Sports news site sees a 997% higher than average CTR on Facebook Ads

by Greg Schneider on May 14, 2012
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According to Social Fresh’s recent 2012 Facebook advertising report, Facebook advertisers see an average CPC of $0.80 and average clickthrough rates of 0.041%.

For a number of factors, we have experienced considerably better results at FanFeedr, results that are worth discussing here.

The examples and outcomes that follow are for Facebook ads placed for several of FanFeedr’s team specific Facebook pages.

For some background, FanFeedr is a sports news aggregation site that collects and classifies over 10,000 quality sports related sources, photos, scores, and tweets into team specific pages. Content is published on team specific Facebook and Twitter accounts, in addition to the FanFeedr website.

We have engaged in trials using Facebook ads for several of our pages with the goal in mind is to increase the following:

  • Awareness of FanFeedr and its many team pages
  • Our overall Facebook presence growth
  • Referral traffic back to our site, FanFeedr.com

Precise Interest Targeting

For each page, we ran multiple ads and A/B tested everything from advertising copy, the photo in the ad, location, precise interest targeting, and demographics such as age, and gender.

The factor that consistently saw the largest increases in CTR (click through rate) and largest decreases in CPC (cost per click) was precise interest targeting.  At times, we included over 60 precise interests and this resulted in significantly better results than targeting a larger and more broad audience.

You can see an example of the precise interests we included for our New York Yankees page here:

Here are a few examples of ads that were placed:

Surprising CTR Results

In fact, our Yankees page, which was one of our best performing pages, saw a peak CTR of 0.45%, which is 997% higher than the reported average.

Here are our top four weeks for our Yankees page campaign that received the highest CTR with at least 30,000 impressions:

Improved CPC

We consistently saw much lower than average CPC rates for our pages and targeted audience as well.

Overall, we saw an average of roughly $0.15, good for 81% lower than the reported average. Here, our campaign for our Cincinnati Reds page had an average CPC of about $0.17:

International Targeting

Since American sports have an international fan base and we also cover teams that are located in other countries, we tested targeting international users.

For example, we cover the English Premier League and wanted to grow the number of fans on the FanFeedr Arsenal Facebook page.  Arsenal is one of the most diverse teams in the world with players from 19 different countries.

We took advantage of this by using precise targeting of Arsenal fans in England who like English star player Theo Walcott, or Arsenal fans in the Netherlands who like their countryman and team captain Robin van Persie, for example.

The same could be applied for all sports teams and players.

The experiment was successful as you can see in this chart breaking down CTR by targeted countries:

As well as the complete results for the campaign including a peak CTR of 0.38% and a low CPC of $0.02.

Over the duration of our trial, we ran campaigns for over 30 of our pages.  On average, we saw page growth of 2,476% with a high of 7,220% (some pages started at a very low number, to be clear).

We think the reason for our success is simple: people would rather see an advertisement for a page or product they’re interested in (in our case, their favorite team), as opposed to something that may be completely irrelevant to them and that they most likely will never click on.

We realize that a lot of brands or agencies may not have the luxury of advertising a page or product that people may be as emotionally invested in as sports, and as a result, this causes our findings to be more of an exception than a model that can be repeated.

However, we have concluded that we would rather target users who are more likely to be interested in our page and product, and that it is cost efficient to disregard users who are less likely to be engaged (at least in terms of advertising).

This aspect of our strategy could be adopted by anyone placing Facebook ads.

Post Author

Greg is the Social Media Strategist and Community Manager at FanFeedr....

  • Thanks for posting this, Greg. First, because I’m a sad NYY fan living in the Boston suburbs. And second, and more importantly, this week has been full of stories questioning the value of Facebook ads. This story is one of many that show that it does work with strategy focused on the “before” and “after” the click.

  • someone who checks out a a pair of shoes on a clothing site but doesn’t end up buying could see ads encouraging them to buy those same shoes next time they’re on Facebook!!