Taking a Performance Approach to Facebook

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November 8, 2013
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Taking a Performance Approach to Facebook


Recently, Forrester Research published a report and “Open Letter” to Mark Zuckerberg.  The report surveyed 395 marketing executives, asking them to rate their satisfaction (on a scale of one to five) with digital mediums like Google, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.  The report has met much criticism in the industry regarding Forrester’s key perspectives, which included:

  • “Facebook is failing marketers”
  • “The executives we surveyed said Facebook’s display ads were significantly less effective than the display ads they buy elsewhere online”
  • “Don’t dedicate paid ad budget for Facebook.  Make it compete with other media buys based on performance, just as you would any other site.”

Although Forrester reported the above, Performics believes that if advertisers approach all media buying through a performance lens, they CAN dedicate budget specifically to social, including Facebook. Currently, many social media marketers operate only based on assumptions—not hard metrics, reporting or performance.  Yet, Facebook ads are auction-based, bought and optimized in real-time, based on data.  For years, we’ve been consulting our clients to bring this data to the forefront and start treating Facebook—like any other digital channel—based on performance.  Performance can be conversions (leads/sales); it can also be the things that influence that final conversion, like branding, engaging participants, building fans, encouraging sharing, etc.  At Performics, we’ve found that Facebook is uniquely positioned to deliver performance—throughout every phase of the participant journey. This Briefing illustrates recent Facebook successes we’ve seen for our clients, taking a performance lens to the channel: FACEBOOK PERFORMANCE OPPORTUNITIES Over the past year, Facebook has made an effort to make its ads more direct-response focused.  For instance, the Facebook Ad Exchange (FBX) enables advertisers to reach users based on their browsing histories (via first- and third-party cookies).  To illustrate, a user who places products in her shopping cart on a retailer’s site but doesn’t purchase may later see an ad, on Facebook, from the retailer.  FBX is significant in that it opens a huge quantity of high quality ad inventory to advertisers for re-targeting purposes (Facebook now has over one billion active users). The Forrester Report notes that “the executives we surveyed said Facebook’s display ads were significantly less effective than the display ads they buy elsewhere online.”  Performics has seen the opposite—our clients have been driving better sales/lead volume and lower cost-per-sale/lead through FBX than other display exchanges.  And they’re now shifting budget to Facebook to capture this performance.  Overall, Performics’ client investment in FBX is increasing in 2013 due primarily to the efficiency and scale Facebook advertising is driving, as proven by data, not assumptions.  In fact, FBX accounted for 39% of display impressions for our clients and 12% of display spend in Q2 2013:

 FBX spend

One Performics client has seen great performance increases on FBX throughout 2013, with a 36% decrease in cost-per-acquisition (CPA), alongside an 18% increase in total conversion. FACEBOOK PERFORMANCE STRATEGIES We’ve found that Facebook performance is achieved when the followed criteria are activated:

  1. Use a data-driven approach to segment your participants (both fans and non fans)
  2. Distinguish optimization and reporting KPIs early and often
  3. Optimize strategies and budgets in real-time
  4. Develop Facebook strategies that complement and integrate with broader marketing objectives
  5. When developing strategies, define the role of Facebook for smartphone, tablet and desktop users

Facebook isn’t “failing” marketers that take a performance approach to the platform.  We believe that every marketer should test and leverage Facebook to create awareness, encourage participation and—ultimately—drive conversions. To leverage Performics to drive Facebook (or other social) success for your brand, contact Performics today.


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