Men respond better to Facebook ads and are cheaper to reach, study claims

By Chris Lee

While men make up just 42 per cent of Facebook users, they are responsible for two-thirds (60 per cent) of clicks on ads, according to a new study. The global “Men Are Cheap” report, created by digital marketing agency Resolution Media in partnership with social media advertising management platform Kenshoo Social, reveals that men are also cheaper to reach, with a cost per thousand (CPM) impressions costing just $0.16, compared to $0.20 for women.

The “Men Are Cheap” study spans nearly 65 billion Facebook ad impressions and 20 million Facebook ad clicks during a 12-month period worldwide. More than half (53 per cent) of budgets for Facebook ads are currently spent targeting men and cost per click (CPC) is much less expensive for men ($0.51) than women ($0.68), according to the study’s authors. Exposure rate – the ratio of the target audience that see those ads – is also much higher for men, reaching eight per cent of the audience, compared to five per cent for women.

Gender agenda

Gender is just one of the many rich targeting options available to Facebook advertisers, according to the study’s co-author, Kenshoo Social. But why are men cheaper to reach?

“It likely has something to do with how men use the site,” Kenshoo Social’s chief marketing officer Aaron Goldman told NMK. “Typically, they spend less time browsing and chatting so they come in and out of the social network with focused intent; I’m looking for something specific or someone specific, I come to Facebook, find it, him or her, and then get out.”

As a result, Goldman argues that men are more likely to be persuaded to click on an ad and be redirected to something other than the task at hand or once the task at hand is completed.

“Men are also stereotyped as having shorter attention spans and this may play into it as well,” he added. “The most rational answer however is that it may be a self-fulfilling prophecy. If marketers spend more energy and budget targeting males, their messages are likely more bespoke and impactful, thus generating more engagement from the males they are geared towards.”

Don’t write off your female audience

While men are less expensive to reach on Facebook, women are still a highly desirable audience and Facebook is a great place to reach them, Goldman said.

“Facebook offers an engaged community of women that can be segmented by likes, interests, geography and other variables to truly find your most valuable customers. And, with unique formats for spreading worth of mouth like Sponsored Stories, Facebook ads can turn customers into brand advocates,” he said.

Top tips for Facebook advertisers

The report’s authors recommend the following five steps as Facebook advertising best practice:

1. Create very finely-targeted ad segments. Separate men and women. Segment by age and other demographic selects, too. Smaller, highly-targeted ad segments enable more relevant and cost-effective Facebook advertising.

2. Methodically expand the number of highly-targeted ad segments to effectively scale campaigns by extending this improved relevance and performance to larger audiences.

3. Use custom text and images for targeting men vs. women. Different messages will get the attention of different genders.

4. Adjust bidding strategies based on segment attributes, including gender. Don’t overspend trying to reach males given the glut of inventory and lower rates available for targeting men.

5. Monitor Frequency. We learned in “Metrics that Matter” [another recent report] that an ad frequency of six is optimal. Beyond that point, people tune out and fresh creative is required to drive engagement.

Disclaimer: The article’s author is a partner of Kenshoo’s UK PR consultancy

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