Taking a Stab at Facebook Page ROI

FacebookRecently, both the CEO and the Marketing Director at my library asked about the ROI of paying for Facebook Page ads. They asked because we recently ran two months worth of a Facebook ad, and wanted to know what the ad actually accomplished.

First of all, a bit of background on that ad. We created a simple ad that focused on getting more Likes on our library’s Facebook Page (Ben Bizzle at Craighead County Jonesboro Public Library helped us with that as part of his research on Facebook Page ads). The ad was shown to people with Facebook accounts who had friends that had already Liked us.

So now, back to the question – What was the ROI of our experiment? There are two ways to look at ROI in this case. There’s the simple “Did it work” ROI, and there’s the “What’s really going on here” way to look at it. Let’s look at both:

Facebook Ads ROI – the simple version:

Goal – Our goal with this ad was to gain more Facebook fans. did we achieve that at a good price?

Spent – $591 ($10 a day for approx 2 months)
Gained – 2642 fans – averaged about 40 fans a day.
ROI – $0.22 per fan. Pretty cheap!

Facebook ads ROI – the “what’s really going on” version:

Ok, so we spent spent about $600 and gained 2642 more fans. Big deal. What’s the real ROI for that? What can you do with 2642 more Facebook fans? Here’s my thinking on that:

More eyeballs – this is important because of how Facebook works. On average, about 16% of your Facebook fans see a single post. So more Facebook fans = more people seeing your post (even if the average stays the same).

If national statistics are an ok guide, about 54% of our community, age 13 and up, have a Facebook account. That means we have the potential to reach over half of our community through Facebook … for free or cheap. That’s huge, so paying $0.22 per fan to get there seems to be a small price to pay for the added benefit of being able to share the good stuff of the library with more people in our community.

Better listening tools – Also important. Consistent interaction gets us active fans willing to talk back. Having more fans gets us the potential to have more interaction and feedback, since we are engaging a larger audience.

Better advocacy channel – this one’s simple. People say good stuff about the library. In Facebook, those posts spread. Again, more people (hopefully) equals more people saying good stuff about us.

So that’s what I’m thinking anyway. Eyeballs, listening, and advocacy. More fans = more of each (or at least the potential to have more of each).

Help me out – what am I missing?

FB Hand image by birgerking

  • Matthew Clobridge

    We’re actually reconsidering how much time we put into our library’s Facebook page. Despite much better posts (photos, links, prompts for response, etc.), our average views per post have dropped from 35% to 15% of our likes (2,063) since July due to Facebook’s new algorithms. I’m beginning to think it’s not worth a large effort to get more likes if such a small percentage of our fans ever see our posts.

    On the other hand, we have also been making a effort to make our Twitter posts more engaging, and we have seen much more interaction there than on Facebook. We will continue to post to Facebook because it is a “must” these days, but I don’t think we’ll spend extra time trolling for likes.

  • Marcella

    The problem with those ads is–I already like TSCPL on FB, and it was still showing me the ad, which I found annoying. I wish FB would work out “this person already likes this page, don’t show them the ad.”

  • http://www.davidleeking.com davidleeking

    Now that’s interesting – if you have friended the library, you’re not supposed to see the ads! Hmm … wonder what’s up?

  • Chris

    I don’t think this definition of ROI really passes muster. I’d recommend The Brand Builder for thoughts on what social media ROI is and isn’t: http://thebrandbuilder.wordpress.com/2011/10/04/social-media-and-return-on-investment-some-clarity/

  • http://www.davidleeking.com davidleeking

    Thanks for the link! And yes, that’s even another way to look at it. I think Gary Vaynerchuk sometimes asks “what’s the ROI of your mom?” when he talks about this stuff.

    Good stuff!

  • Melissa Groveman

    I think ROI on ads needs a more long term analysis. Are these likes long term? The ad hooks them, the content keeps or loses them. It would be interesting to see if there is a greater than average drop in likes in a set period after ads end, maybe 6 months. Also, do you see a long term increase in post comments, likes, shares, link click rates, and in individuals posting relevant content or questions to the timeline or in PMs? It’s all about the interaction, isn’t it?

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  • Marcella

    I was surprised; I wouldn’t have expected to see the ads. It kept telling me “Such and such friend likes this page,” but wouldn’t apparently admit that I liked it too.

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