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tbg-digital-facebook-ad-ctr-q2-july2012.pngFacebook click-through rates (CTR) increased by 11% quarter-over-quarter in Q2 in the 5 markets measured by TBG Digital (Canada, France, Germany, the UK, and the US), after falling 6% in Q1, finds TBG in a July 2012 report. Germany saw the largest jump, of 44% (to an average CTR of 0.041% among TBG clients), followed by the US (11%, to 0.037%), the UK (9%, to 0.032%), and Canada (8%, to 0.032%). France’s increase was more muted, at 2% (to 0.04%).

The report notes that click-through rates increased 31% in the US between May and June 2012, and that overall, across the countries there was a 7% increase in social impressions (where the ad shown included social context). The 11% increase could be due to the launch of Facebook’s mobile ad targeting feature in early June, or to a general improvement in targeting techniques and ad creative. Also, Germany’s big increase can be attributed to a large growth in the number of Fanning impressions in the country.

CPM Rates Up Big

Further data from the report indicates that CPM rates jumped by 58% year-over-year in Q2 across the 5 markets. In terms of quarter-over-quarter increases, Germany’s was the largest, at 41% (to an average CPM of $0.23 among TBG’s clients), though CPM rates in the US increased by 25%, to $0.39, the highest of the countries studied. Canada’s CPM rates rose 21% (to $0.33), while the UK’s rose 7% (to $0.29). CPM rates in France dipped slightly to $0.17. The report attributes the increases to more of TBG Digital’s clients using Sponsored Stories, which receive higher CPM rates.

Ad Costs Rise in the US, Pass $1

Meanwhile, costs per click (CPCs) across the 5 markets rose by 9% in Q2, though only the US (13%) and Canada (12%) saw increases, both passing the dollar mark to $1.04 and $1.02, respectively. The UK saw a 2% decrease in CPCs (to $0.91), while Germany (-9%, to $0.56) and France (-10%, to $0.41) also saw CPCs decline.

Facebook Mobile Ads Get High Engagement

The TBG Digital report highlights previously released research indicating that Facebook’s Newsfeed targeting options are delivering much better CTRs, with mobile ads achieving CTRs 14 times greater than that of “Desktop” ads, on average (1.14% vs. 0.083%). The report compared these findings with a separate study it conducted of 24 million Twitter impressions across multiple clients and sectors, in which it found an average CTR of 0.266%, suggesting that Facebook mobile ad CTR is 4 times higher than that of Twitter ads.

Update: as of July 20, TBG Digital has issued a press release admitting that the Facebook and Twitter engagement rates compared were not like for like. Per the release: “Twitter engagement rate measured Click Through Rate on Promoted Accounts whereas the Facebook CTR was for Newsfeed ads. A more comparable product for Twitter would have been Promoted Tweets, which typically see 1-3% engagement rates on desktop and even higher on mobile.”

Sponsored Story Ads More Engaging

The TBG study analyzes 13.8 billion impressions delivered in Q1 and Q2 using Page Like ads and Page Like Story ads. While both ads have the same purpose (to increase the number of fans of a Facebook page), the Page Like Story ads do not include tailored ad copy and are only shown when the user’s friend has liked the advertised Page. The analysis therefore compares the same function (page likes) for a Sponsored Story and standard ad format, finding that the average CTR of the Page Like Story ads was 53% higher than that of the Page Like ads. The data also showed an improved cost per fan, with 39% cheaper acquisition costs for the Page Like Story ads. All the same, Sponsored Stories saw a 6% higher CPC and 62% higher CPM than standard ads.

These findings support recent research from Kenshoo Social and Resolution Media (see link above), which found Sponsored Stories to have higher CTRs than other ad types, though also the highest cost on a CPM basis.

Other Findings:

  • According to TBG Digital, health (0.064%) was the top sector by CTR in Q2, followed by pets and animals (0.06%) and not for profit (0.056%). Entertainment dropped 3 places to the 4th spot (0.054%), while retail was in 8th (0.039%).
  • The jobs and education sector saw the most expensive advertising costs, with an average CPC of $1.42. Finance was next ($1.34), followed by retail ($1.02). Both fell a spot from Q1.

About the Data:The TBG Digital data is based on 406 billion impressions in more than 190 countries, for 276 clients, from Q2 2011 to Q2 2012.

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