What Types of Social Media Ads are Most Effective for Brands? [Stats]

by Pam Dyer

What Types of Social Media Ads are Most Effective for Brands? [Stats]

As new ways to engage consumers and market products on the social Web keep multiplying, it’s important to stay abreast of best practices for brands. Research firm Psychster partnered with Allrecipes.com to find out which types of advertising yield the best results.

The study tested 7 different types of ads on two different publisher Web sites, Facebook and Allrecipes:

  1. Banner ads
  2. Newsletter subscription ads
  3. Corporate profiles with fans and logos
  4. Corporate profiles without fans and logos
  5. Get widgets
  6. Give widgets
  7. Sponsored content

Participants were shown a video of an ad type and an interaction and were asked to rate how likely they were to interact with the ad as the video did. They were also asked what their opinion was of the brand sponsoring the ads (either a car brand or a soup brand).

Results:

  • Banner ads and newsletter links were the most successful at encouraging purchase.
  • Sponsored content produced the highest interaction ratings, but the lowest purchase intent and viral recommendations of the 7 ad types. So this type of ad may be a good marketing strategy for raising brand awareness and generating positive associations/brand engagement, but isn’t the best choice for increasing sales.
  • Corporate profiles caused higher purchase intent only when people could become a fan and put a logo on their own profile.
  • Give and get widgets were more engaging than banners and newsletters, but they didn’t increase purchase intent or the likelihood of recommending a product to a friend. Since widgets are pricey, tweets and links may be a better choice.
  • The success of an ad was increased by matching the brand with the Web site (e.g. a soup ad on a recipe site).

Takeaways:

  • If your goals are brand awareness and positive associations, sponsored content may be your best bet.
  • If you’re trying to increase purchasing and loyalty, go with profiles that allow people to become fans and add logos to their own profiles.
  • If you’re targeting purchasing and the best ROI, good old banners and newsletters rule.

Download the study results (PDF)

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