Facebook Adds “Social Context” Metrics to Its Performance Advertising Analytics

Facebook has updated its performance advertising system to provide metrics on the influence of social-context on ad performance. Ad managers will now be able to see the number of impressions, clicks, and click through rate of ads with social context, as well as what percentage of an ad’s total impressions which included social context.

Social context, for context, is what Facebook calls the endorsements listed beneath ads which say “John Smith, Jane Doe and 2 other friends like [Facebook Page, group, event, or application].” Advertisers can access social-context metrics in their Ad Manager’s Reports section.

The new metrics could further confirm a Nielsen study which showed that these recommendations improve ad recall by 10%, awareness by 4%, and purchase intent by 2% over the same ad without social context. If the study’s result are proven, advertisers may expand their use of social context ads by increasing targeting of users who have friends who Like the ad’s destination.

However, it is currently unclear if and when this data will be included in the Ads API. Combining social-context with ads API tool advanced targeting parameters such as friend count could create very high performance ads. For instance, only targeting users with 500-plus friends and who have friends who Like the ad’s destination would frequently create impressions showing multiple friends in the social context.

Additionally, it might be useful if Facebook let advertisers break social context metrics down by how many friends were listed in the recommendation. Data showing how crossing the threshold from listing one or two names to “…and x other friends” impacts performance could be valuable, but it isn’t available in the current social-context metrics.

Over the coming weeks we’ll watch to see how these new metrics are used to optimize ad performance.