STUDY: How Major Events, Viral Trends Impact Facebook’s Ads Auction Market

How do major international events such as the World Cup and viral trends such as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge affect Facebook’s ads auction market?

SocialCodeImpactOfEventsOnFacebookBiddingCostsHow do major international events such as the World Cup and viral trends such as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge affect Facebook’s ads auction market?

SocialCode, a Facebook Marketing Partner, released a study in which it sampled bid costs via Facebook’s ads application-programming interface over a 10-week period — June 21 through Aug. 23, 2014 — across more than 1,800 interest and demographic traits.

The company arrived at its average bid costs by weighing media bid cost per thousand impressions (CPM) and averaging them across the time period.

When it came to 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, SocialCode found that:

  • Bidding was elevated in June and early July as the tournament played out.
  • Costs started to decline after the last weekend of pool play as teams exited the tournament.
  • The CPM downtrend continued after the U.S. elimination, and finally bottomed as the finals approached.

As for the Ice Bucket Challenge, SocialCode found that:

  • Ice Bucket Challenge content sharing and engagement dominated News Feeds, resulting in higher competition to place ads and a sharp CPM uptick.
  • Interestingly, Google Trends show a similar spike in searches for “Ice Bucket Challenge” and “ALS” lagging behind the trend seen on Facebook by a few days.

Finally, SocialCode offered the following takeaways for advertisers:

  • Bidding costs tend to increase amidst big events, whether they’re planned tent-pole events or spontaneous social events, which advertisers can’t predict.
  • If an event and its associated audience are relevant to your brand, it may be wise to invest.
  • Otherwise, advertisers should be aware of these trends and allocate always-on media spending around, not during, them.

Readers: Did any of SocialCode’s findings surprise you?

SocialCodeImpactOfIceBucketChallenge