Facebook is hoping to maintain the momentum it sparked with its third-quarter earnings call Tuesday by backing up the words of Co-Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, and Chief Financial Officer David Ebersman with data in the form of a joint study with comScore, Understanding Paid and Earned Reach on Facebook.
The social network and the Internet analytics outfit set out to demonstrate that paid media is maximizing the reach and value generated by brands advertising on Facebook. Some of their findings included:
- Of the top 100 pages on Facebook in terms of likes and organic reach, those that adding paid media to their organic publishing efforts were able to reach an average of 5.4 times more Facebook users.
- Facebook and comScore looked at three major brands — Samsung Mobile USA, a major financial services company, and a major retailer — and found that they were able to extend their reach by five times in a single week with the use of paid media.
- Paid media enabled those three brands to extend the reach of a single piece of content by more than 100 times.
- Users reached via paid media were more likely to shop and purchase goods and services than average Facebook users.
- In terms of age, audiences reached via paid media and organic publishing were within three percentage points of each other.
- Paid media were more likely to reach less active Facebook users (10 percentage points), while organic media was more effective in reaching heavier Facebook users (five to 10 percentage points).
- Paid media were 30 percent to 60 percent more likely to reach Facebook users who have liked 100 or fewer pages, and 17 percent to 32 percent more likely to reach users who hadn’t posted status updates in the past 28 days.
Facebook and comScore concluded:
This research establishes that paid media provides an opportunity for brands to extend the reach of their socially enabled brand content on Facebook significantly beyond the audience they are able to reach with organic media alone. Importantly, we find that even brands with the largest fan bases (greater than 20 million fans) benefit significantly from using ads to amplify reach. Finally, this research provides evidence that paid audiences reached on Facebook represent segments that are active in category buyers and shoppers.
Collectively, this research establishes that paid media provides an opportunity for brands to extend their reach on Facebook significantly beyond the audience they are able to reach with organic media alone. Our analysis found this to be true even for brands with some of the largest fan bases on Facebook. We also found that there is a wide variance in the amount of paid amplification that occurs for any given fan page post suggesting that brands have control over the amount of distribution a message receives. Further, this study provides evidence that paid audiences reached on Facebook are generally similar demographically to those reached using earned media and are often more likely than the average user to be engaged with the brand and its category.
Readers: Were there any surprises in the results of the study by Facebook and comScore?
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