09/02/2014 02:08 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Which Advertising Platform Works Best? Apple, Facebook or Twitter?

Which is the best place to advertise online of these three outlets: Apple, Facebook or Twitter? We decided to put them to the test for our mobile venture hapn that lets people make photo stories together.

The results surprised us and gave us powerful insight into how best to use these platforms that may help you as a business owner to decide. So which came out on top?

Drum roll.... it was Facebook.

We experienced an outstanding 16% click-thru rate (CTR) on Facebook.


To put that in context, the average CTR for an ad online is lucky to hit 2%.

Best ad on Twitter was this which showed someone capturing the scene in Ferguson, MO:


This particular tweet ad got a 5.21% response rate on Twitter. Total CTR engagement on Twitter for all ads we ran was: 1.82%.


Meanwhile, we were surprised by how Apple's iAd platform didn't perform for us. Ironically, it should have been the best performer since we are promoting an app on iPhone. Overall, iAd delivered a 0.13% tap-thru rate (TTR), equivalent to CTR.


Aside from performance, we believe both Facebook and Twitter have a more user-friendly ad interface to allow you to create ads, pick geographic areas (even zip codes), ages and more. Apple has some of these but not as granular.

Another plus of both Facebook and Twitter was ads were approved within 15 minutes whereas on Apple's iAds we waited more than 24 hours for them to be reviewed and approved.

Here's a look at Facebook's Ad Manager starting point:


Going into this we expected Apple iAd to dominate and both social networks to be weaker. The result was the opposite, at least for us. We thought since Apple had device info to exact location and global presence that it would have advantages down to the micro-zip code level. It didn't. We also found its interface not easy to navigate. For example, we have two running campaigns (out of 9 we ran) but when we click the dashboard on Apple iAd it shows this:


Why it shows a completed ad campaign first and not the active ones we don't know. Apple also chooses to display 5 of 9 ads we ran/are running. Why not just show all 9 on the dashboard at once?

We didn't test Google Ad Words since it's been around awhile and we wanted to see how the "newbies" in online ads would do. Next time.

Have you advertised with any of these? What have been your results? Let me know in comments.