TBG Digital Study: High Conversion Performance in Facebook’s Social Context Ads

TBG Digital, a Facebook advertising and social media specialist company, has released data based on a recent client study that indicates social context ads perform more effectively than non-social context ads, according to certain metrics. The findings support a 2010 Nielsen study published when social context ads were introduced, which indicated these ad campaigns impacted brand recall by 10% with 2% improvement on purchasing intent.

TBG Digital analyzed the difference in cost-per-click conversion rates between social context ads and non-social context ads, finding ample reasons to side with social context advertising. The analysis was based on a single client, a popular entertainment brand showcased at f8. The advertiser spent $60,000 across a 14-day period, using on eight different advertisements on Facebook. The campaign accumulated 436 million impressions.

The company claims it saw a 32% improvement in purchasing intent when using social context ads. While cost-per-click remained constant between non-social context and social context ads, click-through rates were lower for social context ads. In this specific study, non-social context ads took 132 clicks to achieve a conversion, while it only took 99 clicks for social context ads to achieve a conversion. The client paid $1.37 per click, so the difference in cost per acquisition equated to 44 dollars when using social context ads.

TBG Digital indicates there are limitations to the campaigns, primarily due to the URL structure in the Ads API: traffic can only be sent to the advertiser’s home page. For example, “www.company.com” would link properly, but “www.company.com/offer” would not. Most companies use the social context ads to advertise a particular event, new product or place, and sending traffic to the homepage is a tedious sidestep. Facebook campaigns ultimately don’t take users to their intended landing page. Customers may get lost and divert attention, or at the very least, consume more time than necessary to get to the right destination.

Social context ads are built with a text and image box, standard to Facebook ads, with the addition of visible endorsements beneath the ad. The endorsements note the number of friends associated with a user who Like the Page, group, event or application. These ads are designed to leverage the social interactions that users are comfortable seeing in their News Feeds. The similar aesthetics and language between social context ads and adjacent News Feed bridges these two major Facebook components. For example, users are accustomed to seeing “John Smith likes Company” in news feeds, so the similar aesthetics in social context ads seems to make them more approachable and inviting. As we’ve written previously, advertisers can access social metric reports on the impact of the ads.