April 8, 2011

Social Ads Spur Big Engagement Opportunities

As marketers continue to look for new social media marketing metrics, a broad look at engagement and the cost of social advertising paints a promising picture.

According to a comparison of cost and engagement across online ad types by social media advertising firm appssavvy, “social activity” ads outperform static banners and rich media, though not paid search, in ROI. Social activity advertisements include those served to social media users as an integral part of consuming content on the sites. For example, ads can be an item in a social game or appear after a social network user fills out an online poll.

Appssavvy created a “Social Activity Index” to compare different ad formats with respect to pricing and interaction rates. Engagement rates and the weighted cost of various ad formats, compared to display clickthrough rates (used as a benchmark), translate to “equivalent display impressions.” In the case of social activity ads, they outperform static display ads by more than 11 times, controlling for cost.

Social ads performed nearly twice as well as rich media placements. But paid search ads did best, equivalent to 12.2 display impressions.

Within the realm of social ads, those served during social gaming functions performed best. Virtual gifts, for example, had a rating 37 times higher than the display ad benchmark.

The report attributes high levels of engagement with social activity ads to the fact that the surrounding social content is already highly interactive and engaging, as well as to the variety of calls to action available. Users can engage with social ads by clicking through to a website, viewing a video, taking a poll or sharing the ad or other brand info with friends.

These engagement metrics go far beyond the clickthrough rate, which is typically low on social networking sites. According to appssavvy, both share rates and video interaction rates surpass clickthrough rates on its platform

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