Marketers have argued for years about the benefits of social marketing tied to search campaigns. A recent study with Facebook hopes to put those debates to rest, although the search agency conducting the study with a major retail client has yet to test the concept with Twitter and other social sites.
Research from Kenshoo suggests that if agencies and brands want more from Facebook ads, they might just get it by combining the campaigns with search engine marketing ads. The white paper "Added Value: Facebook Advertising Boosts Paid Search Performance" examines the direct impact of Facebook advertising on paid-search marketing performance.
The research analyzes live paid-search campaign performance data from a leading retailer with more than 2,500 stores in North America during August and September 2013. The campaign ran for three weeks, but performance was analyzed four weeks after the end of the campaign, so it could include latent conversion activity. The specific target audience was exposed to both paid-search and Facebook advertising, while others were exposed to paid-search alone.
Marketers should understand the cross-channel dynamics to reap higher returns on campaigns. On average, there is a 30% higher paid-search return on ad spend when marketers combine search campaigns with social campaigns on Facebook. The campaign also produced 24% higher paid-search average order value, 7% higher paid-search click-through rate, and 4.5% lower paid-search cost-per-acquisition.
Managing to lower the cost per acquisition for campaigns -- where marketers pay less for conversions -- has its benefits, but the study points out that combining the lower cost with a higher order value achieves real success for brands. Considering the fact that search combined with Facebook campaigns managed to influence both sales and the cost to acquire those sales, the positive impact on ROAS becomes crystal clear.
It's not clear whether search campaigns combined with social media sites other than Facebook would produce similar results. "We knew there was some good association happening for brands actively running ads on Facebook simultaneously with paid search campaigns, but we wanted to really quantify that uplift," said Aaron Goldman, CMO at Kenshoo. "Now that we have a benchmark, we are planning to do more of these studies across different channels and verticals to help marketers truly understand the interplay and how to best optimize their budgets."