Point of view: Is Facebook better than TV?

Byron Sharp
Ehrenberg-Bass Institute

Is advertising on Facebook better than on TV? Recently I received this interesting question in the mail:

'Cadbury's Social Media Manager claims a 7% sales increase in single Crème Egg sales over Easter after shifting from TV to Facebook (paid for and community management). Knowing that Facebook Fans are heavier buyers [and so less responsive to advertising], do you know how they achieved such sales success?'

I was immediately reminded of medical stories of someone taking something – snake oil, vitamin C… whatever – and then being cured of whatever ailed them. If it's an outcome such as cancer being cured, then it might feature on Oprah, but no sane medical practitioner will give the incident any credence because it's an uncontrolled experiment, just once, and with a single patient. I recall one story of a man receiving an electric shock after a snake bite and being 'cured'. When the claim was investigated it was found that the man only thought he might have been bitten by a snake – all studies afterwards showed that electric shocks do NOT cure snakebite poisoning.