Facebook seeks to prove ROI

23 November 2011

PALO ALTO: Facebook, the social network, plans to invest in new tools capable of proving the "value" brands can generate from utilising the varied paid and earned media opportunities it provides.

Speaking to Forbes, David Fischer, Facebook's vice president for advertising and global operations, stated that 96 of the top 100 advertisers as listed by AdAge have already run campaigns on its pages.

"We continue to see healthy growth from them," he said. "While there's lots of excitement in the marketing community, it's also our responsibility to demonstrate the value we're creating."

In outlining the site's credentials, Fischer cited the case of Diageo, the spirits group, which discovered that consumers exposed to its ads on Facebook had "20% greater sales" than those who were not.

"For every dollar they invested in Facebook, they saw five times that in terms of sales," he said. "They found a real and meaningful impact on their business, and we saw many examples of that."

In a bid to further evidence the possibilities it presents to marketers, Facebook has developed a new Page Insights dashboard monitoring how users interact with ads, brand pages, posts and apps.

"We will continue to invest in deeper and richer metrics-more data and more reporting. And we'll work more with third-party analytics companies. We're confident the numbers will prove out the value of Facebook," he said.

Facebook has been criticised in some quarters for the ad formats it uses, which are often smaller than the industry standard, and don't, for instance, extend over a whole page.

"What we know ... is that the best ads on Facebook are the ones that are the most consistent with the experiences that happen on your newsfeed every day," Fischer said.

However a premium advertising unit is to be introduced on the Facebook homepage. This will be the only ad featured on such a key part of the site, which unsurprisingly boasts the highest traffic levels.

This will also be linked to its Sponsored Story service, which adds posts to the newsfeeds of a member's contacts each time they interact with an ad, leveraging what Fisher termed "friend-centric marketing".

Elsewhere, he suggested the launch of Timelines, tracking the complete history of users' Facebook activity, may allow brands to "tell their story" in a manner matching consumer usage patterns.

Data sourced from Forbes; additional content by Warc staff