When marketers are looking to achieve aggressive short-term goals, they tend to focus on lower-funnel Facebook strategies, such as direct response (DR) campaigns, rather than upper-funnel strategies, such as brand campaigns. This makes sense, as brand building is typically seen as not significant at helping, and potentially even undermining, immediate sales objectives.
Is that the right approach? Is brand marketing on Facebook truly at odds with DR? Or can the two work in tandem to help advertisers achieve both short- and long-term goals?
To find out, we teamed up with Analytic Partners and GroupM to examine the Marketing Mix Model (MMM) results of more than 500 Facebook brand and DR campaigns run by 21 businesses over a three-year period.
Here we briefly explore key learnings from the research. In the full report, The Effectiveness of Brand Messaging in Driving Sales Incrementality, we delve into results in-depth, look at additional vertical-specific findings and provide MMM advice for those looking to conduct their own analyses.
The role of brand marketing in driving sales
Contrary to the assumption that only lower-funnel approaches help to achieve short-term goals, the MMM analysis found that both brand and DR advertising campaigns on Facebook are consistently effective in driving sales.
Overall, DR campaigns do tend to drive more incremental sales than brand campaigns, which is not surprising given that upper-funnel marketing is aimed at consumers who are further away from conversion and lower-funnel marketing is aimed at those who are closer to purchase.
However, brand campaigns are often less expensive per impression than DR campaigns because upper-funnel marketing campaigns are generally aimed at broader audiences, whereas lower-funnel marketing campaigns tend to use more precise, and therefore more costly, targeting.
Once the cost of media is taken into account, the performance of upper-funnel marketing in driving sales is more comparable to that of lower-funnel marketing.
The impact of factors such as industry
The analysis also compared results among verticals to explore how factors such as industry impact effectiveness and efficiency.
The industry findings confirmed the overall learning: lower-funnel marketing can be a powerful approach for helping to achieve short-term goals. Moreover, they showed that in certain instances, brand campaigns can be more effective than DR campaigns in driving sales.
For example, the health care results revealed that brand messaging was more effective in driving short-term sales with adults ages 35—54, while DR was more effective in driving short-term sales with teens.
The power of a full-funnel approach
The research indicates that while Facebook lower-funnel marketing is generally more effective than upper-funnel in driving conversions, it can be less efficient given the typically higher cost of precise targeting. Furthermore, the relative effectiveness of brand versus DR campaigns often varies depending on factors such as vertical and target audience.
Given these findings, marketers should consider both lower-funnel and upper-funnel strategies when looking to drive sales and should look to evaluate performance relative to the broader media mix. Ultimately, a full-funnel approach with both media planning and measurement will enable marketers to better achieve both short-term and long-term goals.
What it means for marketers
Upper-funnel marketing can drive incremental sales
Although brand campaigns are often dismissed when looking to achieve short-term goals, they are often a valuable tool for driving sales. Marketers may be able to achieve greater success by taking a full-funnel approach.
Brand campaigns can be a less expensive approach
While DR campaigns tend to be more effective in spurring immediate results, they also tend to be more expensive. Therefore, incorporating upper-funnel strategies can help increase marketing efficiency when looking to boost sales.