During the month of January I have been doing some advertising for EclipseCon 2012 and Agile ALM Connect. This year we are in a new location (Reston, VA) and Agile ALM Connect is a new conference, so we wanted to make sure the word got out. I am a big believer in sharing data and marketing experiences, so I thought it might be interested to share the experience we had with the different advertising outlets.
We setup (or at least attempted to setup) advertising campaigns with Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Stack Overflow. Stack Overflow is one of the top sources of referrals to the eclipse.org web site, so I thought it would be interesting to see if we could drive traffic to the eclipsecon.org site.
First off, Twitter was quickly disregarded since you needed a budget of at least a $5000/month. My budget across all media outlets was less than the minimum required by Twitter. It is obvious Twitter is for the big-time advertisers, not the long-tail.
LinkedIn allowed for small budgets but the results were very disappointing. I setup campaigns for each EclipseCon and Agile ALM Connect. After 1 week, I had a total of 5 clicks, at a cost of $3/click. [As an aside, advertising is often measured in click-thru rate (CTR) and cost/click.] LinkedIn kept recommending for me to increase the cost per click but frankly paying $5 for someone to click on a URL is hard to justify, so I ended the campaign.
Stack Overflow required a minimum of $2500/month but considering their importance in the Eclipse community I decided to give them a try. The results were disappointing. We had a 0.07% CTR and that results in an average $5 cost/click. Not really the best results. Half way through the month we updated the ad and started to get closer to a 0.1% CLR but still not great.
Facebook drove the best results for the money. The Facebook CTR was a dismal 0.02% but they charge by the click, not by impression, so the campaign averaged $1/click. From an advertiser point of view, the nice thing about Facebook is that I was able target the ads to specific countries, states, cities, companies, keywords etc. etc. Facebook’s ability to target ads is definitely impressive from an advertiser perspective.
In summary, Facebook was definitely the best value. There also seems to be a lot of Eclipse community using Facebook, we have 20K people following the eclipse.org fan page, so something definitely worth pursuing in the future.
FWIW, we also advertise EclipseCon and Agile ALM Connect on the eclipse.org home page. In fact, we also sell advertising space to Eclipse Foundation member companies that want to reach the Eclipse community. Based on past experiences, the click-thru rates for ads on eclipse.org typically range from .1% to .3% and a cost/click at $1.37-$2.00. We also have Promoted Downloads where the CTR ranges from .4% to 1.4% and a cost/click at $0.53-$1.80.
What are other people finding from your advertising experiences? Any suggestions for other sites or other experiences?