Barclaycard: Facebook Ads Outperformed Display, Search

Social network buy had 163 percent higher clickthrough rate

Barclaycard launched a sweeping campaign last November to promote its NFL Extra Points card. The digital media buy included search and display ads on more than a dozen digital media platforms, but the financial services company’s Facebook ads outperformed them all, generating a 0.13 percent clickthrough rate versus the overall campaign’s average of 0.08 percent.

Facebook was “our top performing digital channel,” said David Goodman, senior director of digital marketing for Barclaycard U.S. Not only did the Facebook ads generate a 40 percent higher conversion rate compared to the campaign’s other digital channels, but it did so at a 48 percent lower cost-per-acquisition.

Goodman attributed that success to the platform’s targeting capabilities. While the brand ran some ads that offered users 20,000 rewards points, the “biggest contributor” to the campaign’s success was the interest-level creative that had Barclaycard running ads according to which team or teams a user liked on Facebook. “No other medium that we had was able to give us the targeting in the sense that Facebook members raised their hands, liked their teams and had an explicit interest at the team level,” said Goodman of the team-specific ads. In total, the Facebook ads sent Barclaycard 2,300 preapproved accounts and 60 percent of the campaign’s total approvals.

But the campaign wasn’t always on the path to success. While Facebook advocates a cost-per-click buy for ads that drive users outside of Facebook—which Barclaycard’s ads did—the brand saw better results upon switching to a CPM basis after a few weeks of running CPC ads. Adam Allamar, director of digital acquisitions at Barclaycard U.S., said the CPM buy gave the brand a better ability to target ads as well as monitor performance and home in on the creative that performed best.

“The CPM vs. CPC learning is absolutely we’ve absolutely applied to [subsequent Facebook ad campaigns] where we might have thought CPC might have been the preferred approach,” said Goodman. “Learning that the CPM model and visibility and optimization that it gives us is at least the right place to start going forward.” He noted that the “one campaign does not make for a finalized viewpoint” and that Barclaycard is working to establish a balance between brand awareness and direct-response ads on Facebook.

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