For marketers who use social media to reach their customers, Facebook can be among one of the most important tools in their arsenal. The trouble is, it can be hard to gauge performance and ROI, and to know if they’re spending their time and money effectively.
That’s a problem Facebook is looking to tackle through a boost in its ability to measure conversions. On Tuesday, it announced it would be helping marketers figure out just how much extra business they’re getting by housing ads on its platform.
Essentially, Facebook will be measuring conversion lift, which works through a number of steps. When marketers set up a campaign, it will first create a random test group of people who see their ads, as well as a second group of people who don’t. Then, once marketers share their conversion data with Facebook through the Custom Audiences tool or their point-of-sales, the conversion lift tool will figure out how much lift came from the Facebook campaign through comparing results from the two test groups.
The results of this experiment will then be posted in Ad Manager, allowing marketers to compare their efforts with those who viewed their Facebook ads, versus those who didn’t.
Facebook’s new conversion lift features serve a few purposes. One of them is to help marketers map out which of their ads have contributed to sales, and to what degree. After all, it’s a common refrain in the marketing world that just counting the last click before a sale does not tell the whole story, as it does not show what steps a customer has taken on his or her journey before arriving at the final step – closing a sale and buying something.
The expanded features also help marketers keep track of where customers are coming from. For example, are they viewing an ad from a desktop, and then switching to a mobile device on their commute home? The idea here is that even if people are more prone to buying things from a physical, brick-and-mortar store, marketers will be able to keep track of how mobile’s role in getting them to make purchases.
Finally, in a blog post, Facebook says testing methods have been largely ineffective up until now. However, by measuring conversion lift, marketers will be using a “scientific approach … to determine causation,” a method that’s already been popularized in direct mail marketing.
Of course, the part that’s not being noted here is that Facebook is eager to prove its worth to marketers. Analysts have argued before now that social media marketing is not as effective as some social networks would have us believe, and Facebook is keen on proving that marketers only stand to benefit by staying on its platform and spending money with its services.
To set up conversion lift, marketers using Facebook can work with their Facebook account representatives. The social network says it’ll be opening up more ways to use conversion lift in the future, aiming to a reach a “wider portion of [their] clients around the world.”