Facebook Ad Study Focuses on Reach, Not Value

Facebook ReachA new study from Facebook and comScore looks to throw some weight behind Facebook paid media by showing how three major brands use ads to extend their audience. And while the numbers themselves are fairly impressive, we’re left wondering what these reach-based metrics actually accomplish.

Here’s a look at some of the stats published in the Facebook-commissioned study:

  • Among a selection of 100 top brand pages on Facebook, those using paid media reach an audience that is on average 5.3 times larger than the organic audience alone
  • Paid media can extend the reach of a single piece of content by more than 100 times

These are all impressive stats, no doubt, but a vital issue lies in the very goal of this paper, which was “to help quantify the effect of [social ad unit amplification].” The study focuses on what Avinash Kaushik calls “garbage analytics” – metrics that sound impressive, but don’t actually mean anything.

That being said, having a large reach on Facebook leaves something to be desired; the breadth of your reach doesn’t tell us if you’re saying worthwhile things, or if people are interacting with you. You can throw money behind Facebook ads all day long, but what is that reach actually accomplishing for your brand?

To be convinced of the value in Facebook paid media, marketers need to see studies that focus on meaningful social media metrics, such as those that Kaushik recommends: conversation rate, amplification rate and applause rate. After all, your ad may reach hundreds of thousands, but who’s to say that these individuals even noticed your ad among the newsfeed jumble?