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Facebook Promos: Thumbs Down on Today’s Internet

- by , in Internet Marketing, Social Media Marketing, with 0 -

Facebook promos thumbs downFacebook promos (“share & invite” style, such as sweepstakes apps) are not an effective way to market today, now that the Internet is maturing. Yet still, digital marketing shops sell these promos on the premise that their participants can invite their friends. The math is that because the average Filipino has 440 Facebook friends, the invite will go to 440 times the number participants, providing great exposure. These numbers easily get into the hundreds of thousands or more.

But it isn’t working, much less true. And hang on, because I’ve got the data to prove it, courtesy of Agorapulse, after the jump.

Why Facebook Promo Participants aren’t Sharing

As Facebook became more and more crowded, Edgerank, the algorithm which decides what content gets shared to whom, allowed fewer shares to make their way to your friends. It is well documented that content you share is seen by 8% to 16% of your friends, on average.

Even worse, as users became more educated about Facebook, they became more selective about what they shared with their friends. Campaign invites began to plummet. And so did their reception.

Facebook Promos: Thumbs Down on Today's Internet - http://tonyahn.com/2013/10/facebook-promos-thumbs-down/

These data extracted from hundreds of Facebook promos run during the month of July on the Agorapulse platform shows the plummet of Facebook promos’ performance.


Facebook promo shares became lost in a sea of similar competition, unable to maintain visibility and popularity, fighting for attention in a crowded field. Going to your Facebook newsfeed and sorting by Most Recent instead of Top Stories is like attempting to sip water from a firehose. There is more information than you can possibly deal with. This fact caused users to become more selective and click less on invites and promos. If you were quickly checking your Facebook during a break, would you be more interested to click a picture of your best friend’s trip to a destination you’ve always wanted to visit, or his sweepstakes invite?

FACEBOOK PROMOS: THUMBS DOWN ON TODAY’S INTERNET - http://tonyahn.com/2013/10/facebook-promos-thumbs-down/

88% of participants of Facebook promos never click on the share button.

Based on the same metrics, 88% of participants of Facebook promos never click on the share button.

Based on data collected from hundreds of Facebook promos applications in June – July 2013, the average sweepstakes entry is shared by just 11.8% of the participants. That means that 88% of participants never click on the share button. Further, the concerned sweepstakes apps only received 1,094 clicks from those that saw the shares.

So, among 108,800 participants across hundreds of Facebook sweepstakes, only 12,885 clicked on the “share” button, and those clicks only referred 1,094 “viral” new participants. That means the original participants only generated an additional 1%. Keep in mind that whatever marketing tactic (Facebook Ads, Google Ads, Community Management, etc.) drove those people to the promo could have driven them anywhere else for the same cost.

Still thinking a share button on your app is the key to virality? The landscape has changed.

The “Invite Your Friends” Option is Even Worse

The ability to let campaign participants invite their friends still seems like the ultimate viral feature, but the reality looks quite different. As a result of a landslide of social game invitations, Facebook users are responding less to their friends’ generic non-organic invitations.

FACEBOOK PROMOS: THUMBS DOWN ON TODAY’S INTERNET - http://tonyahn.com/2013/10/facebook-promos-thumbs-down/

Less than 0.23% of all invitations were accepted during the 30 day period.

Based on the same data used to measure the effectiveness of the share feature, among 108,800 sweepstakes participants, 71,400 invitations were sent, but only 0.23% of these invitations were accepted, bringing in 165 new participants.71,400 invitations led to 165 participants, meaning 99.77% of those who were invited refused or ignored the invitation.

Don’t count on the “invite your friends” feature to help your Facebook sweepstakes go viral.

The Bottom Line

Facebook promos are not rainmakers. With 12% of participants sharing their participation and less than 10% of these shares leading to a click, sole reliance on the manual sharing options offered by Facebook is not the way to go. Even worse, only 0.23% of invitations are accepted by friends of participants. This will not impact your app’s virality. Find a better marketing tactic.

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