Facebook's Click-Through Rates Flourish ... for Wall Posts - Ad Age

Facebook's Click-Through Rates Flourish ... for Wall Posts

Estimates From Social-Media Firm Vitrue as High as 6.49%

Posted by Abbey Klaassen on 08.13.09 @ 10:17 AM

Who says click-through rates on Facebook suck?

Sure, click-through rates for general display ads on Facebook have been criticized for being rather unimpressive, but click-through rates for content on brand pages' walls are as high as 6.49%, according to estimates from Vitrue, a startup that helps marketers manage their social-media presences.

Earlier this week Vitrue announced a Social Relationship Manager suite with new planning and reporting tools for social media, including Facebook, where much of Vitrue's work is done. One of the things it has introduced is URL tracking, so it can measure click-through rates for links in wall posts and newsfeeds. Naturally, we wanted to find out what a typical click-through rate is for those messages.

Getting at the answer is a bit of science and a bit of guesswork, Vitrue acknowledged. That's because it's not always clear how many people are exposed to a link in a wall post, as it's syndicated out through newfeeds. In some cases people aren't online or on Facebook, which hinders total exposure to the message. To get at its click-through-rate estimate, Vitrue assumed that about one-twelfth of the Facebook audience is on the site at any given time and able to be exposed to a message. "We seem to feel comfortable it passes the sniff test," CEO Reggie Bradford said.

How many fans a brand has is also a factor in calculating click-through rate -- it's the total number of clicks on a particular post divided by number of fans who would have seen it, a number that's adjusted to take into consideration that not every fan is on Facebook all day long.

Mr. Bradford explained: "If a site has 100 fans and your wall post gets five clicks, that's a 5% CTR. But if you assume only about 20% of those folks actually saw the post, it's really a 20% click-through rate." That's better than the click-through rate of the average e-mail campaign, he said, and certainly better than the rate for an online ad. It also doesn't count how many people commented on the post or said they liked it but didn't click through.

Of course, the more of the U.S. Facebook population that's on the site at any given time, increasing the number of potential exposures to a wall post, the lower the click-through rate potentially gets. Here's the breakdown, according to Vitrue's calculations, based on Quantcast data indicating that 90.8 million U.S. users visited the site in June 2009 for a total of 2.9 billion visits -- an average of 32 per person:


  • With the assumption that one-twelfth of the total U.S. Facebook audience is on the site at a given time, Vitrue data show a click-through rate of 6.49%.
  • With the assumption of one-eighth of the audience is on the site, Vitrue data show a click-through rate of 4.32%.
  • With the assumption of one-fourth of the audience is on the site, Vitrue data show a click-through rate of 2.12%.

Vitrue also broke down the clicks by demo -- age and gender. (Consider that younger demos are arguably overrepresented on Facebook):

  • 13 to 17: 40%
  • 18 to 24: 30%
  • 25 to 34: 14%
  • 35 to 44: 10%
  • 45 to 54: 4%
  • 55-plus: 2%
  • Female: 56%
  • Male: 44%

Of course, this doesn't mean marketers should go hog wild posting to their Facebook walls -- nothing's probably quicker to lose fans than a flood of marketing messages in a place where they're probably not to keen to see those anyway. As Michael Donnelly, group director of worldwide interactive marketing at Coca-Cola Co., which counts 3.6 million Facebook fans, put it to me in an interview yesterday: "They've fanned the Coca-Cola brand; they haven't opted in to be blasted with advertising."

What do you think about the click-through rates in wall posts? Do you run a brand-focused Facebook page? How do you communicate with your fans? Let us know in the comments.

Subscribe to comments on: Facebook's Click-Through Rates Flourish ... for Wall Posts


  By alyosha19 | Marina del Rey, CA August 13, 2009 12:24:47 pm:
Our agency manages a brand page with a rapidly, growing Facebook presence. What we have seen is that the paid media click through rate is better (though not outstanding) than the online media norm, it's the organic traffic and interaction rate which is outstanding. People are discovering our page through the Newsfeed, either by their friends joining, commenting, or liking the page.

We have reached a level of interaction that is a balance between our promotional posts, brand posts, and commenting back to our fans. What we are happy about is that consumers are now replying to other consumer comments, in a positive, friendly way. Overall, we are watching the conversation very closely on Facebook to keep our finger on the pulse and adjust our messaging accordingly.

