Facebook is not a search network. Unlike Google and MSN, it does not have a search component, nor does it have a network of sites on which it shows its ads (content network). Rather, Facebook only shows its ads on facebook.com, and those ads are targeted based on users demographic and behavioral preferences. In other words, Facebook is another example of “pull advertising.” Users are NOT looking for an advertiser’s ad when they are on Facebook. As a result, it is up to the advertiser to a) get the user’s attention and b) (if linking to a non-facebook page) to give the user a reason to stop browsing facebook and go to their site.
Because Facebook is a pull advertising vehicle, I have not found it to be nearly as effective in driving off-site direct response as advertising on a push search network has been. Due to the fact that Facebook targets based on the information a user has in their profile or who they know versus the content of the page they are on when they see the ad, I have also found that Facebook is not nearly as effective in driving off-site direct response as the Google Display Network. However, Facebook is a wonderful branding play and is great at driving traffic and awareness. Had a good experience with Facebook ads driving off-site direct response? Please include your experience in the comments.