Nielsen and Facebook recently released a report, “Advertising Effectiveness: Understanding the Value of a Social Media Impression,” that shows that we remember and are more likely to be influenced by what our friends “like.”
The study analyzed 3 different types of ads: ads above the fold, ads above the fold that reference which friends are fans of the product, and unpaid mentions that friends have become a fan of a product that show up in a Facebook user’s news feed. (The report was conducted when “Become a Fan” was still in effect.) The findings show that in the last two types of ads, when a product has a social component, people are more likely to remember a product and even purchase it.
- Compared to a control group who did not see any ads, when an ad included a listing of friends that were also fans of the product, there was a 16% increase in ad recall, vs. a 10% increase if the ad did not show a connection to friends—a 6% increase in ad recall. Awareness of a product increased by 4% with a social component (8% with social, 4% without), and purchase intent increased by 6% (8% with social, 2% without). So ads are obviously more memorable and action-driving when a product is associated with a friend.
- Next they compare the ad without a social component to the unpaid mention in a news feed (such as, “Charles Falls became a fan of Lipton Instant Tea”). This organic mention increases ad recall by 20%, awareness by 9%, and purchase intent again by 6%. So these news feed mentions have the most power.
- As you might expect, the more of these unpaid mentions a person sees, the more likely they are to recall, be aware of, or intend to purchase, including 4 times the awareness when a person sees a mention 10 or more times versus 1-2 times (28% vs. 7%), and 5 times the purchase intent in 10 plus times versus 1-2 times (15% vs. 3%).
The report goes on to point out that establishing a fan base and connecting fans with a brand is the key to taking advantage of the power of social ads, but that you cannot purchase that connection. It’s almost an “if you build it, they will come” philosophy–pay for the ads, people will begin connecting with your ad, and as your fan-base grows, your ads will “earn” the social impact that will make them more powerful. You can download the full report at Nielsen’s website.