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Social context in an ad: what is it actually worth?

Published: April 13, 2015

Author: Molly McCarty

There are many advantages to running ads on Facebook, and one of the more obvious ones is the social context that is displayed on ads. When someone sees an ad from a brand that their friend on Facebook has liked, the ad will have social content, like the example below:
I have always wondered how much of an impact the social context has on the actual performance of the ad. Facebook reporting allows us to look at social clicks and social impressions – meaning clicks on ads that have social context and the number of ads shown with social context. From there we are able to calculate out CTR. Although CTR is not an indicator of CPA, it does have a large impact on CPCs, which can help drive your CPA.
I looked at data over the last few weeks for 3 different accounts, which had a total of 84,885,536 impressions and 302,949 clicks. When I subtracted the social impressions and clicks from these totals, the average CTR was .81%. The social CTR was .72%
Based on these numbers, it looks like the social context of ads is not a huge factor when determining CTR and, if anything, may actually be detrimental to the ad’s performance. That said, we have seen that engagement is a strong indicator of the performance of an ad. If an ad is garnering quite a bit of likes and shares, it is going to do very well.
Have you ever looked into the impact of social context on ads? If so, what have you seen?

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