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Report: Understanding paid and earned reach on Facebook

A new research report from Facebook and comScore has revealed that Facebook brand pages using paid media reach 5.4 times more people on average than those who did not use paid media. Here, we summarise key findings from the report, looking at a case study of three brands analysed.

Understanding Paid and Earned Reach on Facebook examines the impact of paid media in relation to organic content on the platform. Its findings suggest that even those brands with the largest fan bases can reach five times more people, on average, by using paid media in addition to organic publishing. The audience reached with paid media exhibited greater shopping and buying frequency for those brands than the internet average. The report analyses three brands using paid media, including Samsung Mobile, to represent top page performance of Facebook across a diverse range of verticals and fan page sizes. The research found that on average, the brands extended their reach by five times over their organic audience in one week.Case study: in-depth reach analysis of three brandsAs part of the study's investigation into the opportunity paid media represents for brands on Facebook, the report analyses three brands to represent top page performance on Facebook across a diversity of verticals and fan page sizes. The study of audience reach looked at Samsung Mobile USA (9 million fans), a major retail brand (17 million fans) and a major financial services brand (3 million fans). Pages selected for case study were selected from those brands that achieve among the top organic reach for pages of similar size and vertical. For these test brands, the study considered three sets of metrics:
  • Total and per-­post brand reach
  • Audience demographics and behaviour on Facebook
  • Shopping and buying behaviour of paid audience off Facebook compared to average internet audience
Total brand reach For the three brand pages studied, paid and organic brand reach was measured for one week. Because it is possible for a single user to be reached by both organic and paid content in a given week, each brand’s total audience was divided into three categories: users reached through organic content only, those reached through paid content only, and those reached by both paid and organic content.
The above chart shows that across this spectrum of large brand pages, from 3 million to 17 million fans, brands achieve a paid reach that is five times the size of their organic reach, extending their audience. Samsung paid media audienceUsers reached by Samsung paid media on Facebook are heavy internet users overall; they were more likely to visit sites in 85 per cent of the categories comScore tracks. They were also more likely than average to visit categories relevant to Samsung’s products, potentially indicating they represent a strong target for Samsung ads. Specifically, users exposed to Samsung ads were 68 per cent more likely than the average user to visit technology news sites, 50 per cent more likely to visit telecommunications sites and 62 per cent more likely to visit consumer electronics sites. Users exposed to Samsung paid media were also 24 per cent more likely to shop online than the average internet user. The Buying Power Index (BPI) of the paid audience was notably high in the two product categories most relevant to Samsung Mobile: mobile phones (BPI of 150) and handhelds, PDAs (169).
comScore found that the audience reached by Samsung paid media was 173 per cent more likely than the average user to conduct searches that contained the word ‘Samsung,’ and when they did so, they searched for Samsung 39 per cent more frequently. The full report, Understanding Paid and Earned Reach on Facebook, is downloadable at Facebook Studio.