  By joeldavis | london August 13, 2009 12:46:57 pm:
Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

We have completed some click rate research on social media sites. We are finding the CTR is highly impressive. The results are published on http://www.agency2.co.uk/resources/

agency:2 The Social Media Agency

  By lazerow | NY, NY August 13, 2009 02:15:22 pm:
Hi Abbey!

It's really too early to tell what the actual CTR is. However, the engagement on Facebook Pages and Twitter is THROUGH THE ROOF and any company that is not actively trying to figure out how to create an awesome Facebook Page and Twitter voice that engages consumers is, frankly, being grossly negligent.

We run FB Pages for tons of clients. One of the recent posts by our client Bud Light on their fan page received close to 4000 RESPONSES out of 147,000 fans. So that's close to a 2.5% ENGAGEMENT rate. That's not click through. That's people actually responding! Frankly, I think the numbers in your story are low based on waht we are seeing. (And, for the record, those 4000 people are connected to more than 400,000 people, who saw their response to Bud Light!)

This engagement between brands and consumers on Twitter, Facebook and other social nets is real today and every company needs to figure out how to leverage the social nets.

You can see some of this in action at these awesome, engaging Facebook Pages for several Buddy Media clients here:

Bud Light: http://www.facebook.com/budlight
Atlantis: http://www.facebook.com/atlantis
JCrew: http://www.facebook.com/jcrew


Michael Lazerow
CEO, Buddy Media (http://www.buddymedia.com)

Anyone who wants to talk further about pages can email me, DM me, FB me. As you can see, I'm excited about this space right now.

  By vandegri6 | SANTA MONICA, CA August 13, 2009 02:58:51 pm:
Having built and run many Facebook initiatives for major brands and agencies (our www.facebook.com/dippindots has over 865,000 fans for example), we carefully track ROI metrics using a variety of proprietary tools.

We routinely see 10,000+ responses to our interactive polls, printable coupons, etc. -- and all within 24 hours. For our posts, we get hundreds of responses within minutes. All this "fans" the growth of the base and buzz around the products.

Brands and agencies are wise to be moving money toward social. We're here to help...

Van Vandegrift
Executive Producer
van.vandegrift [at] matrixxpictures.com

  By AkashPai | CUPERTINO, CA August 13, 2009 04:15:00 pm:
Michael and Abbey, I completely agree with you.
On another note, the consumer engagement is at a different level with social media outlets. CTR aside, we need to figure out better measurement metrics which take into account a user's engagement vs. clicks. CTR are for search and display ads, socia media needs better metrics. I'm sure you must have seen IAB's social media metric paper, it was good start but in my opinion still tied to the old way of measurement. Search and display will see a downturn in next 2-3 years (in my opinion). Would love to get your views as well.
  By salem | Canberra, NA August 14, 2009 02:44:37 am:

"If a site has 100 fans and your wall post gets five clicks, that's a 5% CTR. But if you assume only about 20% of those folks actually saw the post, it's really a 20% click-through rate."

20% of 100 fans see the post. That's 20 people. 5 of those click on the link. That's 5 out of 20, or 25%. Not 20%.

So either I am misunderstanding what a click-through rate is, or he sucks at maths.

  By targeted | sofia August 14, 2009 02:49:33 am:
"Mr. Bradford explained: "If a site has 100 fans and your wall post gets five clicks, that's a 5% CTR. But if you assume only about 20% of those folks actually saw the post, it's really a 20% click-through rate."

This statement is so redicilous, i'm stunned.

  By salem | Canberra, NA August 14, 2009 03:10:48 am:
It's ok, redicilous isn't even a word.
  By SkylarB | USA, WA August 15, 2009 04:19:50 am:
Indeed, advertising is the major cause on how a company earns. One of their way in promoting a company's new product is Internet marketing. Since more people are joining the social networking site, and it's also a great place to advertise for a business – it's free advertising space, and social networks have become a marketing hotbed over the last few years. There are precious few opportunities for a business to have access to so many potential customers, which can be a great way to build customer rapport, as long as you aren't spamming anyone – customers hate that. And since the website is free to sign up for, a business can start advertising on Facebook without needing payday loans to start an ad campaign. Follow the link to read more about Facebook advertising: http://personalmoneystore.com/moneyblog/2009/08/08/facebook-sells-set-network/
  By KetaKeta | Tel Aviv August 17, 2009 04:23:29 am:
We find that CTR's on social ads are usually lower than average, but good content on Fan Pages brings a higher than average response.

