Recently, I wrote a post about the efficacy of digital marketing – is it really driving sales / brand building or is it just about clicks/grabbing eyeballs?  This question was was posed based on a 1/’12 article – “marketing capabilities for the digital age” sponsored by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG).   In this article about 3/4 of global CMO’s aren’t sure if digital marketing efforts can be tied to business results.  This was just one of many conclusions.

More recently, Facebook the opportunity at the 2012 Advertising Week conferences in New York City to answer questions about the efficacy of buying advertising on their site.  These set of conferences were sponsored by Mediapost communications, the mobile marketing association and interactive advertising bureau.

Brad Smallwood, director of pricing and measurement at Facebook, discussed the findings of a study the company hoped would change advertisers’ minds about depending on measurements like clicks to determine the success of campaigns on Facebook.com. The goal is to have them perceive the social network more as a medium akin to television for branded advertising

“If you ran a campaign in the last five years, you focused on clicks,” Mr. Smallwood said, but “demand fulfillment is only one piece of the marketing puzzle. We have to provide a solution for the brand marketers of the world,” he added.

The study was conducted with a new Facebook partner, Datalogix, a company that measures in-store purchases. Fifty campaigns on Facebook were measured, for brands from giant marketers like Nestlé, Procter & Gamble and Unilever. When purchase data from stores was combined with data about ad impressions on Facebook, the study found that 70 percent of the campaigns enjoyed three times greater return on their budgets, and 99 percent of the sales came from consumers who did not interact with the Facebook ads.  More details on his comments are on the link below.

http://techcrunch.com/2012/10/01/facebook-brad-smallwood-datalogix/

I do applaud Facebook efforts to help branded advertisers assess the effectiveness of their online digital efforts.  If someone could show online ad impressions efforts can be tied to in-store sales / brand building, this would be very useful.   However, you need to spend more money with Facebook to figure this out.  It is not transparent.  In other words, you need to “trust” Facebook that they can tell you the right number of impressions to reach your target audience based on their “black box model” with Datalogix – their market research provider.

Facebook says ad impressions is the standard in the TV advertising world – we shouldn’t focus on clicks anymore.  While ad impressions are a traditional TV ad world concept, their view of effectiveness is not – at least not yet.  I’m not aware of any traditional TV ad metric that can say for sure – these number of impressions can drive the desired sales result.  Yes, reach and frequency does drive effective reach and based on historical benchmarks you will have a higher degree of confidence a certain level of spending will work.  However, no one can “guarantee” a positive sales result – there are too many more variables – not the least of which is pricing and distribution – not within digital marketings’ control.  If Facebook/Datalogix have such data they should share it in the interest of driving more understanding among the branded advertising community.  If they would, they would be first to market on this piece and their business will increase.  Trust is the issue here and Facebook and other digital providers have yet to earn it.  Trust has to be earned, not demanded.  Just my take.

Rick Steinbrenner
Global Marketing Officer/Principal Brand Marketing Advisors
www.globalbrandguy.com
The Global Brand Guy