Are mobile Facebook ads really earning 2.5x more click throughs than desktop ads?

A study released by SocialCode last week suggests that mobile Facebook ads receive about 2.5 times more click throughs than desktop ads. The study was performed looking at the Facebook campaigns of 12 clients from SocialCode during a ten day span in June. After researching the performances of mobile ads versus desktop ads, SocialCode found that the average click-through rate (CTR) for mobile newsfeed ads was 0.79% versus 0.327% for desktop newsfeed ads and a 0.148% percent average of all (desktop and mobile) ads. The conclusion of the study is that mobile Facebook ads are more effective at generating audience responses.

The data is relatively interesting, mostly because it is questionable. First off, the research only looked at 12 client campaigns being ran by one publisher, meaning publisher optimization strategies and client industry vertical could be affecting the data. Secondly, newsfeed ads and mobile ads are both new to Facebook. This means that consumers aren’t used to the ads and might be unaware that they are clicking on one. (The moment content becomes an ad, consumers become scared! Take organic page posts and compare them to what engagement a page post might receive as an ad on the right hand side Facebook. It’s much higher.) Finally, mobile ads generally receive higher click-through rates (CTR). Some studies, such as this one, say that this is because of user error. Users think that they are either clicking on a link or moving the screen, but because of the small screen area, they actually click on an ad.

The result of these questions means I don’t trust the data, and don’t trust the recommendation. I would be interested in seeing what the conversions rates people might have from either ad. I will say that at least with mobile ads, brands are receiving 100% share of voice on the screen while the user scrolls through their newsfeed, much different than typical Facebook ads.

– Bryan Nagy

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