Lookery, an ad network for Facebook and other social networks with developer platforms, announced that, as part of their effort to rapidly grow their inventory, they are offering guaranteed minimum of 12.5 cents CPM for the next three months for an exclusive on the application’s traffic. 12.5 cents CPM at first glance seems awfully low but one must consider the alternatives.
Ad rates, in this case we’re talking in terms of CPM, generally correlate directly with context. Stronger context means a more focused audience. Targeted ads for this audience brings in high rates. For Facebook apps that have pages with real context, it’s likely that they can and should do much better than 12.5 cents. Depending on the content genre, it may take a bit more legwork on the part of the developers to find the right advertisers who will pay, but if the volume is there, it shouldn’t be too hard. However, for apps that have no real context (the majority of apps), 12.5 cents CPM may be about as good as they can get. Facebook itself sells its “flyer” ad space (the left column under the nav links) for not much more than this. In fact, I recently paid about 20-25 cents CPM for an ad and that was when I instructed Facebook to serve my ad only to a very precise demographic (matching only ~40k users out of the 50M+ Facebook userbase). Without such targeting, I would have gotten away with paying much less.
From my own experiences, I’ve found SocialMedia to be quite lucrative. SocialMedia advertisers, primarily developers who are buying installs for their own applications, pay 15 cents and upwards for a click. When SocialMedia first launched, when we published their ads prominently at the top of our canvas pages, we saw eCPM as high as $2 or so. Now it’s less, but still is above 50 cents eCPM. My hunch though is that applications which serve massive page views, particularly a large number of page views per user session, will see decreasing eCPM from SocialMedia. There’s only so many ads that each user is going to click in a session, no matter how many page views in length. Again, this is just a hunch though.
So, if you are one of the application developers that has a massively popular application which offers no meaningful context, then Lookery’s offer is probably pretty attractive. And this type of developer is exactly who Lookery wants in order to achieve their goal of adding a billion page views of inventory a month for the next few months.