Facebook’s New Tools Improves Its Ability to Compare Social Ads to TV

It can better measure brand lift

Sources: Getty Images, Facebook
Headshot of Lauren Johnson

Facebook wants to show advertisers the impact TV has on social and vice versa.

The company is launching two new brand measurement tools that analyze TV and Facebook performance. One of them, Facebook Cross-Platform Brand Lift, plugs into TV analytics company iSpot to crunch data on brand lift across Facebook, Instagram and Facebook Audience Network, or FAN, ads. Consumers are asked in surveys if they watched specific TV programs and then receive followup questions about ads that aired during the programs. Brands can then compare the results from people who were exposed to ads and those who were not. Facebook is slowly rolling out Cross-Platform Brand Lift to advertisers, with the goal of making it widely available in the first quarter of 2018.

“Mobile use has exploded in recent years and has become the new standard bearer in digital content consumption. And because of this, attention is at an all-time premium, and audiences are moving really quickly between devices and across traditional platforms like TV,” said Jessica Shoemaker, product marketing manager at Facebook. “It’s become increasingly difficult for advertisers to get a comprehensive view of their marketing performance, and today, there is no tool that provides an apples-to-apples comparison of brand outcomes across Facebook and television—we know that this is something that brands want and care about.”

Here is a screenshot of what the reporting for a survey looks like:

The second tool works similarly but Nielsen powers it, using its database of TV programming to determine whether someone who was watching TV also saw a Facebook ad. Nielsen will run its own polls and analyze data within the tool, and Nielsen Total Brand Effect with Lift is available for marketers in the U.S. and U.K.

Both tools compare lift across Facebook-only ads, TV-only ads or both types of ads.

House-care brand Shark recently tested Nielsen’s tool to determine brand awareness from Facebook and TV ads, finding a 22-point lift in ad recall when consumers saw both TV and Facebook ads versus a six-point lift for TV-only ads and a three-point lift for Facebook-only ads. The brand also found an eight-point increase in purchase intent when Facebook and TV ads were used together and a six-point lift in awareness when both formats were used.

In the future, Shoemaker said that the goal is to make the tool more precise, tracking Facebook activity during a specific commercial break instead of during a full TV program.

“We’re going to be using the iSpot database to power the learning through that—right now that reporting is not available,” she said. “That’s the ambition for the Facebook solution—that we will be able to report on what the consumers who also reported watching TV as well as those who didn’t were doing on their mobile phones specifically relating to Facebook activity while commercials were airing.”

A year after marketers asked for more transparency into the social network’s reporting and methodology because of a string of measurement issues, the new tool is Facebook’s latest form of addressing those concerns.

Last week, Facebook rolled out a large round of transparency and brand safety changes, including new guidelines for creators and a campaign tool that shows advertisers where their ads ran. Facebook now works with 24 measurement companies.

“Our commitment remains to helping businesses understand their marketing value both on and off Facebook,” Shoemaker said. “Is their creative actually working harder because it is diversified across platforms and do they have complementary messages that are actually helping to drive brand outcomes in a more effective way? Is it more efficient for them to reach one more person across those platforms than either alone?”

@laurenjohnson lauren.johnson@adweek.com Lauren Johnson is a senior technology editor for Adweek, where she specializes in covering mobile, social platforms and emerging tech.