Background Information: Experiment & Marketing Concept
In my recent blog post about my affiliate website, I described my marketing concept and how I’m running a series of experiments to grow my mattress website revenue on Amazon Affiliates. In Experiment 2, I uncovered that facebook’s audience network provides bogus traffic and that going forward I’m going to remove it from any facebook ads that I run. Learning this information, I became more skeptical of facebook’s advertising platform and decided that I need to experiment with facebook ads a bit more and that I need to determine if I want to use facebook ads at all. Hence, in this experiment I study the characteristics of the traffic that Facebook ads provides vs. Bing ads.
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I’m curious to see if facebook’s ad platform is worth spending on, or if other platforms provide more valuable visitors.
Experimental Setup: Advertising my marketing concept on Facebook Ads and Bing Ads
For this experiment, I decided to develop a new landing page where I market pillows. (Take a look at the experiment’s pillow landing page here). The reason for this shift is because I wanted to make it really easy for a visitor to use my site and then transfer over to amazon for the purchase (less data, more images, cheaper product). I was also hoping that this design would help me get a few conversions to paying customers. This would give me a simple test of the kind of visitors I was getting from both ad platforms and the kinds of actions they took on my website. Figure 1 shows the schematic of what I was trying to achieve.
Comparing two different ad types, on two different platforms is challenging. To minimize variances, I tried to keep the messaging of the ads similar so that I would attract a similar type of visitor. The advertisements and targeting utilized on facebook and Bing are shown in Figure 2. Also, traffic from both ad platforms was analyzed using TagLogger, my tool for tracking conversions to amazon affiliates.
Figure 1. Using an image heavy vs. text heavy landing page to increase conversions of my marketing concept.
Figure 2. Ad set targets, keywords, and designs used in this experiment. (Top) Facebook Ad and targeting, (Bottom) Google Ad and Search keywords.
Experimental Results and Discussion: My marketing concept ad experiment
Analyzing incoming traffic
Figure 3 may be utilized to compare the cost of advertising on Facebook and Bing. This isn’t the best experiment to compare the cost of the two platforms because we need additional controls and we need to minimize platform-to-platform variances…however it’s interesting to see that there’s a marked difference in the number of clicks I got and the cost of those clicks ($0.59 vs. $1.28).
While this isn’t the best experiment for testing CPCs, I’m still amazed at how expensive my FB ads were vs. my Bing ads.
Figure 3. Impressions and Click-thrus from Facebook and Bing ads shown in Figure 2. (Top) Bing Ads, (Bottom) Facebook Ads.
Analyzing conversions to Amazon Affiliate
Figure 4 shows the number of people that converted from either facebook or bing ads to amazon affiliates. This data is absolutely amazing to me because there’s such a huge difference! Taglogger allows me to see that 0% of the facebook traffic converted to Amazon whereas more than 10% of the Bing ad traffic either clicked images or links that took them to amazon. It is noteworthy that there were only 13 visitors from Facebook, and at a ~12% conversion rate (from Bing), I’d expect 1-2 conversions from Facebook. Perhaps this experiment wasn’t run long enough.
Figure 4. Taglogger shows that none of the facebook ad visitors converted to Amazon, whereas visitors from Bing ads converted well. Compared to Figure 5, there is a difference in the total number of visits recorded by Taglogger because it also includes robot/spider traffic. Note: “Converted” does not mean that they bought products, they just clicked through to amazon.
Facebook Ad traffic converts to Amazon at a lower rate than Bing traffic. It is of lower value than Bing Ads, for promoting my marketing concept.
To further analyze the kind of people coming from Facebook, I then dug into the reach and avg. session duration of these visitors. Figure 5 shows that no audience network traffic came through the facebook ads, however users still had a 0 second session duration. This is because Google analytics reports 1-page visitors as bounces. This also points out how valuable my next tool will be (a tool to measure on-page session duration of visitors even if they don’t click any links). If you’re looking for more guidance on using google analytics, take a look at this book: SEO Fitness Workbook: 2018 Edition: The Seven Steps to Search Engine Optimization Success on Google
It’s difficult to conduct a perfect experiment due to differences in Bing Ads and Facebook Ads. Keywords, placement, ad copy, and targeting are all variable…so it is possible that this experiment’s data is not perfect.
However, it does give interesting insight into the differences between Bing and FB ads!
Figure 5. Google analytics and Facebook ad placement graphs. Notice that the avg. session duration on Google analytics is 0 seconds for all facebook ad visitors.
My Affiliate Journey so far
On month 3, I have still not received any payments due to purchases via amazon affiliates (Figure 6). However, I received much more traffic to my website this month (due to increased ad spend) and conversions to Amazon (due to Bing traffic).
I continue to be impressed with TagLogger data and I can see how it would synergize really well with my timelogging tool (which will come out in the near future). Try Taglogger out and let me know what you think.
Figure 6. Marketing concept profit and loss (P/L in $) so far in 3 months. Continuing to grow and make progress! Plus, plenty of interesting learnings so far about facebook ads.
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Disclosure: I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.