Facebook Helps Extend Reach of TV Ad Campaigns (Study)

Facebook Helps Extend Reach of TV Ad Campaigns (Study)

How can advertisers complement their traditional television ad campaigns with digital components such as Facebook?

The social network commissioned a study by Nielsen on how 15 campaigns for TV shows, movies and console games performed across TV and Facebook, and the social network’s head of entertainment measurement, Jason LeBar, spoke with Facebook IQ, joined by Nielsen director of media analytics Nichole Henderson. LeBar and Henderson are pictured on the right.

Highlights of their conversation with Facebook IQ follow:


We found that cross-platform strategies were successful in increasing the reach efficiency of the campaigns. Facebook was able to accurately target audiences and manage frequency, resulting in an average of 10 times higher efficiency in building unique reach when compared to TV. Marketers can use these findings and tools like Total Ad Ratings measurement to optimize their cross-platform media strategies in a way that really capitalizes on each platform’s strengths.

The research showed pretty clearly that Facebook is an effective tool marketers can leverage to extend reach among target audiences. Facebook helped reach an average of 10 million incremental people—10 million people who would not have been reached had the studied campaigns used TV plans alone. That is a significant number of people, all of whom can impact the success of a film, TV show or console game. Building reach is critical throughout the marketing launch cycle for all forms of entertainment, and we saw that Facebook was effective in both building target reach and doing so efficiently.

We actually found some interesting differences across the three verticals. Overall, Facebook was able to build reach more efficiently than TV in each type of campaign we studied: 15 times more in the film campaigns, nine times more in the console gaming campaigns and five times more in the TV campaigns. We saw that film campaigns were larger than the average entertainment campaign, averaging 1.8 billion exposures (compared with the overall entertainment average of 1.4 billion for the 15 campaigns). We also saw that console gaming campaigns typically targeted younger males, which Facebook can do accurately, while the TV campaigns tended to have broader targets (typically people ages 18 through 49).


Nielsen typically measures advertising effectiveness using the 3R framework of reach, resonance and reaction. But in this study, we focused specifically on campaign reach, looking at data from 15 entertainment campaigns that were measured with Nielsen’s Total Ad Rating Product. This tool measures the reach, frequency and GRPs (gross rating points) of cross-platform campaigns. The study examined these campaigns and their corresponding media plans. The average number of TV exposures for each of these plans was 1.4 billion, and the average number of Facebook impressions was 69 million. But it’s important to note that the campaigns also varied in size, with the TV plans ranging from 99 million to 3.5 billion exposures and the Facebook campaigns ranging from 22 million to 134 million impressions.

Building on Jason’s point, we found that many younger people were being reached on Facebook who would not have been reached through TV alone. More specifically, Facebook delivered an average of 13.4 percent in Facebook-only reach for target audiences ages 18 through 24 and 9.4 percent for audiences ages 25 through 34. The data also showed that more than one in three (35.9 percent) of those reached on Facebook were light TV viewers (who make up the bottom third of TV viewers based on total viewing time).

Readers: What did you think of the findings by Nielsen (on Facebook’s behalf)?


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