Don’t expect this to be a well formed and written post. This is going to be more of a log for an experiment I am running.
I have been doing some experimenting with a couple of niche sites and testing traffic and revenue obtained from Google vs Facebook. Keep in mind these were brand new niche sites and brand new domains. I want to see:
1.) How long it takes me to get these ranked in Google and the cost and time for that.
2.) How long it takes me to build up a decent fan base on a Facebook fan page and the cost and time for that.
3.) Which bring in more clicks and revenue.
I will post monthly status updates for at least the next 3 months and after that I will post the full results from this experiment including all costs and time spent. I will not share what the domains are until the very end of my experiment because I don’t want external sources messing with things.
Update as of Feb 25th 2012
So far Facebook wins. One of the sites (very niche) which is now 3 months old is making on average $700 per month from Facebook, has a fan base of almost 24,000 and receives over 20,000 visits per month from Facebook. All from spending about 5 minutes per day posting status updates on the Facebook page. I am spending about $175 per month to obtain new targeted fans to the Facebook page. If you are a numbers geek running numbers through your head right now, you will know that so far Facebook is earning me about $210 per hour on time I am spending.
5 mins per day * 30 days = 150 mins per month/60 = 2.5 hours per month spent updating the Facebook page. $700 revenue per month – $175 ad costs = $525 net /2.5 hours = $210 per hour.
From Google organic traffic, it makes about $100 per month and gets about 7000 visits. Backlink building time and costs so far have been more than cost and time in building up Facebook page fans. So far I am spending about 5 hours of my time per month building external content and backlinks and am spending about $150 per month outsourcing a very small chunk of backlink building. Going off the same logic as above, so far I am losing money from time spent obtaining Google organic traffic.
I do know however that if I can get the site to rank better organically in Google that the traffic will bypass what is being received from Facebook. It sure is harder now days though to get and keep organic rankings in Google.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out over the next couple of months. If I can obtain better organic rankings, Google will by far bypass Facebook. But at what cost and time involved?
So far from these tests it is making me re-think some of our marketing strategies and where to put our time and dollars especially when launching a new site or product.