Paid ad study demonstrates need for multi-touch attribution modelling

By Chris Lee

Combining Facebook advertising with paid search advertising could boost return on ad spend (ROAS) by as much as 30 per cent when compared with running a paid search advertising campaign alone. This is a key finding of a study digital marketing tech company Kenshoo carried out with a “leading retailer with more than 2,500 stores in the United States” over a period of three weeks. Kenshoo said the study proved that Facebook ads complement search and recommended advertisers engage in multichannel measurement to understand more about customer behaviour.

The company compared the performance of paid search campaigns with campaigns combining paid search ads with Facebook ads using the same paid search ad creative in both instances. Only online conversion data from the advertiser’s ecommerce site was tracked to determine the impact of Facebook advertising on paid search performance.

Findings included:

30 per cent higher paid search Return on Ad Spend (ROAS): The data show that the Search + Facebook audience segments generated 30 per cent more ROAS than the Search Only group during the period of analysis, providing strong evidence, Kenshoo believes, that Facebook advertising delivers additional benefit as a performance-driver when run alongside paid search.

24 percent higher paid search average order value (AOV): Based on campaign analysis, the Search + Facebook group drove a 24 per cent higher AOV, which means that consumers who were exposed to social advertising became higher-value customers for this retailer.

Seven per cent higher paid search click-through rate (CTR). The Search + Facebook group generated a seven per cent higher CTR than the Search Only group, implying that social advertising was able to positively impact consumer awareness and perception of the brand.

4.5 per cent lower paid search cost-per-acquisition (CPA). The Search + Facebook group generated a 4.5 per cent lower paid search CPA, demonstrating that Facebook advertising reduced the cost to acquire those sales through paid search.

“This research shows how Facebook acts as a discovery platform to increase performance on paid search metrics,” said Rob Creekmore, attribution measurement manager at Facebook. “A thirty per cent increase in return on ad spend is something marketers will find exciting. It’s clear from this research that pairing Facebook marketing with paid search marketing leads to customers who are primed to open up their wallets and spend more.”

Multi-touch attribution is key

According to Kenshoo’s Nick Blake, the study is a clear indication of the relationship between Facebook and consumer search habits, presenting opportunities to marketers who can enhance their use of data to target consumers. “This study indicates that Facebook advertising complements paid search as a way to improve the brand/consumer conversation between searches,” he told NMK. “By the time the consumer searches again for an advertiser’s top keywords, he or she may be more likely to click ads and spend more per order on the brand’s site if they’ve also been able to engage with the brand on Facebook. Marketers need to focus on ways to continue the paid search relationship with their consumers on social platforms.” Measurement is key to understanding cross-channel media performance such as the way social works together with search, Blake added. “Multi-touch attribution (MTA) tools are needed to best understand each consumer’s path to conversion and then aggregate those results to know how the conversion credit should be applied to each channel,” he concluded. “For example, the retailer in this study utilises a ‘Prefer Last’ MTA model which gives most credit to the last media touch in a consumer’s journey but also assigns credit to those channels which also impacted and influenced the conversion.”

The full report and white paper can be downloaded from .

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