Facebook COO Begs for Clicks

It seems things at Facebook are getting a little bit scary, and Sheryl Sandberg the COO of Facebook is now personally asking people to click advertising on Facebook to help their revenue. At a speech at Harvard, she is reported (according to Reuters) to have begged:

 Sandberg, who visited her alma mater with her parents and two children, only once made reference to the IPO in her speech. After urging the graduates to use Facebook to stay in touch, she said: “We’re public now, so could you please click on an ad or two while you’re there.”

While we’re pretty sure that this is a joke on her part, is does seem more than slightly relevant. Facebook has been universally bashed this last week, after a less than stellar IPO and worse, continued questions about their advertising models.

More and more studies are showing that Facebook ads aren’t really that effective and that their horrible customer service is turning off brands left and right.

According to the LA Times:

A lot of the major brands have taken a step back this year in terms of reassessing their (Facebook) spending,” said Debra Aho Williamson, an analyst at online ad metrics firm EMarketer Inc. “They spent a lot last year and may be taking a second look at the value of it this year.” That reality may have spooked big investors, who stayed away from buying shares when Facebook began trading May 18. The fallout from its troubled start as a public company has drawn investor lawsuits, regulatory scrutiny and calls for congressional hearings.

Only about 1 in 1,000 Web readers clicks on the average display ad. On Facebook, that number is closer to 1 in 2,000, according to Webtrends. Even ads sent by unsolicited postal mail generate a response rate that is many times higher, according to published industry numbers.

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Pace Lattin

Pace Lattin is one of the top experts in interactive advertising, affiliate marketing. Pace Lattin is known for his dedication to ethics in marketing, and focus on compliance and fraud in the industry, and has written numerous articles for publications from MediaPost, ClickZ, ADOTAS and his own blogs.

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  1. Our clickthrough rate (CTR) on Facebook has definitely gone down for all of our campaigns – in the last few months especially.

    The odd thing is that the traffic is becoming a lot more expensive. The suggested bids for our ads have become so expensive that many of our campaigns have drifted into the unprofitable area.

    We used to spend over $10,000 per month on facebook. That number has fallen to around $2,000.

    And yes, their customer service is awful – non-existant. If you have a problem with your ad control panel, good luck getting any help. Their programmers also make changes and don’t realize they have broken a feature for days at a time.

    So lower clickthrough, combined with unrealistic prices they are charging for clicks, has resulted in an 80% decrease in our spend with them. Not sure how they can sustain that…

  2. Yeah its true, you’re paying so much for the clicks and yet low sales. I wonder small timers will survive.

  3. The current stats seem to indicate that the cost of delivering a Facebook ad to 1,000 people increased 41 percent in the first quarter of 2012 compared with the same quarter last year.

    Also, a 26 percent increase over the last year in the cost per click for “premium” ad formats such as Sponsored Stories.

    But, click-through rates on ads fell an average of 6 percent across Facebook’s top five territories. That should help you argue higher budgets for those higher priced ads, huh?

    So you pay more for less. Which would not be a positive sign for Facebook’s future earnings, and the good fortune of new Facebook investors.

    Then again, as their crawlers get to collect increasing detail on all of us, they will have even more ad targeting data to “sell” to all of us.

    Soon we can know exactly which days a Facebook user is depressed and which comfort food we should advertise to them that day. 🙂

    Rocky Road Ice cream, anyone?

  4. FB may not be the best place for targeted advertising. People are not there searching for solutions or answers. That’s the problem. They are there to see what their friends and family are doing -everything else is a distraction.

    1. You are right.
      Even larger problem for FB is, that the more Ads they push, the more they will get mentally filtered out. Personally, whether on FB or other places, I simply do not “see” the ads anymore. they are like white-space; recognizable as they are.

      One reason they are pushing more for individuals plugging products. Sharing/Liking.. People might notice what their friends are pushing in their feeds/timelines, more than obvious ads.

  5. I can’t believe she is begging, since facebook have billions of visitors a month, unless people don’t care about the adds, maybe facebook is going to have to end up charging for the service instead 🙂

  6. Wake up Mark and Sheryl! Facebook can get a lot of clicks and revenue if they introduce their own publisher network along the lines of Google Adsense,but they are too greedy to share all that money with publishers.It is ironic that a social network that literally forces people to share their social life (and even private life) does not want to share its riches with publishers.Google realized the influence of content publishers early only,thats why they made a lot of money with Adsense.

  7. I’m with what tagged has stated above. If Facebook wants to succeed in advertising they would be wise to offer some incentive to publishers.

    What’s the next big thing on the web? It’s so hard to predict.

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