What’s a Facebook Fan cost? When is $10 a better deal than 10 cents?

Nick O’Neill of AllFacebook.com wrote today about a service that sells fans for 10 cents. On the surface, sounds great, right?  You could have 10,000 fans for only $1,000.

But wait a minute.  What share of those fans are based in the US?  Probably very little, since the unsold inventory is for Turkey, Chile, India, and countries that don’t monetize.  If you want to see the top countries for Facebook, you’ll notice that Turkey is #3.  So just what “are” you going to do with those Turkish fans of your page?

You might also consider the general quality of such fans. Are these incentivized fans, meaning that they’re fanning your page because they’re earning virtual currency in some game, and not really interested in your product or service?  Or maybe these are just random people who, for some reason, have nothing better to do than click on pages– don’t laugh, I ran surveys on Facebook that showed this to be true, as some people are bored and/or hate their jobs.  Whatever the case, are these truly fans of your page or just random people (or even robots) who clicked a button?

If you buy fans by doing CPM ads on the Facebook homepage, we’re told it works out to $5 to $10 per fan— thus, 50 to 100 times higher.  But is that necessarily more expensive?  With the Facebook homepage, you’re advertising among trusted brands– and you’re able to hyper-target in ways well beyond what is available even on self-serve.  For example, you can target all small business owners in the US who are male and over 30 years old.

If you’re paying at the rate card of $20 CPM and your ads work out to $5 per fan, that means you’re getting 4 fans per 1,000 impressions.  That’s decent, but by tweaking your ads as well as your targeting, you can perhaps get a 10x improvement in your performance.  So now you’re down to between 50 cents and a dollar a fan– and it’s a real fan.  Plus, you can show videos and have interaction, such as polls– not possible in other ads on Facebook.

Considering that Google’s PPC is about $1 a click, paying the same price for a fan on Facebook as for a click on Google may make a lot of sense depending on the category you’re in.  For a point of reference, when we sold installs on Facebook 2 years ago, we sold them for between 25 cents and a dollar.  Really, it was whatever we could get folks to pay.  And initially, we just sent all that traffic we couldn’t monetize with affiliate ads– so no US installs.  RockYou told us that they’re still selling installs (which are not the same, but similar to fans), so I’d love to hear experiences from other advertisers on what’s working for them.

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