Just a couple of weeks ago, Facebook officially launched its Sponsored Results program, which allows advertisers to place sponsored links in the social network’s search results — and the early results are impressive, according to social advertising and analytics startup Optimal.
Optimal has been running Sponsored Results campaigns for its own customers, but it also tracks brand activity and fan value on Facebook through its Optimal Index (viewable on the company’s home page). So CEO Rob Leathern used the data to answer two questions: Do these units help advertisers target a new audience? And are they actually effective? (Spoiler: Yes and yes, at least so far.)
On the question of reaching a new audience, Optimal looked at the number of people who would have been reachable by targeting a given search term, and then compared that to a brand’s Facebook fans (or others who could have been targeted with existing Facebook ad units). For example, during the seven-day period that Optimal measured, “Facebook” showed up in 24,800 US searches (yes, apparently people are searching for Facebook while on Facebook), and only 21.9 percent of those searchers were fans. The percentages are similar or lower for the other top brands on Facebook, like YouTube (20.8 percent), Coca-Cola (2.7 percent), Disney (22.3 percent) and MTV (17.4 percent).
In other words, if YouTube had placed an ad on the search term “YouTube”, it could have reached 24,620 US searchers, and nearly 80 percent of them would have been a new audience, or at least people who weren’t already Facebook fans. Among all the brands that Leathern looked at, he says there was a weighted average of 7 percent overlap between fans and searchers.
On the question of effectiveness, Leathern isn’t taking a comprehensive look at big brand data, but instead providing anecdotal evidence from Optimal’s campaigns. Those campaigns covered a variety of categories, including political, entertainment, and consumer packaged goods. The clickthrough rates ranged from 0.7 percent to 4.1 percent. Leathern says that on the low-end, the campaigns performed at least 10x better than normal Facebook Marketplace ads. Over time, those numbers will “normalize” and go down, but he says they’re still “very promising.”
Looking at the data, Leathern also suggests that the new Sponsored Results aren’t a replacement for normal search advertising or for normal Facebook ads. Instead, it’s “a new way of reaching people” that can grow brand’s audience in an “incremental” way.
Optimal Inc. is the leading social media advertising and analytics platform. Optimal helps brands and advertisers manage social advertising campaigns in real-time with its media acquisition and optimization platform (Optimal), and proprietary audience analytics suite (Audience Matrix, Keyword Explorer, Keyword Expander). Optimal’s analytics suite generates actionable insights as to who to target, and the Optimal ad platform manages these campaigns automatically and efficiently. Optimal provides both full service and self-service options to accommodate the varying needs of different...
Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with over 1 billion monthly active users. Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg in February 2004, initially as an exclusive network for Harvard students. It was a huge hit: in 2 weeks, half of the schools in the Boston area began demanding a Facebook network. Zuckerberg immediately recruited his friends Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes, and Eduardo Saverin to help build Facebook, and within four months, Facebook added 30 more college networks. The original...