Survey Reveals: Facebook Emerging as Mainstream Advertising Channel

November 13, 2013

Analytic Partners gauged user reaction to Facebook advertising and discovered almost half of newsfeed advertising is reaching target demographics.


NEW YORK, Nov. 13, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- In June, Facebook announced that it had 1 million companies and brands advertising on its platform, a milestone that has signaled its presence as a mainstream advertising channel.  However, with recent changes to Facebook's advertising layout and design in the newsfeed, the true efficacy of that advertising has yet to be determined. Analytic Partners, a leading global marketing consultancy which measures the business impact of Facebook as paid, owned and earned advertising content within media and marketing mix models for major advertisers, sought to gauge the current sentiments of Facebook users to complement their current measurement learnings.  The survey found that nearly half (47%) occasionally pay attention to and/or click on advertisements in their newsfeeds.


The survey of 735 respondents, conducted by Opinion Research Corporation, unveiled the claimed behaviors of Facebook users in response to newsfeed advertising, examining specific interest in various content types and delivery.


"The findings from our Facebook survey align nicely with our last piece ofresearch which found that brand loyalty has become a two way street — people love brands that love and invest in them," said Nancy Smith, founder and CEO of Analytic Partners. "As Facebook rolls out new formats, features and functionality, it's become increasingly apparent that in order to see a real return on investment through this channel, advertisers must better understand the behaviors that drive both short-term actions and long-term loyalty."


Location: Desktop Advertising vs. Mobile Advertising


While general industry research points to a surge in mobile advertising at the expense of desktop, the success of desktop advertising still remains most effective for Facebook's newsfeed advertisers. According to the survey, 85% of Facebook users are more inclined to pay attention to and/or click on a newsfeed advertisement served to them on a computer as opposed to a mobile device. In comparison, only 15% expressed interest in receiving newsfeed advertisements through an application on their mobile phone, iPad, or other tablet. Proponents of mobile advertising fell into a younger demographic, between the ages of 18-44.


Smith added, "In Q4 Facebook recently announced that mobile revenues were up, yet our survey shows the full penetration isn't there yet. The big question is—what happens when penetration catches up? The opportunities will be endless."


Format: Traditional Ads vs. Sponsored Stories


Facebook has a number of formats for their advertising that fall into two major categories— traditional ads and sponsored stories. Within the context of these different formats, the survey revealed that Facebook users are most likely to pay attention to the advertisements of a product or service of a company they are already following on Facebook (60%), followed by a sponsored story (27%), and lastly a non-related advertisement Facebook targets for them (13%).


Content: Discounts and Promotions Work


When it comes to content, 67% of Facebook users are most likely to click on discount offers (i.e. coupons or promotional codes), contests or giveaways (41%) and videos (25%); followed by posts that encourage opportunities to share photos, opinions or experiences (17%) and free app downloads (16%).


On the heels of beta testing for Facebook's automatically playing videos, of those surveyed 83% would find any kind of video that automatically plays in their newsfeeds to be intrusive and as such would likely ignore them. On the contrary, 17% felt that it could be enticing to watch video that plays automatically.

More males (34%) are likely to click on video content than females (19%). The average proponents of video advertising also skewed towards the younger demographic—ages 18-44 (31%) compared to ages 45 and older (19%).


Methods: Retargeting Can Encourage Action


When it comes to retargeted advertisement through Facebook, users say that they often don't notice these types of advertisements (51%). Yet for the 49% that do notice these types of retargeted advertisements, 30% say that it doesn't make them more likely to act on it (i.e. click/like/comment/share or buy).

More generally, the actions most commonly identified by Facebook users include sharing content from a Facebook page they've "liked" (35%); clicking on Facebook page because a friend had "liked it" (31%); and actually buying a product that a friend recommended on Facebook (17%).  The remainder, 46% had not done of these things.


"It's no surprise that Facebook has emerged as a mainstream advertising channel. In fact when we asked survey participants which platform they'd most prefer to receive advertisements on, it was Facebook that scored the highest against Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and others," continued Nancy Smith.  "Despite these findings, it's become increasingly important for marketers to carefully consider their methods of delivery across all advertising channels. Our team of data scientists and marketing professionals play a tremendous role in the analysis of efficacy across the marketing-mix."


To learn more about Analytic Partners and measuring the efficacy of Social Media advertising, visit our Overview of Digital & Social Media ROI.