STUDY: Facebook ads sequenced like stories lead to increased view-throughs

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A new study by Facebook Strategic Preferred Marketing Developer Adaptly, in partnership with Facebook and Refinery29, shows that advertisers who position and sequence their Facebook ads to take customers down the conversion funnel can experience an uplift in view-through and subscription rates.

Adaptly worked with lifestyle website Refinery29, testing ads that were sequenced like stories, receiving an 87 percent rise in overall view-throughs and a 56 percent conversion lift.

Adaptly CEO Nikhil Sethi commented on the study:

As fundamental as this question is, it’s amazing that so little has been published on the topic of sequencing vs. sustained messaging. And although the research findings might sound like an obvious outcome, some advertisers may find it counterintuitive to elongate a campaign as a way to more gradually bring their audience through the purchase funnel, rather than more immediately delivering a call-to-action. But we have proven that this classic brand-building approach it is both effective and efficient, even for direct response advertising.

Here’s how Adaptly and Refinery29 helped consumers down the conversion funnel.

Adaptly worked with Refinery29 to get users to sign up for its service, which inspires millennial-minded women to live a more mindful and enlightened life. The two companies created a campaign using Custom Audiences to target ads at Refinery29′s best email subscribers (the most active 5 percent). Then, Adaptly built a Facebook lookalike audience of more than 2 million people who were also likely to become high-value customers. Facebook helped to split this audience into 3 treatment groups.

The ad group that saw sequenced posts saw messages across 12 days, split evenly to lead people down the funnel, from top to bottom.

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The other experimental group saw ads that were optimized with a sustained call to action, basically hammering the sales pitch immediately, instead of letting it build up.

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Taking all 6 ads into consideration, the creative that provided sample content the would-be subscriber could expect from Refinery29, generated the most view-through and engagement with the landing page. The first CTA ad in the sustained CTA group was the runner-up.

Naturally, people who saw all 3 ads converted at higher rates than those who saw 1 or 2 ads.

Daniel Slotwiner, a Research Director at Facebook, discussed how advertisers can enhance campaigns by leading fans down the funnel:

Beyond traditional media, digital mediums offer a unique opportunity to bring individual consumers down the marketing funnel by serving ads in sequence. They also enable marketers to have more control over the frequency and pacing of their messages on a person-by-person basis. This type of targeting enables advertisers to leverage their existing customer relationship management (CRM) databases to find potentially high-value consumers. On Facebook, for example, where people express their unique identities, brands can target their audiences precisely, and tailor their interactions with people in a way that can build lasting and powerful impressions.

Melissa Goidel, Chief Revenue Officer at Refinery29, also weighed in on the study:

Quality and engagement are critical when developing a customer-base with real lifetime value. By telling the Refinery29 story during the acquisition process, and building awareness and consideration before driving to conversion, we were able to increase our return-on-investment and ultimately acquire a more informed and qualified subscriber.

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