Proving The Value Of Facebook Advertising: The Struggle Continues

By Serena Goldberg Demonstrating the value of Facebook advertising has been a hefty undertaking for marketers of all stripes, and the pressure has only increased as more and more investment is put into social media. Facebook ads can increase brand awareness and drive more Likes on a company’s Facebook page – as evidenced by metrics such as click-thru rates and new page likes. But many marketers are looking to go beyond just showing an increase in Likes.* To meet this demand, measurements of Facebook advertising are becoming more sophisticated.

Here are four tactics from your friends at Likeable Media to demonstrate the value of Facebook advertising:

  1. Track audience movement from Facebook ads to outside websites. This isn’t new, but it is something marketers can do more of: tracking activity driven outside of Facebook. Display ads can send a user to one of two places: the brand’s Facebook page or a web page outside Facebook. As a company, Facebook is all about keeping customers on its own website, so the firm naturally suggests using ads to drive them to your brand page. This has great value, but limits your measurement. Instead, you can drive fans to your own website or micro-site and track these users after they visit by adding a tracking code to the URL. As we said, this is nothing new, but many marketers aren't doing it. We think they are missing an opportunity to measure and show engagement – and revenue – as a result of Facebook advertising.
  2. Target and measure different demographics and segments. Since you can target your ads at specific demographics and interests, it makes sense to see how different groups engage on your website. While this isn't possible to do directly on Facebook, it is possible on your own website and micro-sites (see previous bullet). By doing so you can measure – and demonstrate – the effectiveness of your Facebook advertising.
  3. Leverage Facebook’s new offerings. Facebook recently announced its “Custom Audience” ads at the Dreamforce Conference. This new initiative means businesses can now tie user’s email addresses and phone numbers to information in their CRM systems. This means Facebook ads can now be more narrowly targeted: brands can push ads out to their existing customers whether to get them to be fans of the brand’s page or target specific groups of prospects (e.g. frequent purchasers). With more relevant targeting, brands should be able to see lower Cost per Like and Cost per Click.
  4. Combine online and offline metrics. By integrating Facebook data and internal data (see previous bullet) brands can see and measure how ads affect fans’ offline purchases. For example, a firm can measure the purchase behavior of customers whose emails were used in the brand’s Facebook ad targeting. In fact, Facebook has already announced results from a study of 45 different campaigns using new Facebook data and data from brands’ loyalty cards.  According to Facebook, the study showed that in “70% of those campaigns, a dollar spent on Facebook resulted in $3 in sales.”**

Of course with this new information come concerns about user privacy.  However, we believe the benefits outweigh the risks and using these tactics will make proving the value of Facebook that much easier for marketers.

Are you tracking activity from Facebook ads outside Facebook? Do you think the new “Custom Audience” ads” will help you prove the value of Facebook advertising better?  Share your thoughts and comments below!

* For the purposes on this post we are focusing only on display advertising and not sponsored stories.

**Skepticism is appropriate when hearing Facebook’s claims about the success of its own advertising, but a close reading of the case study seems to demonstrate the value of integrating Facebook data with existing customer data.