Facebook consultant argues that website’s ads work

SAN FRANCISCO, Tue Jun 12, 2012 – Marketing on Facebook influences consumer behavior and leads to increased purchases for the brands that leverage the social-networking site, consulting company comScore said in a report released Tuesday.

“The Power of Like 2: How Social Media Works,” looks at paid advertising on Facebook as well as earned media exposure– meaning mentions of the brand made by Facebook users in status updates and the like. It is based on the experiences of large brands such as Best Buy, Starbucks and Target.

The report follows up on a July 2011 paper, “The Power of Like: How Brands Reach and Influence Fans Through Social Media Marketing.”

It swipes back at recent research questioning the effectiveness of Facebook messages. A Reuters/Ipsos poll published last week showed four out of five Facebook users haven’t bought a product or service as a result of advertising or comments on Facebook.

Most brand exposures on Facebook occur through users’ news feeds, comScore said, rather than visits to dedicated brand pages on Facebook.

Fans – consumers who click a button that they like a certain brand or product – tend to outspend others for that particular brand, comScore said, citing examples such as Amazon, Best Buy, and Target. Purchase data comes via information from loyalty clubs, credit card companies, and third-party collectors, with the permission of the study participant.

In the case of Target, Facebook and comScore studied two groups. One group, made up of fans of Target and their friends, saw “earned” messages about Target – updates about Target that run in news feeds and the like.

The second group was made up of Facebook users who weren’t fans of Target and saw no messages. Both groups had identical purchase behavior at Target prior to the study.

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