Friendster Ads Declassified

After we did a trial run on Friendster Ads (FAds), I thought it would be good to follow-up with some stats results on our ad-ventures. Remember that FAds’ model is CPM so you pay for the number of eyeballs or ad impresisons on their community site as opposed to CPC like AdSense or YPN.

Moving forward, the Php1,000 free e-PIN we got lasted 13 days (as opposed to the indicated 7 days on their package) with a total of 30,000 ad impressions. Here’s some statistical data derived from the ad campaign:

  • 46.5% Male, 42.5% female, 11% unknown
  • 64% is in the 18-24 years old, 18% in the 25-31, 6.5% are 32 and above, others 11%
  • 51% are single, 15.5% in a relationship and 9% say it’s complicated

There’s not much you can get from that actually so let’s look at where FAds failed to deliver:

  • Stats are not live or real-time. On the 7th day, my reports were showing only around 2 days worth of ad impressions (~4,000). Then, all of a sudden, after 13 days, I get an email that my ads just expired and they’ve served all 30,000 impressions.
  • No detailed reports on a daily basis so we don’t know when the ads are showing. As far as I know, ads are served randomly but we don’t know how random they are or if they are scattered throughout the day on an hourly basis or just in one single serving.
  • No click-through rate report. You’re basically blind on how effective your ads are. The only indication I got was referrals tracked by my own stats tools.

IMHO, the CTR tracking is the most important metrics which allows advertisers to determine if they should continue advertising with Friendster Ads or not. If advertisers don’t have an easy way to get this, FAds will never get repeat clients.

From what I manually counted, the total clickthroughs I got out of 30,000 ad impressions was less than 20. That’s just 0.067% CTR — really very thin number. Had I spent Php1,000 (~$20) in AdWords, I would have gotten about 200 clicks from it.

Suggestions for future improvements:

  • Switch to CTR or at least allow options to get a mix of CPM, CTR or CPA. A Php2.00 – Php5.00 CPC rate would be a nice entry point.
  • Ad Scheduling — allow advertisers to schedule when to start their campaign.
  • Allows ads to be disabled/paused by advertisers and enable them to edit ad copy.
  • Better tracking. It may not be realtime but at least do it multiple times in a day (maybe 3 to 4 times).
  • CTR reporting. It would be good to learn when the ad was clicked and what the demographics of the clicker (a summary would be acceptable).
  • Demographics filter. Allow advertisers to filter which users their ads will show.
  • Allow image ads. Friendster is an picture-heavy website and users are already accustomed to looking and clicking at them. Image ads will have a much better CTR than text ads.

Another idea I had in mind was to push the ads to user’s mobile phones (via Friendster Mobile). To avoid it becoming another obnoxious text spam, there should be opt-in first before the ads are pushed. Better yet, make an option to have Friendster Mobile free to receive alerts messages but tied with ads. So for every free mobile alert you get, you’re delivered with another FAds (which will offset the cost).

That’s about it. Anybody else here tested FAds? Share your feedback with us and some suggestions you’d like to see as well.

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  • jhay

    Nice review, I was considering advertising on FAds, but now I think I’ll spend my hard-earned money on AdWords instead.

  • I guess Friendster members really aren’t out to buy something. I just logged into Friendster, and… where the ads? Just “your ads here” …

  • i had the same observation.. ive always wondered why friendster rather counter the flow of CPC in the first place.. talk about case study..