I have 51 clicks. 48 supposedly to my website’s blog page. 3 on “other.” Do we not know what “other” represents? The info icon says that an “other” click is on the page title or “see more.” Ummm, OK.
- Wait, do I have 51 clicks, 48 clicks, or 47 clicks? I’m so lost.
- That number of clicks doesn’t match what Google Analytics reports from those days from Facebook as a source. Goog shows fewer than that by about 25%.
- I have how many of what??? One place says reach was 2906 people. But then it also says 3180 people reached and 3174 of those were paid. So which is it?
What did I really end up with?
Tangibly, I ended up with 1 new like to my Facebook page and 1 comment on the post. I probably got about 30 people going to my blog post to read it (based on Google Analytics and not Facebook’s claim of clicks).
Facebook counted my own comment on the post as a “post engagement,” and it looked like they do math like this:
Total spent divided by totally wanky number of post engagements = your cost per engagement. Well then please don’t count MY replies in that!
Why don’t the stats match up with each other? What is reach REALLY? What the hell is a post engagement?
As usual, I’m unhappy with having spent money running some sort of ad on Facebook. It always seems so unrewarding and like money was just sucked from me for no good reason. The stats don’t match up. Reporting is weird. It’s all very uninspiring.
But of course, Facebook wants me to boost that post again for more reach!
For $15, I can reach 3500 – 9200 people. Well, are those unique people? Or are those in addition to the nearly 3200 you say I already reached? Could you take $15 from me, reach 300, and say we’re done? I can’t tell. This is just completely unclear (and I’m not going to do it for the experiment).
The ranges are also kinda weird. For $50, I can reach 4600 – 12000 or for $60 for 4800 – 13000. So I could spend $50 or $60 and end up with 4800. That seems a little weird.
I also noticed I’m not paying specifically for post engagements.
I spent $60. I got somewhere between 2909 and 3184 “reach” based on which of Facebook’s numbers you believe. I got 58 post engagements, and I was told that means they were $1.03 each. But I didn’t get to bid on post engagements. I didn’t get to say HEY I’ll pay a dollar each for a post engagement, and run this ad until I’ve spent $60.
The tail wagged the dog. I got X amount of reach. I got Y amount of post engagements (whatever those are). And then the math was done later as some sort of “cost per.”
It would be interesting if like regular Facebook ads you could pay per click or engagement and bid on that amount. Otherwise, this is the old pay per impressions model (reach are impressions) later manipulated to look like pay per action. Which also ends up feeling like I paid for over 3100 people to see my ad and ignore it, assuming we believe that Facebook showed it to them.
I hope someday someone at Facebook decides that consistency and honest are important in all of their ad products.
I guess the mobile app is missing one line of code saying if the person who placed the ad matches the selected target audience, don’t show the ad to the advertiser.
I closed the campaign. Ain’t got time for that. Will focus on Google Adwords, which were doing really well.
I’ve run Facebook ads a bunch of times, and one thing amazes me every time I do it.
There is no customer support. Zero.
Need help? No phone number. No email address. No form to fill out to get help. I found a website claiming to have a secret link to get Ads help from Facebook. Filled out that form, and got an email from a no-reply address saying we don’t really get back to people who contact us.
Facebook suggests posting to the forums, which is peer to peer community help. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen Facebook staff posting there, but maybe they do. They’ve never answered any questions I’ve put there.
And I need support because I have one question, over and over, for every campaign I’ve run.
I need Facebook to explain why their “potential reach” and the real “reach” are SOOOOOO far off. Potential reach looks at the number of people who fit the target audience you created. I want people who are 18-40 who are into startups and entrepreneurship in the Bay Area. OK, 80,000 people, Facebook says.
But my ad has been seen so far an average of 5 times each to 11,000 people. How are we NOT reaching the 80,000 people you said this could reach? If it’s unlikely to ever reach anywhere near 80,000, then why not prepare me for that when I’m creating my target audience. You know how active these accounts are. Maybe tell me this reaches 20,000 people. That’s still fine! Set reasonable expectations.
I know that Facebook ads are better for visibility and awareness rather than actual clicks and conversions. So my expectations are low. I’m hoping people will have “heard of me” and think of me when they need what I’m advertising.
It would be such a better experience if Facebook had someone to support paying customers. Facebook doesn’t have 1 billion paying customers. Just us advertisers. Why not court us. Why not make our advertising lives easier and more efficient. Why not answer our questions. We’re your revenue stream, and the best you can do is to give us no phone number and no email support.
That’s the ultimate in cocky. It says FU, we’re Facebook. You can take us or leave us. We don’t HAVE to help you. You need us more than we need you. That’s what that says.
I don’t think anybody should say that to customers, especially paying ones.
Remember my other blog posts about the Lyft ads I was seeing on Facebook? And how they kept naming higher and higher rates of pay? The last one I saw was $22/hr.
This just in.
$28/hr. What will be next.
I’m still not going to use the service. I’m too concerned about safety. And the more they’re paying people, the more i
I recently wrote about the Facebook ads I was seeing from collaborative consumption driving service Lyft. The real point of that post was to look at Lyft’s application form, which I found bizarre.
But during that blog post, I also pointed out the first set of ads I saw said Lyft was paying $18/hr. The second set of ads I saw said $20+ per hour. I was just shown another ad.
$22/hr. Is Lyft having a hard time attracting drivers? And if so, do they think the biggest obstacle is rate of pay? I still think it’s safety. I still think they should partner with my startup. 🙂 We can help with the safety piece.
Should we wager on what rate of pay I see in 2 weeks in Lyft Facebook ads? $23? Do I hear $24/hr?
McDonalds served me this ad on Facebook.
McDonalds wants me to know that their lettuce is fresh. Darn fresh. Just a few days old. And this is evidently the big concern of the Spanish-speaking population. Is the one slice of lettuce on my burger really fresh?
I’d like to know if it’s GMO. Or how many pesticides were on it.
Then, I want to know about their meat. Where did it come from? How many cities, states, or countries mixed together for one burger? What fillers are in there? What were those cows dosed with?
Yeah, I don’t eat at McDonalds. I think it’s poison. I do like Carls Jr now and then. 🙂 But McDonalds is just bad.
But the lettuce is evidently very fresh, or so I’m told.
I tried to run some Facebook ads this weekend. I figured hey, let’s see if I can get more people to like my startup’s Facebook page by running social reach types of ads. That’s when the ad says little more than “Friend’s Name Likes ______” and they want you to click like.
Facebook automatically builds these types of ads for you. You don’t get to control what they say. For the image, they grab your page’s profile pic. Mine was our logo with our name under it.
I got an email a few hours later saying my ad was disapproved because of my image. Here is a snippet from the email I got:
Really? Sexual? Nudity? Cleavage? Body parts?
Who the HECK reviewed this ad image and decided it was too sexy and contained a wild focus on body parts?!?!?!
I took our name off the image, and resubmitted the ad. Maybe they found our name way too sexual, though I have to admit, I don’t see the cleavage in the name “CheckInOn.Me.”
Wish me luck that someone at Facebook hits the correct button the next time around…
EDIT: Yeah, they approved the identical ad with an image that was just the shield logo without the name under it. Thank the Lord I removed all the sex and nudity!
Facebook ads. This is one time I’m hoping they were not targeted.
Games I may like. Based on what? I currently like or play ZERO games (in general or on Facebook). I have never even tried pot, so there will be nothing in my Facebook account that makes it sound like I enjoy marijuana.
And nearly a million people are playing a game pretending they’re pot farmers. Um, OK. Congrats to whomever came up with that one!