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More curious results from experiment with Facebook advertising


Following on from round 1 of my experiment to use Facebook advertising to promote carols, I decided to keep the best performing advertisement, and create a couple of ads with different graphics and images – to continue to try to improve the performance of the ads.

Once again, the results are fascinating.

One of these ads got 0 clicks.

One of these ads got 2 clicks.

One of these ads got 42 clicks.

Can you guess which ad performed the best?

Advertisement 1.

Advertisement 2.

Advertisement 3.


This is fascinating stuff. The best performing ad so far, but a country mile, is advertisement number 2. It has received 70 clicks, while advertisement number 1 has received 2 clicks, and advertisement number 3 has received none.

In a sense, this isn't surprising – it was the ‘sing carols' call to action that had the strongest pull in the first round of advertisements. But I do find two things surprising:

  • The first ad (the one that did so well in round 1) has performed so poorly in round 2. The only thing that changed is the demographic – I broadened the potential audience for this ad to all of Sydney, and not just the local area.
  • The difference in the number of impressions Facebook is giving each advertisement. Take a look at the table below – ad 2 received 31 times more impressions than ad 1 – it's not surprising then that it's performing so well. I wonder why Facebook is choosing to deliver this ad to more people than ad 1?

Continue Reading


  1. dave miers

    December 3, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    i’m going for #3.
    people don’t care if it’s free or not… and if it’s on sydney harbour, it will be pretty hard to charge anyone anyway!
    it’s also not an actual sentence. so it communicates more quickly.
    good traditional phrases that grab attention.

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  3. Nathan

    December 3, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    I’m going with 1. Because that’s the one I’d click…

  4. Luke

    December 3, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    I am going 1. I have found from my experiments, ads with faces work best – but you can never be sure!

  5. Marcus

    December 4, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    #1 I think is most clicks.
    #2 the 2 clicks
    #3 would therefore be a 0

  6. david

    December 4, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    I’m guessing number 3 ….. “Celebrate” “Christmas” “Carols” “Candlelight” “Harbour” …. what’s not to like?

  7. Andrew

    December 6, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    I’d be more interested in why FB gives so many more impressions for that one particular ad. I wonder if it is because they are all from the same campaign, and it got more clicks earlier on than the others did. And because of that, impressions change to the ad that gives more clicks.

    Are FB ads charged per impression or per click?

  8. Adam

    December 8, 2010 at 10:42 am

    Hey Steve,

    “I wonder why Facebook is choosing to deliver this ad to more people than ad 1?” I think this is because ad content algorithms work out which ad to place based on which ad is going to be most profitable. If you submit a highly click-able ad then it becomes more valuable per impression to the ad provider and you can bid a lower price for it.

    Conversely if your ad has a low click rate you need to bid higher to get the coverage you want. You might want this sometimes, in the cases where the response your seeking is not a click but rather brand awareness.

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