Cross Channel’s Biggest Secret

Marketers are continually trying to find the ideal media mix for their brand advertising. Back in the day, the magic trio was TV + Radio + Newspaper, allowing consumers to receive your message morning, noon, and night. With digital came the ability to hyper-target, retarget, and be in front of your audience at the exact moment they needed you through search ads. Facebook advertising now provides an incredible opportunity to get granular (working moms of high-school students in Tulsa, anyone?), and an unprecedented 89% reach in the US.[1]

The options for cross-channel campaigns are endless, and with so many new mediums being adopted by consumers each day, it’s typical to see some lift when campaign spend is spread across two or more strategic channels, simply due to an increased reach.

However, it’s uncommon to find a correlation between digital channels as strong as that of Facebook and Search. To learn more about how paid social campaigns affect search traffic, Facebook IQ conducted research using their own data as well as search data provided by some of their biggest advertisers across several industries—and the results were incredible.[2]

It was discovered that using Facebook Advertising to compliment Paid Search strategies not only increased search traffic, but also had significant effects on cost efficiency, conversion rates, and order value (i.e., basket size).

View-Through Search Traffic Predictably Rose

The research found that without ever clicking on a Facebook or Instagram ad, people who simply saw the brand message in their feed were more likely to perform a related search query and subsequently visit the advertiser’s website, with campaigns triggering an average 6.3% lift in mobile search traffic and a 0.9% lift on desktop.

Efficiency: Facebook Ads Make Search Campaigns Less Costly

More interestingly, Facebook paid media exposure also triggered an average 10% improvement in paid search efficiency (CPA) among consumers who saw one or more ads. This means that it is 10% less costly to acquire a customer through search who has seen a Facebook ad for your brand.

How can that be? Why did CPA improve so dramatically for the audience that saw the ads? People exposed to the paid Facebook ads, while never clicking on the ad, were still significantly more likely to search using branded keywords like “Patagonia” and less likely to search using unbranded terms like “Ski Jackets.” Because branded key phrases are typically much less expensive for brands to bid on, the resulting shift in the branded/unbranded ratio drives CPA down.

Conversions: The Facebook/Paid Search Combo Drives Sales

As part of the study, one US home furnishings retailer saw a dramatic 78% lift in Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) for paid search efforts in markets that added Facebook paid media.

This burst in returns wasn’t only seen by retailers. A lift in search conversion rate of 19% was also seen by the financial services company Experian.

After Experian began advertising their CreditTracker Service with Facebook paid media exposure, they saw an average 19% lift in paid search conversion volume. As Facebook paid media weight increased in both reach and frequency, search conversion volume increased at a similar rate.

Basket Size Increases When Searchers Have Seen Facebook Ads

For the omnichannel retailer studied by Facebook, there was a 24% lift in average order value in markets with both Facebook and search media; for the home furnishing retailer, there was an 18% lift in average order value with both Facebook and search media. Both were compared to search alone.

Bonus Results: a Lift in Store Interest

The study found a higher tendency for search visitors to locate a physical store after being exposed to Facebook paid media, compared to those who hadn’t seen the ad. For the home furnishing company in particular, consumers were not only 13% more likely to buy online after seeing both Facebook and search ads, they were also 79% more likely to seek out the brand’s physical store.

It’s clear that strategic social advertising can breathe life into a stagnant search program when coordinated correctly.

“…it’s more important than ever that search/social align on audiences (targeting), messaging and leveraging of the engagement within and across both medias.” James Cooley, Partner, Group Director, Search & Social Mindshare NA

How to Leverage Facebook Ads to Boost Paid Search KPIs

  1. Start by simply coordinating search and Facebook campaigns, ensuring that the timing and ad creative are similar. Think about the keywords a consumer might search for after seeing the ad, and ensure you have search ads and landing pages prepared for the customer journey.

Investing in automation products and services can help to scale both social and search campaigns across all your locations, and can ensure that campaigns on both sides are using the same local data each day to trigger campaign changes, adjust targeting, and populate ad copy.

  1. Make sure you can measure view-through conversions of your Facebook campaigns by having the right tracking codes on both conversion and non-conversion pages. Remember that CTR (click-through rate) only tells part of the story, especially when digital campaigns begin to work together.
  2. Flip it around: Think about using search to inform and improve your Facebook campaigns. Search intent and trends should be documented, studied, and used to retarget to your search engine traffic on Facebook if they have not yet converted through a search campaign alone.

 

[1]. Nielson OCR, August 2013

[2]. “Cross-channel planning: making search work harder” 2015, Facebook IQ

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