Social media advertising can be a highly effective channel for driving long-term brand impact, especially on metrics such as brand awareness and associations, according to new research.
The study, from Saїd Business School, University of Oxford and Kantar Millward Brown at an event in London, is the first piece of research looking into the impact of social media advertising on measures such as brand awareness rather than short-term metrics such as clicks or sales.
Andrew Stephen, L’Oréal Professor of Marketing and his colleague, Felipe Thomaz, Associate Professor of Marketing at Saïd Business School, examined Kantar Millward Brown data from Facebook and Instagram advertising campaigns over the last two years, looking at longer term brand measures such as awareness and affinity, rather than short term clicks or sales measures.
The analysis, which is the first time such research has been undertaken, examined a total of 235 global campaigns across 110 different brands, using proprietary data from campaign effectiveness polls carried out by Kantar Millward Brown. These campaigns were 80% video (vs 20% display), and all mobile. Natural Language Processing provided additional analysis of the brands’ own Facebook posts.
The results show that, while there is no strong correlation between campaign success and factors such as industry category, region, or number of creative types used in a campaign, those brands who communicate using human language, tapping into people’s emotions and avoiding more functional words and phrases, tend to perform better in advertising effectiveness, on brand metrics such as aided brand awareness, ad awareness and aided product awareness.
An additional meta-analysis of Kantar Millward Brown’s broader digital effectiveness data (Marketnorms) was also carried out by Saїd Business School. It examined over 8,800 global campaigns across many digital channels, and looked at the impact of desktop vs mobile advertising on brand metrics over the last 7 years. It shows that whilst brands are now spending more on mobile advertising than desktop advertising, it is equally as effective in terms of brand impact. Mobile display effectiveness now shows an average lift across brand metrics of 3.8%, slightly below that of desktop display.
Getting Facebook and other social media advertising right is vitally important for brands who are under increasing pressure to show that their marketing spend is delivering return on investment for the business, particularly at a time when some of the world’s largest advertisers are questioning the efficacy of digital advertising.
“These findings are hugely important for businesses in understanding how they communicate on social media, with those who interact in a human and emotive manner able to capture greater awareness of their brands and products,” said Andrew Stephen, L’Oréal Professor of Marketing at Saїd Business School.
“The research also delivers useful insight on where advertisers should focus their efforts. With brand impact now delivered equally through desktop and mobile, advertisers must consider more carefully their media mix in order to reach consumers across these channels.”
“Digital advertising is good for brand building, which is great news for brands,” said Jane Ostler, Managing Director of Media & Digital at Kantar Millward Brown. “But the shock of the new can wear off, which is one reason why we have seen mobile ad effectiveness drop over time. The mobile environment is more cluttered than before and we know that consumers find some formats irritating. Marketers need to make sure that they try out new formats as they appear, to benefit from the brand lift effect, and they must adopt a test and learn approach. Our Facebook and Instagram analysis shows that their continual platform innovation keeps the experience fresh for consumers, and has a positive impact for brands.”
Kantar is a partner in the Future of Marketing Initiative with Said Business School at the University of Oxford, working together with other industry partners and the marketing faculty on key initiatives.
Methodology for the study
A detailed analysis of 235 global campaigns (which included 588 KPIs) on Facebook and/or Instagram over the last two years was undertaken, using control/exposed sample provided by Facebook.
The broader Marketnorms study involved a meta-analysis of 8,811 digital campaigns on desktop and mobile over the last 7 years globally using a control/exposed methodology.
Kantar Millward Brown analysed the data from respondents who answered questions on saliency (awareness), message associations and motivation (intent to purchase).