Facebook Advertising: Just as good as other digital ads.

See how social display ads perform in increasing awareness compared to digital display ads.

Analysis of On Device Research’s ad effectiveness databank reveals that while social display ads drive a +7.5% increase in top-of-mind awareness and +1.0% increase in purchase intent on average, their overall brand performance differs little from the average digital display ad.

58% of all display spend is served in social environments according to the latest full year ad spend figures from the IAB. As a channel it dominates all other forms of display and has become an apparently unquestionable staple of all digital media plans. Concerns about data transparency, market dominance and unhealthy targeting practices continue to rear their head however, and it was telling that a paper released by the Kellogg School of Management last year highlighted that Facebook ads might be far less effective than marketers have been lead to believe.

When it comes to social’s impact on brand building, an analysis of twenty-five campaigns measured using On Device Research’s Social Media Impact tool (a tool that provides brands with an independent third party source of social measurement) allows us to unpick this effectiveness story further.

By comparing demographically matched groups of people exposed to ads on social platforms to an unexposed group, it is clear that social display drives effectiveness throughout the branding funnel: from a +7.5% shift in top-of-mind awareness (i.e. making the tested advertiser brand come top-of-mind to an additional seventy-five people per thousand), to a +1.0% increase in purchase intent.



Whatever the evidence around short term sales effectiveness, it is clear that ads on social media can contribute to long term brand building KPIs. Where the excitement around social campaigns should be tempered however, is that their average performance differs little from the average digital display ad (i.e. display running in non-social environments). A comparison with On Device’s digital display databank reveals that while social ads outperform standard display in terms of top-of-mind awareness, they are virtually neck and neck in terms of ad recall and brand consideration, and only half as effective at boosting purchase intent.

In a year when social media spend is predicted to surpass $110bn, it is concerning that nearly a third of CMO’s claim they are unable to demonstrate its effect on their business. While social can demonstrably help boost brand metrics, marketers must interrogate the channel’s effectiveness with greater scrutiny to justify the fact that the majority of digital display spend currently gets funnelled in social media’s direction.

If you want to apply transparent brand measurement best practice to your social media campaigns, then get in touch with On Device Research at info@ondeviceresearch.com, visit our website www.ondeviceresearch.com or call us on +44 (0) 203 405 9760.

Our latest highlights

Find out what’s driven our pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) below: