Media Planning & Buying Social Media

Latest Facebook-comScore Report Touts Benefit of Paid + Earned

October 29, 2012

Following Facebook’s promising Q3 earnings call last week, the company released a report in conjunction with comScore to emphasize the growing importance of an integrated paid and earned media strategy. [Editor’s note: For more information, read 360i’s report on the same subject.]

Understanding Paid and Earned Reach on Facebook seeks to answer the million-dollar question on the minds of marketers: just how valuable are Facebook fans? This topic has been heavily debated since the fan/Like capability was first featured on Facebook, and while no monetary value can be assigned to a fan, it is clear that social communities – like those on Facebook – are important to brands.

Facebook’s prior study, Power of a Like II (published in June 2012), was designed to determine whether branded social media exposure – including posts published by a brand and ads served by a brand – has an effect on consumer buying behavior.

As a follow-up to that study, this latest whitepaper from Facebook and comScore centers on understanding how paid and earned media can work together to help brands navigate the cluttered Facebook community – and engage both fans and non-fans in the best way possible.

3 Major Findings for Marketers—

1. Brands that use paid media reach an audience 5.3X larger than their organic fan base. While brands focus on building a fan base, paid media can help to spread messages and also further increase fans. Different targeting strategies can be implemented like “friends of fan” targeting, to make messages more relatable to users being targeted. Ads with social context have more than 50 percent greater recall than those without.

2. Paid media was able to extend reach of content by 100X, as evidenced by case studies from three major brands. Given the significant investment that brands put into content and strategic posting, paid media serves as a key mass distribution vehicle and ensures that your fans are seeing and able to engage with the content you’ve invested in.

3. Ads are more likely to reach the less active Facebook audience, compared to organic media which reaches the more heavy Facebook users. Not only is audience reach larger when using paid media, but brands can also reach a different type of Facebook user. According to the study, the audience reached with paid media actually exhibited greater shopping and buying frequency than the online average.

With continuous growth, the ability for brands to scale on Facebook surpasses that of most mediums – and to maximize potential, paid and earned media must work together. The platform has evolved over the past few years to help define targeting, and reach the right audience. With research indicating the strong benefits paid and earned strategies working together, it is important for all brands to examine their Facebook approach and ensure that they are using all of the tools at their disposal.