The guest post below is written by Ryan Hupfer at HubPages. A couple of weeks ago HubPages ads were blocked from MySpace’s new self serve ad platform, MyAds, as being competitive to MySpace. That problem was fixed, but we asked Ryan, who advertises on both MySpace and Facebook, to write a guest post comparing the two platforms.
His results are below. In a nutshell, he finds Facebook a much better experience. When it comes to the results, though, things are mixed. Ryan’s test showed a lower cost per click on MySpace than Facebook ($.27 v. $.44). But the Facebook clicks were more productive: a new user cost just $5.11 on Facebook, v. $8.03 on MySpace.
The results, though, can’t be taken too seriously, for a number of reasons. First, Ryan spent $3,119 on Facebook ads and only $225 on MySpace (he says MySpace ads are much harder to administer, so he spent less). But that difference alone makes the results unreliable. Second, Facebook has text ads, MySpace has display ads, so the results are not apples-to-apples.
That gets me to the biggest reason the test isn’t scientific – both MySpace and Facebook knew about it. Ryan interviewed both extensively for the post. Since both knew this was coming, they both had incentives to help his ads get better performance.
But the post is valuable in that it shows what a real world advertiser thinks of the relative strengths and weaknesses of the platforms. Based on this, we may commission a true third party test of each of them, without notice to either company. Those results will be more relevant.
Update: A statement from MySpace on the post below:
We welcome the constructive feedback we’re getting on MyAds from our more than 15,000 advertisers—we’ve only been live publicly for a handful of weeks and we continue to make updates to the system. Unfortunately a lot of the information in the post above is outdated and we wanted to clarify a few important details on the new product.
Last week, we debuted a new functionality—“On-going Campaign and Daily Spending Limit,” which allows an advertiser to easily set up a continuous campaign with a daily stop-limit budget. Since its launch last week our daily budgeting has been adopted by 90% of advertisers. We also recently launched “Bulk Pausing and Restarting” which enables advertisers to better manage campaigns in bulk and filter by campaign status. We think these new improvements should address the major points above.
MySpace does an exceptional job of empowering MyAds customers to receive an analysis of campaign performance, however, in the break-out spreadsheet above, it says “No Daily Reporting,” which is factually incorrect. Not only does MyAds have daily reporting in the product, the reporting is updated on an hourly basis and has been core a functionality of the product since launch.
Ultimately, we wish the author would have spent more money with us to match what he spent on Facebook to ensure the comparison was reasonably balanced, but in spite of that we managed to deliver a 50% higher CTR at two-thirds the cost-per-click– making MyAds a better value for the money.
We hope this additional information is helpful to TechCrunch readers and are in contact with the guest author to update him on some of the absent MyAds product details.
After I had some issues with MySpace MyAds a while back, I’ve decided to dig in and come up with a much more detailed and apples-to-apples comparison of MySpace’s newly launched self-service ad platform to that of the slightly older, yet just as wet behind the ears Facebook Ads. As HubPages Communicator of Awesomeness! I have not only extensively used both of these latest attempts at the do-it-yourself advertising craze as a part of my overall marketing plan, but I have also had the chance to pick the brains of each of their management teams.
One of the first things that I found out was even though MySpace and Facebook have both created services that are similar in the fact that they’re finally able to capitalize on the data that millions of people are pumping into them daily, their implementation, strategy and vision couldn’t be any more different.
MySpace MyAds – Keeping It Creative And Looking To Monetize Now
While meeting with Adam Bain, the president of Fox Interactive Media’s audience network and the guy that Fox challenged to make some monetary magic with MySpace after they acquired the ad optimization and hypertargeting ad experts Strategic Data Corporation in 2007, it was clear that he has a plan to implement MyAds in a way that won’t affect the creativity and entertainment that MySpace has embraced since its launch in 2003. This is the main reason for him and his team deciding to go with a banner-based system as opposed to the more text-based systems that are currently used with Facebook Ads and other cost-per-click ad platforms such as Google AdSense.
Adam was also quick to let me know that the MyAds platform is now utilizing the same hypertargeting technology that they have been successfully using with larger big brand ad campaigns, such as the major mobile phone carriers (which he claims MySpace is the number one online lead generator for each of them). His overall vision for MyAds is to quickly focus on monetizing MySpace by utilizing this new hypertargeting which now gives users the ability to target a professional and creative campaign to practically anyone on MySpace based upon their interests and location. Also, he stressed that as the adoption of MyAds continues to grow he feels that that eventually the ads that most people are used to seeing on MySpace (punch the monkey) will go from being annoying to becoming something much more relevant and entertaining.
It’s probably also worth mentioning that the MyAds platform itself was built from the ground up internally by MySpace and that many of their core members came over from the team that helped Yahoo integrate their acquisition of Overture’s search advertising system. MyAds is seen as a huge revenue opportunity for MySpace and according to Adam the 40,000+ ads that have been submitted are already having an impact on their bottom line.
Facebook Ads – Monetization Taking A Backseat To Overall Growth Strategy
Facebook’s director of monetization, Tim Kendall, seemed to have a much different take on their now one year old self-service ad platform, which is an evolution from the Facebook Flyers that I once used a few years back when I was a graduate assistant at a college in Indianapolis, IN. According to Tim and despite the over half a billion dollars of funding that they’re currently burning through, Facebook’s main priority isn’t monetizing – it’s continuing to keep the now fastest growing social network of 140+ million worldwide users on pace to become something even bigger.
