Should Facebook Advertisers Really Target Men In Preference To Women?

Are men really cheap?

Well, if you believe the conclusions of the latest social media study from the United States they are. The study called ‘Men Are Cheap’ was conducted by Omnicom digital company, Resolution Media, using Kenshoo’s digital marketing technology. The results may well surprise anyone involved in the world of social media, but what will surprise them the most is the conclusion. It’s a well-known fact that more women than men use Facebook, so there has always been a natural presumption that the majority of advertising should naturally be targeted at these very women. Resolution Media, however, concludes that what marketers should in fact be doing is targeting their advertising on the men, and not the women. The reasoning behind this conclusion couldn’t be simpler. Men are cheap: or rather cheap in terms of advertising. It cost companies less to reach them on social media sites, and what’s more they respond better than members of the fairer sex.

The study analysed over 65 billion Facebook ad impressions and 20 million ad clicks over a 12 month period.

Initially it had been thought that the study’s results would be representative of the audience make-up: 58% of women use Facebook regularly, whilst only 42% of men do. The logic suggested that it would be women who would be more amenable to online advertising. However, what Resolution Media found is that it was actually men who were more interested in the advertising. Men see and click through more Facebook advertisements than women: men have a click through and impression volume rate of 60%, whilst women only generate a 40 percent click response.

According to Viji Davis, vice president of marketing at Resolution Media, the surprising response rate simply replicates and re-enforces the ways the different sexes use the medium:

“Females use Facebook for maintaining existing relationships, academic usage and following an agenda more than males do. Men use Facebook for making new relationships more than females.”

What this means is essentially that men appear to be more switched on and focused on their activities when they interact on Facebook, whereas women tend to do more browsing, communicating and sharing with friends when they’re online.  Although men are known to have shorter attention spans, they are also more easily distracted and persuaded by advertising messages that they see as relevant. The result of this is that men click on Facebook advertisements at a higher rate than their more cautious female counterparts.

According to a report from eMarketer, advertisers spent almost $4 billion on Facebook last year.

From this budget Resolution Media discovered that 53% targeted men. The reason for this is simply that advertising that specifically targets men is considerably cheaper. The study found cost-per-thousand impressions were 16 cents for male Facebook users, whereas for women it was 20 cents: cost-per-click spending for men was 51 cents compared to 68 cents for their female counterparts.

So does this study mean that advertisers should change the way they market their products on Facebook and specifically try to target the men as they are more likely to buy? The answer is probably not.  A target audience is a target audience: what advertisers need to do is tailor their message so that it fits the target audience, or broaden the appeal of that message so that it attracts a wider and more diverse audience.

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