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Retargeted Facebook Users and the All-Day Conversion Effect

Published: October 9, 2012

Author: Molly Shotwell

Today’s post is by Steve Palombo, account manager at Triggit, a real-time bidding DSP focusing on the Facebook platform. Steve, a Boston native who graduated summa cum laude from Wake Forest, is known as Triggit’s in-house data scientist and has spent countless hours testing data sets while managing millions of dollars in spend for several dozen advertisers.
Most people will admit that they have Facebook open in at least one tab of their browser at any given time. In fact, you probably have a tab open as you read this! Facebook, much like television, seems “to always be on” regardless of what we’re currently doing.
Intelligent advertisers, however, have to ask themselves if the users who are on Facebook all this time are actually engaged with the ads whenever they are perusing the social network. In other words, if users are on Facebook all the time, are they also in the mindset to convert all the time?
After digging into the conversion data of a major e-tailer running ad campaigns on Facebook’s ad exchange and the traditional real-time bidding exchanges simultaneously (with identical targeting settings), we discovered exactly what we expected to find: retargeted Facebook users are not only engaged in Facebook all day, they are converting at all hours of the day — something users are not doing across the internet with traditional display.
Using only conversions that can be tied directly back to a click on a Triggit-supplied ad, we can compare relative distribution of conversions by hour between the Facebook Exchange and the other real-time bidding exchanges. First, let’s take a look at the traditional real-time bidding exchanges:
traditional DSP conversions
Converters on the non–FBX and RTB exchanges clearly follow the expected “post-work” conversion pattern that begins to skew heavily to evening hours. In fact, over 53% of click-through conversions on traditional display occurred during the prime conversion hours of 4-8 pm PST. Only around 22% occurred between prime “working hours” of 7am to noon PST.  Taking a look at the same data for FBX only, we see that users are engaging and converting throughout the day.
FBX conversion rate
The distribution of conversions throughout the day is far more evenly distributed  (almost every bar in the FBX graph is closer to the fit line for even distribution). If anything, RTB on Facebook skews to the exact middle of the “work” day, between 10am-3pm PST. Only about  41% of conversions on FBX occurred during those prime “post-work”  conversion hours, and nearly a third (about 32%) of all conversions attributed to clicks on FBX occurred during “working hours” of 7am- noon PST. About 60% of total conversions on FBX occurred during the typical “9-5” workday (PST), compared to only about 40% across traditional display. Perhaps the most telling aspect of user behavior with ads on FBX is that peak conversion times happened during the “lunch break” hours of 12-1 PST.
It’s clear that with Facebook’s unprecedented level of user engagement, users are doing more than hanging out on Facebook all day looking at photos of their friends; they’re consuming ads throughout the day and acting upon that ad consumption with their wallets — again, at all hours of the day. Facebook Exchange day-parting seems to only have one rule: try not to show your users ads when they are asleep.

– Steve Palombo, Triggit

25 E Washington Street
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Chicago, IL 60602(650) 539-4124


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