What $30.00 bought on Facebook

What does social do for your company? When I was in the US I’d say probably it can do a lot. But after moving to Germany I discovered things were different here. For a while at Arzttermine.de we let that rule dictate how much time to put into our engagement with people in social media. In a recent change of plans that old mentality is gone and we’re determined to be sure we didn’t pass up something great.

While posting an update to Facebook last week: “Wann hast du dich das letzte Mal auf einen Arzttermin gefreut und warum? Erzähl es uns!”. Which is like saying “What was the last time you looked forward to a doctor appointment? Why? Tell us!”, Facebook offered to boost the post for $8.00. With that investment our status update could reach nearly 5,000+ people the promotion claimed. And so another test and exploration began.

I am actually embarrassed we waited so long to do this. We have run ad campaigns, and re-posted our newsletters and “Magazin” posts on our Facebook page (our website blog), but other than that  really almost no tweeting or other network activity at all. If people wrote on our FB wall, we’d respond. Nothing else. Our Facebook account was the equivalent of a cork board in the back of coffee shop. Occasionally something was posted there, little signs of life indicating it wasn’t completely untouched, but not the hub of interaction or engagement that drives a steady stream of new users and keeps our brand on the minds of existing ones.

The reason we waited so long is one you can easily spot out with a little poking around in the startup scene of Germany. Germany and probably many other countries in Europe are an odd sibling of the social networking universe, usually late to adopt if ever at all. Where in the US you’d name five major social networks that have popped up in recent years, in Europe its unlikely more than one has even obtained a critical mass.

Also there is a delay. While Facebook use declines in the US and many have moved onto Snapchat, Vine and Instagram, most people in Germany don’t really even know what Instagram is about. A mind set that Twitter is for narcissists who want to post what they are doing as they are doing it all day so the whole world knows is at just about any diner table when the topic comes up. Many European companies simply don’t see the point of having a Facebook page. And if they wait long enough, it will have saved them some trouble too in a odd way as it’s likely it won’t matter anymore unless they are running a some kind of mobile campaign. But at what cost?

With a hunch that while it’s not nearly as big in Germany, our conviction to make this new push is about the fact that social media may still be a great place to acquire organic traffic and build some brand awareness, and we believe it deserves a good shot of going all at it. The marketing activities in this push is probably no surprise to an active social media’ist; acquiring followers, retweeting, publishing more newsletters, diving deepend into follower, open rate, click thrus etc, finding insights, tests and demo targeting messages.

And so when Facebook asked if we’d like a “boost”, for $8.00 we said why not. Except then I made the demographic’s more specific, and decided to go after a larger audience in the 6 digit range, which according to Facebook would cost another $22.00 bringing the grand total to $30. We decided to give it a go, a small cost to see what pushing our status a little deeper into our follower network might achieve.

So what were the results? As of the time of this post, the $30 helped our post to reach 40,944 people, which is about 40.5k more then our posts usually “reach” (still need to fully understand the definition of that term in the terms), as for engagement, the status message and got 7 likes and 1 comment, although there isn’t a comment visible on the post. And on the website end in our Google Analytics, it appears we had about visitors from Facebook, none of which booked an appointment. So there you have it $4.28 cost per like, $6.00 cost per visitor (assuming the paid post generated that visit), and 0% conversion rate.

Not exactly a successful post, so we’ll have to look deeper into this, especially compared to Newsletters which have some conversion rate, 20-30% open rate, and 6-13% click through. But that’s for another post.

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