Facebook readies analytics fightback

Facebook is to lay out a best practice guide for marketers, as part of its attempts to combat marketer and shareholder concerns that its advertising services are not doing enough to boost returns.

Facebook stock market
Facebook staff on the company’s stock market debut

The social network is set to release two pieces of research next month that will highlight the advertising creative that works best on its site. It has also recently improved its premium ad offering to become more of a self-service tool.

Earlier this month, several senior marketers had called on Facebook to provide more data on the impact of their social campaigns, or else risk losing their support.

Facebook’s head of measurement platforms and standards Sean Bruich, speaking to Marketing Week ahead of the official release of the research on 11 June, insists Facebook is “not a mystery that is unsolvable” and added that Facebook can drive business results if used effectively.

The social network looked at what it has identified as successful paid-for advertising constructs on the site, using Nielsen metrics to measure how 400 brand campaigns on the site affected consumers’ purchase consideration.

Bruich claims results found having a clear image, making sure the tone is consistent with the brand and ensuring consumers are rewarded by viewing or clicking on the ad are the most important constructs for them to consider when drafting their Facebook campaigns.

Rewarding consumers with an emotional or informational payout is the most predictive measure when it comes to changing their opinions of a brand, he adds.

“You go on Facebook to get something useful about your world, so ads on Facebook should be like that too.”

Other constructs of Facebook advertising, such as making the ad noticeable on the page, were not found to be as predictive in changing purchase consideration.

The second piece of research, looking into best practice on brands’ page posts, found that photos and videos produce the greatest amount of likes, comments and shares. Staying “on topic” is also a vital consideration when creating a page post, the research claims.

Bruich said: “Some brand pages are led astray by asking silly questions and trying to be conversational off topic. This does not increase engagement. If people follow you they want to know about your [product, sector and area of expertise].”

Elsewhere, Facebook is also improving its premium ad offer by allowing advertisers to buy premium inventory via self-service online tools rather than needing to speak to a sales person.

The move will allow advertisers more room to test their campaigns with different creative variations, meaning they can assess which messages are resonating with different audiences.

The social network is also launching a project to help small and midsize enterprises in the UK reach new customers by offering free advertising credits and a best practice guide to advertising on Facebook.

It will also run workshops in partnership with the British Chambers of Commerce, which will educate small firms on how to use social media to grow their businesses.

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