Facebook Analyzes How To Make Search Work Harder

Facebook will detail data outlining the link between search and its advertising services. The study highlights the consumer trend toward channel hopping and the importance of running search and social campaigns to reach them.

Since consumers switch channels in mid stream before making a purchase or completing a task, running only paid search campaigns can no longer produce the same results as a multichannel strategy. In fact in a recent Facebook study in the U.S., 60% of those who use multiple channels either will begin purchasing more on their smartphones or will purchase more on their smartphones in 2016. The value comes with coordinating search and social campaigns.

Either way, eMarketer estimates U.S. retail mcommerce sales will climb 32% to $74 billion in 2015, compared with the prior year, reaching roughly $149 billion by 2019. 

Rob Creekmore, advertising research manager, marketing science, at Facebook, says the study aims to determine how Facebook media can improve search performance, particularly on mobile devices. While Facebook promotes discovery and leads the consumer down the funnel, search captures that intent, he says.



The Facebook Marketing Science team, which will release the findings at the MediaPost Search Insider Summit Friday, set out to determine how exposure to Facebook ads can influence people's search behavior and impact search campaign performance across mobile and desktop. The team conducted a meta-analysis of 23 conversion lift studies based on U.S. campaigns running from July to September 2015. These campaigns represented advertisers in the Ecommerce, Retail, Automotive, Travel, Financial Services, Education, Technology and Telecommunications verticals.

Diving deep into cross-channel performance, Facebook extended the analysis to three automotive campaigns that ran between Q4 2014 and Q3 2015. The analysis builds on past research highlighting the impact of Facebook on paid-search performance for campaigns within the Financial Services and Retail verticals.

One finding points to the use of branded keywords. When consumers are exposed to branded media, similar to the study done with Jaguar, the results -- 97% of the search lift from Facebook media was from branded keywords, which cost must less, explains Creekmore.

Analysis of one U.S. Automotive campaign was done in partnership with Mindshare and Kenshoo Research, commissioned by Facebook.

Overall, Facebook found mobile-heavy Facebook media exposure caused a significant lift in search referral traffic volume to advertiser Web sites, predominantly on mobile. Roughly one-quarter of these studies showed a statistically significant lift in search referral traffic, with a mean of 1.8% and standard deviation of 6%.

The campaigns with the largest variance in lift values were for small businesses, which Facebook defines as those with a relatively low volume of natural conversions.

Three-quarters of the 23 U.S. studies had sufficient device type data, which allowed Facebook to closely analyze the cross-device behavior of consumers. The team broke out the mobile portion of search traffic from Google, Yahoo, Bing, AOL and Ask by using device information provided through the Facebook app.

Among these campaigns, the findings highlight an average 6.3% lift in mobile search traffic, compared to an average 0.9% lift in desktop search traffic, calculated as a straight average. Based on this analysis, consumers who were exposed to Facebook advertising were more likely to conduct a new search on mobile.

The findings suggest a combination of factors may have contributed to this greater lift in unique mobile search. First, the baseline volume of people searching on mobile in the control group was lower than it was for desktop, 37% versus 63%, and so was easier to move. Additionally, most of these Facebook campaigns were mobile-heavy.

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