NEEDHAM, MA: Brands can gain a useful boost to digital conversion rates by understanding the value of their Facebook investment in relation to other digital channels, new research has shown.

Visual IQ, a provider of marketing intelligence software, teamed up with the social media giant for a pilot program in September last year and has just announced the results of its work for mobile telecoms business O2 in measuring previously untracked Facebook advertising impressions.

Using Visual IQ's multi-touch attribution capabilities, O2 was able to track consumer exposure to Facebook ads, including its Custom Audience ad placements, to understand the full effect of the brand's Facebook adspend on sales, how its Facebook ads impacted other media, and how relevant its ads were to target customers.

O2 and its agency Havas saw the converter rate improve by 16% to as high as 123% when Facebook Custom Audience ad placements were used in combination with other digital channels such as affiliates, paid social and paid search.

Further, when Custom Audience impressions were included in the broader tactical mix, O2 saw a 52% improvement in cost efficiency for new customer acquisition, and a 38% improvement for existing customers.

"As a business, we understand the reach, targeting and engagement value of Facebook, but were previously unable to track and measure its effectiveness to the same degree as our other digital efforts," explained Nick Adams, Head of Digital Excellence, Marketing Communications, O2.

"As the first company to realize results from the pilot program, it's exciting to see exactly how our advertising investments in the social network impact sales," he said, adding that they would now be able to "make more informed planning and optimization decisions across our entire marketing mix … and ensure our ads are even more relevant to our prospects' and customers' needs".

Manu Mathew, CEO and co-founder, Visual IQ, suggested that such knowledge "will have a massive impact on brands and agencies who, until now, have been investing valuable funds into the channel with no clear way of knowing its true value".

Data sourced from Visual IQ; additional content by Warc staff