Fan Acquisition Tougher Amid Facebook's Engagement Push

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spruce-data-likes_edited-1Fan acquisition has been a major (and much derided) goal of Facebook advertising campaigns for years, but the door is closing on easy "likes."

A November 21 change to Facebook's ad creative policies for Page Post Ads has significantly hampered the ability of brands to grow their Facebook audience by using a "like" call to action with non-fans on the platform. While it's by no means impossible to do so, brands have fewer tools at their disposal to boost fan counts through paid media spending than they did last summer.

The impact of this gesture has been significant. Spruce Media shared some data with AdExchanger indicating just how big a change the restrictions on Page Post Ads have wrought.

For three weeks prior to the change (Nov. 1 to 21), Spruce says the percentage of fan acquisition traffic for a major mobile phone provider was 60%. Across Spruce's whole network of advertisers, the click through rate was 2.5% and the conversion rate 12.8%

After the change (Nov. 22 to present), the percentage of fan acquisition traffic for that mobile brand plummeted to 3.6%. Network-wide CTR fell to 0.6%, and conversion rate fell to 6.5%

Overall, cost per acquisition experienced a 270% increase, making fan acquisition on Facebook a much pricier proposition.

Spruce Media says, "Prior to the change, Page Post Ads were driving a ton of volume for our large fan acquisition clients and, in the case of this advertiser, doing this every efficiently. These changes have made Page Post Ads no longer effective at driving fans."

Instead, brands must look to two other ad types for fan acquisition drives: "Page Like Sponsored Stories" and "Page Like" ads. According to Spruce, "Advertisers that were seeing fan acquisition as 'working' to accomplish their engagement and other goals will see a big drop off in their engagement and reach if they don't set goals outside of fan acquisition and develop campaigns that build engagement for their brand 'beyond the like.'"

Scott Bain, Spruce Media VP ad delivery, sees significant upside to Facebook's shift away from fan acquisition.  "You can see the cost per fan has gone up, but the engagement metrics are a lot better around it now, many of Facebook's top advertisers have a great sized fan base already and that making this change helps support their engagement and reach initiatives," he said.

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