What Facebook’s Mobile Success Says About Mobile Ads

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Craig Smith  |  Founder & CEO

Facebook’s Q2 report marks the 8th time in a row that Facebook has beaten quarterly projections. The take away most pundits have from the latest report is that 62% of Q2 ad revenue comes from mobile traffic, implying that Facebook has “solved” mobile advertising. However, there is a deeper story to tell here.

The only form of mobile advertising offered by Facebook is in-feed or native ads and it is their successful positioning and performance that leads Facebook’s ad earnings. Native ads that perform well and maintain user engagement are the key to Facebook’s mobile future, but they need advertiser cooperation to succeed in this.

This is the reasoning behind a Facebook study that was released on July 15th, two weeks before their Q2 report. Working with Adaptly and Refinery29, Facebook was able to show that campaigns that mix branding, social engagement, and direct response work significantly better at engaging and converting customers than direct response ads.

Longer, “sequenced” campaigns that targeted an audience over multiple days and combined a “brand story” with product based ads saw an 87% increase in landing page visits and a 56% increase in subscription rates over a traditional, sustained, call-to-action campaign.

Digging even deeper into the study, a case can be made for customer-centric advertising beating product-centric advertising. “Middle-of-the-funnel” ads had a stronger impact on downstream conversion than hard-selling product ads.

Key take-aways for marketers are:

  • Longer, more built out, sequenced, “content plays” that delivers customer value at the expense of a hard sales pitch, converts better in the longer term.
  • Channels should be seen as audience and brand builders over pure sales drivers. Marketers should focus on Facebook and similar channels as opportunities to grow and engage an audience rather than direct sales drivers.
  • Run multi-channel marketing campaigns. In the Facebook study, Refinery29, a beauty retailer, uses Facebook as a platform to “sell” its content proposition and then reach an audience on their own terms, through e-mail. Facebook, and other media, can be a funnel for subscriptions and a direct audience, to lead to brand loyalty and more consistent sales down the line.

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