Facebook does not publish performance benchmarks. So what’s a social media activation specialist to do when Facebook gives you lemons? Make like Beyoncé and Lemonade.
The Harmelin social media team’s recipe is:
1 Part 2015 Data Pull (all campaigns & all ad types)
2 Parts Harmelin’s Marketing Technology Group’s Data Management
A Dash of Patience
A Twist of Analysis (to taste)
By exporting and aggregating the raw Facebook data from every campaign, ad type, and creative execution we ran in 2015, the social media & MTG teams were able to create several benchmarks for our 2016 campaigns, and we learned some things along the way.
Here are three of our findings.
- CPMs are on the rise. When we compared the CPMs from the back half of 2014 to the rates throughout 2015, we saw a 98% overall increase. So far in 2016 we’ve seen a decrease from 2015, but Q4 is always a competitive time in the auction which we have yet to experience this year.
We can attribute the rising costs to an increasing demand for the platform’s powerful first party data and the new and improved tools Facebook is giving to advertisers to help meet their objectives. As Facebook continues to roll out new ad types, targeting capabilities, and creative options, more ad dollars are expected to go that way. And as competition heats up in the auction, so will costs.
- Still, video ads are relatively cheap. Social video spend is growing – fast. And even though CPMs are up across the board, video CPMs on Facebook are relatively low. For comparison, we looked at the rates of other preferred OLV vendors and found that Facebook’s CPMs are almost half that of the lowest priced OLV vendor. Facebook video advertising is still in its infancy so only time will tell how rates will be affected as more TV dollars shift to digital and video consumption on Facebook continues to rise.
- CTRs and ERs are strong. For context, compared to DCM display benchmarks, we found that Facebook click-thru and engagement rates are 757% and 10% higher, respectively, based on averages across all verticals.
While these numbers are impressive, they’re not surprising. Facebook ads aren’t subjected to the rise of ad blockers and banner blindness affecting display metrics; they’re native, mobile-heavy, and full-screen by nature which are characteristics that can all lead to higher click- and engagement-rates. And these strong Facebook results are likely a testament to the platform’s powerful targeting abilities given that users are more likely to engage with ads that are most relevant to them.
In short, through this project we learned that CPMs are rising at Facebook but still low within the industry, performance is high, and when Facebook gives you lemons just squeeze, shake, pour (and call your tech team for help).