Digital MarketingEcommerceDispelling myths and understanding realities of social impressions measurement

Dispelling myths and understanding realities of social impressions measurement

Smart ways to look beyond Facebook for customer acquisition amidst rising competition and costs

30-second summary:

  • The impact of paid social channels on the customer acquisition strategy of direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands is remarkable, but understanding the influence of these channels remains a formidable challenge
  • The rise of D2C ecommerce can be attributed to various factors, one of which is the opportunity provided by Facebook and other paid social channels to acquire customers rapidly and efficiently
  • As competition increases, having sufficient ad dollars and the appropriate creative is not enough to drive growth, marketers must explore other channels to acquire new customers
  • In the current global economic climate brands are striving to unravel the complexity and reveal the true impact of their paid social activity on driving sales

It’s amazing how paid social channels have greatly impacted the way direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands acquire customers. Figuring out how much influence these channels have, especially when it comes to impressions, is quite a challenge for marketers. It gets even trickier because data privacy changes and the rise of new social channels make it confusing to measure impressions. We have done an analysis to clear up misconceptions and help you understand the capabilities and limitations of measuring impressions. You might be surprised at how much more we can measure than we previously thought!

Challenges of measuring the impact of paid social channels

The use of paid social channels, such as Facebook, has proven to be a successful strategy for many direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands in terms of customer acquisition. However, the challenges of measuring the impact of these channels, particularly the weight of impressions, have become much more complex due to changes in data privacy and the emergence of new social channels. The purpose of this analysis is to dispel misconceptions and highlight the capabilities and limitations of impression measurement which may be more extensive than previously thought.

In the early stages of D2C ecommerce, having sufficient ad dollars and the appropriate creative was enough to drive growth This was due to minimal competition and low cost-per-acquisition (CPA) on Facebook. However, as competition increases and costs rise, marketers are now exploring other social, digital, and above-the-line channels to acquire new customers. These channels may provide access to new audiences and demand, but they also contribute to the complexity of measurement and attribution.

Brands striving for accurate metrics

The current global economic conditions are dire. There have been recent failures of a few high-profile initial public offerings by companies with questionable unit economics. These have resulted in increased pressure from investors and boards for businesses to have a comprehensive understanding of their customer acquisition cost. As a result, many brands are now striving for a better understanding of the actual impact of their paid social activities on sales, and are rejecting under-reported cost-per-acquisition (CPAs) and over-reported return on investment (ROIs) in their performance channels.

Here are some of the most common myths and hard realities we encounter when it comes to social impressions measurement:

Facebook impressions’ impact on customer acquisition is minimal, measuring them is unnecessary – MYTH

This is a commonly believed misconception and is worth mentioning as it sets the context for the topic at hand. Facebook impressions are a vital component for the majority of direct-to-consumer (D2C) companies in promoting brand awareness and facilitating downstream conversions. This misconception is often derived from the difficulty in measuring their impact outside of Facebook’s own tools. However, this certainly does not mean that it is impossible to measure or that it lacks value.

Measuring social impressions at the level of individual users is not feasible – REALITY

Have you ever wondered how social platforms are able to keep your data private? The answer lies in scandals like Cambridge Analytica that resulted in limited access to specific user data and encouraged data protection policies such as the data protection act, GDPR, and CCPA. But even with these changes, it’s still possible to measure the impact of ads that generate impressions.

Thanks to advanced analytical methods such as machine learning models, we can accurately attribute credit to a previous impression that influenced a click, even if we can’t directly link the impression to the click. Fospha has built one such model that’s changing the game for marketers. The good news here – you can measure the performance of your impressions-driving ads.

Facebook and other social platforms don’t indicate when to stop advertising, leading to overspending – REALITY

Unfortunately, this is a harsh reality. Social platforms are effective in acquiring customers, but they do not provide adequate guidance on when to discontinue spending on their advertisements. It is due to this lack of information that many of our clients at Fospha realize they are overspending on a particular channel. By modeling the saturation curve and determining the point of diminishing returns for each channel and campaign, we can identify inefficiencies and allocate budget more effectively.

Impressions on different platforms, like Facebook and TikTok, have different value – REALITY

Different social media platforms like Facebook and TikTok have varying values in terms of impressions. This is something that brands should take note of, especially if they are expanding their advertising efforts to other social channels. It is important to understand that some channels may generate more impressions per dollar spent. However, these cheaper impressions may not have the same impact as those on other platforms. Therefore, D2C brands need to establish benchmarks for each channel and evaluate success independently.

Facebook and Instagram can be counted as one and the same – MYTH

Facebook has a feature that automatically distributes spend among Facebook, Audience Network, Messenger and Instagram, which leads some to believe that it is sufficient to group impressions across these areas and measure them as a single entity.

However, at Fospha, we use recommendations for each channel individually. Through rigorous testing, it has been observed that overruling the default spend allocation on these platforms can result in significantly higher returns.

Google Analytics is a powerful tool for measuring across various channels – MYTH (unless you are only using click-based channels)

Google Analytics (GA) is a powerful and cost-efficient business tool for early-stage companies. But it is not a reliable measure of performance for organizations that spend on multiple marketing channels. If your organization relies heavily on impressions, GA would be unreliable as it only considers click-based activities. Regardless of the stage of your paid social advertising, we hope that the information provided above will assist you in navigating some of the complexities.

If you are interested in discussing how our company has succeeded in independent impression measurement, or any of the topics above in greater detail, please do not hesitate to contact us.

The key takeaway

In conclusion, the measurement of social impressions is a complex task that has been further complicated by changes in data privacy and the emergence of new social channels. However, it is still a valuable metric that can help brands understand the impact of their advertising efforts. By utilizing advanced analytical methods and establishing benchmarks for individual channels, brands can dispel misconceptions and gain a better understanding of the true impact of their social impressions on driving sales and facilitating downstream conversions. As social media continues to evolve, brands need to optimize advertising strategies to achieve business goals. Fospha has cracked independent impression measurement and this is where they can step in and improve the way companies measure social media impressions.

Are you looking for more insights into the DTC space? Join Fospha’s DTC Networking Club! The network helps marketers from top DTC brands meet up once a month to swap notes on eCommerce advertising strategies and the latest trends in the market. Sign up now and start making meaningful connections:

Jamie Bolton is a ClickZ Advisory Board Member and head of Growth at Fospha, a leading marketing measurement platform for ecommerce.

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