Can Facebook Deliver Leads to Your Business? YES!

Written by on November 30th, 2008

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What would 580,000 advertising impressions do for your business?

Al Gore gets kidded for suggesting he invented the Internet.  Around my house I get teased for suggesting to my kids that I invented Facebook.

Back in 1996, I created an online community for students and called it StudentAccess.  We modeled the community around GeoCities and Tripod with a focus only on college students.  We provided a free home page, email address and photo upload.  We ran ads in student magazines around the country and anxiously waited for students to show up.  Nobody came!   Not only was it a total failure, but I ended up getting sued by Princeton Review for using the name Student Access! (They had a line of books called StudentAccess to Law, Medical, etc.)  Thirty thousand dollars later, we surrendered the URL to Princeton Review and decided to focus in a different direction.

Fast forward 7 years and Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook, which has become one of the largest – online communities in the world.    Enough old boy stories,  let’s get back to the reason you are reading this post.

In just fifteen minutes YOU can be advertising on Facebook

Somewhere, within the 120,000,000 users of Facebook are your customers!  But how do you reach them?

Over the past month, I’ve been test driving the Facebook advertising platform to see what it could do for my business.  Set up was easy.  It took me about 15 minutes to setup an ad and of course enter my credit card.

My goal was to promote my new book Internet Dough.  Facebook provides a quick way to select my audience.   You can select by age, location, title etc.   Here’s the profile I ended up selecting:

You are targeting people age 27 and older in the United States who like Advertising, Business owner, Consultant, General Manager, Marketing Consultant, Marketing Executive, Marketing Manager, President CEO, Sales Consultant, or Marketing and Sales.

So after one month and spending $212 and I ended up with:

  • Over 580,000 ad views
  • 87 people clicking on the ad who went to my website and downloaded my book

As a result I ended up paying .38 cent per 1,000 impressions, (vs. $20-$25 per thousand at B2B sites) and $2.44 per click.   So did I make money?   We’ll no, err, not sure!   The only way I will know if I made money if any of the 87 eventually buys a product or service from me sometime in the future.

Lessons learned

I started my campaign with a $5 per day budget and about ¾ of the way through reduced it to $2 per day.  Just before I reduced my daily budget I was getting over 23,000 exposures per day and afterwards just under 10,000 per day.  My cost per CPM dropped to 21 cents per thousand but the number of clicks per day dropped from about 1.8 per day to under 1 per day.   You get what you pay for!

Now that I know a bit more about the opportunity, I’ll change the ad, add an image and continue to pay more attention to the long term effects

Similar results

HubSpot, an online marketing and website design company did a post about their Facebook advertising experience.  In the post entitled, “How to Use Facebook to Get a 99% Discount off Traditional B-to-B Advertising” Mike Volpe shared that they were running ads focused on marketers for under 50 cent per thousand exposures.  Comments from readers  As the headline suggested:suggested, they felt the brand building and exposure was a terrific bargin.

  • The better my ad copy, photo and demographics the more clicks, but not necessarily converted sales. Some organizations may find pay-per-thousand impressions (PPM) a better alternative than pay-per-click (PPC).
  • The first thing you need to do is figure out if your buyers use Facebook
  • We spent $700 on Facebook ads in one month but had a better conversion rate from the $73 we spent with Google adwords.
  • Hubspot also suggests that you include your logo in “brand” building ads

A big company perspective

The New York Times invested in a “roadblock” ad (exclusive ad on the front page of Facebook) and according to a post at Neiman Journalism Lab the ad had 68.2 million views and 34,000 comments.

Members were presented with a image of President elect Barack Obama and the question, “What should Barack Obama do first as president?”  It provided them the opportunity to send each other gift icons with a fake Times front page with “OBAMA WINS” stripped across the top.  This option was forwarded 400,000 times!

The net effect for them as a quadrupling of the numbe rof fans on it’s Facebook page.  In just 24 hours their fan page increased from 49,000 to 164,000.   According to a memo circulated by the NYT’s President, Scott Heekin-Canedy they immediately received a 4.3 times value on their spend!


Facebook makes it easy to get started and lets you control who you want to reach and how much you want to spend.  Plus they provide the reports to show you the results.   While this post focused on generating leads, remember to consider using this product to find employee, gain customer feedback, help develop new products and find fans!

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