I like Nine West's initiatives on their fan page- they frequently post open-ended questions for fashion opinion and likes and dislikes from their fans. Here's their page: www.facebook.com/ninewest

We ran a FB campaign for LastMinuteTravel.com last year to communicate with participants of a contest. This initiative was very successful. LastMinuteTravel.com is now using the page for their latest campaign, Staycations Suck, and they've received some really nice attention for it. here's their page: www.facebook.com/LastMinuteTravel.

We love tweeting about exceptional Facebook and Twitter campaigns. Follow us @ketaketa.

  By bennyradjasa | New york, NY August 20, 2009 10:42:13 am:
Hi Abbey, one question we need to ask our self, are these data statically significant. If so what is the lift in the KPI vs Cost? This now created a new angle what really are the true cost of acquiring engagement. Some people will debate the engagement quality of the click coming from banners, search, Facebook page, and etc. Rightfully so, each of these click source have different value to it, and the value of each source differ from brand to brand. However we can start with a common denominator to partially answer this, which is the CPC of such clicks.
So we should ask our self how much it costs to get clicks from Facebook pages and let say from banner display and or SEM. If you put it in such a filter, then most people will realized that most of these Facebook pages are not very efficient. The other side of the argument to this is that some brands do want to engage marketing in the groundswell, and if done correctly such activity ROI will be positive, if there are enough people engaging in it.

Benny Radjasa


more insight on why social media are a different medium

The 8 Major Differences Between Traditional and Internet Consumers | Microgeist

Customers are no longer just customers. They not longer sit in front of the tube and absorb messages from self declared authorities or people who play doctors on TV. At the very least, even with the traditionally no-brains medium of television, viewers are encouraged to call in, ask questions or vote on the most talented singer. At a more advanced level, people are providing the content, commentary via comments, technological infrastructure, design, acting, video production and everything else involved in producing, consuming and interpreting content. By the time that someone has participated, even in the most rudimentary level in this process, they are more media and business savvy. This creates a more critical consumer who can see past hype, misdirection and has the resources to independently vet claims.

this is the shift I describe to clients, to friends and family, passersby: marketing has to change with the consumer!

Twitter Inventor Invests in Foursquare

Dorsey’s investment with Foursquare is personal and not on behalf of Twitter, but his involvement with both companies might raise some questions as Twitter enters the geolocation arena themselves with the upcoming launch of their location APIs.

seems like foursquare is getting pretty darn close to some kind of tipping point...

B2B Lessons From B2C Social Media Marketing | Social Media B2B

Are there differences between B2B and B2C marketing strategies? Sure. However, regardless of industry, there is always something to learn from a company that has developed and executed a marketing campaign successfully. Today, we are going to look at some B2C social media marketing efforts and determine what lessons can be applied to B2B organizations.

Lesson 1: Leverage traditional media to support social media marketing activities.

vitaminwater | Facebook

Vitamin Water, the popular consumer beverage brand, has for many months now used its traditional advertising budget to help drive engagement on the brand’s Facebook page. As you can see in the ad below, now they have even begun running spots dedicated to promoting their new flavor creator Facebook applications.

While I know that most B2B companies don’t run paid media on TV, most have some type of paid media budget for trade publications and online advertising. The lesson from Vitamin Water is simply that if you are trying to support online engagement, whether on a blog, Facebook page, or something else, then make sure all of your communications drive customers there.

Lesson 2: Anything can be interesting when you focus away from the product and toward how customers use it.

King Arthur Flour - Bakers’ Banter

If the folks at King Arthur Flour can make flour interesting and compelling I would argue that any B2B company out there can do the same with their product or service. For years now King Arthur has brought flour to life on its corporate blog, and developing a community of supporters who regularly leave comments and feedback. They did this not by telling people how great their flour was, instead they showcased all the great thing flour can make and through that process built trust. Too often, B2B organizations focus on the product and what makes it so great, but on the social web it is how the product makes customers great that it is the defining success factor.

Lesson 3: Bridging online and offline communications generates successful engagement

Believe it or not beer and B2B marketing are related, maybe just not in the way you are thinking. One of my favorite marketing campaigns recently was from Molson, The Canadian Beer producer whose Association of Party Pros campaign connected real-word partying with online contests and rewards.

Sure it is a cool idea, but the overall theme here is that B2B social media marketing isn’t about building a Facebook or Twitter page. It is about connecting customers with your brand online and offline by giving them authentic engagement. How can you create this for your customers?

What else do you think that B2B could learn from B2C?

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