Growth, Tim says, is the only way to eventually get to a point to where they can start bringing in a positive cash flow and can begin turning their now venture capital devouring machine into something that can show signs of actually making some real money. Until they get to this point of growth that they’re happy with, Tim says that the proper resources required to really break out the Facebook Ads system into the mainstream won’t be available and they will continue to grow at the modest pace that they’re currently seeing.
The excitement about and around the Facebook Ads team wasn’t close to being on the same level of what I experienced when meeting the MyAds team, but I suppose that could be due to other growth-based initiatives, such as Facebook Connect, getting all of the attention. Also, as we discussed the overall vision of Facebook Ads there was much less focus on the potential effects to the overall user experience when it came to the ads being implemented into the Facebook as compared to my discussion with the MyAds team. This is probably because of the more spontaneous and community-focused nature of MySpace vs. the more connection-focused Facebook that is used more like a communications tool.
Using MyAds In Two Words: Clumsy Yet Creative
The newly launched MyAds is a huge step in the right direction for MySpace’s attempt to empower potential advertisers of all sizes to be able to tap into their network of promotion-friendly users by utilizing their new lineup of self-service tools. As a marketer with a mid-sized and somewhat limited budget, the idea of what MyAds can offer is very appealing – as long as it’s easy-to-use and somewhat self-managing.
You see, the self-service model that is meant to take advantage of the longtail of advertisers (50,000 advertisers spending $25 as opposed to 25 advertisers spending $50,000) is somewhat of a double-edged sword due to the fact that the smaller and mid-sized advertisers that are meant to use the system are a much different beast than the larger and more experienced advertisers that are more used to dealing with advertising platforms, terminology and management. This means that dealing with smaller advertisers (like me) also comes with dealing with advertisers that have less time, are managing many different things at once, and are most-likely less educated on advertising methods and seem to need more tools that allow them to make sense of their campaigns easily and quickly.
This brings me to my own experience with the MyAds platform, which up until this point has been a little bit of a struggle. This isn’t surprising considering that it’s only been openly available for less than 3 months and is still in public Beta. I’m not one to get frustrated easily with something new and I understand that they are consistently making improvements every day, but as it stands now there are some issues with the MyAds platform that have made it really hard for someone like me to work with as efficiently as I’d like. Some of these issues are as follows:
Each of these issues can probably be easily fixed and like I said, the MyAds system is only a few months old and they have a very capable team working on improving this system every single day. I fully expect MyAds to only get better over time, I just hope for their sake that they don’t lose a lot of advertisers in the meantime.
Using Facebook Ads In Two Words: Speedy And Statistical
Everyone knows that Facebook hasn’t exactly been free of any issues when it comes to trying to monetize their network, but ever since I have used them Facebook Ads have consistently improved their extremely easy-to-use tools and have quickly realized the benefit of empowering their advertisers with as much statistical and analytical data as possible. The speed and ease of use that comes along with using Facebook Ads makes creating campaigns and managing their budgets, schedules and messaging extremely straight forward while their reporting options also make it easy to get a quick and easy overview of what your different campaigns are up to.
In fact, there aren’t a whole lot of things to complain about from a marketing perspective when it comes to Facebook Ads, but the one thing that I do worry about is how much noise their users will take before the ads begin to get in the way of what they’re actually there for – communicating with their friends. Here are a few things that I feel Facebook has done right:
So, does Facebook have the perfect system? No. But as far as I’ve seen they’ve made some huge leaps in the right direction when it comes to advertising on social networks and I can only imagine what they’ll come up with once they actually give it the attention and resources that they think it eventually deserves.
Stats, Conversions And The Bottom Line: How Do They Perform?
The bottom line when using these self-service advertising platforms is whether or not they make my life easier as a marketer and whether or not they give me a good return on my investment of time, money and attention. I ran some numbers on how each of these campaigns has performed for me, but like most advertisers will be quick to tell you, results can and probably will vary from campaign to campaign. With that being said, here are some things that you should be aware of before I lay out my numbers for you:
The Future For These Self-Service Ad Platforms
Although MySpace and Facebook are two very different businesses, they both have realized that they need to accomplish similar things in order to give their self-service systems the success that they’re looking for. Two big goals that they both mentioned were increasing their marketing and promotional reach to the millions of potential advertisers across the nation and once they reach them somehow educating these advertisers to the point that they feel comfortable using these self-service systems.
Facebook has already started setting up deals with partners as a way to get the word out, such as their partnership with the Visa Business Network that leverages Visa’s name to attract new businesses to advertise and a deal with GoDaddy and Intuit that gives their new business users free credits to try out the Facebook Ads system. MySpace is also working on setting up some of these partnerships and I’m sure that they will be figuring out ways to inform their music, comedy and other entertainment-based users about the MyAds service as they begin to implement their marketing and promotional strategy.
With both MySpace and Facebook looking to self-service advertising as a way to significantly bump revenues, the race is officially on to see who can get traction in the market first. Facebook has the polished tools and the growing audience, but I have a feeling that MySpace has just given us a taste of what their creative team can come up with and despite the issues that I’ve had with MyAds, they seem to be constantly improving their system that has already seen some early success. All I know is that I’m looking forward to seeing how these competing platforms end up performing through the rest of 2008 and into 2009.