Quantifiable Lift With The Addition of Social Media to Advertising

With article after article these days pontificating on the value of Social Media Marketing to businesses small and large, we’re happy to finally be able to present a study from a reputable media tracking company to provide findings based upon the analysis of survey data using standard research methodology.  Read the study summary below to learn Nielsen’s findings.

from the Center for Media Research at MediaPost 

A recent joint study from Nielsen and Facebook, titled “Advertising Effectiveness: Understanding the Value of a Social Media Impression,” analyzed survey data from more than 800,000 Facebook users with regard to more than 125 Facebook ad campaigns from 70 brand advertisers. The report provides quantifiable data that can be mapped to trusted advertising  benchmarks: Ad Recall, Brand Awareness, and Purchase Intent.

Studies have shown that consumers trust their friends and peers more than anyone else in making a purchase decision. The authors acknowledge that it’s critical to understand advertising not just in terms of “paid” media, but also in terms of how “earned” media (passed along or shared among friends) and social advocacy contribute to campaigns.

Percent of Respondents Trusting “Completely or Somewhat” in Selected Forms of Information
Form of Information % of Respondents
Recommendations from people known 90%
Consumer opinions posted online 70
Brand websites 70
Editorial content 69
Brand sponsorship 64
TV 62
Newspaper 61
Magazines 59
Billboards/outdoor advertising 55
Radio 55
Opted-in Emails 54
Ads before movies 52
Ads fromSearch engine results 41
Online video ads 37
Online banner ads 33
Text ads on mobile phones 24
Source: The Nielsen Company, April 2009

The study took a close look at 14 Facebook ad campaigns that incorporated the “Become A Fan” engagement unit and sliced the effectiveness results three different ways, by each of the types of ads available on Facebook:

  • Lift from a standard “Homepage (Engagement) Ad”
  • Lift from an ad that featured social context or “Homepage ads with Social Context”
  • Lift from “Organic Ads,” news-feed stories that are sent to friends of users who engage with advertising on a brand

For those Homepage engagement ads at the top of the marketing funnel, awareness increased on average by 4% between exposed and control audiences. Purchase intent also increased on average by 2% following ad exposure on Facebook.

Variance Between Control Group to Homepage Ad
Benchmark % Lift Change vs. Control
Ad recall 10%
Awareness 4
Purchase intent 2
Source: the Nielsen Company/Facebook, April 2010

Comparing the responses of those users who had seen ads with social context against users who saw ads with no social context from the same campaign, there is a measurable lift in lift.

Relative “Lift” between Homepage and Homepage with Social Context Added
Benchmark Homepage Exposure Lift Homepage with Social Advocacy
Ad Recall 10% 16%
Awareness 4 8
Purchase intent 2 8
Source: the Nielsen Company/Facebook, April 2010

While exposure to the homepage ad itself increased ad recall, those users exposed to both the “paid ad” and the organic impression remembered the ad at three times the rate of those just exposed to the paid homepage ad.

We saw a similar effect for the other two metrics evaluated. Homepage ads increased awareness of the product or brand by 4% on average, but exposure to both homepage ads and organic ads increased awareness by a delta of 13% versus the control group. Exposure to organic impressions also impacted purchase intent as well, increasing the impact of the ad from 2% to 8%.

Variance in Lift Between Homepage Control and Homepage Ad With Organic Context Added
Benchmark Homepage Ad Exposure Homepage Ad + Organic
Ad Recall 10% 30%
Awareness 4 13
Purchase intent 2 8
Source: the Nielsen Company/Facebook, April 2010

To access additional visuals in the TopLine report, please visit Nielsen here, or for the complete PDF file on earned media, social advertising and the methodology behind the study, please visit here.


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