As social media programs are getting more and more popular, it is important to understand how to measure the effect of the paid advertising. In this post, I will like to talk about the basic concept of reach, as ad exposure or reach is the first step in the game of placing ads.
Typical, Facebook campaigns are done to increase the fan base of a particular page or brand. In these campaigns, there are three types of ad impressions placed on Facebook:
- Paid Media – Paid ads with the message of "Become a Fan" of the particular brand
- Earned/Paid Media – Paid ads with the message of "Become a Fan" but with the social element showing a blurb with the name of a few of your friends who are fans of the particular brand. Since, these ads have the social component these are classified within the earned media category as well.
- Earned Media – These are the instances of ads which show the list of friends who are fans of the brand and have a link below "Become a Fan". Since, the advertiser didn't pay for these impressions, these types of ads or impressions are termed as Earned Media.
Thus, measuring reach from all these impressions is not an easy task. It is impossible to measure it using third party ad servers like DoubleClick as the Earned Media is not served via any ad servers. It will be interesting to find out if Facebook can provide information on the number "Earned Media" impressions served for a particular brand. The next step will be to provide the number of unique impressions seen by each user; this will be the reach from the earned media impressions.
Another way of estimating this reach is based on the number of users who become fans from the paid media. On an average, each user might have 50 friends (this is not an accurate number, just for calculation purposes) thus, if a campaign generated 200 fans, the additional impressions generated will be 200*50 = 10,000. However, then some of the users who are exposed to these 10,000 impressions will become fans, thus generating more earned media. Thus, it is a cycle which goes on – beauty of social media. A good estimate will be to use 3 iterations in social environment like Facebook.
A recent study by Facebook and Nielsen shows that the Earned media impressions are the most impactful in driving awareness, ad recall and also purchase intent. Thus, it is very critical to drive these impressions. Though less in volume, these are the ones which have the biggest bang for the buck.